MARINE ON ST. CROIX. It sounds so poetic, those four linked words that name a village banking the St. Croix River.
And it is that in the sense of feeling like you could be perhaps in South Shaftsbury, Vermont—although I’ve never traveled there and have no idea if this Minnesota community is at all like Shaftsbury—where Robert Frost penned his most famous of poems, “Stopping By the Woods On A Snowy Evening.”
Marine on St. Croix presents history and nature mingled in a quaint New England type setting. Here the 1870 General Store and 1888 Village Hall still serve this community of 700, although I have no idea where all those residents live. Apparently not near the town’s business district. Perhaps across the roadway which, to the north, will take you to Taylors Falls and, to the south, to Stillwater.
This place has a timeless, poetic feel. Woods and river. Aged wood frame buildings. A history that stretches back to 1839 when this settlement was termed Marine Mills and served as home to the first commercial sawmill along the St. Croix River. That makes Marine on St. Croix 175 years old this year, founded 19 years before Minnesota became a state.
I can almost smell the scent of white pine which once forested this region, see logs bobbing in the St. Croix, hear the screech of saw against wood, domesticating trunks into lumber.
Pausing at the General Store, I imagine deep dark coffee beans and yards of cotton calico and sticks of penny candy.
Marine on St. Croix clings to its past in a good sort of way that makes you want to stay longer, to linger and think poetic thoughts.
© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling