A few weeks back I asked the Facebook Group named You know you grew up in Stillwater MN if, "Why do we/you call Stillwater Home?" I received comments from current residents and people who grew up here and have moved away but still think of it as home.
Below are some excerpts from the eighty-eight comments I received. The best part was seeing old childhood friends reconnect- "is this Sally that I used to live next to?" and "we had a blast being kids!" Whether you just moved here or like myself grew up here I would love to hear your "why".
We will Start off with Mark L's comments as I think he says it best. Enjoy !
One of the things I started to realize when I was a kid is that there are a lot of different Stillwaters. The one my grandmother talked about was different than the one where my mother grew up, and neither of those quite aligned with the one I lived in.
To each of us, "the new bridge" would mean a different structure. The same would be true for "the high school"--is that located on the northwest corner of Third and Pine streets or at the end of Marsh street or out where 212 (or Hwy. 5) turns off 36 and heads to Lake Elmo?
My grandparents' generation called the little grocery store down by the Athletic Field "Gelhar's," while my mom called it "Wilberg's." So I knew it by both names, but my kids don't know it at all, because it's a private home now.
It seems like almost every building had a different business in it for each generation; the same for most houses in the neighborhoods.
Like the old saying, "You can never stand in the same river twice" (since the water keeps on flowing around you), no two generations of us ever lived in the same Stillwater, either.
Yet all of us know exactly what "Stillwater" means, regardless of which one we're talking about.
When I was growing up we owned the land the Stillwater High School is built on. It was a beautiful meadow and had lots of wild fruit. All kinds of different berries, crabapple trees. We played there as kids and ate the fruit. At the time we were the only house and we were on top of the hill. I miss that. After they bought the land we moved across the street down the hill. I loved that about living and growing up in Stillwater. We use to play hide and seek in the cemetery which was a block away. Sometimes we would make a tent over the close line, camp out and go downtown to swim in the river. Those were sweet times. I now live in Rock Springs, Wyoming. Also loved Halloween, seemed like everyone got into it and the candy haul was awesome.
I "ran tame" all over Stillwater as a kid from good night downtown, to over to Oak Park Elementary, to Stonebridge. I never worried about my personal safety. I lived just three doors down from Holiday ( now Lens) and a block up from Nelson's. My sister and I would constantly be at one or the other, sneaking candy home or buying food for our mom (hot dots, buns, etc). People always looked out for kids; it was a safe place to live. I now live in Isanti, MN and one thing I love about living here is that it reminds me of Stillwater when I was a kid with that small town feeling!
Born and raised on the south hill by the old athletic field from 1961-1979. Went to Oak Park Junior high with the tunnel, the old senior high (current junior high). Had a blast being raised in a small town. Our neighborhood was tight and we did a lot together. Worked at Reeds drug store for 4 years. Kind of took Stillwater for granted. When you live and have this at your doorstep every day you get used to it. Have worked at Andersen Windows for 32 years. Stillwater is never far for me. Lived in Oakdale for 24 yrs. Now Woodbury. Stillwater is never far from my heart or travels. Thankful that the old town still is thriving and the rest of the world can experience our hidden gem.
Our neighborhood was our family! Out from morning to night with only our moms to yell at the top of their lungs to call us in for lunch and dinner.
Of course, you could always smell the dinners throughout the neighborhood....and Jean T baking those cookies. I always felt like I had more than one home... I had several up and down 5th Avenue South. I could go on and on!
Memories...Washington Elementary School(our house was below it on Linden St.); playing in the ravines, playing "kick the can" many summer evenings; moving to home at end of Rice St. overlooking downtown; walking through the ravines to the library or down to Myrtle St; walking to the old junior high on Pine and to the senior high on Orleans, picking up friends on the way; swimming at LilyLake every afternoon, surrounded by friends and classmates; always feeling safe walking, playing, or riding bikes all over town; most important--many of these friendships continue to this day. I live in "south Stillwater"(Bayport) now, and love how Stillwater is still a great place to live, and is evolving into a vibrant, energetic, "happening" place!!
I grew up on the North hill and one of my favorite memories growing up is watching the fireworks from Pioneer Park. I loved looking over the town and seeing all the church steeples. I still go to the park after all these years and the view never gets old.
Other memories are playing in the ravines, buying groceries at Hooleys or Dinos (loved visiting Dale in the meat department He was so nice), having lunch at Reeds, buying penny candy at Ben Franklins, taking swimming lessons at Lily Lake. Although I am 50 now and lived here my whole life, my childhood memories are the best. Thank you, Stillwater.
The beautiful St. Croix River...runs though my veins.
Recalling wonderful friends while growing up in Stillwater. Trinity Lutheran Church, the beautiful St. Croix and all the canoe trips, and most of all the victorian atmosphere of a lovely town. So many childhood memories. The memories will live on forever in my heart.
When I think of Stillwater, I think of the people. What a great group of friends and family who call the St.Croix Valley home. How lucky we all are to have grown up or lived in Stillwater!
Growing up on 6th Ave So. Playing soft ball and ice skating at Triangle Park. Sledding in the winter and riding our bikes from the top of the Triangle Park stairs. Exploring the caves below our house and eating at the Hiwayman". Going to Curtis caves and row boating in the water in the caves ( they don't do that anymore due to liability issues now, which is so too bad). Walking about a mile in the snow wearing short skirts to SSHS! Those are just a few of the happy memories I have of growing up in Stillwater!
I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK.
Again, I would love to hear from you and your memories of growing up in Stillwater. No matter how many hours, days, years or generations you have been here we can all call STILLWATER HOME!