Historic Town on the St. Croix River

About Stillwater

WELCOME to the historic Birthplace of Minnesota and year-round travel destination. Stillwater is closer than you think – and definitely a place to stay more than one day! Located just outside the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul and on the Wisconsin border, Stillwater is nestled along the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, St. Croix Scenic Byway and is a part of the North Woods and Waters of the St. Croix Heritage Area.

History of Stillwater

Stillwater is considered the Birthplace of Minnesota because in 1848 the first territorial convention that began the process of establishing Minnesota as a State was held on the corner of Myrtle and Main Street downtown. Stillwater is also one of Minnesota’s oldest towns, preceding Minneapolis by years. At time of incorporation as a city in 1854, Stillwater was the largest in the State.

The City of Stillwater is federally recognized as a Preserve America Community and the downtown Main Street area is Nationally registered as the Stillwater Commercial Historic District. In addition, there are 21 buildings on the National Historic Registry and over 100 Heirloom Homes and Landmark Sites. Visit the Washington County Historical Society website for more great history.

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The lumber industry made Stillwater famous for at the height of the log boom, Stillwater’s lumber mills turned out thousands of rail cars of timber of mostly white and Norway pines. Minnesota one of the largest lumber markets in the world with Stillwater Lumber Company as one of the largest lumber mills in the country. Stillwater had all the ingredients for a lumbering town: river connections to the northern Minnesota and Wisconsin pine lands, still waters for assembling rafts, and water power. The Historic Lift Bridge built in 1931 connecting MN and WI is one of few still remaining in operation the country today.

Imagine… lumberjacks working the St. Croix River, steamboats bringing people and supplies, river logs jamming the river, horses and buggies tied to hitching posts, dirt and mud roads, shopkeepers selling their wares on Main Street, churches with tall steeples, Victorian mansions springing up on the hillsides and barroom brawls. You can still feel the spirit of those hard working laborers and excitement of this booming time for business leaders.

Men and women boarding the original Stillwater River Boat when it first opened in the 1930s. Photo courtesy of Washington County Historical Society archives.

Today, Stillwater’s rich and vibrant history is evident everywhere you look and is now mixed with modern amenities, restored historic mansions, over 100 owner-operated shops and restaurants in downtown, 20+ outdoor dining patios, historic sites, wineries and breweries, paddlewheel cruises, antiques, museums, art galleries, music and many events. A popular destination for vacationers, events, and a premier Minnesota romantic city for weddings and honeymoons.

Welcome to Stillwater…. Enjoy our fun, historic, river town year-round!


Best U.S. Small Town Food Scenes – USA Today 2020 and 2022
One of the Coolest Towns in America to Visit – Matador Travel Network 2021
Best Small CVB in Minnesota – MN Meetings & Events Magazine, 2016-2020
America’s Most Picturesque Small Towns – USA Today Travel, 2015
10 Best Antiquing Towns in the U.S. Fodor’s Travel, 2015
America’s Best Towns for Fall Colors – Travel & Leisure Magazine, 2014

For more history information, visit our things to do page on historic sites and tours, media page on History, or contact the Washington County Historical Society.

A log jam man sitting on log. Photo courtesy of the Washington County Historical Society archives.

Here are a few community amenities you may need while in town.


Lakeview Hospital 927 W. Churchill 651.439.5330
Stillwater Medical Group 1500 Curve Crest Blvd. 651.439.1234
HealthEast Stillwater Clinic 2900 Curve Crest Blvd. 651.471.5600


The Stillwater Library, is well worth a visit! Located at 224 Third Street North in downtown Stillwater, the library is a historic and well preserved Carnegie library built in 1902. Along with resources and materials you’d expect in a contemporary library, it boasts Stillwater history resources, donated art, and an incredible rooftop view where you will see historic church spires, the winding St. Croix River and our historic downtown. 651-275-4338.


Stillwater Gazette
The Lowdown
Pioneer Press
Star Tribune


City of Stillwater
City of Oak Park Heights


Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce
Sustainable Stillwater


Trinity Lutheran Church 115 4th Street North, Stillwater 651-439-7400
Our Savior’s Lutheran Church (ELCA) 1616 Olive Street West, Stillwater – 651-439-5704
Salem Lutheran Church and School 14940 62nd Street North, Stillwater – 651-439-7831
St. Paul Lutheran Church (ELCA) 609 5th Street South, Stillwater – 651-439-5970

St. Michael Catholic Church 611 South Third Street, Stillwater – 651-439-4400
St. Mary’s Catholic Church 423 5th Street South, Stillwater – 651-439-1270

First United Methodist Church 813 Myrtle Street West, Stillwater – 651-439-1880

Stillwater Evangelical Free Church 7671 Manning Avenue North, Stillwater – 651-439-0433
Bethany Evangelical Covenant Church 6490 Stillwater Boulevard North, Stillwater – 651-439-9449

Ascension Episcopal Church 214 North Third Street, Stillwater – 651-439-2609

First Presbyterian Church of Stillwater 6201 Osgood Avenue, Oak Park Heights – 651.439.4380

Community Church
Crosswinds Community Church 9125 Newgate Avenue N., Stillwater – 651.439.7733
Watermark Church 523 Marsh Street West (Stillwater Middle School)

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