every piece of land in Stillwater has a story to tell. The ground on which Territorial Place Condominiums now sits is no exception. When developers purchased the five-acre site in the 1990s, it had several vacant historic buildings and tales reaching back into Native American history. Although an unfortunate fire in 2000 destroyed many of the historic buildings, Robert Engstrom Companies and other developers have worked to keep reminders and monuments to the land's historic past. As you walk around the neighborhood you will see old walls, stone markers, and even pieces of buildings that represent the many layers of events that have built Stillwater.
The Sioux had been looking for revenge on the Chippewa warriors who had recently attacked and killed several of their party. In a place that became known as "Battle Hollow" they got their chance in a surprise attack that more than settled the score. A large stone marker in the center of Terrace Springs (the greater neighborhood to which Territorial Place belongs) memorializes that event.
Not long after, in 1848, Minnesota - a name meaning "sky reflecting waters" - became officially incorporated as a United States territory. The brave pioneers that settled the area around Battle Hollow had already built up a town and in that same year, the village of Stillwater was officially platted. Also that same year the first saloon was built. By 1881, there were 27 saloons in Stillwater, and 1884 showed a grand total of 54.
In 1851, the newly-formed Minnesota Senate designated the specific Battle Hollow land to be the site of the new Territorial Prison. Finished in 1853, the Territorial Prison campus would serve for another 80+ years. The prison consisted of the cell house, a chapel, a twine factory, warehouses, a hospital, a warden's house, and a formidable stone wall around the perimeter. The 1940s saw the Territorial Prison change into commercial warehousing, a foundry, and a variety of other businesses.
But many reminders of the past have been left intact, rebuilt, or even incorporated into the structure of Territorial Place itself. The warden's home still sits immediately to Terrace Spring's west and is now a historic museum. A stone guard post marks the beginning of Terrace Springs on Main Street.
Robert Engstrom Companies was fortunate to have a standing brick building on the land that they were slated to develop. A portion of the bricks were saved, cleaned and re-stacked as the central entryway tower of Territorial Place. Supporting wood timber was also removed, re-milled, and placed in each unit as a fireplace mantle. Larger recycled fir beams were hung in the interior halls for a look that cannot be duplicated. Perhaps the most obvious part of standing history in Territorial Place is the renovated brick wall shading the patios of the east-facing homes on the first floor. What once were warehouse windows now serve as entryways for guests.
While the history of Territorial Place is interesting, the list of modern quality home amenities is even more amazing.