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Chippewa Valley Spans

Chippewa Valley Spans

David Knowlton
Oil on canvas
38" × 78"

Chippewa Valley Spans

Chippewa Valley Spans (1985) represents five significant bridges that have spanned the Eau Claire and Chippewa Rivers. The painting was commissioned with funds contributed to the University Centers by the National Forensics League. The NFL presented the gift, designated for purchase of art work for the student center, following its national high school speech tournament hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in June 1985. 

The University Centers commissioned the work from David Knowlton, a Wisconsin artist who then lived in Santa Fe. Knowlton studied art at UW-Eau Claire and UW-Milwaukee.

The oil canvas is dominated by a central oval-shaped section depicting the former Grand Avenue bridge over the Chippewa River. Other bridges represented are the former Madison Street concrete structure; the Soo Line railroad trestle over the Eau Claire River, which still stands; and the still existing Chicago Northwestern Railroad trestles over the Chippewa and Eau Claire rivers.

Chippewa Valley Spans hangs at the entrance to the lobby outside the Dakota Ballroom, Davies Center 340. Visible in the central area of the painting is the mouth of Little Niagara Creek, the historic treaty line for the Dakota and Ojibwe people.