Marker 453: Where are the Falls of the St. Croix?

Erected 2000 by the Wisconsin Historical Society
Saint Croix Falls, Polk County, Wisconsin
 45° 24.748′ N, 92° 38.722′ W
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The Falls of the St. Croix River, a series of turbulent cascades that dropped 55 feet in less than six miles, were impounded in the early 1900s by this hydroelectric dam. The potential manufacturing power of the falls drew developers who settled this town in 1838.

A lumbering capital that was to center on a sawmill here never materialized, as disputes over ownership of the property bound the venture in litigation and inept management. The rich harvest of pine floated to sawmills down river as the St. Croix Lumber Company faded away.

But the community flourished on the power of the water flowing from the traprock bluffs. A "manufacturing center" evolved around these millstreams. Grist and flour mills, a gunsmith and planing and woodworking shops, even a ginseng washing plant prospered here in the late 1800s before electricity came to the valley.

As people here then ruefully noted, "We once had a mill by the dam site, but we now only have a dam at the mill site."
The marker is at a parking lot on River Road North at its intersection with North Washington Street, across the street from the St. Croix Festival Theatre, St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin 54024.

Use the "River Road North" label below to identify all markers at this location. 

Click here for a numerical list of all Wisconsin Historical Society "official" markers.

The marker is at a gorgeous location overlooking the St. Croix River.

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