Historical Markers in
Washington County, Minnesota

114 North Main Street 1884 Upper St. Croix River Log Jam 1965 Easter Sunday Floodwater Crest 226 East Myrtle Street Bicentennial Monument Birthplace of Minnesota Bolles Flour Mill Boom, Then Bust Building a Bridge Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Freight House Civil War Flank Howitzer Connolly Shoe Company Building Controlling A River Of Logs Early Settler's Cabin Geology of Minnesota Historic Marine on St. Croix In Memory of the First Swedish Settlers in Minnesota John Karst Block Lake St. Croix Life at the Boom Lumbermen's Exchange Building Marine Marine Mill Site Minnesota Territory 1849 – 1858 / Washington County Takes Shape Minnesota's First Commercial Sawmill Northern States Power Company Division Offices Powerhouse and Kiln Ribbons of Steel River of Pine Samuel Bloomer Simonet's Furniture and Carpet Company Building Site of the Stillwater High School Smithson Paper Box Company Building Soldiers and Sailors Monument St. Croix Boom Site St. Croix Crossing St. Croix Lumber Mills / Stillwater Manufacturing Company St. Croix National Scenic Riverway Steam Power, Railroads, and the Hersey & Bean Lumber Company Steamboats on the St. Croix Stillwater Veterans Memorial Stillwater-Houlton Interstate Bridge Swedes in Minnesota Tamarack House Technological Revolution The Marine Township Hall The Pineries are Gone The St. Croix River Valley / Welcome to Minnesota The Village of Arcola The Warden's House Veterans Memorial Washington County Courthouse Washington County Public Land Donation Wedge Hill White Pine Treaty William O'Brien State Park World War Memorial
The first Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives, which would later become the Big Ten Conference, was held in Minneapolis in 1895.
Washington County, Minnesota's history dates back to the Native American Dakota people who inhabited the lush lands along the Mississippi River for thousands of years before European settlers arrived. In the early 1800s, French Canadian fur traders explored the area and established trade routes, setting the stage for further European settlement.

In 1849, Washington County was officially established as one of Minnesota's original nine counties. The county was named after the first President of the United States, George Washington. The area quickly attracted settlers with its fertile soil and proximity to the Mississippi River, which allowed for trade and transportation. The town of Stillwater, located on the St. Croix River, became the county seat and a hub for lumber and milling industries.

During the mid to late 19th century, Washington County experienced significant growth and development as the logging industry boomed. The forests were abundant with timber, and numerous sawmills were established along the rivers, fueling economic growth in the county. However, as the timber resources dwindled, the county transitioned to agriculture, with farming becoming a pivotal part of the local economy.

In the 20th century, Washington County underwent further transformations as industrialization took hold. The construction of railroads in the county allowed for increased trade and connected the area to larger cities like Minneapolis and St. Paul. The county's economic base expanded to include manufacturing and other industries.

Today, Washington County is a vibrant and diverse community that embraces its rich history while looking towards the future. It offers a blend of urban and rural areas, with a strong focus on preserving its natural beauty and providing quality of life for its residents. The county continues to grow and evolve, further cementing its place as a dynamic part of the greater Twin Cities metropolitan area.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Washington County, Minnesota.

  • 1838 - Washington County is established by the Minnesota Territory government.
  • 1851 - The city of Stillwater is founded.
  • 1853 - Washington County's population reaches 4,709.
  • 1862 - The Dakota War of 1862 begins, leading to conflict and displacement in the area.
  • 1870 - The St. Croix Boom Site, used for logging, is opened in Stillwater.
  • 1897 - The Washington County Courthouse is constructed in Stillwater.
  • 1920 - The population of Washington County reaches 27,472.
  • 1951 - Interstate 94 is completed, connecting Washington County to the rest of the state.
  • 1973 - A waterway management plan is established to protect the St. Croix River.
  • 2000 - The population of Washington County surpasses 201,000.