names from men, places, events
- Named after Edwin H. Abbot, financial aide to railroad builder Gardner
- Chippewa County community named after Eau Claire barber Albert Halvorsen
who started a general store there.
- Named after an early settler, Charles Allen, owner of land on which the
town was constructed about 1870.
|A quiet day on Main Street in Alma|
- Named by W. H. Gates after Russian stream made famous throughout the world
at the time of the Crimean War. The name was appealing to him because of its
brevity. The community was known as Twelve Mile Bluff in earlier days.
|Alma Center Main Street, 1907|
(Courtesy John Anderson)
- Alma Center
- The town is located in the center of the township of Alma in Jackson
County, according to old timers.
|Coal-unloading rig at Altoona|
- At first the community was called East Eau Claire, but when it was
incorporated in 1887 it was called Altoona by a Mr. Beal, a railroader who came
from Altoona, Pennsylvania.
- Named by Noah D. Comstock after Arcadia, California. Comstock called it
Arcadia because the fertile farm lands were like the gold lands of California.
Another source said the city was named after the State of Arcadia in ancient
- W. F. Holbrook who started a mill here, saw the creek which flowed through
the area and said it reminded him of Arkansas. The Indians did not fish in the
stream, according to legend, because they felt the water was pure because of the
|Wagons line Main Street Augusta|
- The village was once known as Bridge Creek, but the name was later changed
by Charles Buckman who came from Augusta, Maine. One other story early settlers
told is they wanted to name the village after the prettiest girl in town. It so
happened that Augusta Rickard, a girl visiting from Oak Creek, was the winner.
- Named for D. A. Baldwin, president of the West Wisconsin railroad. At one
time it was called Clarksville which grew to meet Baldwin and the latter name
was adopted when the villages were incorporated in 1874.
|1906 Barron Main Street looking north|
(Courtesy Rice Lake Chronotype)
- The community was first called Dallas. There are two stories about the
name Barron. One that it is named after Henry D. Barron of the St. Croix Falls,
one-time judge in the eighth district. The other, that it was named for a
logger in the area, John Barron, who was an earlier settler. After a fight with
Rice Lake, the city became the Barron County seat in 1874.
- Named for M.P. Bateman, an Irish settler in 1854. He operated a dam and
sawmill on Paint Creek and was known for his defense of the dam with an old
shotgun against men trying to drive logs through without paying tolls.
- Named after on of the early pioneers, John Bellinger.
- Named by George M. Huss, president of Soo Line Railroad, because of the
vast amounts of white birch along the lake shores.
- Black River Falls
- Indians noted the black appearance of water on the Black River. The city
is named for the falls. Early loggers were in the area in the first 20 years of
the 19th century.
- Named for railroader John Insley Blair of Blairstown, N. Y. It was first
platted as Porterville after the Porter family.
|Load of eggs at Bloomer in 1898|
- A man named Bloomer from Galena, Illinois, purchased land in the area and
built a dam near Chippewa Falls. His men obtained hay from an area where
Bloomer now stands. It was called Bloomer Prairie. Later Sylvester Van Loon
came and the area was called Vanville. However, the name Bloomer Prairie stuck
and Vanville became known as Bloomer when the railroad came.
- Pettis Tiffany started a logging business here in 1840. Twenty years later
the first settler came and at first the area was known as Barker. However, the
post office was called Boyceville after the Boyce family which operated a mill
on the western edge of town.
- One report says an early settler named John W. Cirkel started a mill here
in 1881, noting "we can hardly call our town Cirkel, can we." He then
named it Boyd. Cirkel and his sons were among the first coppersmiths in the
- Reported settled in 1854 and named for an Eau Claire postmaster.
- Named after Judge Brill, St. Paul attorney for an early railroad company.
- Named after Bruce Weyerhaeuser, son of the lumber family founder, Frederick
|Bird's eye view of Cadott|
- Named for Jean Baptiste Cadotte, son of French Canadian fur trader in the
Madeline Island area. Cadotte established a trading post on the Yellow River
north of Cadott. The village was known as some time as Cadotte Falls.
- Named after the Latin name for Scotland. Among early settlers giving it
the name were Alexander and Donald McGilvray.
- Named for State Senator Cameron of La Crosse by surveyor L. C. Stanley.
