Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Downtown Eau Claire
"Voici l'eau claire!"
("Here is the clear water!")
Location of Eau Claire in Eau Claire County
and Chippewa County, Wisconsin.
|Counties||Eau Claire, Chippewa|
|o City manager||Dale Peters|
|o WI Assembly||Jodi Emerson (D)|
Jesse James (R)
Warren Petryk (R)
|o State Senate||Jeff Smith (D)|
Kathy Bernier (R)
|o U.S. House||Ron Kind (D)|
|o City||34.72 sq mi (89.93 km2)|
|o Land||32.63 sq mi (84.51 km2)|
|o Water||2.09 sq mi (5.42 km2) 6.15%|
|Elevation||787 ft (240 m)|
| o Estimate |
|o Density||2,102.09/sq mi (811.62/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (CST)|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
|Area code(s)||715 & 534|
|GNIS feature ID||1583124|
Eau Claire is a city in Chippewa and Eau Claire counties in the west-central part of the U.S. state of Wisconsin. Located almost entirely in Eau Claire County, for which it is the county seat, the city had a population of 65,883 at the 2010 census, making it the state's ninth-largest city. Eau Claire is the principal city of the Eau Claire, Wisconsin Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is a part of the Eau Claire-Menomonie Combined Statistical Area.
Eau Claire took its name from Eau Claire County. "Eau Claire" is the singular form of the original French name, "Eaux Claires", meaning "Clear Waters", for the Eau Claire River. According to local legend, the river was so named because early French explorers journeying down the rain-muddied Chippewa River, happened upon the Eau Claire River, excitedly exclaiming "Voici l'eau claire!" ("Here is the clear water!"), the city motto, which appears on the city seal.
The city was founded near the confluence of the Eau Claire and Chippewa rivers as three separate settlements. The main section of downtown is on the site of the original village, where Stephen McCann, in partnership with J. C. Thomas, put up three buildings in 1845. Although these structures were erected to establish a claim to the land they stood on, the McCann family moved into one of them and became the first permanent settlers. West Eau Claire, founded in 1856, was across the river near the present-day county courthouse, and incorporated in 1872. Between a mile and a half and two miles downstream, the Daniel Shaw & Co. lumber company founded Shawtown, beyond the west end of what is now the Water Street historic district. Shawtown was annexed to the city of Eau Claire by the 1930s. By the 1950s, the entire city had spread far enough to the east to adjoin Altoona.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 34.14 square miles (88.42 km2), of which 32.04 square miles (82.98 km2) is land and 2.10 square miles (5.44 km2) is water.
The terrain of the city is characterized by the river valleys, with steep slopes leading from the center to the eastern and southern sections of the city. The lands into which the urban area is currently expanding are increasingly hilly.
There are two lakes in the city, Dells Pond, and Half Moon Lake. Dells Pond is a reservoir created by a hydroelectric dam, and was formerly used as a holding pool for logs. Half Moon Lake is an oxbow lake created as part of the former course of the Chippewa River.
In the Köppen climate classification, Eau Claire is classified as Dfa/Dfb borderline, usually termed as the subtype of warm, sometimes hot, summer. Its climate is due to its latitude and interior location in North America. The average annual temperature is only 46 °F (8 °C). Although the extremes exceed 110 °F (43 °C) upwards and -40 °F, which demonstrates the four well-defined seasons of the year, with severe winters generally colder than the winters of European Russia south of Moscow at a much lower latitude. The amount of annual snowfall (47") exceeds the amount of annual rainfall (31"), the total precipitation is greater than other major cities in Wisconsin such as Milwaukee and Madison. July has an average temperature of 71.6 °F (22.0 °C) and January an average of 14.4 °F (-9.8 °C), where temperatures below freezing point can remain for a long duration.
|Climate data for Eau Claire Regional Airport, Wisconsin (1981-2010 normals, extremes 1893-present)|
|Record high °F (°C)||55
|Mean maximum °F (°C)||42.2
|Average high °F (°C)||23.4
|Average low °F (°C)||5.4
|Mean minimum °F (°C)||-17.9
|Record low °F (°C)||-45
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||0.89
|Average snowfall inches (cm)||13.2
|Average precipitation days||8.4||7.2||9.0||11.0||12.2||12.3||11.9||10.8||12.0||10.2||8.9||8.9||122.8|
|Average snowy days||9.2||7.0||4.7||1.8||0||0||0||0||0||0.5||4.6||9.2||37.0|
As of 2000, the median income for a household in the city was $36,399, and the median income for a family was $49,320. Males had a median income of $32,503 versus $23,418 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,230. About 5.5% of families and 13.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.4% of those under age 18 and 7.4% of those age 65 or over.
