Woo's Pagoda Salvage Effort Successful

Posted: May 22, 2014

Community members and businesses came together this morning to help the Chippewa Valley Museum (CVM) save the pagoda from Woo's restaurant. The pagoda has been an Eau Claire icon for nearly 65 years as the business corridor along Hastings Way developed.

The former Woo's Chinese restaurant will be demolished by the end of May to make way for new construction. The current owner offered the pagoda as a gift to CVM if removal could be arranged. CVM Director Susan McLeod said, "We could not know if the move was possible until we tried. The wooden pagoda was built over a steel structure that proved to be in good condition. Some of the wooden parts show damage but can be repaired as has been done a number of times in the past."

The pagoda is currently in a temporary storage location. The pagoda is estimated to be about 20' high and is too big to be in the museum in Carson Park. However, CVM is planning for a future façade/entrance renovation that includes an outdoor seating area, where there could be a place for the structure.

Volunteers and area businesses are contributing in-kind nearly everything needed to attempt the move. Contributors to date include: Dick Hajek: team leader; Cutting Edge: transport; PV Farmer: equipment; SignArt: salvage of neon lighting, equipment; Market & Johnson: cribbing to hold the pagoda as it traveled; Eau Claire Police Department: escort. Wayne Peters, Jack Kaiser, Duane Dingmann, and Haas Sons Construction provided additional services. Donors supporting remaining expenses of the move: Charter Bank, Janet Dykema Seymour. Thanks also to the many residents who have shared their pagoda stories so far, and their concern for its future.

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