Settlers moved their buildings close to where the Omaha and Soo Line crossed.
- Candy Corners
- A small community no longer present in the Town of Brunswick, Eau Claire
County. The storekeeper gave candy to children when their parents paid their
- It was settled as early as 1855 and was named the Village of Pierce in 1883
when George and Martha Pierce had the area surveyed. In 1892 another survey was
taken by Milwaukee Land Co. and the town was renamed after president of the
firm, John W. Carey.
- Named from geographical location of Trempealeau Prairie. It was first
called Martin's Center.
|Looking south at Chetek in 1911|
(Courtesy Dave Jankowski)
- Named after the Indian word for pelican. Records show that as early as
1836, Joe Trepannier operated a trading post there. Chetek was incorporated as
a city in 1891, reportedly the smallest settlement to go from a township to a
city. It had 531 residents. Stout, Knapp, & Co. Company was in the area as
early as 1860.
- An oldtimer says some men came through the area on the railroad on a cold
day in 1881 and remarked how chilly it was.
- Chimney Rock
- Named after the large ragged rock which is the highest point in the
vicinity. Once called Devil's Chimney, it was long a landmark to travelers.
- Chippewa City
- Named for its location and the hope it would one day be a large city.
First sawmill constructed in 1851. Faded in financial crash of 1875. Many of
its residents went to Durand.
- Chippewa Falls
- Named after the falls on the Chippewa River in 1831 by Jean Brunet who
built a mill at the site. The word Chippewa means "to roast until puckered
up." May refer to puckered seams on moccasins or may have come from the
practice of torture by fire.
- Clear Lake
- Named for the clear water in the lake. At one time named Clark's Lake
after an early settler. However, there already was a Clark Lake in the state.
- It was a station on the Foster railroad, but was named for Lewis Cleghorn,
one of the first men to live there.
- Named after Joseph Cobban, a farmer who settled here in 1867.
- Reportedly named after one of the officers of the railroad company that
built the first rail line along the river.
- Received name from Gardner Colby, a railroad builder from Massachusetts who
was employed by the Wisconsin Central Company.
- It was called Begga Town because of the outstanding rutabaga crops. Later
it was named in honor of Sen. Schuyler Colfax, a vice-president under U. S.
- Received name in honor of H. S. Comstock from Cumberland who later became a
county judge. He was a lawyer and community leader.
- It was named after one of the town's earliest settlers, David Connors.
- Named for Frank and Charles Conrath, early loggers who eventually settled
- First founded by Jean Brunet and called Brunet Falls, it later was named
after Ezra Cornell, president of Cornell University. Lands in the area were
once owned by the school.
- Corruption of Lac Courte Oreilles, meaning short ears. One tale is that
the Indians kept the ears of their battle victims.
- At first it was called Lakeland because of islands on which it is built.
However, about 1879, John A. Humbird, president of Chicago Northwest Railroad,
asked that it be changed in honor of his home town of Cumberland, Md.
- Named after a civil engineer, Charles Curtiss who purchased land and cut
off the best timber. Although he left after two years, the village was named
for him. For one year previous it was called Quar.
- Named after George Dallas, vice-president of the U. S. from 1845 to 1849.
- Deer Park
- Named by Otto Neige who built a fence and attracted deer to the area.
Later a railroad went through the park area and it had to be abandoned.
- First named Tiffany after Pettis Tiffany, early logger, later renamed
Downing after James Downing who came to the site in 1869. He was a logger for
Knapp, Stout & Co. Company.
- Timber was strewn over the high ground between Big and Little Drywood
Creeks, probably from a storm. It was shown on an early settler's map.
- Started in 1840 by men named Lambs. However, the community was later named
after State Senator Charles Dunn. It was at one time county seat for what is
now Eau Claire, Chippewa, Pepin and Dunn counties. It faded away after the
county seat was moved to Menomonie in 1858.
- Miles Durand Prindle gained government land in 1856 and platted the city
which took his middle name.
- This Chippewa County community took its name from the Town of Eagle Point
which was on the railroad and because there were many eagles in the area.
- Elk Mound
- Named because of the large mound near the community. History has it that
both the Sioux and Chippewa used the mound for a lookout. The reported
different times of seeing elk on the mound.
