Nestled in the bluffs of the St. Croix River, Stillwater, Minnesota (population 17,215) is 20 miles east of downtown St. Paul. The city was founded in 1843, one of three existing towns when the Minnesota Territory was established in 1849. The Minnesota Territorial Prison opened there in 1853.

Stillwater’s location on the river, amid North America's largest stand of white pine, made it the world’s largest lumber producer in the 1880s. The town retained its title as the “lumbering empire” into the early 1900s, when the lumber boom ended. 

Stillwater boasts one of the rare surviving examples of a vertical-lift highway bridge, the Stillwater Historic Lift Bridge, which spans the St. Croix. Built in 1931, the 10-span bridge includes a counterweighted, tower-and-cable vertical-lift span.

A historic school, built in 1862, is today the headquarters of Cub Foods. The company has renovated the property, maintaining original plaques and chalkboards that remain in many employee offices. The intact original gymnasium and locker rooms have been updated and are used by employees.

Many of Stillwater’s historic buildings have been preserved and house retail businesses, including an old grain elevator, railroad freight house, dairy-producing building, and an old brewery. The Warden’s House, built in 1853, is a museum for the Washington County Historical Society, and the county courthouse, which includes the old jail and sheriff’s residence, is the oldest courthouse in Minnesota.

Designated a Preserve America Community in November 2005.

For more information

City of Stillwater Heritage Preservation Commission

Washington County Historical Society