Drummond-Cameron Block (E. Wheeler photo, 2006)
Eau Claire Gas & Light Company (E. Wheeler photo, 2006)
Kline's Department Store (E. Wheeler photo, 2006)
Confluence Commercial Historic District
Portions of Barstow, Eau Claire and Farwell streets
Eau Claire, Eau Claire County
Dates of Construction of contributing buildings: 1861-1936
This commercial area is centered on the first block of Barstow Street south and east of the confluence of the Eau Claire and Chippewa rivers, the historic point of origin of the City of Eau Claire. It is a concentrated area in the downtown business core that represents a variety of commercial functions associated with a regional population center transitioning from the early settlement period of the late-19th century to economic maturity in the early-20th century. The original developers of this area were a mix of business and trades people, including such notables as businessman David Drummond, builder Henry Laycock, and hotelier Matthias Kneer. The pre-eminence of this downtown district as a business and cultural center continued well into the late-20th century.
French voyageurs had identified the "clear water" of the Eau Claire River in the pre-settlement period. A French-Canadian fur trapper established a habitation site directly across from the current District on the west bank of the Chippewa River in the 1830s. As immigrants flowed into the Chippewa Valley in the 1850s and 1860s, steamboats landed in this area and later, in the 1870s, several rail lines were extended into this district that was recognized as the heart of commercial activity. In later years, three vehicular bridges connected the south and north banks of the Eau Claire River just upstream from the confluence of the rivers.
The buildings in the area reflect their varied periods of construction. The most impressive building in the district is the Romanesque Revival style Drummond-Cameron Building (1893), featuring a grandiose three-story tower overlooking the intersection of Barstow and Eau Claire Street, a highly visible corner in the center of the district. Other significant buildings are the terra-cotta faced Gothic Revival style Kline's Department Store (1925) at 8 South Barstow and the Art Deco style State Theatre (1925) at 312 Eau Claire.
Most of the buildings are open during normal business hours.