Jim Falls | Chippewa County

Jim Falls, Chippewa County
Census-Designated Place in the Town of Anson
Population: 254

Jim Falls Snippets

     ★ Ferdinand and Pauline (Reim) Pitsch came to Jim Falls in 1859 and opened a three-story hotel that included a saloon on the first floor, a dining hall and living quarters on the second floor, and guestrooms on the third floor. Mr. Fred Weyerhauser stayed regularly at the hotel and was known to fill his pockets with sugar cubes at the end of his meal. Workers once watched as he left and discovered him giving the treats to his horses. Mr. Pitsch was one of the best skilled boatmen in the area. He was credited with saving two men from drowning in a logjam. The hotel was dismantled around 1915.

     ★ Clifford Sippy began his 28-mile rounds as Jim Falls’ mail carrier in 1921. Travelling initially by horse and buggy, Sippy delivered mail and packages; mail order Easter bonnets were especially popular. Highways 64 and 178 were still dirt paths at the mercy of Wisconsin’s virulent weather, as often a “beast” as a “blessing”. Sometimes his horse would “sink in the muck to its hocks”, requiring Sippy to hike as many as five miles to deliver the mail. Sippy retired in 1960, after 39 years of dedicated service and commitment to the words, “the mail must go through!”

     ★ When the Jim Falls Creamery caught on fire in April 1927, the Chippewa Falls Fire Department was contacted and a Stutz fire truck was dispatched to assist. It took nearly 30 minutes for the crew to make the 13-mile journey, as the Stutz was not built for a long haul and so had to travel around 15 mph for the first eight miles.

The Largest Hydro Facility in the Midwest in Terms of Generating Capacity

In 1923 the Heyworth Construction Company of Chicago, under the auspices of Northern States Power Compnay of Minneapolis, set up their headquarters in the Jim Falls Opera House. Mr. A. Eckman was foreman, and he needed all the workers he could get – 300 to 400 to be exact. A call went out to the surrounding communities, with the promise of 30 cents per hour as pay. The Heyworth Construction Company of Chicago was going to build a canal and power plant on the Chippewa River. And just like that, Jim Falls became a boom town. Never had the town seen so many people at one time. Long bunk house quarters and a cook shanty were built. By June, 125 men were on the jobsite. Soon train loads of equipment and supplies arrived, and the arduous task of building a 200-foot-wide by 30-foot-deep canal was begun. Sometimes working around the clock, crews cut, dug, sliced, and blasted through solid rock.

In 1988, the Jim Falls Hydro Generating Station was upgraded with a new facility to replace the one built in 1923, making it the “largest hydro facility in the Midwest in terms of generating capacity”. The project expanded nearby Old Abe Lake by 60 acres, and included the building of a new bridge. The facility has a power production capability of 59.9 megawatts; its water source is the Chippewa River.

The Jim Falls Lions Club

Established in 1960, the Jim Falls Lions Club is one of the most active clubs in Wisconsin. Several fundraising events throughout the year raise funds that support community projects (like Adopt-A-Highway and maintenance of the Old Abe Eagle monument) and provides support to local food pantries, Big Brothers / Big Sisters, and the fire department, for example.

DNA testing: Famed eagle Old Abe was male
But local historian doubts claims regarding region’s famous Civil War eagle

Jim Falls Lions Club

Jim Falls is located in Chippewa County.

 The still-frozen Chippewa River (in March).

 Wisconsin Historical Society "Official" Marker 14:
"Old Abe the War Eagle"
was erected in Jim Falls in 1954.
Click here for more information.

 "Old Abe The War Eagle" statue and historical marker.
Click here for more information.

Old Abe with the 8th Wisconsin.
This media file is in the public domain;
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Little Wisconsin will be available May 7, 2019.

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