Full Circle


Circles are beautiful, orbital, never ending, perfectly proportioned and spot on.  They are all-encompassing, inclusive and embracing.  Rivertown Inn had the pleasure of hosting a group of ladies from Trinity Lutheran church here in Stillwater for their monthly Circle meeting, centered around a lunch fit for a queen.   With warm hospitality, elegant surroundings and excellent food,  Operations manager, Larry Loyer, InnKeeper Sheila-Marie Untiedt and Chef Maggie Wescott delighted in preparing every detail designed to please the palate and the eye.

This special circle of friends had the run of the place for their gathering:  no other diners making noise, no other tables competing for attention and service.  They were, quite simply, the belles of the ball.


from left to right:  Karen Bosmoe, Kathy Tollerud, Gail Steinmetz, Sandi Steinmetz, Sue Butler, Delores Olin, Carolyn Minor, Carol Hendrickson, and Rita Lawson



Operations manager Larry Loyer setting the table for Rebekah Circle luncheon

If you have a special event and would like to have a private gathering, we would love to accomodate your group!

(651) 430-2955
Email:  rivertown@rivertowninn.com

Strengths coaching meets staff cooking

As a new employee of the Rivertown Inn and an old believer in the Clifton StrengthsFinder, I had the pleasure of being a part of a recent staff coaching session.  Our coach, Julie Anderson, who also happens to be the proprietor of the Rivertown Inn, and her business partner/sister/former Gallup Associate Partner Jennifer Ford, led us in a learning session, centered around a culinary class.

jen and julie

                       Gallup Certified Strengths Coaches                          Julie Anderson and Jennifer Ford

Gallup research proves that people succeed when they focus on what they do best. When they identify their talents and develop them into strengths, people are more productive, perform better, and are more engaged.Gallup’s Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment is the first step in helping people identify their talents. Clifton StrengthsFinder results give people a way to discuss and develop their unique combination of skills, talents, and knowledge — also known as strengths.  (taken from Gallup StrengthsFinder website)

Our session began by our coaches defining the 34 themes/talents/strengths, helping us better understand each of our individual strengths and those of our co-workers.  We then moved into the kitchen and worked together to create a gorgeous meal, as our coaches observed our interactions and took notes.  After learning and laughing together while making an amazing seafood salad and homemade pasta, we sat together, feasting on the food our hands had made and learned about ourselves, our strengths and each other.

Consider this extraordinary team building activity for your family, your leadership team, your club or organization!  The Rivertown Inn is the perfect venue for small to mid-size groups to focus on each other in an elegant, historic atmosphere that accommodates your every need.

For more information about StrengthFinder, individual coaching or team building activities, Julie can be reached at julie.anderson@strengthswise.com or strengthswise.com.

For more info about cooking classes and culinary events, visit http://www.rivertowninn.com/


Zanny Johnson

social media director for the Rivertown Inn

Stillwater Prison

Stillwater’s Territorial Prison is strongly linked to the history of Stillwater and Washington County, Minnesota.  In fact the newspapers in the 1800’s and early 1900’s often refer to Stillwater as “The Prison City.”  As such, it is not surprising that the occupants of the house we now know as the Rivertown Inn also had strong connections to the prison.  John O’Brien who ,with his wife Anna, built the house, had two brothers involved with the prison and a later occupant of the house worked for the prison after it was moved to Bayport.


Stillwater Prison


John’s brother, James, was for many years the president of the Minnesota Board of Prison Managers and their brother, Edward, was the clerk at the prison.  Both of these brothers were involved with the prison during the tenure of Warden Wolfer.  During this period a twine factory was established at the prison.   According to the St. Paul Daily Globe, James O’Brien went east with other committee members in 1890 to buy binding twine machinery for the prison.   This was part of an effort to undermine the twine monopoly in Minnesota.  Twine was a very important commodity as it was used by every farmer, logger and merchant.  The prison could produce high-quality twine at a reasonable price which undercut the prices set by the monopoly.


Stillwater Prison Twine Shop (Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society)

The Stillwater Daily Gazette of September 25th, 1896  stated about Edward O’Brien that, “For the past four years, he has been engaged as and acceptably filled the position of clerk at the prison.”  Apparently, Edward had a flair for interior design, as the in 1896, while Warden Wolfer and President O’Brien were on a visit to prisons in the east, he was “having the private office repainted, repaired and rejuvenated,” according to the Stillwater Daily Gazette.

There are also many newspaper articles about John O’Brien arranging for tours of the prison for out-of-town guests as well as visiting dignitaries.  On several occasions, he arranged visits for the Catholic Total Abstinence Union of Minnesota (of which he was the president) and once for the national convention of this abstinence society.  The dignitaries which he brought to the prison included Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore (the most powerful American Catholic of his day) and Bishop Foley of Detroit.

The other occupant of the house with connections to the prison was Kitty Jo Hohlt.  Her parents bought the house in the late 1930’s and in 1938 divided the house into 3 apartments.  The Hohlts lived in one apartment and rented the other 2 units.  According to the Stillwater Directories from 1962 to 1966 Kitty Jo worked at the new Stillwater Prison in Bayport first as a stenographer and then as a secretary.  It is my understanding that Kitty still resides in the Stillwater area and I would enjoy interviewing her about the history of the house.  If anyone can arrange for us to meet, please contact the Rivertown inn.


Stillwater Warden’s House Museum

On Sunday, April 27th, the Washington County Historical Society will host their annual open house at the Warden’s House Museum which is located in the only remaining original building at the site of Stillwater’s Territorial Prison. This free event will be held from Noon to 4pm and allows visitors to view the latest exhibits and chat with the knowledgeable volunteers.  The staff members at the Rivertown Inn are available to assist you with directions to this open house or to any other local historic site.

A Winter Poem and a Spring Poem by Oscar Wilde

And when wind and winter harden all the loveless land, it will whisper of the garden, “You will understand.” – A Winter Poem by Oscar Wilde.



And the woods are alive with the murmur and sound of Spring, and the rosebud breaks into pink on the climbing briar, and the crocus bed is a quivering moon of fire girdled round with the belt of an amethyst ring. – A Spring Poem by Oscar Wilde.

side_viewSpring in the Rivertown Inn Gardens

Our current blog special is a complimentary bottle of wine with your room reservation in March or April.  Simply reserve online at www.rivertowninn.com and enter the word BLOG as the promotional code, or call us at (651) 430-2955.  This offer can not be combined with any other promotions or discounts.