Midwest Traveler: Exploring the revived Eau Claire, Wis.

Friday, August 19, 2016

My Wisconsin hometown is easy to miss — the real Eau Claire, that is. Take any of its three I-94 exits, 90 miles east of the Twin Cities, and you’ll find gas stations, fast-food joints, chain hotels, a shopping mall. Nothing too memorable.

But head a few miles into the core of this sprawling city of 68,000, to the rivers that gave it its identity and purpose, and you’ll find a thriving, active, happy place in the midst of a remarkable rejuvenation.

First settled in 1845 at the confluence of the Eau Claire and Chippewa rivers, the community was born as a bustling lumber town. In 1917, a huge tire factory began its rise along the Eau Claire River — it became the city’s top employer until it was shut down by Uniroyal in 1992. Today, part of the red brick plant has been converted to shops and offices.

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Category: Awards and Recognition, Regional News