In 1855, Wisconsin's Chippewa County set the wheels in motion to divide itself into three parts. The southernmost section became Eau Claire County. With good forest, good farmland, and the confluence of two scenic rivers, it quickly established its own identity. Eau Claire County followed a classic American path. The county harvested its native natural resources (timber in this case) and started a strong agricultural tradition. In later decades, as its sesquicentennial approached, the county had developed a diversified economy, anchored by health care, retail, higher education, and high-tech manufacturing. But it is the interesting and ever-changing mix of people who built the county, and who have sustained it for 150 years. In 1890, seven of every ten people living in Wisconsin's Chippewa Valley, with Eau Claire County at its heart, were born outside the U.S. or had foreign-born parents. The area still welcomes new arrivals. Through scores of historic photographs, this book captures the hardworking, fun-loving people who have given the county its distinctive place in the American heartland.