Histories > Eau Claire Co. Historical Accounts
"History of Northern Wisconsin, 1881"
(-as transcribed from pages 307 - 308)
Mondovi Line. - Leaves the Sherman House at 9 A.M., Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays; leaves Mondovi Postoffice at 7 A.M., Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. S. L. Haskins, proprietor.
Whitehall Line. - Leaves Sherman House at 6 A.M., Wednesday and Saturday; leaves Whitehall at 6 A.M., Tuesday and Friday. David Harnden, proprietor.
Rice Lake Line - Make three trips a week, stopping at Sand Creek and Chetek. Tucker & Blyton, proprietor.
West Wisconsin U. S. Mail Line. - Stage for Durant leaves Sherman House at 12 M., Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays; leaves Durant at 7 A.M., Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. M. D. Prindle, proprietor. There are several public squares set aside for park purposes. University Square, on the hill, on the eastern border of the east side. One bounded by Barstow, Farewell, Emery and Earl streets. West Side Park, between Broadway and Niagara streets and Third and Fourth avenues. They are without ornament, except grass and young trees.
Street Railway. - The Eau Claire Street Railway was begun October 14, 1879. Dr. Watkins was the contractor; Mr. Goff, of Milwaukee, had charge of the track laying. The car-house and stables are near the western terminus of the Chippewa bridge, to the south. The cars began running December 11, 1879. Pres. Woodward and Vice-Pres. Swift were on the first excursion car. John B. Stocking was driver; Fred Anthony, conductor. The contractor was also aboard. The road started with six cars and thirty horses; now has forty-seven horses and seven cars.
Bridges. - The Chippewa Bridge, crossing the river from the foot of Kelsey street, was opened for travel April 1, 1869. The contract price for its construction, which was paid C. C. & E. G. Smith, the contractors, was $34,946.74; other expenses, such as approaches and contingencies, carried the total cost to the city up to $37,541.61. The structure is of wood, 569 feet in length, and is supported by the abutments and four piers. At first there was a toll, which is always a source of annoyance, and, in 1873, the agitation for a free bridge was carried on with great spirit, and after an exciting controversy the free bridge advocates prevailed, and the collection of toll was abolished. This was on April 5, 1873.
The bridge on Dewey street was rebuilt, in 1874, at a contract price of $2,497, by the Eau Claire Lumber Company.
There is also a bridge across the Eau Claire, on Barstow street, a wooden structure.
The Eau Claire Lumber Company have two foot bridges, one at the lower and another at their upper mill.
The Chippewa bridge was swept away by the flood of 1880, and was only rebuilt and opened for travel five months afterwards. McIntire & Swift were the contractors at $11,000. The east end of the bridge was placed on the old abutment, but the west end was placed half a block up stream, to connect directly with Bridge street. Travel on the bridge was resumed on Thursday, November 18, 1880.
The iron railroad bridge, to replace the wooden structure, of the C., St. P. & M. Railroad, was completed May 1, 1881. The spans are 170 feet, and whole length of bridge 880 feet.
Water-Works. - The subject of water-works for the city has been frequently agitated. March 22, 1880, the City Council went so far as to authorize a contract with Messrs. Gray & Swift for their construction. The estimated cost, including twelve and a half miles of mains was $170,000. For some reason the work was not entered upon.
The Eau Claire Lumber Company have a Holly pump which supplies its own buildings, the Eau Claire and Galloway houses, and perhaps a few others.
Water for domestic purposes is usually obtained from wells, which, as a rule, furnish good water. At the depot, the water is obtained from a well seventy-eight feet deep. On the plateau above the depot the wells are about 100 feet deep, through sand, loam and gravel.
As there is no clay under the city between the surface and the water bearing strata, the filth that life in a city involves must percolate down into the wells, and, as a matter of course, the water will constantly become worse and worse, and as a sanitary measure the city will be compelled to procure water outside of its limits.
On the west side there are many drive wells.
General Trade. - To feed the people, there are upwards of thirty grocery firms. Nearly thirty insurance companies are represented, and there are the usual number of business houses, of a miscellaneous character, to supply the wants of the city and country, and while Eau Claire is given to temperance societies and temperance work, there are about forty saloons.
Professional. - There are more than twenty lawyers and a little less number of physicians, and ten or more ministers. According to Mr. Meggett, in a Fourth of July oration, the number is inversely according to their usefulness. He, a leading lawyer, advised the people "to go to the ministers more, to the doctors less, and to the lawyers never - if it could be avoided." The Bar is able, the physicians are skillful, and the ministers are popular. What more is required?
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