I spent my entire childhood and young adulthood surrounded by family, then I headed off to college. As a language major, I wanted nothing more than to study abroad. I did... initially for a year... but then I stayed. I didn't set foot in the U.S. the entirety of 2003. I guess I wanted to explore something beyond that quiet street of my relatives. And then I returned and spent the next seven years in grad school, which makes this the first time I don't feel transitory. So when I arrived, I felt like I needed to experience this new place, to discover and learn as much about my new home as I could about it.
Eau Claire has a public liberal arts university and is trying to re-design its downtown and become something cosmopolitan... maybe it's just trying to escape its prostitution past (in the late nineteenth century, a local newspaper called Eau Claire a "naughty, naughty city").
|Former Water Street brothel in Eau Claire|
Oh, I love when people and places have a "past". Anyway, Eau Claire is French for "clear water":
|Half Moon Lake, Carson Park|
|Martin Van Buren Barron House, Carpenter Gothic, 1871|
|Barnes Block, Romanesque Revival, 1893|
|Ottawa House (catering to the French-Canadian lumbermen), 1882|
|Ager House, Victorian, 1892|
|Salsbury Victorian Row Houses, 1891|
|Sacred Heart of Jesus (styled after the German Abbey Maria Laach), 1928|
|Community House, Prairie School, 1915|
I have plenty more to tell about Eau Claire and, of course, more to discover... but we'll save that for later.