Official Ceremony Held for the City of Eau Claire’s Historic Preservation Award
The City of Eau Claire’s effort to save their historic High Bridge was officially recognized as they received the 2023 Board of Curator’s Award on Friday, October 13. This prestigious award from the Wisconsin Historical Society (WHS) is the highest award given to a project. WHS CEO Christian Overland said the bridge is an outstanding example of public history and historic revitalization for the City and Wisconsin.
The Wisconsin Historical Society presented the award to Assistant City Manager and City Engineer, Dave Solberg. “We didn’t set out to try and win any awards with [this project]. We set out to save the bridge and to save the character of the bridge,” Solberg said. “I think the awards that we are getting recognized with now just shows how important all that collaboration was and all that hard work that so many different parties put in to save the bridge.”
CORRE is honored to have assisted in this highly collaborative effort by providing historical services and assisting with the application process in the $1M and over category. CORRE historian Bob Newbery spoke at the event about the extensive team effort that went into saving the bridge. “It’s unique in my experience.” said Newbery. “The collaboration, the commitment, the whole community pulled together to make this happen. There was a lot of expense, engineering, and creative problem solving. Everybody who had a piece of it should feel good about it.”
Entities involved included local elected officials and many city departments, consulting engineering firms, the UW – Eau Claire, ad hoc citizen groups, and the local media. Due to weather, the ceremony was moved from outside into the City Utilities Building.
In addition to the application for the Board of Curator’s Award, CORRE is also helping the City through the National Historic Register nomination process. CORRE Historian Megan Beer-Pemberton is assisting with this application. “Then once it’s ok’d it will be presented in front of the state review board. If they approve it, it then moves on to the National Park Service who reviews it and then approves it for designation,” said Beer-Pemberton. Declared a local landmark in 2016, the bridge will automatically be listed on the state register if accepted at the national level.