So Minnesota: Stillwater photographer John Runk
A Stillwater photographer captured the city’s history through a camera.
John Runk was ahead of his time in front and behind the lens.
“Probably he was one of the first photographers to invent selfies,” Brent Peterson with the Washington County Historical Society said. “John Runk did like to take photos of himself.”
Runk took photos of Stillwater for more than six decades. He opened his own studio in downtown Stillwater.
“He had his equipment in a baby buggy with his symbol on the side,” Peterson said. “He’d push it around town taking photos.”
When he passed away in 1964, Runk had built an impressive photo collection of the area.
“That collection was his life and his baby,” Peterson said. “Over 4,000 in his historical collection.”
Runk’s collection was donated to the Minnesota Historical Society, the Stillwater Public Library and the Washington County Historical Society.
“John Runk said he wanted no money for his collection,” Peterson said. “He wanted to give it for free to leave something behind for the people of Stillwater and St Croix Valley in the future.”