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!

Fall Membership Meeting September 19th at Heritage Center – Keynote Speaker MNHS CEO/Director Kent Whitworth

The Washington County Historical Society is proud to announce its featured speaker for the Historical Society’s fall dinner meeting is the Minnesota Historical Society’s Director & CEO Kent Whitworth. The meeting is open to the public, will be held on Thursday September 19th at the Washington County Heritage Center, 1862 S. Greeley Street, (just north of Highway 36) in Stillwater. Reservations are required.

Whitworth took over the top position at the Minnesota Historical Society [MNHS] in July 2018. Prior to coming to MNHS, he was the Executive Director of the Kentucky Historical Society, based in Frankfort, Kentucky, where he was since 2004. He was also at the East Tennessee Historical Society and the Blount Mansion Association in Knoxville.

“Kent’s work on the groundbreaking History Relevance initiative is leading history organizations nationwide in nurturing a greater understanding of how history can help us all address contemporary issues and challenges.” Said John R. Dichtl, president & CEO, of the American Association for State and Local History [AASLH]

For several years, the History Relevance Campaign encouraged people to look at history as “not just nice, but necessary.”  Now it seems that everyone has strong opinions about the past, but not necessarily a clear understanding of how history works.  This presentation suggests that pulling back the curtain on the historical process will help more of us to see the value of history and its relevance to ourselves, our communities, and to our future.

The event is open to the public and the cost is $25 for WCHS members and $30 for nonmembers. The evening will begin at 5:30 with a social hour, sit down dinner catered by Scheel’s Catering at 6:30 and a short meeting will be at 7:30. Mr. Whitworth’s presentation will start shortly after 7:30pm

Reservations are required. To make reservations or for more information about the event please call 651-439-5956 or email at

Museums are Open for the Tour Season

The Warden’s House Museum in Stillwater and The Hay Lake School Museum & Erickson Log House are now open. 

Museums & Research Center Hours

Nancy & Robert Goodman Research Center
602 Main Street N., Stillwater
Open year-round
Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays 12:00-5:00 PM, Wednesdays 3:00-6:00 PM
Please call ahead or email to confirm research center availability.
(651) 439-5956 |

Warden’s House Museum
602 Main Street N., Stillwater
May – October: Thursdays – Sundays
Tours on the hour at 1:00 PM, 2:00 PM, 3:00 PM, & 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
June – August: Sundays 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM

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.

This book recently won a Minnesota History Award for publications!!

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 save our shared stories and history!