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This issue: Contents
Tuesday, December 16th, 2014
  • Editor’s Note
  • WCHS News: Winter Ice Cream Social
  • WCHS News: The Gift of Membership
  • Photo of the Week: Streetcar Buried in Snow
  • Old News: Your Personal Problems Are Our Headlines
  • Featured Article: Grey Cloud Island Township

Editor’s Note

No…no… it’s okay. It’s fine that it snowed last night. I mean, last week’s gorgeous weather was just a fluke! I didn’t expect it to last forever …no… no, I’ll be fine

sigh – Welcome back to winter everybody.

At least the snow held off for our Annual Holiday Sale this past Saturday! With the temperature in the 40s, we had the biggest turn out in years. And I can very happily report that this latest event puts the total 2014 attendance to the Warden’s House Museum above the 2,000 mark! To give this milestone a bit of prespective, this is an increase of about 25% from last year.

So a huge and monumental thank you to everyone for a fantastic 2014!

To learn how to start your 2015 off on the right foot – be sure to check out our first News Story!

Those of you with names still on your shopping list should head down to our second bit of News for a unique Christmas gift idea.

While this morning’s light dusting of fluffy-white-stuff may have been a bit of a bummer – you’ll want to button your coat up and toss on a scarf before scrolling down to our Photo of the Week.

Are you sick of your friends on Facebook oversharing? In the Old News section, you’ll see that back in 1905 it was the local newspapers who were doling out TMI.

And finally, we’ll learn a little about one of the oldest settlements in Washington County in today’s Featured Article.

And since we won’t be chatting again until the 30th, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Want to learn more about the history of Washington County? “Like” WCHS on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Sean Pallas

Historical Messenger editor and Warden’s House Site Manager

WCHS News 

Winter Ice Cream Social

ice_cream_social_poster_digital_smallOn Saturday, January 17th, the Washington County Historical Society you to a Winter Ice Cream Social, which runs from Noon – 4:00 PM.

Why on Earth would we hold an ice cream social in the middle of January??

Well, first off, the ice cream doesn’t melt. Secondly…um…I guess that’s really the only advantage. But trust me – it’s fun!

Join your neighbors and fellow hearty Midwesterners for some free Leo’s Malt and Grill Shop Ice Cream, Root Beer from Lift Bridge Brewing, Hot Chocolate from Pub 112, and Daily Grind Coffee while we scoff at Father Winter’s best efforts to keep us indoors!

More Events


The Gift of Membership

Gift shopping time is winding down, but don’t worry! WCHS is here to help!

For the man or woman who has everything, how about part ownership in the preservation of their community’s histor? The best way to do just that is by giving a Gift Membership to the Washington County Historical Society!

With their Membership, the special person in your life will be able to visit both our museums for free, use our research center for free, and will also get a free subscription to our quarterly newsletter the Historical Whisperings! This unique gift will be a lasting memory for any history buff and a Student Membership is a great stocking-stuffer for any junior historian!

Our online gift shop is also still shipping out your Christmas needs!

Anyone who’s spent any time in Stillwater needs to own the Ode to Stillwater documentary; an amazing collection of films from the turn of the 20th century taken by legendary Stillwater photographer John Runk.

Or help your loved one commemorate the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War with In Their Own Words, a collection of letters and diary entries by Washington County soldiers during the War Between the States.

And of course! Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday from WCHS!

Photo of the Week

Streetcar Buried in Snow – Stillwater – Feburary 1917

As you can see above, the weather could be much, much worse!

In the 1916-1917 winter season, Stillwater received roughly 100 inches of snow! The worst of it fell during a series of blizzards in January and February. You can see in the photograph that the snowbank appears to be even with the top of the streetcar! …hopefully the guy in the front had some help shoveling…

Things got pretty bad in downtown as well. Here’s a photograph looking down Chestnut Street at the bridge.

Full Image

Old News 

Your Personal Problems Are Our Headlines

In the past, I’ve shared examples of early 1900s newspapers being rather “gossipy”. From reporting on family day-trips to detailing specific guests townfolk had over for dinner – the editors of these papers seemed to find these mundane stories a good use of their ink.

So, if these common day-to-day occurences were turned into articles – you better believe they shared any juicy gossip they stumbled across.

Both these articles appeared on the same page of the Stillwater Messenger. And you’ll probably think that they’re rather personal in nature. I would think that the subjects of these stories weren’t particularly excited that their personal woes could be found in the Saturday edition.

Has Mental Trouble & An Unfortunate Girl – Stillwater Messenger – December 16, 1905

Has Mental Trouble

Robert J. Porter of South Stillwater, now conducting a saloon in that village, is suffering “from a mind diseased,” or at least that is what some of his friends apprehend, and a court of inquiry was held Monday by a commission of physicians who decided that his trouble might be temporary and he was sent back to the city hospital to await events and further inquiry. He has since been sent home in the care of his wife.

An Unfortunate Girl

That poor girl, Anna Newman, who has been in the prison and the hospital in this state several times, was again transferred from the prison here to the Rochester asylum. The girl has been insane for years and we doubt if she is at all responsible for any of her acts. She is most unforunate and greatly to be pitied. Her former home was near Stillwater Junction. We believe her parents and relatives are dead.

Featured Article

Grey Cloud Island Township

If you’d like to learn about the histories of other cities, towns, and villages of Washington County, check out our Community Histories page!

Grey Cloud Island has a long history of settlement by Native American peoples. It was an important place for the Woodland mound-builders (c. 100 B.C. to 600 A.D.) and for people of the Late Mississippian culture around 1000 A.D. The island has the largest concentration of mounds in the county.

The only Indian village known to have existed in Washington County was on the island. In the 1830s about 40 families of the Mdewakanton band headed by Medicine Bottle moved from Kaposia (South St. Paul) to the northwestern par of Grey Cloud Island.

The Treaties of 1837, by which the Dakota ceded their lands east of the Mississippi to the United States, required that all Dakota villages be moved, so in 1838 Medicine Bottle moved to Pine Bend in Dakota County. The bark houses his band left behind were taken over by the families of fur trader Hazen Mooers and his son-in-law, Andrew Robertson. Robertson named the island for his mother-in-law, Margaret Mooers, whose Dakota name was Grey Cloud Woman.

Continue the Story


Upcoming Events

More information: WCHS Events >>>

Preserve the Past, Share in the Future!

Become a member of the Washington County Historical Society!

Membership is one way that you can help support the Washington County Historical Society. Your membership helps us collect, preserve, and disseminate the history of Washington County for county residents and visitors in the belief that a historical perspective enhances our understanding of community and sense of place.

Benefits of membership:

  • FREE admission to the Warden’s House Museum in Stillwater and Hay Lake Museum Complex in Scandia
  • Discounts on purchases in the museum gift shop (10% Individual & Family members, 15% Patron & Sustaining members)
  • FREE use of WCHS library and research center
  • Subscription to Historical Whisperings, the society’s quarterly newsletter
  • Discounts on tickets to meetings
  • Knowing that your membership dollars support the preservation of our treasured past for generations to come

The Washington County Historical Society has depended on membership ever since it was formed in 1934. Please show your support for the organization by becoming a member today.

More: WCHS Membership >>>

Washington County Historical Society

Mission Statement

Washington County Historical Society collects, preserves, and disseminates the history of the county and state of Minnesota.