Based out of Stillwater, “The Birthplace of Minnesota”, the Washington County Historical Society collects, preserves, and disseminates the history of Washington County and its communities.  Join us on our journey through the Gateway to Minnesota History!


Annual Warden’s House Open House Sunday April 23rd from Noon to 4pm

The Washington County Historical Society will launch its touring season at the Annual Warden’s House Open House on Sunday, April 23rd from Noon – 4:00 PM!  This is a free event.

The open house gives patrons a “sneak peek” of what the museum has to offer for 2017. Among the many displays and exhibits, one is dedicated to the people from Washington County who served in World War One which the US involvement started 100 years ago this year. The World War One exhibit is partially sponsored by the American Legion Posts of Willernie, Post #507 and of Bayport, Post #491.

Also a collection of pottery from Roy & Helen Turner, owners of St. Croix Ceramics will be on display as well as a many portraits and photographs of Washington County pioneers.

You’ll also be invited to enjoy live music provided by students of Mary Taylor Allen and sample delicious treats and snacks.

Starting in 1853 through 1914, the Warden’s House was the home of 13 different wardens of the original Stillwater Prison. After the prison was moved south to Bayport, a deputy warden or superintendent lived in the historic Warden’s House. In 1941, the Washington County Historical Society purchased the house from the state of Minnesota and opened it up as the second house museum in Minnesota opened to the public.

Now, over 75 years later, the Warden’s House Museum has been the caretaker of the county’s history. The Warden’s House touring season runs May through October with tours held Thursdays through Sundays starting on every hour from 1:00 to 5:00 PM.

Goodman, Bob as Doghouse Riley

WCHS Latest Publications

Company K in the Border War

In 1916, Company K of the Stillwater National Guard was dispatched to the Mexican Border to defend against attacks from the famous Mexican rebel, Poncho Villa. Through letters and photographs from the WCHS collection, “Company K in the Border War” details the in-glamorous reality these Stillwater men faced while stationed in Texas.

Thru the Mill

Originally published in 1915, “Thru the Mill” was written by inmate number “4342”, George Bartlett, who served ten months in the old Stillwater Prison. This book is his account of life behind the stone walls of Minnesota’s most infamous prison.


 Want to help support your local history? Here’s your chance!

The Washington County Historical Society is the only county historical society in Minnesota that receives no annual assistance from their county.

We are 100% reliant on your generosity.

Thank you for helping us saving our shared stories and history!

Museum and Research Center Hours

Warden’s House Museum(602 Main Street N., Stillwater) May 1st – October 31st, Thursdays – Sundays 1:00-5:00 PM. Tours at 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, & 4:00 PM.

Hay Lake School and Johannes Erickson Log Home: (14020 195th St N, Marine on St Croix) May, September, October: Saturdays & Sundays 1:00-4:00 PM / June-August: Fridays – Sundays 1:00-4:00 PM

Eder School House: (4442 Hadley Ave N, Oakdale, MN) Every Sunday, June 5 through August 14th (except July 3rd) – 12:00 to 4:00 PM

Please call ahead (651.439.5956) or email ( to confirm Research Center availability.

Research Center(602 Main Street N., Stillwater) January 1st – December 31st, Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays 12:00-5:00 PM / Wednesdays 3:00-9:00 PM


Help WCHS Save the Boutwell House!

Visit our GoFundMe Page for more information.