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.

Stillwater Historic House Tour Sunday October 7th Noon to 5pm 

Featuring Sauntry’s Moorish Style Gymnasium

The Washington County Historical Society announces the Stillwater Historic Homes Tour on Sunday October 7th from Noon to 5pm.

This tour will have ten very distinct homes that span more than a half a century.

The Sauntry Moorish Style Recreation Hall will be featured on the tour. Sauntry’s Hall, constructed in 1902 by Lumber Baron William Sauntry, took its theme from the elaborate Alhambra palace in Granada, Spain, in all of its fantastical and painstaking Moorish detail along with elements of the Craftsman tradition. The high-ceiling ballroom was decorated with a ceiling mural, carved plaster, gilded medallions, and crystal chandeliers, along with 14-foot, 250-pound mirrors. Stencils of Arabic inscriptions are also found on the walls. Upon its initial opening, the local paper called it a “Fairyland.”

The other homes on the tour are also some of Stillwater’s most significant including Stillwater’s oldest standing home, the Brunswick House, constructed in 1848 before Minnesota was a Territory. The Warden’s House, which was built in 1853 while Minnesota was a Territory; the Storkamp House on Olive Street was built in 1875; St. Mary’s Catholic Church’s rectory built in 1888 on 5th Street South; the Murdock House on Laurel  built in 1859;  the Castle house on South 3rd and the Pretzell House also on Olive Street. Two fine Bed & Breakfasts are also on the tour – the Ann Bean and the Aurora Staples Bed & Breakfast.

“These houses show the transformation of Stillwater, from a rough and tough lumber town to a gentler, river city,” according to Brent Peterson, Executive Director of the Washington County Historical Society. “The differences really put you in the timeline of the history of Stillwater and show the beauty of each era.”

Angie Noyes, the House Tour Coordinator, said “I cannot believe how willing and enthusiastic the home owners are to open their homes for this tour. It really shows the dedication to the preservation of history of Stillwater.”

Each house on the tour has a local business sponsor, showing again how the business community rises up to help the area’s unique heritage. The funds raised will go to the preservation and dissemination of local and regional history.

Tickets are available the day of the tour at the Warden’s House Museum, 602 North Main Street, and are $25 each. For more information contact the Historical Society at 651-439-5956 – go to the store to purchase tickets in advance.