- It was named after Col. Elmer Ephraim Ellsworth, a friend of Abraham
Lincoln. The community was known as Perry in 1861 when it became county seat of
Pierce County when backers of River Falls and Prescott as county seat couldn't
settle their difference. According to reports, the town was selected because
lines through the county marked it as centermost.
- Eau Claire
- Named from the French word meaning clear water. Name was credited to
Jonathan Carver who explored the valley. It was known as Clearwater for a
number of years before becoming Eau Claire.
- Eau Galle
- This is the French word for gravel banks, a characteristic of the area.
- Named after Edson Chub, its first settler in 1857. Chub maintained one of
the best roads in the area.
- One story is that R. P. Goddard of Mondovi named the town after a French
village. However, local stories note that when a grain elevator was built,
workers started to paint the sign E-L-E-V-A-T-O-R on it, however, when bad
weather came, all they had finished was E-L-E-V-A, and it stayed that way with
persons moving into the area assuming that was the town's name.
- Was known as Maxville and Shoo Fly before Ed Roundy named it Ella after one
of his children.
- Named because of the elm trees that grew in the valley.
- Named after Ettrick Forest in Scotland as described in Sir Walter Scott's "Marmion".
An early settler, John Cance, first called it "Ettrick's Paths"
because of the number passing through the area.
- The community is named after Lucius Fairchild by Gary Graves in honor of
the 10th governor of Wisconsin.
- Fall Creek
- Named after the fall in the creek near the village. It was later covered
by a dam. It was first called Cousins after Henry Cousins of Eau Claire.
- Village named after George E. Foster who built a railroad through the
community. At first it was called Emmett by settlers in the 1850s.
- Fountain City
- So named because of water in the bluffs which created springs in the
community. It was founded by Thomas Holmes in the middle of the 19th century.
- Community named after Judge George Gale of La Crosse who also named a
school there Gale College.
- This Taylor County community is reportedly named after Gilman Moore, a son
of Mr. Moore of Stanley who held railroad interests.
- Named after Samuel Gilman who with four sons came to the area bout 1855.
One story has it that a relative was a signer of the Declaration of
Independence. Town had been called Mann's Mills after Joel Mann, a relative of
Horace Mann, and later called Loomis after another early settler.
- Glen Flora
- Area was known as Miller's Spur when Soo Line came through, but when the
town needed a post office, Miller submitted the names of his children, Gen and
Flora, circa 1887.
- Glenwood City
- Community is named after the Glenwood Manufacturing Company which moved
into the area about 1885.
- The community was said to have been named by Miss Mary Honeywell to note
the great pineries of the area. The trees were cut and moved to market on the
- Probably adapted for the Town of Grant named after President U. S. Grant.
- Named after Hallie Sherman, daughter of Capt. Sherman, a veteran of the
Civil War who operated a sawmill known as Blue Mills.
- Established for R. B. Hammond of Waukesha. He and his partner, a Mr.
Ismond, were real estate dealers buying school lands in the area. They built a
sawmill and brought six families of 23 persons from Racine as first settlers.
- This Barron County community is named after Sen. Haugen.
- First known as Main Creek. However, it was named Hawkins after one of the
first lumbermen in the area. Another report says he was a Soo Line Railway
- Named after Anthony Judson Hayward, a lumberman on the Namekagon River.
The town started to grow around his mill.
- Reportedly came from postmistress Miss Jeannette Smith who observed after
the lumber had been cleared, all that was left was a hill and a dale.
- Jackson County historian's report it was named after a man named John L.
Hicks who settled in the area. It was easier, they say, to call it Hixton than
- At first it was called Little Falls by loggers and earlier settlers, but it
was named Holcombe after the surveyor of the time of the land grants.
- At first was called Willow River and later named Buena Vista by Judge Joel
Foster, founder of River Falls, after he had returned from the Mexican War.
Alfred Day helped solve the name problem by petitioning for the name Hudson
after his impression with the similarity between bluffs along the river and
Hudson in his native New York.
- Named because it was platted during 1876, the year of the nation's
centennial. Name suggested by Giles Cripps.
- Jim Falls
- Named after James Ermatinger who came here from Canada about 1850 as a
trader and logger. The area was first called Vermillion because of the color of
the city. Name went from Ermatinger Falls to Jim Falls.
