Perhaps this is another example
of what happens when engineering students run
amok...The idea to create the world's largest
M is credited to Raymon Medley and Alvin Knoerr
who stamped out the shape of the humongous letter
in snow in the winter of 1936. These gentlemen
were from the University of Wisconsin at Platteville,
and before long the entire engineering department
was conscripted into making the big letter permanent.
(The "M," by the way, stands for mining,
in honor of UW's erstwhile mining school, which
was very prestigious in the early 20th century.)
The students moved and cemented 400 tons of
light-colored limestone to create the letter.
The "M" is 241 feet high, 214 feet
wide, and the legs are 25 feet across. The engineers
who designed it used surveying techniques to
ensure that the "M" appears symmetrical
and visually appealing from all angles.
According to locals, a work
party convenes each fall on "M-Day"
to carry out touch-ups and repairs. Local legend
also holds that the "M" has been seen
from space. In addition, the "M" is
lit with small kerosene candles during homecoming
The "M" is on the side of Platte Mound,
which, at 1,440 feet, is one of the highest
"peaks" in Wisconsin. Platte Mound
is located on Broadway Street (County Trunk
B) about 4 miles east of Platteville.
Judy Ness 5/30/07
Posted on RoadTrip America 8/07