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Eau Claire, Wisconsin
—  City  —
Barstow St.
Location within the state of Wisconsin.
Location within Eau Claire County (pink-shaded portion is within Chippewa County).
Coordinates: 44°48′53″N 91°29′34″W / 44.81472°N 91.49278°W / 44.81472; -91.49278Coordinates: 44°48′53″N 91°29′34″W / 44.81472°N 91.49278°W / 44.81472; -91.49278
Country United States
State Wisconsin
Counties Eau Claire, Chippewa
 - Type Council-manager
 - City manager Mike Huggins
 - City council Eau Claire City Council
 - City 32.4 sq mi (83.8 km2)
 - Land 30.3 sq mi (78.4 km2)
 - Water 2.1 sq mi (5.4 km2)  6.46%
Elevation 787 ft (240 m)
Population (2000)
 - City 61,704
 Density 1,910.9/sq mi (738.8/km2)
 Metro 148,337
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Area code(s) 715
FIPS code 55-22300[1]
GNIS feature ID 1564402[2]

Eau Claire is a city located in the west-central part of the U.S. state of Wisconsin. The population was 61,704 as of the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Eau Claire County,[3] although a small portion of the city lies in neighboring Chippewa County. Eau Claire is the principal city of the Eau Claire, Wisconsin Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is a part of the Eau-Claire-Menomonie Combined Statistical Area.

America's Promise named the city as one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People in 2007.[4] Eau Claire was among the first Tree Cities in Wisconsin, having been recognized as such since 1980.[5]


Name origin

"Eau Claire" is the singular form of the original French name, "Eaux Claires", meaning "Clear Waters", for the Eau Claire River. According to local legend, the river was so named because early French explorers journeying down the rain-muddied Chippewa River, happened upon the Eau Claire River, excitedly exclaiming "Voici l'eau claire!" ("Here [is] clear water!"), the city motto, which appears on the city seal.


Water St.

Eau Claire is located at 44°48′53″N 91°29′34″W / 44.81472°N 91.49278°W / 44.81472; -91.49278 (44.814627, -91.492677)[6], approximately 90 miles (145 km) east of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. The city is located on the northern fringes of the Driftless Zone.

The city was founded near the confluence of the Eau Claire and Chippewa rivers as three separate settlements. The main section of downtown is on the site of the original village. West Eau Claire, founded in 1856, was across the river near the present-day county courthouse, and incorporated in 1872. Between a mile and a half and two miles downstream, the Daniel Shaw & Co. lumber company founded Shawtown, which was annexed by the 1930s.[citation needed] By the 1950s, the entire city had spread far enough to the east to adjoin Altoona.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 32.37 square miles (83.8 km2), of which, 30.28 square miles (78.4 km2) of it is land and 2.08 square miles (5.4 km2) of it (6.46%) is water.

The terrain of the city is characterized by the river valleys, with steep slopes leading from the center to the eastern and southern sections of the city. The lands into which the urban area is currently expanding are increasingly hilly.

There are two lakes in the city, Dells Pond, and Half Moon Lake. Dells Pond is a reservoir created by a hydroelectric dam, and was formerly used as a holding pool for logs. Half Moon Lake is an oxbow lake created as part of the former course of the Chippewa River.

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Avg high °F (°C) 24 (-4) 27 (-2) 40 (4) 57 (13) 70 (21) 79 (26) 84 (28) 82 (27) 73 (22) 60 (15) 41 (5) 28 (-2) 55 (12)
Avg low °F (°C) 5 (-15) 7 (-13) 20 (-6) 34 (1) 46 (7) 56 (13) 61 (16) 58 (14) 50 (10) 39 (3) 25 (-3) 12 (-11) 34 (1)
Rainfall in inches (millimeters) 1.1 (28) 1.1 (28) 1.8 (46) 2.7 (69) 4.0 (102) 4.7 (119) 3.4 (86) 3.7 (94) 3.6 (91) 2.5 (64) 1.7 (43) 1.2 (30) 31.5 (800)
Source: Weatherbase[7]




The Eau Claire Masonic Temple is on the NRHP.

As of the 2000 census[1], there were 61,704 people, 24,016 households, and 13,569 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,037.8 people per square mile (786.8/km²). There were 24,895 housing units at an average density of 822.2/sq mi (317.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 93.44% White, 0.70% African American, 0.55% American Indian, 3.66% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.34% from other races, and 1.28% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.00% of the population.

