Lowell Inn: Stillwater, MN Historic Hotel
Stepping into Stillwater, MN’s Lowell Inn is a luxurious step back in history. One of the state’s first hotels, Lowell Inn’s richly appointed rooms and fine dining options take guests back to the turn of the 20th century when lumber barons frequented the river town inn. Today, guests enjoy antique charm, modern convenience and easy access to downtown Stillwater, MN’s historic shopping and dining district.
State’s First Town Needs an Inn
Before Minnesota even became a U.S. territory, the town of Stillwater, MN was known around the world. With easy access to white pine, it became the world’s largest lumber producer. By 1848, Sawyer House, the second hotel in the area, was built and quickly became a popular stop for lumbermen. But by the 1890s, logging peaked in the area and the town’s population began to decline. On June 12, 1914, the last log was sent down the St. Croix River, marking the end of 75 years of lumbering.
At the time, the hotel was managed by the Lowell family. As Stillwater’s population declined, locals believed a new hotel would draw guests to the area and breathe new life into the declining river town.
Lowell Inn was built on the site of the Sawyer House. It was nicknamed the Mount Vernon of the Midwest, because of its 13 pillars that represented the 13 colonies. The new hotel was managed by the Palmer family, who would eventually come to own the hotel. Three generations of the Palmer family owned and lived there, building its reputation for fine dining and a top spot to get away from the Twin Cities.
New Generation of Family Ownership
In 2001, the inn was purchased and renovated by St. Croix Boat and Packet Company owners Dick and Judy Anderson, who renovated and expanded the site. Today, the hotel has 35 historic and modern guestrooms, two restaurants and a banquet space.
“Three generations of the Palmer family operated the hotel, and now three generations of our family are working here today,” said owner Judy Anderson.
The 23 historic guest rooms feature antique décor, including a luxury penthouse featuring a king bed, fireplace and kitchenette. Other suites include king or queen beds, with sitting rooms with fireplace and a dressing area. The hotel’s 12 modern rooms include modern décor, and some have balconies overlooking historic downtown.
The Inn offers breakfast, lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch in its George Washington Room year round. A fondue dinner is served by reservation in the hotel’s Matterhorn Room, named for its rich wood carvings crated by Swiss artist Eddie Blatter. A four course high tea is served by reservation, including a special holiday tea served Saturdays in December.
“Our busiest season begins in July and August, through the fall as people come to see the beautiful fall colors,” said Judy. “Fall has become a popular time for couples looking for a unique getaway.” Located just block from historic Main Street Stillwater, MN, there is plenty for couples – and families – to do.
Over the years, the hotel has also been a draw for celebrities, according to the Andersons.
“From time to time the hotel has hosted a number of notable guests, including Johnny Cash and Lucille Ball,” said Judy. “More recently, Diane Sawyer and Charlie Gibson stayed with us.”
The lumber days may have passed, but Stillwater remains a top destination for a weekend away. The historic Lowell Inn celebrates the town’s early history in style, with the added touch of modern convenience.
If You Go:
Book one of the 23 historic guest suites for a more unique stay. Some rooms have balconies overlooking historic downtown.
The Inn is located a block west of Stillwater, MN's Main Street, or Hwy 95. It's less than 30 minutes from St. Paul.
While You’re There:
Enjoy shopping and dining along Main Street. Dine at The Green Room or Luna Rossa, or take in the scenes on the patio at The Freight House. Order a craft brew flight at Maple Island Brewing, and then stop in to one of downtown's antique shops.
Find something new℠.