Chippewa Falls is a city located on the Chippewa River in Chippewa County in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. The population was 13,661 at the 2010 census. Incorporated as a city in 1869, it is the county seat of Chippewa County.
The city's name originated because of its location on the Chippewa River, which is named after the Ojibwa Native Americans. Chippewa is an alternative rendition of Ojibwa.
Chippewa Falls is the birthplace of Seymour Cray, and the headquarters for the original Cray Research. It is also the home of the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company, the Heyde Center for the Arts, a showcase venue for artists and performers, Irvine Park, and the annual Northern Wisconsin State Fair. Chippewa Falls is also 15 miles from the annual 4 Day music festivals Country Fest and Rock Fest.
Chippewa Falls is located at 44°56′03″N 91°23′36″W (44.934110, -91.393228). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.4 square miles (30 km2), of which 10.9 square miles (28 km2) is land and 0.5 square miles (1.3 km2), or 4.66%, is water.
At the 2000 census, there were 12,925 people, 5,638 households and 3,247 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,191.2 per square mile (459.9/km2). There were 5,905 housing units at an average density of 544.2 per square mile (210.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.62% White, 0.30% African American, 0.46% Native American, 0.67% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.16% from other races, and 0.77% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.63% of the population.
There were 5,638 households of which 28.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.4% were married couples living together, 11.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.4% were non-families. 36.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.20 and the average family size was 2.89.
Age distribution was 24.2% under the age of 18, 9.4% from 18 to 24, 28.2% from 25 to 44, 20.3% from 45 to 64, and 17.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 89.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.2 males.
The median household income was $32,744, and the median family income was $43,519. Males had a median income of $32,016 versus $22,655 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,366. About 8.7% of families and 10.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.5% of those under age 18 and 5.8% of those age 65 or over.
Chippewa Falls was originally a lumber town that became a railroad town, even though the main railroad line of the 1870s went through Eau Claire, about 10 miles to the south. In 1870, the West Wisconsin Railway built a line from St. Paul, Minnesota, to Milwaukee through the area at Eau Claire. Following this, the Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls Railway established a line running from Eau Claire to Chippewa Falls. In 1880, the CF&W was joined by the Wisconsin and Minnesota Railway pushing its way west from Abbotsford. This was followed in 1881 by the Chippewa Falls & Northern Railroad, which built a line north from Chippewa Falls to Bloomer, eventually being extended to Superior.
Around 1700, French explorer Pierre-Charles Le Sueur discovered the Chippewa Spring near the river. Politician Thaddeus C. Pound founded the Chippewa Springs Health Club in 1887 and at one point oversaw the company that bottled the water for sale. A Spring House was built over the original spring in 1893 and remains today, across from the modern water bottling plant on Park Ave
The Chippewa Falls Area School District (CFSD) serves the city of Chippewa Falls. It has two high schools: Chippewa Falls Senior High and Chippewa Falls Alternate High School; two middle schools: Chippewa Falls Middle School, and Chippewa Falls Alternate Middle School; and six elementary schools: Parkview, Hillcrest, Southview, Stillson, Halmstad, and Jim Falls Elementary.
In addition there are several parochial schools: McDonell Central Catholic High School, Notre Dame Middle School, Holy Ghost, St. Charles, and St. Peter Elementary Schools, all of which are part of the Chippewa Area Catholic Schools (CACS).
The original McDonell High School building, sitting at a prominent location above downtown Chippewa Falls, is listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places. The structure was built in 1907 and, after the school moved to a more suburban location, it sat abandoned for a number of years until it was taken over by the Chippewa Valley Cultural Association and converted into the Heyde Center for the Arts in 2000.
In Popular CultureEdit
Chippewa Falls is the birth place and hometown of the fictional characters Grand Slam of G.I. Joe, Jack Dawson in the movie Titanic, Dr. Jennifer Keller in the science fiction series Stargate Atlantis and the title character of Annie Hall.