A Stillwater Jaunt

Isaac Staples Sawmill

Over the weekend, I did a little shopping in downtown Stillwater, Minnesota.  One of my favorite places to visit is the old Isaac Staples’ Sawmill.  Isaac Staples was one of the founding fathers of Stillwater.

Mr. Staples, a Maine businessman, came to Minnesota in 1853 to purchase pine lands for lumbering.  Over the next 45 years, he changed the face of Stillwater with his business acumen to become the most powerful lumber baron in the St. Croix Valley.    He controlled thousands of acres of pine forest, built a steam-powered saw mill and a log holding area, the St. Croix boom site.  He was also a prominent farmer and the president of the Lumberman’s National Bank.

Isaac Staples Sawmill Building, Stillwater, MN Now the 10,000 square foot sawmill that bears his name houses more than 30 antique dealers.  While the boom site is closed, and Mr. Staples sold his pine assets to Frederick Weyerhaeuser-a Wisconsin lumber baron, the sawmill still stands-as does his beautiful mansion on the North Hill of Stillwater.  (Another day’s jaunt?)

Isaac Staples Sawmill Building, Stillwater, MN

If you get a chance to visit our lovely town, make sure you spend a little time perusing the sawmill.  I wonder what Mr. Staples and the lumbermen of the 1850’s would think of Stillwater today?


You can read more about Stillwater history:   The Commander, and Jailhouse Jaunt


10 thoughts on “A Stillwater Jaunt

  1. I didn’t realize you lived in Stillwater. I’m originally from the Twin Cities and have many fond memories of day trips to Stillwater. What a lucky woman to live there!

  2. How neat! I visited Stillwater a couple months ago and went through this neat shop! I also had a Chicago hot dog outside.

    • Funny you should mention the Chicago hot dogs. My husband and I grew up in Chicago and are always looking for a good dog. I have only eaten there once–the other times we tried, the restaurant was closed. I thought the dog was delicious!

  3. I grew up in Southern Minnesota and used to love going to Stillwater. Such a wonderful city with so much to see and so much history. Thank you for sharing some of it.

  4. I too grew up in southern Minnesota and the few times I’ve been to Stillwater I thought it was such a neat place to visit. I miss living in Minnesota!

    • Do you ever make it back to Minnesota? I love living here, though sometimes the winters get long. I don’t think winter is appreciably colder than in Chicago where I grew up, but winters do seem longer here!

  5. Isn’t that funny? I grew up in Wayzata, and SOMETIMES all the snow had melted by my birthday on MAY 27th! I did not enjoy the cold at the time, but now that I live in North Carolina I feel like my snowy wintry wonderland is missing every year. It especially annoys me to see green grass and pansies in bloom when everyone’s Christmas decorations are up — I just want to run around and spray RoundUp on everything. Winter is supposed to be a DORMANT season!

    • Wayzata!! Do you ever make it back to the Twin Cities? I love the fall and most of the winter here…but it does get long! I can’t imagine Christmas with green grass though. I grew up in Chicago–Christmas was cold and usually white there as well.

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