The Origins

In the early 1840s, before Minnesota became a state and shortly after the founding of the first settlements in the territory (Stillwater and Marine on St. Croix), John and Martin Mower moved to the St. Croix River Valley.  They sought to capitalize on the logging boom in the Midwest.  They built a small and prosperous village on the shores of the St. Croix River known as Arcola, centered on a lumber mill that still stands today.

By 1847 the Mower brothers completed construction of a grand Greek revival-style home at Arcola Mills, as well as a general store, a small boat-building operation, carpentry and blacksmith shops, a one-room schoolhouse, and home for the mill workers.  It was an entire village in and of itself.

Regarded as the third oldest and largest timber frame house in Minnesota, the Mower house, as well as the original Arcola sawmill chimney, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Cutting over one million board feet per year, legend has it that the lumber cut at Arcola Mills built the homes, villages and cities along the Mississippi River as far away as St. Louis.

The lumber boom lasted only until the early 1900s.  The sawmill closed and the Mower family home and surrounding village fell into disrepair.