On July 29 and September 29, 1837, treaties were signed between the US government and the local Ojibwa and Dakota nations that allowed settlement in the St. Croix Valley. The town was founded by settlers drawn by the area's then-abundant lumber and river traffic, making it one of Minnesota's oldest towns, predating Minneapolis by several years. Stillwater was officially incorporated as a city March 4, 1854 (the same day as St. Paul). Stillwater is often referred to as the birthplace of Minnesota.
As more evidence of Stillwater's importance at the time, the convention selected three leading Minnesota cities as locations for three important public institutions: Minneapolis got the University of Minnesota, Saint Paul became the capital, and Stillwater was chosen as the site of the territory's first prison. The Minnesota Territorial Prison was opened in 1853.
Lumbering was the predominant industry in the St. Croix River Valley in the second half of the 19th century, and for many years logs were sent down the St. Croix, collected at the St. Croix Boom Site two miles upstream of Stillwater, and processed in Stillwater's many sawmills. Steamboats were used most widely from 1860–1890, and a few are still used for entertainment purposes today.
On October 18, 1921 Charles P. Strite invented the bread-toaster in Stillwater. By 1926, the Toastmaster Company began to market the first household toaster using a redesigned version of Strite's toaster.
Sometime in the 1930s or 40s, someone left the National Bait Company and started their own company (as rumor has it). They modified the Bass King slightly and called their new lure "The Scandinavian Sockaroo". It was manufactured by the Scandinavian Bait Company which was also located in Stillwater. The lure was advertised as "The bait with plenty of vim, vigor and viggle", spoken like a true Scandinavian. As far as I know, this bait was only made in red and white, the hottest lure color of the day (and arguably still is most preferred).
The "Bass King" and the "Little Bass King" were manufactured by the National Bait Company around the mid 1920s. These two lures were similar, but were just in different sizes. Features of these lures include a wood body, unusual long grooves cut into the sides to give it "wiggle" on retrieve and it was available in several different colors (although red and white was by far the most popular). Also, the box states it has a "metallic core" inside the lure. I am not about to cut one open to see what is inside. National Bait Company also had a contest offering $100 in prizes for the biggest fish caught on their lure, which was a lot of money back then.
Little is known about the fishing lure called the "Neon Fire Fly" that was manufactured in Stillwater by the St. Croix Bait Company. This could be one of the earliest lures ever made of pyralin (plastic) in the history of all of lure making. It is assumed to be manufactured in the late 1920s or early 1930s. This unique lure featured a front half that was clear and contained several ounces of liquid mercury. This mercury caused the lure to glow in order to attract fish, thus the name of the lure. Not many of these lures are assumed to have been made as they are rarely found now and this may be a good thing for the environment's sake!