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1884 Eau Claire City Directory

Title Page, Preface and Descriptions of the City of Eau Claire

              Title Page

Eau Claire



Embracing a complete alphabetical list of business firms
and private citizens; a classified list of all trades,
professions, and pursuits; a miscellaneous
directory of city and county officers,
public and private schools,
churches, banks, incor-
porated institu-
tions, etc.

Sold Only by Subscription

R. L. Polk & Co. and A. C. Danser, Publishers
22 Drake Block, St. Paul, Minn.

Entered according to act of Congress in the year 1884, by R. L. Polk & Co. and A. C. Danser, in the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C.


We present herewith the Eau Claire City Directory for 1884, believing it to be the most complete and accurate directory of the city yet issued.  We have spared no pains nor expense, and with the most ample facilities, publishing, as we do, some of the principal cities of the West, including St. Paul, and having selected men for the Eau Claire canvass thoroughly competent and carefully trained in the business, we believe this edition must prove in all respects superior to previous issues.  We are conscious that all the work of which it is the result has been done honestly, faithfull and well, and we venture the prediction that ere a year will have elapsed this will have been pronounced Eau Claire's best directory.
It evidences a development of the city's affairs and a growth that must be gratifying to all interested.  It is a remarkable fact that the directory has nearly doubled its size in a year, there being in this edition 350 pages, an increase over last issue of 118 pages.  In the miscellaneous portion, representing the city government, incorporated companies, banks, churches, schools, societies, streets, etc., also in the classified list wherein the names of all business and professional persons appear under the headings designating their respective vocations, there is a marked increase, showing additional names in nearly every branch of business as well as the establishment here of entirely new industries.  But the most striking feature of this directory is the number of names it contains as compared with the previous edition.
There are in this book 6,524 names, an increase over the last issue of 1,454.
This is conclusive evidence of the thoroughness of our canvass, and of a growth here in a brief period which few cities can equal.

                Descriptions of the City of Eau Claire


Estimates of population based on the number of names in the directory having now come to be accepted as very nearly correct, we are pleased to make the announcement here, deducting two hundred from the total number of names (6,524) for duplicates, etc., and multiplying by three shows the population of Eau Claire to be 18,972 or in round numbers 19,000.  In New York City it is estimated that every name in the directory represents five persons; in Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Buffalo and Kansas City, three and one-half is the multiplier.  In Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Denver and other western cities, three is the basis.
Since the census of 1880 (10,118), the city has nearly doubled in population, and has gained nearly 4,000 since the last directory. Certainly no city in the State can make such a showing and but few in the West can equal it.  In this connection the figures of the two previous directories are of interest.
In 1880 the directory contained 4,044 names; in 1882 5,070, being an increase of 926; while in 1884 it contained 6,524, an increase of 1,454 names.
How Eau Claire compares with other cities as regards names and increase, may be seen from the following:

Duluth 1883 6,013 1,523
Grand Rapids Michigan 1883 19,400 2,800
Toledo 1883 27,245 2,145
Milwaukee 1883 49,270 4,459
Eau Claire 1883 6,524 1,454
Saginaw & East Saginaw, Michigan 1883 14,000 2,000
Kansas City 1883 28,192
St Paul 1883 35,351 5,017

Every one interested in Eau Claire should read the following sketch of the city and exhibit of its affairs prepared expressly for this directory.


Eau Claire is situated at the confluence of the Chippewa and Eau Claire rivers.  The former, with its tributaries, drains almost the whole of Northwestern Wisconsin, between the Black river and the St. Croix, and falls into the Mississippi by a delta, about opposite Wabasha.  The Eau Claire is one of the lower tributaries of the Chippewa.  It flows in a southwesterly direction and drains the principal part of Clark County.  Both rivers flow from heavy timbered counties.  Eau Claire is not many miles from the dividing line between the great Northern forest and the prairie portion of the State, but it belongs decidedly to the latter.  Agriculture is universally practiced in the neighborhood.  Lumbering is the chief, though it has ceased to be the only business of the city.  The prairies are elevated but flat; the city is chiefly situated in a "bottom" hollowed out by the action of the river.  It lies on both sides of the Chippewa and of the Eau Claire.  The former river makes a bend like the letter S just above the Eau Claire  and about half a mile below it turns westward.  Half Moon lake, evidently an old channel of the river, is situated north of this part of the Chippewa, the convex of the Half Moon approaching within a few hundred feet of the upper bend, which is called the Dells.


The debt consists of $100,000 incurred to build the great dam at the Dells, and $47,000 for three bridges across the Chippewa.


The tax roll is not made up for this year.  For last, it would prove nothing.  The valuation is $5,176,000, about equally divided between personal and real estate.


