MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A very unique bookstore in downtown Stillwater is looking for a storybook ending.

St. Croix Antiquarian Booksellers has some of the rarest and oldest books and maps in Minnesota.

It has been on Main Street for 25 years, and now owner Gary Goodman is looking at stepping away from the business to spend more time with his family.

At Goodman’s bookstore, it is not the years that go by, but rather the centuries.

He is a former psychiatric counselor who wandered into a used bookstore 33 years ago. After a few minutes of paging through books from the past, he made a career-changing decision.

“I just thought it really looked interesting so I bought it,” he said.

He eventually moved the store to downtown Stillwater, and began collecting some of the rarest and oldest books and maps around; from a German Bible that is more than three centuries old, to maps that are more than four centuries old.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

There are also books that are so rare no one else in the world has them.

“This is limited to one copy, ‘Special volume of [Robert Louis] Stevenson has been illuminated with watercolors,'” he said.

All six of Goodman’s kids have helped out over the years, including Nolan.

“I’m a great trivia player because of I just have these bizarre pockets of knowledge,” Nolan said.

He has learned that the rarer the find, the more expensive the price tag. But as his father looks to sell the building and write the final chapter of his bookstore, Nolan knows this unique piece of downtown Stillwater history will be hard to replace.

“Just stumbling across stuff that you’ve never seen before … that you never knew that you were interested in,” Nolan said. “I think that is the draw of a place like this.”

Goodman has also amassed a rare collection of architectural maps from across the state, including building plans for landmarks in Minneapolis and other cities.

He will look to sell the building before he closes the store, so a closing date has not yet been set.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

John Lauritsen

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