A new upgrade to a Chippewa Falls family friendly destination is up and running.
The new Flag Hill Pavilion at Irvine Park in Chippewa Falls is open now, thanks in large part to donors Susan and Gerald Joas. The new pavilion will remain open year-round with heated bathrooms, a much larger facility and upgrades to the rest of the facility.
During a ribbon cutting ceremony held by the Chippewa Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, Susan and Gerald Joas’ history with Irvine Park was shared to highlight why they gave the gift back to the community.
Throughout their lifetime, Susan and Gerald Joas visited Irvine Park regularly, often several times a week and looked at the park as an extension of their own home and yard. They were extremely proud of every aspect, improvement and minced no words bragging about the park.
The stories are too numerous to repeat but would usually start with Gerry stating what a generous man William Irvine was to donate such a beautiful piece of land that would be set as a free park for future generations. Mr. Irvine could frequently be seen driving around Chippewa in his Packard.
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Gerry then moved on to talk about his boyhood, fishing in Duncan Creek, crossing a walking bridge from the zoo to Bear Den Road. The bridge washed out in a flood, but a short, cantilevered replacement can be seen today on the zoo side. Of course, any drive through the park would not be complete without hearing the story of the 1958 tornado, pointing out its path through the buffalo pasture and what trees did not get hit, then on to view Glen Loch when you could actually pull up to the prime viewing spot in your car.
Sue loved the zoo, in particular the peacock that could constantly be found by the duck pond. Much of the inspiration for her paintings came from Irvine Park and the surrounding community. Gerry often spoke of his cousin, Joe Joas, and his involvement with the Chippewa County Historical Society’s move of the historic log cabin to its present location near Flag Hill.
The upgraded Flag Hill Pavilion at Irvine Park is open now.