John Runk, 1936.
John Runk Film showing at Heritage Center

The Washington County Historical Society is excited to announce the showing “An Ode to Stillwater: John Runk Films” at the Washington County Heritage Center, 1862 South Greeley Street, Stillwater, on Tuesday evening January 11th at 7pm.

Runk, a professional photographer in Stillwater for 65 years, used the most modern technology of the day to create his historic collection and he used film to document the landscape of the community. Truly, a “home movie of his home town,” John Runk put together these 8 mm films to document the growing community of Stillwater from the late 1940s to the early 1950s.

Among the many distinct historic scenes that Runk took were those of the Marine Ferry Crossing in operation; a Loggers’ baseball game against St. Paul Park; the Stillwater Country Club; Stillwater’s downtown business district just after the end of World War II; Pioneer and Lowell Parks; ice cutting on the St. Croix River and much more.

When opening the new Heritage Center, the WCHS decided that the first exhibit in the new Center should be about Runk, who collected the visual history of Stillwater and Washington County and was considered by the media as the “Person of the 20th Century” in Washington County.

The Washington County Historical Society received grants from the Minnesota Historical Society to transfer this rare film footage to a digital format and then received a Minnesota Historical & Cultural Grant from the Legacy funds and one from the Elks #179 of Stillwater, to put the film into a short documentary about John Runk and Stillwater.

The DVD will be available to purchase the evening of the showing.

The program is free to the public. No reservations are required. For questions, contact emily. [email protected] org or call 651-4392298. You can also visit the Washington County Heritage Center Tuesday- Sunday from 10am- 4pm.

About the Washington County Historical Society Founded in 1934, the Washington County Historical Society is a donor-supported, nonprofit organization with more than 750 individual, family, and business members. WCHS is supported by individual gifts, memberships, earned income, and foundation grants.

Runk sitting on Rock – Taylors Falls.

John Runk with movie camera ca. 1960.

January 5, 2022