Thanks for Asking | July 12, 2012

our local Jack-of-all-Facts tells you how it is

Frank Smoot |

What was the name of the bakery near or at the current location of the video game store next to Pad Thai? I remember one being there when I was younger.

Thanks for asking! You didn’t say exactly when you were younger, but I bet you’re thinking of Deluxe Bakery. Not actually in the gamer store, but the very building Pad Thai occupies. Right around 1950, Irene and Al Johnson opened it as Johnson’s Deluxe Bakery. About 1967, John Boettcher took it over; after a respectful interval, he dropped the “Johnson’s.” The bakery’s last owners were Sue Ranney (late 80s, early 90s), and then Kou and Shoua Xiong.

Depending on your age, though, you might possibly be remembering the short-tenured Tan Top Bakery (late 90s) or Bakers Dozen (early 00s).

When I myself was younger, I was a regular at Deluxe, which had the best Italian rolls ever made in Eau Claire. Many years I grieved for those rolls. But I love Pad Thai and wouldn’t give it up.

Teams from Eau Claire’s Central Jr. High were called the “Red Raiders.” What did the logo or mascot represent? My guess is that it was possibly politically incorrect, but I’m trying to find this out so I can make a t-shirt of Central Jr. High. I’ve talked to a few guys who taught there, but they can’t remember. I looked at the L.E. Phillips library, went to see the University special collections, went down to the Board of Ed building and talked to the staff, spent too much time on the internet — all with no success.

Bad news here, too. I didn’t go to Central, but my brother did. He would surely have remembered — his memory was almost infinitely better than mine — but he’s passed on. I looked through his childhood stuff. Then I asked Patrice Iverson, Administrative Assistant to Superintendent at the Eau Claire Area School District, and she spent several hours looking through old flyers and newsletters (big shout out to Pat). I scoured our collection at the Chippewa Valley Museum. Came up empty all around.

So I’m going to turn this over to the millions of savvy V1 readers. Anyone remember the nature of the Central Junior High School Red Raider? Anyone?

Our weather so far this year has me wondering, what’s the hottest temperature ever recorded in Eau Claire?

We topped 111 degrees on successive days, July 13 and 14, 1936. Years being constructed as they are, there are twelve “monthly records.” Five of those twelve were set in the 30s, the Dust Bowl years: May (107), June (106), July (111), September (100), and November (79). On the cusp of June and July 1931, we had five successive days over 100, probably our most severe heat “wave.”

Breezy Point update:

I wrote about the location of “Breezy Point” in my last column. A few days ago, I talked with long-time local Mary Burt, and she told me she’d talked with a couple of much-longer-time locals, and they swam at Breezy Point themselves. It’s about a quarter-mile downstream from where I’d been told it was. Here’s the scoop: As you travel northeast, Old Wells Road takes a dogleg left about 400 feet beyond Eagle Ridge Court. An old railroad right-of-way doesn’t dogleg, but keeps going straight northeast toward the river. If you follow the right-of-way to the riverbank, you can see two islands a stone’s throw from the bank. Between the shore and the upstream island is “Breezy Point.”

Got a local question? Send it (17 S. Barstow St.) or email it ( and Frank will answer it!  Frank has lived in Eau Claire for most of the past 43 years. He is an editor and researcher at the Chippewa Valley Museum, which is open all year just beyond the Paul Bunyan Camp Museum in beautiful Carson Park. You should go there.