Perched on a bluff of the St. Croix River on a six-acre plot lie remnants of a booming industry long past. In the autumn of 1838, Illinois lumbermen David Hone and Lewis Judd arrived in the St. Croix River Valley. Attracted by the area's abundant white pine, they selected this site to build a sawmill and named it after their hometown, Marine, Ill. Less than one year later on Aug. 24, 1839, the Marine Lumber Company's sawmill cut its first pine log and became the first commercial sawmill in what was to become the state of Minnesota.
The sawmill, first run by waterpower and later by steam, operated under many names and owners and milled more than 197 million board feet of lumber by the time it closed in 1895. At that time its frame buildings were torn down and equipment sold to other sawmill companies. Today all that remains are portions of the stone foundations of the once huge sawmill. Interpretive signs, pathways, and an overlook above the ruins provide visitors with a glimpse of the history of this once active industrial site.
The Minnesota Historical Society historic site is open May through October from dawn to dusk. There is no admission fee. It is located on Judd Street, in Marine on St. Croix, 11 miles north of Stillwater on Minn. Hwy. 95.