Tuesday, Sep. 2nd, 2014

Friday, Sept. 5: Special Deals and Events!

The Local Store is celebrating the return of another school year (and UW-Eau Claire's "UW Meets EC" night) as we welcome hundreds of students into The Local Store on Friday, September 5. Check out our special deals and events:

All Day Deal: As part of "First Fridays in Downtown Eau Claire" – Buy 1, Get 1 Half Off on our Wisconsin and Eau Claire art prints and posters

Student Only Deal: With a Student ID – Get a $5 Local Store gift card with any purchase over $25

Also on Friday, check out our fine friends from Ambient Inks screen printing awesome t-shirts right before your eyes – right in the Volume One parking lot, kitty corner from the store!

And that night, join us for a special in-store performance from local indie-rockers Reverii (7pm). Fresh off a performance at the 7th Street Entry (attached to the historic First Ave venue in Minneapolis, Minn.), this up-and-coming band is already making waves within and beyond the Chippewa Valley.

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Monday, Sep. 1st, 2014

5 Eau Claire landmarks that used to be somewhere else

The Waldemar Ager House
The Waldemar Ager House at 514 W. Madison St. didn't used to be there.

The word "landmark" kind of implies a certain amount of permanence, right? Well, there are a number of long-time local institutions that didn't start out were we find them today. Such as ...

1. The Public Library

Years before it was officially a city, Eau Claire had a library. In 1860, a group of Eau Claire pioneers created a “library” that was kept in a case in the Mahler and Putnam store on Eau Claire Street. It wasn’t a truly public library, however: Membership was 50 cents and checking out a book for two weeks set you back a nickel. Today, the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library is free to everyone, and it hasn’t moved far in 154 years: It’s still on Eau Claire Street.

2. The Eau Claire County Courthouse

What’s now called Wilson Park in downtown Eau Claire – i.e., the place where Volume One hosts Chalkfest each August – was the site of Eau Claire County’s first courthouse, a wood frame building built in 1862. The second courthouse was built a decade later near the site where the current 1970s-era courthouse and 2010s-era jail now stand on Oxford Avenue.

3. Sacred Heart Hospital

The Hospital Sisters of St. Francis opened their first hospital inside the home of Mrs. J. Fitzpatrick on Putnam Street in 1889. The following year, a proper hospital was built on North Dewey Street. Unlike the previous structures on this list, this building still stands: The Colonial/Neo-Gothic revival structure in now part of the Eau Claire Academy, an adolescent treatment center.

4. The Waldemar Ager House

Norwegian immigrant Waldemar Ager was a noted author and journalist in late 19th- and early 20th-century Eau Claire. In 1902, he bought a Victorian-style cottage at the corner of Chesnut and Whipple streets. It eventually became a Luther Hospital resale shop. When the hospital expanded in the 1990s, it donated the house to the Waldemar Ager Association, which moved it a few blocks to 514 W. Madison St., where it can be visited today.

5. The Chippewa River

OK, this one is sort of a trick answer, but it’s true. Sometime in the distant past, the Chippewa River decided to take a shortcut, leaving one of its bendiest bends behind, forming an oxbow lake. What we now call Half Moon Lake was cut off from the rest of the river.

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Sunday, Aug. 31st, 2014
Saturday, Aug. 30th, 2014
Thursday, Aug. 28th, 2014

Here's what the Confluence mixed use building might look like

Image: Commonweal Wheel Development
Click for a closer look. | Image: Commonweal Development

Now that demolition is almost complete on the future site of the Confluence Project in downtown Eau Claire, we’re getting a better idea at what might be built there, and debates about its appearance have begun. A new architectural rendering from Commonweal Development shows a six-story multiuse building that will include 34,000 square feet of commercial space on the first floor – including space for restaurants (as many as three) and offices – as well as 119 units of student-oriented housing and underground parking. While the design is by no means final, it gives the public a clearer idea of what the privately built, privately funded part of the Confluence Project will look like. (Meanwhile, the drive continues to fund the proposed public-private performing arts center next door.)

The developer’s plan still must get the OK from a pair of city panels. First up is the Waterways and Parks Commission, which studied plans Wednesday (Aug. 27), asked questions, and decided to collect more information before making up its collective mind. Dan Clumpner of Commonweal Development said commission members as well as residents who spoke at the meeting focused on how the new building would fit in with Barstow Street’s historic architecture,  how the structure would look from the nearby Chippewa and Eau Claire rivers, and how planned pedestrian and bike paths would connect with existing trails. Clumpner said Commonweal will address these and other concerns at a future Waterways and Parks Commission meeting as well as before the Plan Commission, which is tentatively expected to consider the project on Sept. 15. While the Waterways and Parks Commission’s eventual decision will be advisory, the Plan Commission has jurisdiction to approve, reject, or ask for changes to the site plan.

The buildings on the future multiuse site have been demolished in recent weeks, with the last of them – 2 S. Barstow St., also known as the “mural building” for the paintings that covered its boarded-up windows in recent years – slated to come down in the next few days. Clumpner says site prep work and construction are schedule to start this fall, with a completion date for the multiuse building planned for June 2016.

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