Histories > Eau Claire Co. Historical Accounts
"History of Northern Wisconsin, 1881"
(-as transcribed from pages 302 - 303)
All the space devoted to Eau Claire City and County might easily be filled with its war record and stirring events of that period. Its history is a counterpart of what transpired in every village of like size in the whole North. The record is one of self sacrifice, of patriotism, fortitude and courage, with a sublime confidence in the final success which often seemed so far off. Eau Claire furnished more than her quota of men, and there is no brighter page in the history of that struggle than that which records the deeds of the companies in the 8th, 16th, 25th, 30th, and 36th, and other regiments from this place.
The Eagle Company and Regiment has a world-wide reputation. and indeed the history of the Wisconsin men who assisted to save our imperilled Union is fully recorded in other works and the subject is here reluctantly left with this brief allusion.
Having thus reviewed the salient points in the early career of Eau Claire, the reader is respectfully referred to what follows for a knowledge of the city in its present condition, and a gliimpse at many of the steps taken to reach its present altitude, which is viewed with a pardonable pride by the old settlers, but which may be looked upon after the lapse of generations, as the day of small things for this young metropolis of tile Chippewa Valley.
Eau Claire is six miles from the Mississippi and being at the junction of the Eau Claire and Chippewa rivers which drain a large region north, east and south, at the head of navigation and the very base of the immense pineries on the rivers above, has unparalleled lumbering facilities, and the general merchandise trade must extend indefinitely, as the lumlber region becomes devoted to agriculture and manufacturing as it certainly must. The confidence which has been reposed in the future of Eau Claire, will certainly not be disappointing, for the trade of these valleys and their countless tributaries naturally converges towards and centers at this point, and with proper railroad facilities there is no doubt as to the future.
The Chippewa, which is navigable to the falls, eleven miles above the city, enters the city from the north, after describing a well defined but reversed letter S. At the falls above the city, there is the Dells dam, with its log races and lock, which is used for lumber rafts, but seldom for boats. The river has a generally southwestern course, having its origin in the extreme northwestern part of Michigan.
The Eau Claire, a stream perhaps one-third its size, arises in the adjoining counties on the east, and, receiving numerous accessions north and south, enters the Chippewa at right angles, near the center of the town.
The Chippewa River was called by the first explorers, The Santeur.
The Eau Claire was named by the early French explorers or traders.
The lower dam on the Eau Claire has a fall of ten feet, and allow water exhibits 400 horse power.
The upper dam, at the water mill, has fourteen feet fall, and the minimum power is 700 horse.
Three miles above the city, on the Eau Claire, is a fall of sixteen feet, and nine miles further up a fall of forty feet. Other important water-power locations are found further up the river, and on its branches.
The Chippewa and tributary streams are well stocked with edible fish. The market at different seasons has sturgeon, muskalonge, pike, pickerel, catfish, black bass, rock bass, spotted bass, and others less important.
The citizens of Eau Claire, having procured a charter, held their first election under its provisions in the Spring of 1872. H. P. Graham was elected the first Mayor, and served until April, 1873; was succeeded by J. P. Nelson, who held the office one year. G. E. Porter was Mayor from April, 1874, until April, 1875, when G. A. Buffington was installed in that position. April, 1876, L. M. Vilas was elected. In 1877, W. F. Bailey was chosen; and in 1878, George W. Chapman, who was re-elected for 1879.
In 1880, J. F. Moore filled this position.
In 1881, at this writing, the Mayor is Dr. E. T. Farr.
C. E. Gleason was the first City Clerk, and was re-elected to that position, from year to year, until 1879, when John Hanner took his place, holding the office two years. April, 1881, George W. Churchill was elected to the office.
E. H. Playter was Treasurer from 1872 to 1878. For 1879, B. S. Phillips was chosen Treasurer, and still retains the place.
The following gentlemen have been elected President of the Council: 1872, Texas Angel; 1873, George \W. Demming; 1874, Donald Kennedy; 1875, Frank McDonough; 1876-77, F. W. Woodward; 1878-79, G. W. Demming; 1880, George B. Shaw; 1881, W. P. Bartlett.
The City Attorneys have been: 1872, L. M. Vilas; 1873-4, W. R. Hoyt; 1875, Alexander Meggett; 1876, H. H. Hayden; 1877, L. R. Larson; 1878-80, M. Griffin; 1881, Col. E. M. Bartlett.
Municipal Judge, L. E. Lattimer, 1872 to 1878; L. R. Larson from 1878.
William Weissenfelds has been City Surveyor since the city was organized.
Present city officers. - Mayor, E. J. Farr; Clerk, George Churchill; Treasurer, B. S. Phillips; City Attorney, Col. E. M. Bartlett.
Aldermen. - First Ward, Frank McDonough, Frank Pulle; Second Ward, F. J. McGrath, W. T. Galloway; Third Ward, W. P. Bartlett, N. C. Wilcox; Fourth Ward, George B. Shaw, Noah Shaw; Fifth WVard, G. A. Buffington, G. W. Mason; Sixth Ward, W. W. Downs, T. W. Thomas; Seventh Ward, Henry Davis, Chris Carlson; Eighth Ward, T. F. Frawley, A. S. Bostwick.
Police. Thomas Donnelly, Chief; John Higgins, John Hancock, Lafayette Elliott, Robert Anderson, Charles Pelka.
Post-Office. - Located at the corner of Kelsey and River streets. Postmaster, James A. Brackett; Assistant, Jay C. Bartlett. Branch office, west side, Station A; Col. E. M. Bartlett, Postmaster.
In June, 1878, when Mr. Brackett was appointed Postmaster, the sale of stamps and envelopes did not exceed $1,700 per quarter. Now it averages $2,700 per quarter. The registered letters, per quarter, then numbered about 250; now more than 600. Money orders have increased at the same rate. It is now a second-class office. The postoffice was remodeled and supplied with Yale lock-boxes and modern appliances, and opened for business on January 6, 1875. The growth of the city business has carried it far beyond the postal facilities then provided.
Deputy Collector Internal Revenue. - J. F. Moore; office, No. 9 Kelsey street.
United Slates Land Office. - Located corner River and Kelsey streets. J. G. Callahan, Register; V. \W. Bayless, Receiver; D. S.Thompson, Clerk.
Fire Department. - There are two steam fire engines in the city. No. 1, on the west side; this was procured in 1871, before the city organization; Eugene Bullard was the first Chief Engineer. No. 2, located under the City Hall, was procured in 1873. Wales H. Willard is Engineer, and F. Ferris, Driver, of No. 1. Charles Cutler is Engineer of No. 2; Frank Harmon, Foreman. Chief Engineer, J C. Churchill.
The second steam fire engine procured was in March, 1875. Charles Cutler was the Engineer. This was during Mr. Porter's administration as Mayor.
June 25, 1874, there was a firemen's parade, with the usual concomitants on such occasions. Three hundred firemen from abroad participated in the tournament.
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