Settlement & Survival
Yankee, Canadian and European immigrants built Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls, Menomonie, and other towns along a network of rivers that transported people and pine. For half a century, workers labored in the woods in the winter and the mills in the summer. Residents built homes, schools, churches and courthouses; enjoyed the festive atmospheres of biergartens and sangfests; and endured the recurring hardships of fire and flood. The forest's decline forced town "boosters" into a desperate search for new industries and jobs. Some communities did not survive. Most found their futures along the new networks -- rails, highways, and power lines. Where one generation cut logging trails and rafted lumber, the next paved roads, operated hydro-electric dams, and manufactured tires, pressure cookers, and other products, shipping them all over the world. Settlement and Survival is based on a major exhibit created by the Chippewa Valley Museum. Curator of Public Programs Tim Pfaff served as principal writer for the five-person team that developed the award-winning Settlement & Survival project.