Arcola Mills is one of Minnesota’s oldest historical sights. While walking through the mansion, you can fell like you left the 21st Century for a time when things were much more rugged. Long before the modern Twin Cities was built, this piece of history helps remind us of Minnesota’s start in the lumber industry.
Entering the door, you are welcomed by a large room with a wooden floor, which has dimples throughout its textured surface from the spikes the lumberjacks used to wear. As you continue through the mansion, you can definitely feel the Victorian influence in the design. From a small deck, you can see the beautiful St. Croix River, and in the back of the house you can enjoy an educational video of the mill site.
The mill itself was established in the 1840’s and its access to the rest of the world was the St. Croix River, which was also the transportation method of moving the large logs at that time too. By the 1930’s the lumber boom was over and the property was in disrepair until Dr. Henry Van Meier and his wife purchased and restored the property where is it now part of the National Park System.
When you visit, make sure to walk the many acres of property and the beautiful riverfront. When we visited we happened upon a few wild raspberries and some nice walking paths. Naturally, he kids loved the river the best and learned how to skip stones.