EAU CLAIRE, my original hometown
Eau Claire is french for "clear water, although the french might not have seen Lake Altoona during a summer when the algae is thick.
That aside, Eau Claire is a clean and mostly pretty small city which is almost connected into several smaller ones, such as Chippewa Falls and Altoona. There are two rivers (the Chippewa and Eau Claire) which converge and formed the basis for logging in the early years of the city.
I was born there and lived in the city until I was 21. Although much of it has grown since that time, it still retains some charm.
It has truly one of the most scenic University Campuses in the state, some extremely pretty parks and a clean style of life. Crime is low and cost of living is moderate. Much of the old industry is no longer there, but some of the buildings have been preserved or converted into apartments.
Recreation can be found through the many nearby lakes, parks and golf courses that pepper the community. In the summer, there are frequently free concerts in the evenings at Owen Park. Many plays
and campus activities add to the enjoyment. There is an impressive mall and other shopping at better-than-average prices throughout the town. Nearby Chippewa Falls boasts a pleasant small zoo located inside the scenic Irvine Park area. In recent times, many of the former abandoned railroad beds have been converted into a fantastic hiking and biking trail which goes for many miles.
To be fair, Eau Claire cannot and does not try to compete with Minneapolis or larger cities for nightlife, but locals and college students still have fun. Yes, Eau Claire is known for it's famous
"Water Street" section near the campus. Over time, some of my favorites have come and gone, but
there are still nice places to meet people and enjoy a drink.
There are many pleasant restaurants and supper clubs in the vicinity for those who want something more upscale in their dining plans. Fanny Hill is perhaps one of the better known ones.
All in all, Eau Claire is not exciting or glamorous. It can on occasion
be downright dull. But, like many similar size midwestern towns, it
is filled with fine generous people
and offers a great stay to those who want to visit or move there. It can rightfully brag about it's fine schools, clean neighborhoods, and safe environment to raise a family.