Back in Time: An excursion down the river

The steamer ‘Sidney’ in Stillwater. (Photo courtesy of the Washington County Historical Society)


Summer is here and those delightful days of blue sky and green grass only last a few months in Minnesota and the residents here take full advantage of every minute. People might go to the lake, see an outdoor ball game or cruise on the St. Croix. The River has been a place that many gather and tour on elegant steamboats such as in July 1919 when the Steamer Sidney visited Stillwater’s waterfront.

In the July 30, 1919 Stillwater Messenger, a front page article describes a “Delightful Trip Down St. Croix: Steamer Sidney Takes a large Crowd out of Stillwater and Hudson Monday Night.” The article describes the trip and some of the scenery and people on board during the ride:

“The Steamer Sidney made her last appearance at Stillwater this season Monday night, when the big palatial steamer took out a crowd of about 1000 people to Hudson and return. A large number of folks got on the boat at Hudson in addition.

The night was a perfect one, being cool and calm, and it was delightful on the water.

The steamer Sidney is one of the finest excursion boats on the river. It is up-to-date in every respect. The huge cabin is just right for dancing and the floor was simply packed all the time.

The music was furnished by the famous Jazzule Band of New Orleans, and those boys certainly must have been the ones who put the “zz” in jazz, because it was the liveliest jazz music heard in these parts. The boat is well equipped with soda fountain, popcorn stand, candy stand etc., and these furnish a place for the boys to treat their girls.

Want to keep reading? Grab the July 7, 2017, edition of The Gazette, at newsstands through July 13. Subscribe to The Gazette to read Peterson’s column in its entirety each week. Brent Peterson is the executive director of the Washington County Historical Society. Contact him at [email protected].