There were 24,016 households out of which 27.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.4% were married couples living together, 9.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.5% were non-families. 30.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.6% under the age of 18, 22.1% from 18 to 24, 26.1% from 25 to 44, 18.2% from 45 to 64, and 11.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females there were 90.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $36,399, and the median income for a family was $49,320. Males had a median income of $32,503 versus $23,418 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,230. About 5.5% of families and 13.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.4% of those under age 18 and 7.4% of those age 65 or over.

Metropolitan area

Together with surrounding communities, the Eau Claire metropolitan area is home to 114,483 people, according to the 2000 census. The city forms the core of the United States Census Bureau's Eau Claire Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Eau Claire and Chippewa Counties (composite 2000 population: 148,337). Together with the Menomonie Micropolitan Statistical Area (which includes all of Dunn County) to the west, the Eau Claire metropolitan area, forms the Census Bureau's Eau Claire-Menomonie Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area, which had a consolidated 2000 population of 188,195. 2004 population estimates place the two-county Eau Claire-Chippewa Falls metropolitan population at 155,680, and the expanded Eau Claire-Menomonie CMSA population at 197,417.[8]


City Hall is on the NRHP.

Since switching from a mayoral system in 1948, Eau Claire has had a city manager-city council form of government. The Eau Claire City Council currently consists of five members elected from districts, five at-large from the entire city, and an elected city council president who is also elected at-large. The Eau Claire City Council meets in City Hall, in downtown Eau Claire.

Five of the council members are elected in odd-numbered years from the five different aldermanic districts in Eau Claire. Five additional at-large council members are elected in even-numbered years by Eau Claire residents.

Since Eau Claire has no mayor, Eau Claire City Council Presidents are elected at-large to serve as head of the council. They are elected in odd-numbered years.


The Eau Claire paper mill, circa 1890-1940. Both the dam and the mill remain functional.

The lumber industry drove Eau Claire's growth in the late 19th century. At one time, there were 22 sawmills operating in the city.[citation needed]

Since the loss of several thousand manufacturing jobs in the early 1990s (due to the closure of the local Uniroyal tire plant), the city's economy was reshaped by the opening of a number of plants engaged in the construction of computer hardware, such as Hutchinson Technology's largest plant, and is home to IDEXX Computer Systems, a division of IDEXX Laboratories.[citation needed]

Eau Claire is home to several national and regional companies including Cascades Tissue Group, Menards, National Presto Industries, Inc., Midwest Manufacturing, and Erbert & Gerbert's.

Today retail, health care and education are the primary employment sectors in Eau Claire.[citation needed]



Eau Claire is served by the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport.

Mass transit

Major highways


Eau Claire is located on freight rail lines owned by the Union Pacific Railroad,[9] formerly owned by the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railway (Omaha Road), and later part of the Chicago and North Western Railway. C&NW operated passenger trains from Chicago through Eau Claire to the Twin Cities area until 1963 when the Twin Cities 400 ended service.[10] Passenger rail service to Eau Claire is seen as critical by the Minnesota Department of Transportation and Wisconsin Department of Transportation, and they plan to return trains to the city by 2030.[11]


Eau Claire is home to two public colleges (University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire and the Chippewa Valley Technical College) and two private colleges (Immanuel Lutheran College and a campus of Globe University/Minnesota School of Business).

Eau Claire is home to two public high schools within the Eau Claire Area School District: Memorial High School and North High School. Two public charter high schools exist in Eau Claire: McKinley Charter School, a non-traditional school serving 120 students; and Technology Charter School, a non-traditional school serving 193 students. Eau Claire also has two private high schools: Catholic Regis High School and the Lutheran Immanuel Lutheran High School.


Temple Sholom synagogue in Eau Claire

In a 2000 study conducted by the Association of Religion Data Archives, they found 39,017 people in Eau Claire County do not claim any of the 188 faiths represented in their study. However, Eau Claire is home to a large number of religious congregations:

  • Methodist - 4 congregations (one of which is located in nearby Altoona)
  • Lake Street United Methodist Church

Media and entertainment

Print media

The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram[13] has a daily circulation of 26,901 during the week and a circulation rate of 38,824 for the Sunday paper. Volume One,[14] an alt-weekly magazine published twice a month with a circulation rate of 15,000, has general and local culture articles.


Nielson Market Research lists Eau Claire/La Crosse as the 127th largest television market area.[15] The major broadcast stations serving the area are:




Local music scene

The Chippewa Valley, especially Eau Claire, has groups and performers in the indie rock, metal/hardcore, hip hop, jam, and jazz genres. Bands such as Bon Iver and the Laarks have achieved varying levels of national success. Pop-punk has created a following in the Eau Claire area, and hip-hop artists also claim Eau Claire as their homeland.

