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The Chippewa Valley was first inhabited by the Ojibwe Indians and settled by German and Scandinavian immigrants. The region also has a large Hmong community. While the term "Chippewa Valley" technically refers to the drainage basin of the Chippewa River and its tributaries, the name is more often applied to the Eau Claire-Chippewa Falls metropolitan area and the surrounding area—including communities not located within the Chippewa River's watershed.
The population center of the Chippewa Valley is Eau Claire. Other communities include Menomonie, Chippewa Falls, Durand, and Altoona. The region's agricultural products include milk, cheese, horseradish, kidney beans, apples, pumpkins, beef, and poultry. Much of the regional economy is service-driven, although there is also a significant light-industrial segment, especially in high tech (mainly computers).
Historic sites include the Cook-Rutledge Mansion in Chippewa Falls, the Caddie Woodlawn Museum south of Downsville, the Mabel Tainter Museum in Menomonie, and a number of exhibits in Eau Claire's Carson Park. In addition, there are a number of sites listed by the National Register of Historical Places in the area.
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