Sauntry mansion exterior.jpg

The William Sauntry House and its neighboring Sauntry’s Recreation Hall will be open to visitors Oct. 6. (Submitted photo)

The Washington County Historical Society is putting history back together with this year’s Historic House Tour. The Stillwater Historic Homes Tour on Sunday, Oct. 6 from noon to 5 p.m.

This tour will have ten very distinct homes that span more than a half a century.

William Sauntry, a lumber baron who worked with the likes of Weyerhaeuser & James J. Hill, built a beautiful mansion on North 4th Street in the 1880s. In 1902, Sauntry added a Moorish Style Recreation Hall that was connected to the main house. After Sauntry’s death, the two were separated and only on occasion have the two homes been open to the public at the same time – this year’s house tour is one of those times.

Sauntry’s Recreation Hall took its theme from the elaborate Alhambra palace in Granada, Spain, in all of its fantastical and painstaking Moorish detail along with elements of the Craftsman tradition. The high-ceiling ballroom was decorated with a ceiling mural, carved plaster, gilded medallions, and crystal chandeliers, along with 14-foot, 250-pound mirrors. Stencils of Arabic inscriptions are also found on the walls. Upon its initial opening, the local paper called it a “Fairyland.”

Other homes on the tour include the 1853 Warden’s House Museum; the Historic Courthouse on Zion’s Hill which started construction in 1867 and the Main Street Hideaway, constructed by the McLean family in the 1870s and is now a “Vacation Rental By Owner,” or VRBO.

The Glock House at 821 W. Pine Street was built in 1899. Restoration work began in 2017 and has returned the home to its turn of the century charm. Three houses owned by the Just for Me spa on Owens Street, dating from the 1860s through the 1880s will showcase their unique historic features.

The home that houses the Artreach St. Croix at 224 N. Fourth Street was originally St. Michael’s Church Rectory and constructed in 1858. It was moved in 1894 to its current location and remodeled. In 2008 it was acquired by Artreach St. Croix and is currently an art center will also be on this years house tour.

“These houses show the transformation of Stillwater, from a rough and tumble lumber town to a gentler, river city,” according to Brent Peterson, Executive Director of the Washington County Historical Society. “The differences really put you in the timeline of the history of Stillwater and show the beauty of each era.”

Angie Noyes, the House Tour Coordinator, said “I cannot believe how willing and enthusiastic the home owners are to open their homes for this tour. It really shows the dedication to the preservation of history of Stillwater.”

Each house on the tour has a local business sponsor, showing again how the business community rises up to help the area’s unique heritage. The funds raised will go to the preservation and dissemination of local and regional history.

Tickets are available the day of the tour at the Warden’s House Museum, 602 North Main Street, and are $25 each. For more information contact the Historical Society at 651-439-5956 or visit wchsmn.org to order your tickets online.

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