Subscribe to ShelfLife

Keep in the loop with the latest news! Sign up for our monthly ShelfLife e-newsletters to learn about upcoming programs, discover unique services and explore new ideas.

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

Historic 1965 Flood

Historic 1965 Flood

With the City of Stillwater planning for potential flooding this spring, we thought we'd look back at the historic April 1965 flood. The Minnesota DNR lists that event as holding the record for the St. Croix river flooding in Stillwater at 94.10 feet. From the...

Norwegian Ski Club

Norwegian Ski Club

From the library's John Runk Historical Collection, we found this photo of the Norwegian Ski Club of Stillwater, Minnesota, in 1889. Left to right, top row, Martin Olstad, Emil Grant, Pete Foss, John Johnson, Mikkal Thon, Nels Paulson, and Bert Johnson. Bottom row,...

Lake Elmo Sunken Boat Mystery

Lake Elmo Sunken Boat Mystery

Recently, a patron requested information about a sunken boat rumored to lie at the bottom of Lake Elmo. This boat has reportedly been sighted by boaters above and even from the air. One of our knowledgeable volunteers as well as our genealogy and history librarian...

Ice Harvesting on Lake St. Croix

Ice Harvesting on Lake St. Croix

Before the days of indoor refrigeration people relied on the ice man to deliver ice to fill their ice boxes and keep their perishables cool. Where did all this ice come from? Harvested from the St. Croix River and other local lakes of course! Although ice was...

Stillwater Library: The Early Years (1859 – 1897)

Stillwater Library: The Early Years (1859 – 1897)

This month, the library celebrates 125 years as a free, public library and 120 years of our Carnegie building! We’re commemorating these anniversaries with a series of posts about the early days of the library. For this post, we’re going way back . . . to before the...

Hoġan Wanḳe Kin before McKusick renamed us Stillwater

Hoġan Wanḳe Kin before McKusick renamed us Stillwater

Recently, one of the area’s local history buffs asked us a question about a reference he’d seen to what Stillwater may have been called before the 1840s. Luckily, the library recently added a staff member who is also a bit of a history buff herself. She dug deep into...