As of the most recent census, the Eau Claire County portion had a population of 63,902 inhabitants, while the Chippewa County portion was 1,981 inhabitants.
As of the census of 2010, there were 65,883 people, 26,803 households, and 14,293 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,056.3 inhabitants per square mile (793.9/km2). There were 28,134 housing units at an average density of 878.1 per square mile (339.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 91.4% White, 1.1% African American, 0.5% Native American, 4.6% Asian, 0.5% from other races, and 1.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.9% of the population.
There were 26,803 households of which 25.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.6% were married couples living together, 9.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 46.7% were non-families. 31.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.89.
The median age in the city was 29.8 years. 19.3% of residents were under the age of 18; 22.3% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.2% were from 25 to 44; 21.7% were from 45 to 64; and 11.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.5% male and 51.5% female.
As of 2010, there were 1,981 persons within the city limits in Chippewa County and 63,902 in Eau Claire County for a total of 65,883.
Together with surrounding communities, the Eau Claire metropolitan area is home to 114,483 people, according to the 2000 census. The city forms the core of the United States Census Bureau's Eau Claire Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Eau Claire and Chippewa Counties (composite 2000 population: 148,337). Together with the Menomonie Micropolitan Statistical Area (which includes all of Dunn County) to the west, the Eau Claire metropolitan area, forms the Census Bureau's Eau Claire-Menomonie Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area, which had a consolidated 2000 population of 188,195. 2004 population estimates place the two-county Eau Claire-Chippewa Falls metropolitan population at 155,680, and the expanded Eau Claire-Menomonie CMSA population at 197,417.
As of 2008, Hmong Americans were the largest ethnic minority in Eau Claire. Jenna Christian, Pa Sia Low Moua, and Ingolf Vogeler, the authors of "The Cultural Landscape of the Hmong in Eau Claire, Wisconsin," wrote that the Hmong are also the city's "most visible ethnic group".
In 2008 there were 1,566 Hmong people in Eau Claire County, While the Hmong population is numerically smaller in Eau Claire County compared to Milwaukee, the Hmong have a higher percentage of the population in Eau Claire County, and Christian, Moua, and Vogeler wrote that "the Hmong stand out more singularly as an ethnic minority than they do in metropolitan areas like Milwaukee, which is already more racially and culturally diverse." The majority of the county's Hmong live in the city of Eau Claire. In select Eau Claire neighborhoods, up to 30% of the residents are Hmong.
As of 2008, 80% of the vendors at the local farmers' market are Hmong.
In November 1909 a movement to change the city government from the aldermanic to the commission form was launched by the West Side Boosters, the forerunners of the Water Street, Eau Claire Business Men. The campaign that preceded the February 15 election was a heated one. Local rallies and mass meetings were held. The 20 members of the common council were about equally split about the change. The final vote was 1867 for change and 995 against.
Since switching from a mayoral system in 1948, Eau Claire has had a city manager-city council form of government. The city council is a non-partisan 11-member governing council consisting of five members elected from aldermanic districts in odd-numbered years, five members elected at-large in even-numbered years, and an elected city council president, elected at-large in odd-numbered years.
The council's legislative meetings are held on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. Public hearings are held on the Monday evenings before legislative sessions. All meetings are held in the City Council Chambers at City Hall in downtown Eau Claire. Meetings are televised live on public-access television channel 97 and digital cable channel 994 and simulcast on radio station WRFP 101.9 FM.
Eau Claire is represented by Ron Kind (D) in the United States House of Representatives, and by Ron Johnson (R) and Tammy Baldwin (D) in the United States Senate. Kathy Bernier (R) and Jeff Smith (D) represent Eau Claire in the Wisconsin State Senate, and Jesse James (R), Jodi Emerson (D), and Warren Petryk (R) in the Wisconsin State Assembly.