The advantages of Half Moon lake as a reservoir for logs were early perceived.  Stephen McCann was perhaps the first projector of a lumber town here, and in company with a few other early settlers erected the first building, a claim shanty, on the banks of the Eau Claire in 1835.  Even thus early, there was rivalry between Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls, which delayed the progress of both for more than thirty years.  A lumbering village soon grew up here, but in 1846 a tremendous flood swept the river clear of logs, destroyed all improvements and suspended progress for ten years.  About 1856, Adin Randall and several other early investors laid out the villages which have coalesced into the city of Eau Claire, more saw mills, and a weekly paper were established.  This year witnessed the last battle of the Sioux and Chippewas, in whose debatable land the site of the future city lay.  The reaction of 1857 and the war, delayed progress of Eau Claire till about 1865, when the old project of constructing a dam at the Dells, and making a canal into Half Moon lake was revived; and after several years of diplomacy and legislation, this was effected in 1878.  Since that time the growth of the city (organized in 1872) has been perfectly steady, as well as extremely rapid.


The Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha line passes directly through Eau Claire, and sends a branch to Chippewa Falls, twelve miles
farther up the river, which during the past summer has been extended to Superior City and Duluth.  The original connection between Eau Claire and Chicago was made in 1870.  The West Central connects with Eau Claire by what is called the Wisconsin & Minnesota.  The Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad connects wiht Eau Claire via Wabasha.  An extension of this line to Chippewa Falls is nearly completed.  It will be seen from this brief statement That Eau Claire is already one of the best situated cities in regard to railroads, being in full communication with all accessible parts of Northwestern Wisconsin, with the Chicago and St. Paul systems of railroads, and the various lines to the Pacific.  Lumber and ready built houses are shipped in constantly increasing numbers to the Western plains.  The railroad is superseding the river as a thoroughfare for both logs and lumber.  Many railroad projects concerning Eau Claire are in agitation among outside parties.  To connect her via Chippewa Falls with St. Paul by the Wisconsin Central, is one of the most advanced of these.  An extension of the Rock Island line via Red Wing, is also much talked of.  A line is being constructed from Winona via Alma along the Mississippi, which must eventually connect with Eau Claire.


Eau Claire has four principal school houses, one on the "north side" (of the Eau Claire), one on the "east side" (of the Chippewa south of the Eau Claire), and two on the "west side," one farther north than the other. There are smaller public schools at "Shawtown," the extreme western part of the city, near the West Eau Claire depot, and on the river above the Dells. There is also a building purchased from the Methodist church, and now known as Garfield school, on the west side.  All are overcrowded.  A new school house is soon to be built on the bluffs of the east side.
Besides these, there are denominational schools as follows:  Two Catholic (German and English), one Norwegian Lutheran (attached to the synod),  one Norwegian Lutheran (attached to the conference), one German Lutheran.
The church buildings in the city are two Catholic, three Norwegian Lutheran, one German Lutheran, one Episcopalian, one Presbyterian, one Congregational, one Baptist, two Methodist.  Societies of Second Adventists, and Disciples, also exist.

                GAS COMPANY

The city was first lighted by gas in 1878.  The company is well organized, consists of Eau Claire parties, furnishes a good quality of gas, and has mains in all parts of the city.

                ELECTRIC LIGHT

The city is lighted by the Brush patent.  The circuit over twelve miles in length, is said to be the longest in the world.  The present number of public lamps is thirty-six.  Many private parties are also supplied. The Excelsior electric light, operated by water power from the Eau Claire, supplies many business houses.

                THE LUMBER INTEREST

The lumber firms of Eau Claire are the Daniel Shaw Lumber company, the Empire Lumber company, the Valley Lumber company, the Eau Claire Lumber company, the Dell's Lumber company, the Westville Lumber company, the Pioneer Lumber company, and the Sherman Lumber company.  There are thirteen large saw mills with lath, shingle and picket machines in the city.  The annual product of lumber amounts to about 220,000,000 feet.  Many large mills outside the city are also operated by Eau Claire capitalists.


Eau Claire contains two large foundries, a paper and pulp mill, the celebrated Chilled Iron Plow works, a tannery, four sash, blind and door factories.  There are also many manufactories of different kinds projected.


The railroad runs through the principal streets from the Omaha depot to Shawtown, a distance of three miles.

                WATER POWER

The chief water power of the city is supplied from the celebrated dam at the Dells.  It is practically unlimited. Dams supplying power for saw mills, grist mills, etc., and for booming purposes also exist on the Eau Claire.

                THE PRESS

The Leader, daily and weekly, established in 1881, is the official organ of the city.  The Sentinal, a weekly, established June 1883, has a
large circulation.  The Free Press, the oldest paper in the city, has had a daily since 1873.  There is also an English weekly called the News, and  a German weekly, the Anzeiger.  Another German paper, Der Demokrat will, we understand, be very shortly started.


The publishers desire to thank their patrons for the liberal patronage bestowed upon the work, and hope that the rapid growth and prosperity attending Eau Claire may long continue.

                    Very Respectfully,

                    R. L. Polk & Co, Publishers

-As transcribed from the 1884 Eau Claire City Directory, R. L. Polk & Co.

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