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Eau Claire in Eau Claire County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

City of Bridges

 
 
City of Bridges Marker image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, June 11, 2011
1. City of Bridges Marker
Inscription. In the mid-19th century, the Chippewa and Eau Claire Rivers brought people to the confluence but also kept them apart. As settlers arrived, three villages developed where the rivers met. Newcomers had to choose the riverbank where they would live and do business. In 1869, the first permanent bridge crossed the Chippewa, linking two of the villages at what later became Grand Avenue.

Frequent fires and floods in the "sawdust city" days often damaged bridges. The 1884 flood took out five. Bridge technology was limited, too. Fearing damage to local bridges, the City of Eau Claire threatened a fine for driving a horse across a bridge "at more than a walk."

Eau Claire's bridges have been built and rebuilt. In 1899, Minnie McDonough christened a third Grand Avenue bridge. Floods had destroyed its predecessors.

In time, Eau Claire's bridges not only helped citizens cross the waters; they also unified the original villages into one city.

...the east and west sides ran neck and neck with the keenest rivalry between them, both business and otherwise. ...if an east side boy went over on the west side he stood a good chance of getting a thrashing and if a west side boy went to the east side the courtesy would be returned.

William Bartlett, Chippewa Valley Historical Society Meeting, 1926

Honoring
City of Bridges Marker image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, June 11, 2011
2. City of Bridges Marker
The marker is in the lower left of this photo. The former railroad bridge in the background (also in the photo on the marker) is now a pedestrian bridge.
Our Parents Louis and Miriam Arnold, Bridge Builders


[Caption on photograph:]This photograph was taken just north of this spot in 1882. Built in 1880, the bridge passed its 125th anniversary in 2005. Wisconsin Historical Society collections.
 
Erected by children of Louis and Miriam Arnold.
 
Location. 44° 48.794′ N, 91° 30.267′ W. Marker is in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, in Eau Claire County. Marker is on Riverfront Terrace 0.1 miles west of North Barstow Street, on the right when traveling east. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Eau Claire WI 54701, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. "Haymarket Square" (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Eau Claire River (approx. 0.2 miles away); Eau Claire (approx. mile away); City Hall (approx. 0.3 miles away); Herman T. Lange House (approx. 0.3 miles away); Eau Claire Public Library (approx. 0.3 miles away); Woltersdorf House (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Mittelstadt House (approx. 0.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Eau Claire.
 
Categories. Bridges & ViaductsSettlements & Settlers
 
Sidewalk next to City of Bridges Marker image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, June 11, 2011
3. Sidewalk next to City of Bridges Marker
One of several engraved stones in the riverfront walk, this one says "It shall stand as a visible link to signify that ... interests and welfare are bound together..., Minnie McDonough, at the opening of the Grand Avenue Bridge, September 27, 1899, as quoted in the Eau Claire Leader."
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 326 times since then and 9 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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