St. Croix Boom Site

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St. Croix Boom Site
Boom site 3.jpg
This stairway leads to the banks of the St. Croix River where logs floating down the river were sorted and delivered to the lumber companies that had harvested the logs.
Nearest city Stillwater, Minnesota
Built 1840
Governing body State
MPS Washington County MRA (AD)
NRHP Reference # 66000407
Significant dates
Added to NRHP November 13, 1966[1]
Designated NHL November 13, 1966[2]

The St. Croix Boom Site is a National Historic Landmark located on the St. Croix River upstream of Stillwater, Minnesota. The site was founded by Stillwater lumber barons, including Isaac Staples, in 1856 after the demise of the original St. Croix Boom Company, which had operated a log boom further upstream near Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota. Staples and others purchased the Boom Company and moved the site downstream.

Timber harvested upstream was branded with the logo of the company that had harvested it. The logs were floated down to the boom, where they were sorted by the brands and delivered to the sawmills in Stillwater. The boom company collected a fee of 40 cents per thousand board feet (17 cent/m³) delivered.

The St. Croix Boom was a very profitable enterprise. In addition to a generous fee written into the company's charter and an efficient design that allowed it to be run by a small crew during slow periods, the sheer amount of timber that was being harvested made for high profits. During the 1870s, logs were frequently backed up for 15 miles (25 km) above the boom during mid-summer.

The boom site was operated until 1914, by which time all the surrounding river bank area were denuded of trees.[3] The site was forgotten and was rediscovered in 1975 by a National Park Service survey to identify historic sites along the St. Croix River, in preparation for its designation as a National Scenic Waterway. By 1975, the area had been reforested.[3]

The Boom Site has been a popular destination on the St. Croix. There is a wayside rest with restrooms and a parking area on top of the bluff with stairs down to a beach at the site. Its location at the head of Lake St. Croix, the broad, slow area of the river that stretches from Stillwater to Prescott, Wisconsin, where the St. Croix joins the Mississippi River, is undeveloped and features many islands and tall sandstone bluffs on either side of the river.

A vandalized historic marker once held a plaque explaining the historic importance of the site

A plaque on a historic marker near the site once read, "Center of log and lumbering activities in this region for over half a century prior to 1914. Here millions of logs from the upper St. Croix and tributaries were halted, sorted, and rafted, later to be sawed into lumber and timber products. More logs were handled here than at any similar place in this section. 1940."[4] As shown in the picture, the marker has since been vandalized. In October 2005, the Boom Site wayside rest and parking areas were closed as a result of budget cuts by the Minnesota Department of Transportation. These factors have put the site on the "watch" list within the National Historic Landmarks program.[2]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2006-03-15. 
  2. ^ a b "St. Croix Boom Site". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-01-09. 
  3. ^ a b Stephen Lissandrello (July 28, 1975). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: St. Croix Boom Site" (PDF). National Park Service.  and Accompanying 2 images from 1964. PDF (114 KiB)
  4. ^ compiled by Sarah P. Rubinstein. (2003). Minnesota History Along the Highways: A Guide to Historic Markers and Sites. Saint Paul, Minnesota: Minnesota Historical Society. ISBN 0-87351-456-4. 

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Coordinates: 45°04′41″N 92°47′53″W / 45.078°N 92.798°W / 45.078; -92.798