Marine Mill
Judd Street
Marine on St. Croix, MN 55047

Hours

May-October:
Daily, dawn-dusk

Admission

Free

Contact

651-433-3636

2017 May 27

Weather Forecast
 

History

Marine on St. Croix, ca. 1890

In the autumn of 1838 Illinois lumbermen David Hone and Lewis Judd arrived in the St. Croix River valley. Attracted by the area's abundant white pine, they selected this site to build a sawmill and named it after their hometown, Marine, Illinois. Less than one year later on Aug. 24, 1839, the Marine Lumber Company became the first commercial sawmill in what was to become the State of Minnesota. The town of Marine on St. Croix grew up around the sawmill which is located on the main thoroughfare, Judd Street.

The first Marine sawmill was torn down in 1852 and a new mill built with a forty-foot overshot wheel. On Sept. 16, 1863, the second mill was destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt three years later. In 1873 the sawmill was completely rebuilt to keep up with competition, but by the late 1870s the country's long financial depression had taken its toll on the industry. In 1885 a huge log jam, tornado damage and a low-water summer combined with the strains of a bad economy caused the sawmill to close. By 1895, after a few years of intermittent operation, the mill closed permanently.

Walker, Judd & Veazie Mill, 1882

During the mill's heydey, the sawmill company was known as Walker, Judd & Veazie, and the property included the sawmill, a planing mill, storage sheds, and areas for the stockpiling of lumber, shingles, laths, etc. A steamboat levee was also located on the property, one of only three good landings north of Stillwater and a major route for travelers, pioneers and Swedish immigrant who began settling in the valley in the 1850s. The sawmill, first run by waterpower and later by steam, milled nearly two million board feet of lumber by the time it closed in 1895.

Today what remains are portions of the stone engine house and large wheel dating from 1873 as well as the stream that powered the mill. Interpretive signs, pathways, and an overlook above the ruins provide visitors with a glimpse of the great industry which helped build Minnesota and the treeless plains states to the west and south.

Next to the site is the Walker, Judd & Veazie "company store," a frame building constructed in 1870 and still in use, and the Village Hall, built in the late 1880s, also still in use. Also, on adjoining property is a private home built by one of the company's founders in 1848.

Marine Mill was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and passed to the Minnesota Historical Society in 1972.