Eau Claire is served by the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport (KEAU).
Eau Claire is located on freight rail lines owned by the Union Pacific Railroad, formerly owned by the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railway (Omaha Road), and later part of the Chicago and North Western Railway. C&NW operated passenger trains from Chicago through Eau Claire to the Twin Cities area until 1963 when the Twin Cities 400 ended service. Passenger rail service to Eau Claire is seen as critical by the Minnesota Department of Transportation and Wisconsin Department of Transportation, and they plan to return trains to the city by 2030.
Eau Claire schools are part of the Eau Claire Area School District.The city has two public high schools: Memorial High School and North High School; and two public charter high schools: McKinley Charter School and Technology Charter School. Eau Claire also has two private high schools: Catholic Regis High School and Immanuel Lutheran High School.
Eau Claire is home to two public colleges (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and the Chippewa Valley Technical College) and two private colleges (Immanuel Lutheran College and a campus of Globe University/Minnesota School of Business).
There are 13 elementary schools, and 3 middle schools in the Eau Claire Area School District. Including Chippewa Valley Montessori Charter School, which was founded in 2002, and follows the teaching of Maria Montessori.
Mayo Clinic Health Care System's Eau Claire location, which has a level 2 trauma rating and serves as the regional trauma center, offers a family medicine residency program. Eau Claire also has two other hospitals: HSHS Sacred Heart and Marshfield Medical Center. All three hospitals offer various specialty care units and services.
The Episcopal Diocese of Eau Claire is headquartered in the city. Its mother church is Christ Church Cathedral. The city is also located within the Roman Catholic Diocese of La Crosse and is home to Sacred Heart Church and St. Patrick's Church. Additionally, Community House, First Congregational Church, First Methodist Episcopal Church and the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd are located in Eau Claire.
Eau Claire is home to several religious denominations:
The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram has a daily circulation of 26,901 during the week and a circulation rate of 38,824 for the Sunday paper.Volume One is a biweekly magazine published with a circulation of 15,000 and an estimated readership of 45,000
Nielson Market Research lists Eau Claire/La Crosse as the 127th largest television market area.
|Morgan Murphy Media|
|13.1||WEAU||NBC||WEAU 13 News||13.2
Heroes & Icons
|28.1||WHWC||PBS||Wisconsin Public Television||28.2
|Wisconsin Educational Communications Board|
|Nexstar Media Group|
|993||CVCTV||Eau Claire Public Access||CTV Community||994||Eau Claire Public Access||Eau Claire Public Access|
|FM radio stations|
|88.3 FM||WHWC||Wisconsin Public Radio||Ideas Network||Wisconsin Public Radio|
|CSN International||Christian||CSN International|
|Family Radio||Christian||Family Radio|
|89.7 FM||WUEC||Wisconsin Public Radio||News & Classical Network||Wisconsin Public Radio|
|90.5 FM||WVCF||VCY America||Christian||VCY America|
|91.3 FM||WHEM||Moody Broadcasting Network||Christian||Moody Broadcasting Network|
|92.1 FM||WMEQ||Classic Rock 92.1||Classic rock||iHeartMedia, Inc.|
|92.9 FM||WECL||The X||Active Rock||Mid-West Family Broadcasting|
|94.1 FM||WIAL||I-94||Hot AC||Mid-West Family Broadcasting|
|95.1 FM||WQRB||B95||Country||iHeartMedia, Inc.|
|Oldies 1150||Oldies||Mid-West Family Broadcasting|
|96.3 FM||WHYS||Eau Claire Community Radio||Community||Northern Thunder, Inc.|
|98.1 FM||WISM||Mix 98.1||Adult contemporary||Aloha Station Trust, LLC.|
|Sports Radio 1400||Sports||iHeartMedia, Inc.|
|C105||Adult Contemporary||Bushland Radio Specialties|
|99.9 FM||WDRK||Blugold Radio||Variety||Mid-West Family Broadcasting|
|100.7 FM||WBIZ||Z100||Top 40/CHR||iHeartMedia, Inc.|
|101.9 FM||WRFP||Community-Government||Eau Claire Public Access Center, Inc.|
|102.7 FM||WIEC||WIEC Fat Free Radio||Community||The Eau Claire Broadcasting Association|
|680 WOGO||News/Talk||Stewards of Sound, Inc.|
|103.7 FM||WWIB||103.7 WWIB||Christian||Stewards of Sound Inc.|