- Jump River
- Named for the rapids in the rivers. One story said the Indians used the
rivers, Big and Little, for test of athletic strength.
- Named after John H. Knapp of the Knapp, Stout & Co. Company who started
a lumbering operation there. When the railway went through in 1871 it took the
name Knapp Station
|Busy market day at Ladysmith|
- There are several stories about the name. One is that it was once called
Warners Corners, but the post office was getting deliveries confused with other
towns and the rail line had problems with town of similar names. A man by the
name of Smith was about to be married and at a party, it was suggested the town
be named after his bride and he called Ladysmith. Another story says it was
changed to Ladysmith in honor of the bride of a company's manager in an effort
to lure his factory to the community. At one time it had been called Flambeau
- One story has it that at the time of the Civil War, every eligible man in
the town enlisted and the name Loyal was adopted in honor of those men. It is
also claimed that Oliver Hill named Loyal. A cavalryman in the Civil War, he
was discharged on account of disability. He later re-enlisted in the infantry
and was again discharged because of disability. It was said the name came to
his mind because of his experience in fighting for the Union.
- Taylor County Community named by Marvin Durski, a Chicago land agent in the
area. He had come from Lublin, Poland.
- Maiden Rock
- Named for the Indian maiden Winona who was said to have jumped to her death
rather than marry someone other than her true love.
- Named after Joseph Martell, a Frenchman who settled here.
- Named after Melrose Abbey in Scotland. Earlier had been called Bristol,
but there were other communities of that name in the state.
- This is another spelling of the Indian word for wild rice.
- Named after Benjamin and Leander Merrill who were involved in many
enterprises with other men and the slogan became "Merrill and". The
name of Merrillan finally emerged.
- Town obtained name from the Hugh B. Mills lumbering family. The Mills home
was quite large and accommodated loggers and travelers.
|Mondovi flood scene in 1907|
(Courtesy John Anderson)
- Area historians say Mondovi was named by Elihu B. Gifford, the only man in
the town to receive a newspaper. He apparently read about a great victory
Napoleon won against the Sardinians in 1796 at a place called Mondovi. At first
the area was named Pan Cake Valley and later Farringtons after Harvey
Farrington, the first settler.
|Main street in Neillsville around 1912|
- Lumberman James O'Neill started the first mill there around the 1840s. In
1854 it was selected county seat and was connected by stage coach with Black
- Community named after James Nelson, an Englishman who settled at the mouth
of the Chippewa River in 1843. He operated a boat landing there, but most of
the steamers landed at Read's Landing across the Mississippi in later years.
- New Auburn
- At first it was named Cartwright's Mill. The name New Auburn apparently
came from the Township of Auburn when voting locations changed.
- New Richmond
- The community was first known as Foster's Crossings and then Crossings
after early settlers Mr. and Mrs. B. C. Foster. It was surveyed by Richmond Day
and the town was named for him. New was added later because there was another
town by the same name in the state.
|1908 viw of Main Street Osseo|
(Courtesy Tri-County News)
- There are at least three stories about the name. One is that Robert C.
Field named it after the Spanish word Oso, meaning bear; others note the Indian
word Ossi, meaning stone or stony place or having relation to river and stone,
and also the name Osseo was used by Longfellow in "Hiawatha".
- This Clark County community was named after J. S. Owen Lumber Co. of Eau
Claire in 1892.
- Local historians feel the lake, county and town received the name by early
French explorers well before 1700. One story is that it was named after a
member of the DuLuth group around 1679. Another is that it was named after a
French King, Pepin le Bref. It was also known as the Lake of Tears because of
the Sioux' sadness at coming of the white man.
- Pigeon Falls
- Name derived from the days when Peter Ekern, an early settler was building
his mill and store and there were numerous wild passenger pigeons in the area.
- Plum City
- Named from Plum Creek which had many wild plum trees along its banks.
Reported as named by Frank Moser an early settler.
- Prairie Farm
- Named by employees of the Knapp, Stout & Co. Company where the firm
established a farm on the prairie. They were going to the "Prairie Farm."
- Named after Philander Prescott who came here as a government interpreter
and started to trade with the Indians. He married an Indian woman and held the
town position as assessor. He was later killed by the Sioux Indians.
