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!

Museums are Open for the Tour Season

The Warden’s House Museum in Stillwater is available for group tours  contact Gibson Stanton, Site Manager at or 651.439.5956 to schedule.

The Joseph Wolf Brewery of Stillwater

 The Washington County Historical Society is excited to announce that Pat Wolf will be featured speaker at the Society’s Fall Membership dinner meeting at the Lowell Inn in Stillwater on Thursday September 27th starting at 5:30pm.

The featured speaker will be Pat Wolf, the great granddaughter of Stillwater brewer Joseph Wolf.

In the spring of 1868, Martin Wolf established a brewery at the corner of Main and Nelson Streets.  He constructed a one story wooden building 40 X 50 feet.  He conducted the business here until March 1871, when it passed into the ownership of Wolf, Tanner, and Company, Joseph Wolf and A. Tanner, being the principle owners.  The old wooden building burned on March 25, 1872, and the company rebuilt the building with stone. 

In May 1876, Joseph Wolf, the brother of Martin, purchased the whole business.  In 1880, a brick office block was built adjoining the brewery.  The firm was dissolved then incorporated under the name of Joseph Wolf Company in 1896, with Joseph Wolf as President of the firm. This new firm included three of Wolf’s sons and two son-in-laws.

The Wolf Brewery is the best-known brewery from Stillwater, at one time producing more than 25,000 barrels of beer a year, and continued to produce some of the best beer and whisky in the State of Minnesota until the 18th amendment put an end to the brewery.

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, dinner at 6:30 and the business meeting will be at 7:30. Pat Wolf’s presentation will begin right after the short business meeting.

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









Erickson Log House 150th Celebration – Sunday September 30th 1-4pm

Scandia, MN — When they built their new home in America in 1868, the Erickson family would hardly have imagined that their log home would still be standing in 2018, let alone being used as a museum.

Johannes Erickson built his spacious, two-story house to last, squaring off massive logs and putting them together with wooden pegs in the Swedish style. The structure survived several generations’ use as a home, granary, garage, and, finally, playhouse, before it was donated to the Washington County Historical Society [WCHS] and moved to the site of the Hay Lake School museum in 1974. It is testimony to its sturdy construction that the 100-year-old structure  made the two-mile journey without disintegrating.

WCHS took care to restore the building as authentically as possible. It was placed on a fieldstone foundation and sided with vertical sawn cedar boards similar to those used by Erickson. The siding was stained an earthy red documented to be historically true to the color used in the Erickson’s home province in Sweden. The house is furnished to give an idea of what the life of the Swedish immigrant might have been like.

The Washington County Historical Society will be having a community wide birthday celebration on Saturday, September 30 from 1pm-4pm at the Hay lake School and Erickson Log Home Museum. Birthday cake and drinks will be provided, and  free tours will be given on the hour. We are pleased to have Mark Johnston from Historic Design Consulting LLC who will be giving demonstrations on log hewing with period authentic tools, just like they did in the 1860s. Craftspeople and artisans will be on site as well

The event in on Sunday September 30th from 1-4pm at the Erickson Log House just south of Scandia, MN. It is free to attend.


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!

Museum and Research Center Hours

Research Center
602 Main Street N., Stillwater
Open year-round
Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays 12:00-5:00 PM, Wednesdays 3:00-9:00 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 1:00-5:00 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