The Chippewa County Historical Society is funded by donations and staffed by volunteers. The volunteers work hard to ensure that the history of Chippewa Falls and Chippewa County is preserved for future generations.
Started in 1969, the Chippewa County Historical Society is now located in the original convent of Notre Dame Church. The convent was built in 1881. The four-story building has 49 rooms and five bathrooms. When the Chippewa County Historical Society took possession of the building in 1990, the Sisters had not been living there for two years. The building required a lot of repair. While the Society is using the building rent-free, it is responsible for the continued repairs and modifications. Within six years of acquiring the building, 17 rooms have been dedicated to the display of historical artifacts from Chippewa Falls and Chippewa County. The Chippewa County Genealogical Society has offices, record storage and a library on the second floor of the convent.
The displays include:
The lower level - The Rutledge Room
The first floor - The Allen Room
The second floor - The Indian Room, Shell Room, Children’s Room, Music Room and a Prohibition Display
The third floor - The Logging Room and Display, Railroad Room, Tool Room, Home Appliances Room, Dorland Room, Nuns' Room, Military Room, Civil War Room, and Survey Room
The Rutledge Room contains artifacts from the Rutledge Home, which was built by Edward Rutledge as a home for retired lumberman. The building is still a home for the elderly. The Allen Room is named after Hiram Storrs Allen, who was one of the first white settlers in Chippewa Falls. Gertrude Casper, who collected shells from all over the world, donated the Shell Room’s content. The Military Room features the Medal of Honor of Sergeant Charles E. Mower. The Civil War Room houses the Civil War collection of Peter Lea. The Survey Room houses the survey collection of Dennis Mickesh. Between the convent and the church is the Father Goldsmith Chapel, which can be toured by visitors. In the lower level below the Chapel alter is the crypt of Father Goldsmith, the first priest in Chippewa County.