AS YOU GET TO KNOW EAU CLAIRE, you’ll see the names of certain prominent local figures from history plastered all over the town. Here are four of the people behind those names.


What’s named after him? The public library, UWEC’s science hall, the senior center, a Scout camp, and lots more! • Who was he? President of Eau Claire-based National Presto Industries for nearly three decades in the mid-20th century, he was also a major philanthropist. • Fun fact: Presto is still around, and makes everything from salad shooters to military ammunition.


What’s named after him? The Historic Randall Park Neighborhood, Randall Park, Randall Street. • Who was he? An early settler, entrepreneur, and politician. In the 1850s, he owned much of what is now Eau Claire’s west side, and he donated land for a park, a cemetery, and churches. • Fun fact: He’s the guy whose statue is in the middle of Randall Park.


What’s named after him? More than 300 home-improvement stores nationwide, the local YMCA Tennis Center, and the Center for Constitutional Studies at UWEC. • Who is he? Multibillionaire founder of a huge retail chain, and Eau Claire native. • Fun fact: Forbes estimated in early 2021 that he was worth $14.2 billion, making him the 47th richest American.


What’s named after him? Carson Park. • Who was he? A late-19th century lumber baron whose heirs donated Carson Park to the city in 1914. The park is home to UWEC football and countless rec opportunities. • Fun fact: In 1892, eight of Wisconsin’s 64 millionaires – including Carson – lived in Eau Claire.


An Eau Claire native and Blugold alum (though he majored in religious studies, not music), Justin Vernon was already a veteran of the local music scene when he released the first Bon Iver record in 2007. The band launched him to indie rock superstardom, two Grammy awards, collaborations with everyone from Taylor Swift to Kanye West, and the admiration of millions of fans.


What’s named after him? Hank Aaron Plaza outside the Carson Park Baseball Stadium. • Who was he? One of the greatest baseball players in history, he famously broke the home run record in 1974, Aaron started his road to the majors with the Eau Claire Bears in 1952. • Fun fact: Aaron returned to Eau Claire in 1994 when a statue was dedicated in his honor.