Downtown Murals Tell Stories of Stevens Point History

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If you have been to the downtown area of Stevens Point, chances are you have seen the colorful murals. Covering the sides of various buildings, one of them spans three stories tall, and they all have some historic significance.

In 2004 a local architect, Bill Yudchitz, was traveling in Ashland, Wisc. and noticed some murals. He thought they would be a great asset for the downtown of Stevens Point and joined with Tom Schroeder, the Director of Parks and Recreation for Stevens Point, to try to make it happen.

They created a committee of volunteers to create the ideas for the murals. Today there is a total of eight murals, some of which are called windows to the past.

Each one of them tells a story, like "Market Square", right in the heart of downtown. The market square back in the early 1800's was where everyone came to sell their produce. Another mural depicts the ten most influential things to happen in Stevens Point..

What's unique about these murals is that they were all funded through the "sale of faces".

As Tom Schroeder explains, "Everybody here on the wall is some local person or somebody who lived in town. They could buy the face and we put it up on the wall."

Some faces easily recognizable to the people in the community. Others like local business owner of 20 years, Troy Hojnacki were approached to be part of the murals.

Before his building was Graffiti's Sports Bar, the windows to the past murals tell a story of what it once was; Ostrowski's Saloon. That is the scene you see in the windows to the past, which features all the men in Hojnacki's and his business partner's, Dan Retzki's families.

They say that customers are always asking about the faces on the murals.

"We get questions all the time. Who are the folks in it? We also get questions are they real people. No, they're real people and then we go stand next to the wall; that's us," says Hojnacki.

Even visitors to your town Stevens Point regularly stop to get some "face time" with these historic pieces of work.

As Tom Schroeder explains, "A lot of people come back that have bought faces for family members and bring them down here and show it."