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St. Croix Collection

Our Historic Collections

 

Stillwater People

The library has a number of resources to help trace ancestors that settled in Stillwater or to identify people that entered the gateway to Minnesota

Local History

Want to know more about how the local area developed or specific information about your local property? The library has compiled resources to help you learn more.

Historic Photographs

In addition to all of the John Runk photographs, staff have compiled a number of other local, historic photographic collections.

News Archives

The library has paid to microfilm much of the archive of the Stillwater Gazette and holds a number of other historic manuscript, magazine and news files.

More Information

Genealogy Resources

Looking to research your family before or after they lived in Stillwater? Use these resources.

House and Building Histories

If you are new to house and building history research, use these resources to begin your search.

Minnesota Digital Library

Digital collections from almost 200 other libraries, historical societies, museums, and archives including more than 55,000 photographs, postcards, maps, documents, letters, and oral histories.

Washington County Historical Society

Based out of Stillwater, “The Birthplace of Minnesota”, the Washington County Historical Society collects, preserves, and disseminates the history of Washington County and its communities.

News From Our Archives

Spring Storms (1894)

Spring Storms (1894)

130 years ago on May 9, 1894 at 5:15 PM, a spring storm arrived in Stillwater bringing hail and heavy rain. It soon flooded the town. That first storm caused significant street and building damage, and even resulted in a death, but was only the first of four storms...

Logjam on the St. Croix River (1884)

Logjam on the St. Croix River (1884)

Logjams were a near yearly event in late spring and early summer as the loggers upriver dumped the season’s logs into the swollen St. Croix River to be carried downstream to the lumber mills in Stillwater. Significant logjams occurred in Taylor’s Falls in 1865, 1877,...

Prison Life, Circa 1900

Prison Life, Circa 1900

Pictured is one of two prisoner dining halls at the old Minnesota State Prison at Stillwater. The photo dates to around 1900. There were two dining halls for prisoners, one reserved for the “first-grade” prisoners and one for the “second-grade” prisoners (the...

Peaslee Plumbing Building in the Downtown Commercial Historic District

The Majestic Theatre & 1919 Can Drive

The Majestic Theatre stood at 229 South Main Street, in the building Smith + Trade Mercantile now calls home. The distinctive rooflines of both the theatre and the Waffle Parlor next door remain unchanged today. The Waffle Parlor building is the current location of...

Lily Lake, Circa 1960

Lily Lake, Circa 1960

We're delighted to learn that Stillwater's beloved Lily Lake was removed from the state’s impaired waters list! Many of us grew up swimming and fishing in Lily Lake and can remember the thrill of swimming out to the far dock and jumping off the high diving board....

Feeding the Loggers

Feeding the Loggers

Circa 1886 Oh là là! With this many French-named cooks in the kitchen, we imagine it was Frog Legs and Escargot every day for the hardworking loggers of the St. Croix Boom Company! Information with the photo reads:"The cooks in the cook-house of the St. Croix Boom...

Rattlesnake Curve

Rattlesnake Curve

Pictured on this postcard is Rattlesnake Curve. Streetcars ran in Stillwater from 1889 to 1932 and were an extension of the Twin Cities Rapid Transit Company's streetcar lines. This view shows the streetcar as it headed west along the south side of Lake McKusick....

Street Dance, 1901

Street Dance, 1901

Here's another favorite from the library's collection of Frederick Holcombe photos: a street fair in downtown Stillwater from 1901. It's interesting to see the businesses that lined Main Street in 1901 and the crowd such an event attracted. Notice the band on the...

Happy Campers, Circa 1930s

Happy Campers, Circa 1930s

Pictured on this postcard is the Boy Scout Camp on Square Lake, just north of Stillwater. The card dates to the early 1930s and was donated to the library by Mr. Willis H. Miller of Hudson, Wisconsin in 1990. The accompanying letter from Mr. Miller says "I was there...