North America's First Booktown
"What makes Stillwater a Booktown?"
It is not enough to answer this by saying that Stillwater offers 500,000 books for sale, because a few larger cities could make the same claim. By way of broad definition, a town is considered for Booktown status when it models the characteristics of the original Booktown of Hay-on-Wye in Wales. Hay-on-Wye is a small town (pop. 1300) with over 20 bookstores and an estimated 2 million books. Its entire economy revolves around books and bookselling. Stillwater, as a small town with 35 booksellers, had developed sufficiently by 1994 to encourage us, Thomas Loome of Loome Antiquarian Booksellers and Gary Goodman of St. Croix Antiquarian Booksellers, to petition Richard Booth, King of Hay-on-Wye, Lord Protector of All Booktowns, for official Booktown status. In a flurry of faxes, letters, applications, testimonials and gifts to King Richard, we attempted to get him to visit Stillwater, a requirement under the Booktown bylaws. It was not until Tom Loome made a personal pilgrimage to Hay-on-Wye in March of 1994 that the King agreed to consider the matter and follow up with a personal visit. The rest is history. In a ceremony attended by the mayor and other city notables, Stillwater was declared the First Booktown in North America by King Richard Booth on August 26, 1994.
A Selection of Stillwater Booksellers:
Loome Theological Booksellers
Black Letter Books
St. Croix Antiquarian Booksellers
The Valley Bookseller
T.E. Warth, Esq., Automotive Books
More About Stillwater
Books are enough of a reason to visit Stillwater, but in case you need to convince someone else to come with you, there are dozens of ways to make your case. An excellent place to learn more about this historic Midwestern town is www.discoverstillwater.com.