- Known as Lake Poskin at one time, it was named for the Indian maiden Mary
Poskin, first wife of Andrew Tainter of Menomonie.
|1914 when Rice Lake was a mill town|
(Courtesy Rice Lake Chronotype)
- Rice Lake
- Wild rice grew in pools and swamps along the Red Cedar. It became Rice
Lake after Knapp, Stout & Co. Company built a dam here about 1868. The
Sioux and Chippewa were said to have fought battles over the wild rice crop.
- The name Ridgeland was given to the former community of Annesburg because
of wooded ridges which surround it. It was first a model community built to
accommodate rail workers.
- River Falls
- It was first known as Kinnickinnic from the river which flows through the
town. It later was known as Greenwood in the state. When its post office
petition was rejected because of the same name, residents adopted the name River
Falls after the falls on the river.
- It was named after a civil engineer by the name of Roberts working with the
West Wisconsin Railroad.
- Rock Falls
- Named by William Plaisted, an early settler who called the section of the
stream near there "rock run." From a drop in the creek at Rock Falls,
the village got its name.
- Eau Claire County historians said it was first called Rosedale because of
the wild roses in the area. After the railroad passed through it was called
Rodell because of another station named Rosedale in the state.
- Sand Creek
- Early settlers followed trails along the Red Cedar and decided to settle
here. The town got its name from the firm, sand bottoms of the creek which
accompanied by gravel made it an ideal place to ford the stream.
- Shell Lake
- It was probably named because of the way the lake is shaped. At one time
it was called Frog Lake and later Summit.
- The town was named by Samuel Harriman after his ancestral home, Somerset,
England. Harriman served in the Civil War and returned home with the rank of
- Earlier names were Chandler and Mud Lake. But after railroads came
through, it took the name Spooner after John C. Spooner a Civil War officer and
later a U. S. Senator.
- Spring Valley
- The town is named after the springs that help form the Eau Galle River.
Two of them still remain active.
- This Chippewa County city is named after L. C. Stanley of New York.
Stanley was schoolmaster, businessman and later mayor of Chippewa Falls.
- Community named by Swedish immigrants with the same name as Stockholm,
- This Jackson County community is named after one of the Green Bay and
Western Railroad officials.
- There are several stories about how Thorp received its name. It was
originally called Wineka, then North Fork because it was close to the North Fork
of the Eau Claire River. Later it was named Thorp, apparently after Eau Claire
lumber baron Joseph Thorp who owned a mill east of the city. Another story is
that it was named after a railroad man named Thorpe. For years the post office
and the railroad differed over the spelling, one with an "e" on the
end and the mail service without it. In the 1950s the railroad agreed to drop
- Community once called Deer Trails after the creek which flows through it.
Later changed to Tony in honor of Anthony Hein of the Hein Lumber Co.
- This name is a corruption of the French phrase, LaMontagne Quie Trempe Dans
L'Eau, meaning mountain that is steeped in water. It was originally known as
Reed's Landing after early settler and trader.
- One of the area offices of Frederick Weyerhaueser Lumber Company was
located here in 1870s and the town took his name. The spelling of the community
- At first called Welton after Maria L. Welton, it was later called Lochiel
when the railway came. The postmaster, H. D. Wheeler, insisted it be named
after him when the post office was granted. About 1892 the residents tired of
the confusion, named it Wheeler.
- It was named after a rail official with the Omaha railroad, John Winter.
- Named by Benjamin F. Wing who platted Old Whitehall the first settlement.
Name could have come from Whitehall, N.Y., or from Whitehall in England. Some
of the first settlers were originally from England.
- This Clark County community was named after Hiram Withee, the first
postmaster in 1880.
- This St. Croix County community was named after the Woodville Lumber
Company. At one time it was called Kelly's Switch after rail siding was built
by A. A. Kelly in 1872.
Extracted from the Eau
Claire Leader Telegram
Special Publication, Our Story 'The Chippewa
Valley and Beyond', published 1976
Used with permission.
This page created by Susan Fanning - American Local History Network - Wisconsin Local History Network - Eau Claire County
Page Last Updated - Monday, 15-May-2000 11:34:16 CDT
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