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LARGEST "M" IN THE WORLD
East of Platteville, Wisconsin
Contributed by Rod & Judy Ness of Hermantown, Minnesota
World's Biggest M
Judy Ness

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 week.


Location:
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.

[Map]

Photographed by Judy Ness 5/30/07
Posted on RoadTrip America 8/07



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