Pivot Stillwater

Funded by a grant from the Stillwater Area Foundation  

Funded by a grant from the Stillwater Area Foundation



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What is Pivot Stillwater ?

The Pivot Stillwater web site allows you to visit Stillwater, Minnesota for a virtual tour of the city in times past. The historical photos are sourced from the John Runk Collection, but more about that when you read and view who Mr. Runk was and what he did for all of us many years ago. What makes the site interactive is that it is linked with GPS coordinates that allow you to view the historical photo in the context of its location as it exists today. There are narratives for most of the locations. Some of these will provide audio descriptions as well as written descriptions of the historical sites. There also is a Google Map of these and other historical locations in Stillwater. There are photos on the map that show and provide a brief description of the location. In summary, Pivot Stillwater is a combination of the past work of Mr. John Runk with today’s technology.  This allows us to accurately locate these historical sites against today’s scenes and do some other magic. 

What is different about Pivot Stillwater is that many of the places in the photos do not exist today. Some have burned while others have been razed. Some are still standing, while others have been modified or are undergoing modifications. Some, you can touch and feel while others are gone, but for these images. Many of these historical photos have been juxtaposed over scenes of the same location as it appears today. The intention here is to give everyone a feel for the history of Stillwater as it went through the wilderness, the Native American, the Territorial Prison and Statehood, the lumbering era, the manufacturing enterprise era, the railroading period and other times of change. We want to make visitors or residents curious as to what life must have been like during any of the epochs of Stillwater’s unique history.

The web site also functions with all mobile devices, so you can view these photos while walking and taking a tour of Stillwater.  The web site is very interactive and puts the "History of Stillwater in your Pocket or Purse".

The future of Pivot Stillwater will include an App for your mobile device. The app will enable you to easily locate and identify these historical sites using your camera function. It will also allow you to swipe across the historical photo and view the same scene as it appears today. Pivot Stillwater will be truly an “Augmented Reality” App.  At this time however, the app is not yet available.  When it does become available, you will be able to easily download the FREE app from this site.  Stay Tuned !

The historical content, voice, text, photos and locations are being created by an “All Volunteer” team. Click Here to see our Volunteers.

Funding for Pivot Stillwater has been provided through a very generous grant from the Stillwater Area Foundation as a prize for winning their 2016 Great Idea Competition.

The hard work for such an app had already been done by a start-up called PIVOTtheWorld, the brainchild of Sami Jitan and Asma Jaber. Sami and Asma graciously agreed to provide the software engine for the project, which has allowed the  team to focus on content development.The App will be powered by Pivot The World.

The John Runk Collection of Historical Photos has been sourced from:

The Washington County Historical Society

The Stillwater Public Library

The Minnesota Historical Society

We are also grateful for the availability of digital files from the New York City Public Library for some of out digital files.