You Ask, We Answer: What happened to Eau Claire’s silver mine? | You Ask, We Answer

EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) — In this “You ask, we answer,” a News 18 viewer wants to know where the silver mine that Silvermine Drive is named after is located.

According to the Chippewa Valley Museum, the silver mine story dates back to 1878 when a spiritualist, Lydia Hanley, took Bill Pond, a well known Eau Claire businessman, on a journey along the Chippewa River.

As the story goes, Hanley was told by the spirit of Big Heart that silver was located there. Convinced it would bring them riches, Pond and other Eau Claire businessmen decided to invest $100,000.

But whatever happened to the silver mine?

“It is historically significant in the sense that it didn’t exist, but a lot of people were convinced that it did exist. They invested in this company, and no silver was ever found. Big excitement that did not go anywhere,” said Carrie Ronnander, executive director of the Chippewa Valley Museum.

Nevertheless, the road where the silver was supposed to be is still called Silvermine Drive, and is where the annual Silver Mine Invitational for ski jumping takes place.

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