Washington County Historical Society collections
Carriage House Library
The society's collection covers more than 150 years of local history, and has been growing since 1934. In the years before the Warden's House Museum, the WCHS collection was at the Stillwater Public Library. It is now housed in the reconstructed Warden's Carriage House. Among the resources available are:
- The Washington County Name Index - now at nearly 100,000 entries.
- Copies of registers for Fairview Cemetery, Stillwater, through the year 1906, and other cemetery indexes.
- City directories for Stillwater, Bayport and Hudson, Wisconsin
- Vertical files on county subjects, individuals and families
- Printed histories from around the county and other historic books
- Records of the Stillwater Territorial Prison and Stillwater jail
- Stillwater telephone books
- Stillwater birth and death records
- Bound copies of the Stillwater Post-Messenger, St. Croix Valley Press, and South Washington County Sun
- County school records, histories and photographs
- Government, business, military and fraternal records, including a recent donation of Baytown Township records
- Plat maps and atlases of Washington County
- St. Croix County, Wisconsin Territory tax assessments for 1847 and 1848 (covers area north and east of Mississippi River in what is now Minnesota)
- More than 1,500 photographs of the area, including the original John Runk historical photograph collection of 435 images and photographs from the Stillwater Gazette newspaper. Download the Gazette Photo Collection portrait index (Microsoft Excel file).
- Indexed scrapbooks
Research the WCHS collection
Diane Thompson, left, Willis Miller, and Bob Thompson
look through unidentified John Runk photographs.
Below is a sampling of indexes that are in the WCHS collection. With volunteer help we will have more online whenever possible.
- Trades Edition of the Gazette, 1898 index. A special edition of the Stillwater Gazette, called: Trades Edition of the Gazette, Stillwater, Minnesota, January 1898. This edition has a total of 50 pages of advertisments, photographs, biographies and history relating to Stillwater and the St. Croix Valley. Download the 1898 Trades Review index (Microsoft Excel file).
- St. Paul Park WWII Letter index. A collection of letters published in the Stillwater Weekly Gazette from 1942 to 1946 addressed to the service men and women of World War II and their families by the St. Paul Park, Minnesota Service Men's Committee. This record does not aim to be a history of the men and women of the Village of St. Paul Park, Minnesota who entered the armed services in World War II, but will serve to supply a general story of them as unfolded in the weekly letters of the Service men's committee published in the Stillwater Weekly Gazette for 197 weeks commencing in April, 1942. These letters were collected by C. F. Bowers, Secretary-Treasurer of the Service Men's Committee and indexed by Alice Robinson and Donna Reynolds for the Washington County Historical Society. Download the letter index (Microsoft Excel file).
- Historical Whisperings index. The index to the Washington County Historical Society newsletter, Historical Whisperings, from April 1974 to January 2008. This
newsletter is provided to all members of the Washington County
Historical Society. Click on image to download the index (Microsoft Word file).
Donations to the library are encouraged. Photographs, maps, books, manuscripts, pamphlets, letters, genealogies, vital statistics, business records, etc. relating to the people and places of Washington County are desired. However, duplicates of some items are not needed, and there is a "wish list" of items that are especially wanted.
Researching in person
The WCHS Research Reading Room is located in the Warden's Carriage House, a separate building behind the Warden's House Museum. It is open all year to assist researchers, accept donations and provide general information. Research hours: Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m., Wednesdays 3-9 p.m. or by appointment. It is advised to call ahead and verify these hours; a voice mail system ensures a way to leave a message even when our phone is busy.
Our address is 602 North Main Street, Stillwater MN 55082.
Free parking is available between the carriage house and the museum, below on Main Street and across the street in the city lot.
The research library has photocopier that can enlarge and reduce. It can make tabloid-size copies. Copies are 25 cents a page. Reproductions of the society's photographs can be arranged. Call or write for more details.
Please do not eat or smoke in the building and do not touch artifacts unless invited by the museum staff. To use our collection we ask that you sign our guest register.
A $5 research fee is assessed to non-members.
Researching by mail
Individuals who cannot perform on-site research may request it. The WCHS research service is $25 per hour, with the first hour paid in advance. For more information, call (651) 439-5956.