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.
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?)
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?