With so many great places to visit in Minnesota, it’s easy to get caught up in rushing to the next big attraction. But this may be a mistake. There are a lot of smaller attractions in Minnesota that get overlooked as people speed by. One of the most interesting is the St. Croix Boom Site, located in Stillwater. This place is both beautiful and historic, making it a great place for a quick roadside stop on your next road trip.
The St. Croix Boom Site is located just off Highway 95 in Stillwater.
The Boom Site is a beautiful oasis along the St. Croix River. Guests have a chance to taken in the scenic beauty of the St. Croix - and learn some Minnesota history.
The site is the location of a log boom that occupied the area from 1856 to 1914.
Logs collected upstream glided down the St. Croix to be caught in the large booms. The booms -
made of timber chained together across the river - were operated by the St. Croix Boom Company, which sprouted up when the number of logging companies began to grow. Their boom caught the floating logs to be sorted. Because several logging companies were sending a huge volume of logs down the river, each company stamped its logs with a unique emblem. This made it easier to sort the logs when they reached the boom.
The log boom did come with a price, however.
Being an important river, central to many companies in the region, many companies relied on the St. Croix to transport goods. But the boom made it impossible for boats to pass. The Boom Company did offer portages to the companies, but it often led to higher costs and delays, which led to financial losses for many communities.
The St. Croix Boom closed in 1914, after more than 15 billion feet of logs passed through it.
After its closure, the St. Croix Boom Site became a wayside in the 1930s. Construction added picnic areas, public restrooms, fire pits, and other facilities. More facilities came when the site was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.
The site was briefly closed in 2008, but local organizations helped reopen it.
Today, the St. Croix Boom Site consists of two parking areas, picnic tables, restrooms, and plenty to see in its natural surroundings.
Its location on Highway 95 makes it a great picnic destination for those taking a scenic route north or south.
In addition to the picnic area, there is also a long set of stairs that leads to the river. If you have your angling gear ready, it could be a nice opportunity to get in a few hours of peaceful fishing. If not, it's still worth a trip to see what remains of Minnesota's logging history.