Travel Minnesota: History of Stillwater

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway of MyMemories Suite v.3.  It’s open until noon on Friday, January 27, 2012 

image courtesy of leclouxt

I had no idea where to start my Minnesota history lessons.
Minnesota’s history is super diverse.  From the fur traders to the farmers, the rivers to the railroad, the iron range to lakes, Lake Superior to the Red River Valley. 
So today we are going to begin by looking at Minnesota’s first town.

Besides being in Michelle Bachman’s district, Stillwater is known today for being a quaint riverside town.  Nestled on the banks of the St. Croix River, it is possible to cross into Wisconsin over the historic Stillwater Lift Bridge.  Antique and specialty shops line the main street as well as an abundance of unique restaurants.  Filling the neighborhoods is a plethora of bed and breakfasts.

There are so many funny things regarding this history of this small town.

First of all, it was established in 1848, just after Wisconsin became a state. Stillwater hosted the Stillwater Convention (terribly obvious, wouldn’t you say) to determine the petition for Minnesota to become a territory.

And all of us Minnesotans can say, “Thank you, Stillwater.”

Even though Stillwater was established in 1848, it didn’t become a city for another 6 years.  In those 6 years, Stillwater was busy.

  1. Stillwater, Minnesota was named for Stillwater, Maine. John McKusik was the first mayor.  Maybe he was from Maine.  Maybe he wanted to go to Maine.  I don’t know.  But that is how the city got its name.
  2. John McKusik along with 3 other buddies established the Stillwater Lumber Company and built a huge mill. After a while they musta said, “Later, dude!” because he became the sole owner of the mill.  Once the mill was in operation, people started to converge on Stillwater.  Probably because they needed work, huh?
  3. Stillwater was filled with lumberjacks.  Being on the river made it a successful logging town by adding mills that were steam-powered.  Roads and railways connected city to city, and it wasn’t long before Stillwater was the main source of lumber to the entire St. Croix Valley.  I wonder how easy it was to find a husband.  Probably not that easy since they were lumberjacks and women usually didn’t travel from Maine to Minnesota by themselves!
  4.  After Minnesota because a territory in 1849, the first thing Stillwater wanted to do was build the territory’s prison.  I find this somewhat ironic since now it’s a hotspot for tourists.    The prison is still in Stillwater which I still find ironic due to the fact Stillwater loves its tourists.

And there you have it.  A short list of facts for you regarding Minnesota’s first city!
Again I say, “Thank you, Stillwater!”

About giannarae

I am a child of God who has been given the humbling job of being a wife and a mother to 4. Those whom He has given to me are my Sweet Peas and Buddies and one Honey.
This entry was posted in family vacation, history, minnesota, Stillwater, travel. Bookmark the permalink.

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