|104.5 FM||WAXX||WAXX 104.5||Country||Mid-West Family Broadcasting|
|NewsTalk 790||News/Talk||Mid-West Family Broadcasting|
|105.7 FM||WCFW||C105||Adult contemporary||Bushland Radio Specialties|
|106.7 FM||WATQ||Moose Country 106.7||Classic country||iHeartMedia, Inc.|
|Relevant Radio||Catholic||Starboard Broadcasting|
|AM radio stations|
|680 AM||WOGO||680 WOGO||News/Talk||Stewards of Sound, Inc.|
|790 AM||WAYY||NewsTalk 790||News/Talk||Mid-West Family Broadcasting|
|880 AM||WMEQ||880 WMEQ||News/Talk||iHeartMedia, Inc.|
|1050 AM||WDVM||Relevant Radio||Catholic||Starboard Broadcasting|
|1150 AM||WEAQ||Oldies 1150||Oldies||Mid-West Family Broadcasting|
|1400 AM||WBIZ||Sports Radio 1400||Sports||iHeartMedia, Inc.|
Eau Claire has a modest but active theater community. Although no professional theater groups make their home in the region, amateur and community theaters have a significant presence; the most visible of these are the Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild (CVTG) and the Eau Claire Children's Theatre (ECCT). In addition, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire has a robust theatre program, and traveling professional shows frequently make stops in the city. The Kjer Theatre and the Pablo Center at the Confluence are the primary indoor performing arts venues, although both CVTG and ECCT have recently established their own independent venues, in 2006 and 2010 respectively.
There are several large parks in the city: Owen Park, along the Chippewa River, home to a large bandshell where open-air concerts are held throughout the summer; Putnam Park, which follows the course of Putnam Creek and Little Niagara Creek east from the UWEC campus; Carson Park, situated in the middle of an oxbow lake; and Phoenix Park on the site of the old Phoenix Steel plant at the confluence of the Eau Claire and Chippewa River. Phoenix Park is the host of a weekly farmers market and open-air concerts during summer months. Riverview Park is also a common summer swimming destination, as well as one of the local boat landings. This park includes picnicking areas and grills, as well as public restrooms.
The City of Eau Claire also operates Fairfax public pool, and Hobbs Municipal Ice Center, an indoor ice center.
Eau Claire is at the head of the Chippewa River State Trail, a biking and recreation trail that follows the lower course of the Chippewa River.
Eau Claire has three amateur baseball teams. The Eau Claire Express are a team that plays in the Northwoods League, an NCAA-sanctioned summer baseball league. Their home games are played at Carson Park. The Eau Claire Cavaliers, also plays home games at Carson Park. The Eau Claire Bears play in the Chippewa River Baseball League. Also, three of Eau Claire's High Schools have baseball teams.Eau Claire North H.S. won the 2011 and 2019 state championship. Eau Claire also has a large youth baseball program including a summer parks and recreation league, Little League (Nationals, American,Lowes Creek and Seymour). Eau Claire Little League teams have twice won the state championship (1998 Eau Claire Americans and 2012 Eau Claire Nationals) and advanced to Regional play in Indianapolis, IN. A Babe Ruth League (13- to 18-year-olds) which won State Tournaments at ages 13, 14 and 15 in 2012. Those Teams all went on to win 3rd place at their Regional Tournaments.
Established in 2009, The Chippewa Valley Roller Girls (CVRG) represent Eau Claire and the surrounding Chippewa Valley region. CVRG, a WFTDA League member, is Eau Claire's original all-female flat track roller derby league. It is a non-profit organization managed and operated by the skaters via an elected board of directors and skater-led committees.
Eau Claire United is a competitive youth soccer team competing in the MYSA. Every summer, Eau Claire United hosts a soccer tournament that brings around 100 teams to the community.
The U.S. National Kubb Championship is held in Eau Claire annually. The Eau Claire Kubb League operates kubb league year round.
America's Promise named the city as one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People in 2007. Eau Claire was among the first Tree Cities in Wisconsin, having been recognized as such since 1980.
Eau Claire is sistered with the following towns: