City of Bayport
The City of Bayport was originally three small settlements along Lake St. Croix. In 1856, Stillwater lumbermen Socrates Nelson, David Loomis, and others platted Baytown, organizing it around the firm’s sawmill. The following year, another group of investors, including Isaac Staples and Andrew “Jack” Short, platted Bangor on the shore of the lake south of Baytown, and William Holcombe recorded the plat of Middletown to the north.
The three small villages disappeared in January, 1873 when the St. Croix Railway Improvement Company combined them into South Stillwater. South Stillwater was incorporated as a village in 1881. The name, however, caused a lot of confusion with the City of Stillwater, so it was changed in 1922 to Bayport.
One of the first to settle at Bayport was François (or Francis) Bruce, who built a house in 1842 on what is now Central Avenue. Bruce stayed only a short time; in 1850 his house was occupied by Ambrose Secrest. Secrest and his three brothers, with their families, were among the first permanent residents.
In the early 1840s Norman Kittson built a trading post on the point since known as Kittson’s Point. Apparently Kittson installed the infamous Pierre “Pig’s Eye” Parrant to mind his store. By April of 1842 Parrant had left; his “claim and improvement” on the point were sold at a sheriff’s sale to Joseph R. Brown of Stillwater for $27.50.
John Allen and wife Levina arrived in 1844. Allen built a house and cultivated a field on the east side of Kittson’s Point. Struck by gold fever in 1849, Allen sold his property to Samuel Gleason and moved to California. Another early settler was riverboat pilot Joseph Perro, who purchased a great deal of property on Spring Creek, now Perro Creek, in 1847. The springs that fed the creek also fed the fish at the Perro Trout Farm. Some of “Big Joe’s” land was sold to the state in 1906 to build the state correctional facility still known as the Stillwater Prison.
Until the Hudson bridge was built in 1913, a ferry boat plied the St. Croix between Bayport and North Hudson. Rail came into Bayport from Stillwater in 1872. Stillwater Junction in Baytown was where the rail lines diverged for St. Paul and Stillwater. The track became part of the Chicago & Northwestern lines, which ran four or five passenger trains a day to Hudson and Stillwater. Three railroads carried freight and passengers through Bayport, undoubtedly a reason so much manufacturing located in the village.
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