The recognized father of Chippewa County is Jean Brunet who came north from Prairie du Chien in 1828. Brunet built the first dam in Chippewa Falls in 1836 and later built the dam at Little Falls—now Holcombe. While others became rich in worldly goods, Brunet served his church and community and was rich in love and respect. Cornell was originally called Brunet Falls and now Brunet Island State Park on the Chippewa River at Cornell is named in his memory.
The original Chippewa County was largely covered with white pine that most believed would last forever. Frederick Weyerhauser, a German immigrant, came to Wisconsin and started logging operations which started a battle of destruction of natural resources.
Billions of feet of the finest pine were floated down the Chippewa River and its tributaries.
The largest saw mill under one roof (in the world) was erected at Chippewa Falls. Stanley is one of the many towns that owes its existence to the logging industry. A Logging and Farming Building is part of Stanley’s Area Historical Society Museum. Another lumber town was Bloomer. In 1848 a wealthy merchant, named Bloomer bought land and started preliminary work on a dam and mill but later sold the property.
When the logging days were over, the people remained and became farmers, merchants, workers and homebuilders. They developed over a half million acres of fertile farmland into a highly ranked dairyland producing millions of dollars of dairy products.
Chippewa County still has over 2000 farms and thousands of acres of fertile farmland. The last wooden butter churn used in Wisconsin can be seen at the Cadott Area Historical Society Museum. The County has become a diversity of manufacturing businesses as well as farms. The first super-computer “Cray Computer” was invented in Chippewa Falls and brought thousands of jobs to the area.
Chippewa County is a beautiful county with many county and town parks preserved for our leisure pleasures. Rushing brooks, rivers, waterfalls and sparkling lakes are filled with gleaming fish. Hydro dams on the Chippewa River provide more than 12,000 acres of river fed lakes. A network of roads and highways lead to every section of this tourist’s paradise.... Drive the Yellowstone Trail, the 1912-1930 route that opened the Northwest to the automobile tourist.