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Paths of the People

Settlement and Survival

Farm Life

Object Theater: This Day

Ayres Associates Gallery: Art All Around

RCU Children's Gallery: History Quest


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(715) 834-7871

Chippewa Valley Museum
PO Box 1204
Eau Claire, WI 54702-1204

1204 E. Half Moon Drive
Eau Claire, WI 54703
(This is NOT a mailing address!)




Yankee, Canadian and European setlers flocked to Wisconsin's Chippewa Valley in the 1850s to harvest the vast forests of white pine. Towns grew up over night. Before long, those "inexhaustible" forests were gone and the towns built to support the lumber industry had to find new reasons to exist.

The award-winning Settlement & Survival exhibit follows the changes that took place between 1850 and 1925, a time when the scent of pine gave way to the smell of rubber tires, and the whine of sawmill blades was replaced with the hum of electric generating plants.

Settlement and Survival exhibit

European settlement in the Chippewa Valley is a complicated story, but Settlement & Survival does an excellent job of simplifying the narrative into eight interesting elements:

  • Forests of Pine, Network of Water The natural resources of the Chippewa Valley attracted people to settle in this area

  • Opportunities Attract People The lumber industry created money and jobs

  • A Busy Summer in Eau Claire With the large influx of people, a city started to develop

  • Crisis in the Cutover When they ran out of trees to cut down, people ran out of money

  • Finding a Future Towns looked for different ways to produce money

  • New Recruits for the Cutover Eastern Europeans were sold cutover land to farm

  • Eau Claire is there! The variety of businesses that came to Eau Claire created its future

  • The Modern Kitchen A 1920s kitchen symbolizes a new era in which new technologies to make living easier

Settlement and Survival exhibit

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