Eau Claire has a rich heritage and past. Unfortunately, memories of that past fade with time, and historic buildings can crumble to dust. The people and events of our history become lost to time. Photographs preserve that history, a tangible reminder of what has come before.
This site is designed to allow greater access to the historic photograph collection of the Eau Claire Landmarks Commission, as part of the Commission's charge to foster a greater awareness and appreciation of the City's past. Organized into several different categories, these photos document the changing landscape of Eau Claire in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Included are images of some of Eau Claire's most spectacular homes built in the heyday of the lumber industry, some no longer standing. Early industry is preserved in black and white. Many of these early businesses have been rendered obsolete by technological innovations; others have succumbed to changing economic circumstances. Aerial views of the City illustrate its expansion, as it grew from a frontier "sawdust city" in the 1880s, to an industrial and manufacturing city in the 1950s, and beyond.
The images in the collection come from several different sources. The viewer will notice that some of the earliest images have been reproduced from supplements to the Eau Claire Sunday Leader in 1904 and 1906, and exhibit a distinct crosshatch background pattern. Called a moir pattern, this problem occurs when scanning images from newspapers or magazines, even those produced in the twenty-first century! While there is no way to correct the problem while viewing the images online, the images may be downloaded. They may then be viewed at 40% of their original size, the best size to minimize the moir pattern.
As you browse the collection, let it take you back into the early days in Eau Claire. Imagine the buzzing of nearby sawmills, the clip-clop of the horses pulling their buggies along the packed dirt roads, the clang of factory machinery, the roar and smoke from the new-fangled horseless carriages.' Step into the past. Experience Eau Claire's rich heritage.