Historic Arcola Mills Open to the Public in October

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Date: September 15, 2011
Contact: Jonathan Moore, (715) 491-6839

A two story white house with green shutters.  Facing the river is a two story porch.

The Historic Mower House at Arcola


 Historic Arcola Mills Open to the Public in October
Result of a New Partnership

The Arcola Mills Historic Foundation and the National Park Service (NPS) are pleased to announce that Arcola Mills will be open to the public daily, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., from September 30 through October 30, 2011. Admission to the historic site will be free.

Arcola Mills will function as a visitor information center for the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway during this month. It will be staffed by National Park Rangers and volunteers in an experiment that hopes to draw people to this spectacular setting on the St. Croix River. In addition to great river views at the height of fall color, visitors can watch a film about the Riverway and view exhibits to learn about logging and the history of Arcola Mills.

Located six miles north of Stillwater, Minnesota, Arcola Mills was the site of a small and prosperous village founded at the start of the lumbering era in the 1840s. Today, the site features the Mower House, a restored Greek Revival mansion built in 1847, and one of the largest undeveloped parcels of land on the shoreline of the nationally designated wild and scenic St. Croix River.

The collaboration between the NPS and Arcola Mills, along with the idea that the site might function as a NPS visitor information center, was discussed this summer between the Riverway and the Arcola Mills Historic Foundation.

"Arcola is the most important historic site within the boundary of the National Scenic Riverway. We are very pleased to have this opportunity to partner with the Arcola Mills Historic Foundation on an experiment during the month of October. Our only expectation is that, if successful, it would be great if the Arcola Board would consider National Park Service involvement at the site during their future planning discussions. If you want to personally see one of the best river views at the Riverway, I highly recommend that you stop in for a visit. It's free!"commented Chris Stein, superintendent of the Riverway.

"Arcola Mills is no different than other non-profits trying to function in a difficult economy.The Arcola Mills Board of Directors is hoping to find new ways to assure the sustainability of Arcola Mills, and this experiment is part of that effort. The information we gather during our experiment will guide the Arcola Mills Board as we plan for the future of this special place," added Ray Marshall, acting chair of the board of the Arcola Mills Historic Foundation.

Arcola Mills is located at 12905 Arcola Trail North in Stillwater. For additional information, call (651) 439-1653 or visit http://arcolamills.org

By the 1920s, long after the lumbering bonanza ended and the sawmill closed, the Mower family home and surrounding village fell into disuse. In the mid-1930s, Dr. Henry Van Meier and his wife Katharine purchased the Mower house and its surrounding 50+ acres of property on the St. Croix River. It became their summer house until Dr. Van Meier's death in 1979.

In the 1990s, after Katharine Van Meier's death, Arcola Mills was incorporated as a non-profit organization. Today, the mission of the Arcola Mills Historic Foundation is to restore and preserve this incomparable natural and historic place on the St. Croix River and to encourage people to gather here, to connect, learn, create and renew their spirit.

The St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, a unit of the National Park System, was established by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act in 1968. It is one of a group of eight rivers in the country that first received this recognition. For 255 miles, the St. Croix River and its tributary, the Namekagon, flow through some of the most scenic and least developed country in the Upper Midwest.

For additional information on the Riverway call (715) 483-2274.

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