South Main Street Stairway

The South Main Street Stairs

Written by Mark Luebker

When Stillwater was founded in the mid-19th century, there was no easy way to reach what’s now known as the South Hill. “Nelson’s Field,” as it was called then (named for Socrates Nelson, an early settler and landowner), sat atop a bluff more than 100 feet high. But unlike the North Hill, there were no streets connecting it to the downtown below. And cutting through that bluff and filling in below to build such a connection would be a major engineering task.  

This is a very early view of the south stairway(prior to 1873).  The iconic stone buildings of the Joseph Wolf Brewing Company are not yet built at the time this photo was taken.  

This is a very early view of the south stairway(prior to 1873).  The iconic stone buildings of the Joseph Wolf Brewing Company are not yet built at the time this photo was taken.  

This photo is from the John Runk Collection (Stillwater Public Library) and is dated 1866.  Click on the photo to see what this same location looks like today.

This photo is from the John Runk Collection (Stillwater Public Library) and is dated 1866.  Click on the photo to see what this same location looks like today.

The view is to the southwest from the corner of Main and Nelson Streets.  The date is after 1866, but before 1873. These buildings still stand today and became part of the Wolf Brewing Complex. To view this same location as a "Time Tunnel" from 1873 to 2016, click or tap the above photo. Photo Credit, New York City Public Library, John Sinclair.

The view is to the southwest from the corner of Main and Nelson Streets.  The date is after 1866, but before 1873. These buildings still stand today and became part of the Wolf Brewing Complex. To view this same location as a "Time Tunnel" from 1873 to 2016, click or tap the above photo. Photo Credit, New York City Public Library, John Sinclair.