Popular destinations for live music in The Chippewa Valley include: The State Theatre, The Grand Little Theater, The House of Rock, Infinitea Teahouse, The Mousetrap, The Cabin (UWEC Campus), Higherground (UWEC Campus), and Hoffy's Skate America.

Performing Arts

Eau Claire has a modest but active theatre community. Although no professional theatre groups make their home in the region, amateur and community theatres have a significant presence; the most visible of these are The Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild and The Eau Claire Children's Theatre. In addition, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire has a robust theatre program, and traveling professional shows frequently make stops in the city. The State Theatre (Eau_Claire, Wisconsin) is the primary performing arts venue, although The Eau Claire Children's Theatre is scheduled to have a completed venue in 2010.


There are several large parks in the city: Putnam Park, which follows the course of Putnam Creek and Little Niagara Creek east from the UWEC campus; Carson Park, situated in the middle of an oxbow lake; Owen Park, along the Chippewa River, home to a large bandshell where open air concerts are held throughout the summer; and Phoenix Park, on the site of the old Phoenix Steel plant at the confluence of the Eau Claire and Chippewa River. Phoenix park is the host of a weekly farmers market and open air concerts during summer months. Riverview Park is also a common summer swimming destination, as well as one of the local boat landings. This park includes picnicking areas and grills, as well as public restrooms.

The City of Eau Claire also operates Fairfax public pool Hobbs Municipal Ice Center, an indoor ice center.

Eau Claire is at the head of the Chippewa River State Trail, a biking and recreation trail that follows the lower course of the Chippewa River.


Notable natives & residents

See Also






Sister cities

See also


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ Americas Promise Alliance
  5. ^ Your State Poster Contest Coordinator
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  7. ^ "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Eau Claire, Wisconsin". 
  8. ^ 2004 Wisconsin Bluebook data
  9. ^ "Wisconsin Railroads 2009". Wisconsin Department of Transportation. 2009. Retrieved 2010-02-01. 
  10. ^ Scribbins, Jim (2008). The 400 Story. Minneapolis/London: University of Minnesota Press (originally published by PTJ: Park Forest, IL, 1982). ISBN 978-0-8166-5449-9. 
  11. ^ Cambridge Systematics, Inc., Kimley Horn and Associates, Inc., and TKDA, Inc. (February 2009). "Minnesota Comprehensive Statewide Freight and Passenger Rail Plan (Final Report)". Minnesota Department of Transportation. Retrieved 2010-02-11. 
  12. ^ Unitarian Universalist Congregation (Eau Claire, Wisconsin)
  13. ^ Leader-Telegram Online
  14. ^ Volume One
  15. ^ Nielsen Media Research
  16. ^ Eau Claire Cavaliers
  17. ^ a b
  18. ^ Ann Landers
  19. ^ Carson Park article, from the UW–Eau Claire Club Baseball website
  20. ^ Hank Aaron tri-fold brochure from the Eau Claire Express website. (.pdf)
  21. ^ "Henry Aaron honored in city where he broke barriers in baseball - Eau Claire, WI" article from Jet, 5 September 1994. Retrieved via, 13 January 2007.
  22. ^ "Hammerin' Hank still stands tall" article from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 3 April 2002. Retrieved from, 13 January 2007.
  23. ^ "Welcome back, Hank" 20 October 2006 Eau Claire Leader-Telegram article. Two more stories referring to this visit, although both more germane to Hank Aaron's activities as a campaigner for Jim Doyle's gubernatorial reëlection: "Hank Aaron goes to bat for Doyle", 19 October 2006 "Aaron stumps for Doyle in city", 20 October 2006
  24. ^ "Governor Doyle and Hank Aaron Visit Eau Claire" article on WEAU-TV website, viewed 13, Jan. 2007.
  25. ^
  26. ^ - Pro Football Statistics and History
  27. ^ The Internet Hockey Database -- Hockey Statistics, Data, Logos, and Trading Cards
  28. ^ Find Articles at BNET
  29. ^ - Major League Baseball Statistics and History
  30. ^ - Pro Football Statistics and History
  31. ^ NBA & ABA Basketball Statistics & History |
  32. ^ NBA & ABA Basketball Statistics & History |
  33. ^ - Pro Football Statistics and History
  34. ^ - Sports Statistics and History
  35. ^ - Major League Baseball Statistics and History
  36. ^ Joe Torre: A Man for All Seasons
  37. ^ Joe Torre - BR Bullpen
  38. ^ New Page 2
  39. ^
  40. ^ NSW Government

External links




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