Monster Black Snake
Disturbing Peace of Residents on Water Street- Is Six Feet Long.
– Eau Claire Leader | October 4, 1906
Snakes are found in many other places besides Water Street, but large snakes and black snakes as large, black and intelligent as the particular individual which hangs out in the neighborhood of No. 6 fire hall, are uncommon reptiles.
Several residents who have caught sight of him say he must be at least six feet in length. His mouth is as wide as a crocodile’s, the body the size of a kangaroo. The big fellow is almost wise enough to talk and has conversed several times with West Side policemen who, of course, talk only in the language of the club.
Monday morning this descendent of Eden’s confusion was caught lounging on the sidewalk right in from of the Water Street fire hall and did not seem to be alarmed about it either, until one of the boys, Jim Weiss, we think his name is, ran at him with a piece of hose, but the reptile was too smart for him. He jumped through the rubber cylinder and escaped before Jim had time to turn around.
Several ladies of the west Side have also seen him on many occasions. One time the wary charmer was discovered climbing a telegraph pole to attach the beautiful bird house which the boys have built for the home of martens and other birds of paradise. Quite a number of the snakes have been killed this spring in various localities on the West Side, too, but the king of reptiles is still at large. If he is not captured within the next few days, the vigilant committee appointed to preserve order will play their last trump card. They will send for ex-alderman Martin Page, the hero of volumes of snake stories and other cheerful brevities Mr. Pages’ experiences in woodcraft has brought him in contact with many species of snakes, so the fate of the Water Street monster will be left to him. Martin is out of town present, but may arrive at any moment.
Chad's Take: Perhaps it still slithers ...
I absolutely love this story because it contains so many great pieces of Chippewa Valley history. I found it fascinating that the brave reporter took a good jab at the Eau Claire Police when he said that the West side Police “talk only in the language of the club.” It was common for newspapers of the time to poke fun at the perceived incompetence of the police force. Maybe this is why when faced with the task of removing this “intelligent” snake the town turned to an individual citizen named Martin Page. Unfortunately Mr. Page was out of town at the time, but the citizens did not panic as it was stated that Martin was due back in town shortly.
I have to admit that I really enjoy hearing about a giant snake terrorizing Water Street. I am grateful that the snake was long gone before my college days on the street. Yet now that I think about it maybe the people of Eau Claire were unable to dispose of this snake. The newspaper never ran a follow up story with the outcome of this situation. Perhaps the giant intelligent black snake still slithers its way down Water Street looking for another inebriated college kid to harass and scare. If this is the case, I can only say Godspeed snake, Godspeed.
If you were one of the many people mingling with local artists on the stage of the State Theatre last Friday, you know that the bigwigs over at the Regional Arts Center may very well have stumbled upon the coolest event ever to combine two totally separate words, one of which is entirely in lowercase and the other is all caps. Seriously, the visual arts event was really cool. About 20 of the area's best artists painted, sculpted, melted, or beaded pieces together in a five-hour span that invited members of the public on stage to chat with the artists, silently bid on their pieces, and watch the creative magic flow. If you missed the event, shame on you, but take a peek at these photos taken by V1 photographer Jesse Johnson.