Washington County Historic Courthouse
Ash tree removal is currently occurring on the East and West side trails in Lake Elmo Park Reserve. Ash trees are being removed due to impact of Emerald ash borer and to ensure safety of park users along the trails and borders of the park. Read on...
Washington County is completing an exterior restoration project on the Historic Courthouse this year. Read on...
We value your input. Take a brief survey to help us with park planning and operations activities. Read on...
Historic Courthouse is closed until January 2024
The Historic Courthouse in Washington County is currently undergoing exterior restoration this year to preserve and improve the building.
Tours, activities, events at Historic Courthouse not available at this time.
Starting from June 1, the courthouse and its surroundings, including the grounds and parking lot, is closed to the public throughout the construction period. Stay informed: learn more about the project and sign up for updates. A camera is placed on-site and takes a picture every 12-14 minutes during the entire construction project. This is a great way to view recent activity and the progress throughout construction.
Located high on the hill overlooking downtown Stillwater, the Washington County Historic Courthouse is the longest standing courthouse in the state of Minnesota, serving as the county seat for over 100 years. Now a Washington County Park, the Historic Courthouse offers daily guided and self-guided tours, activities for families, educational programming for the public, schools and scouts, public events, and private meeting and event rental spaces.
In addition to self-guided and guided tours, the Washington County Historic Courthouse offers fun activities for children, families, and all those who are young-at-heart.
Step into the shoes of a County Sheriff and hone your detective skills with the Courthouse Scavenger Hunt. Search for items throughout the building - children who find them all will win a prize!
Playing the Past
Uncover the history of Washington County and the lives of area residents using our interactive biography boxes and timeline. Using what you have learned as inspiration, create your own character. Visit the clothing display and dress up as your character! Will you be a pioneer, a fine Victorian lady/gentleman, judge, or deputy?
Create a Comic Strip or Write Your Own Story
Learn about the courthouse mice, Gus & Sig, along with Winfield the Cat - lovable characters created by courthouse volunteers. Create your own stories and comic strips about people or animals that live in historic places.
Stop by the children’s corner to touch and feel courthouse artifacts, including tiles and snow catchers, or stamp a county seal using an antique stamp.
*A St. Croix Valley History curriculum unit is also available for teachers and homeschools using the interactive biography boxes available at the Historic Courthouse.
Self-guided Walking Tours
Begin a self-guided walking tour of downtown Stillwater or the South Hill neighborhood at the Washington County Historic Courthouse. Created by the City of Stillwater, walking tour maps are available at the Historic Courthouse. Use the links below to print your own copy.
- South Hill Walking Tour Brochure (PDF)
- Historic Downtown Walking Tour Brochure PDF)
- Cultural Landscape Walking Tour Brochure PDF)
Guided History Strolls
Join Parks staff for a guided history stroll. Beginning at the Historic Courthouse, walk along the charming neighborhoods in Stillwater, learn about the unique homes and hear stories of the people who lived in them. Visit our themed tours page for more information.
Step out the office for a day of history and fun team-building activities! Split into teams and race to see who can complete the Historic Courthouse Scavenger Hunt first, take a customized tour of this historic site (including the old 1900's County Jail), begin a self-guided walking tour of the South Hill neighborhood, picnic on the lawn and more!
The Historic Courthouse also rents meeting space for small and large groups. For more information, visit Gathering and Meeting Spaces.