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St. Cloud, Minnesota
—  City  —
Buildings on 5th Ave in downtown St. Cloud

Nickname(s): The Granite City
Location in the state of Minnesota.
Coordinates: 45°33′14″N 94°10′13″W / 45.55389°N 94.17028°W / 45.55389; -94.17028Coordinates: 45°33′14″N 94°10′13″W / 45.55389°N 94.17028°W / 45.55389; -94.17028
Country United States
State Minnesota
Counties Stearns, Benton, Sherburne
Founded 1856[1]
 - Mayor Dave Kleis (R)
 - City 30.9 sq mi (80.1 km2)
 - Land 30.2 sq mi (78.1 km2)
 - Water 0.8 sq mi (2.0 km2)
Elevation 1,030 ft (314 m)
Population (2000)
 - City 59,107 = 67,203 (2,009)
 Density 1,959.9/sq mi (756.7/km2)
 Metro 167,392 = 181,094 (2,009)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 56301, 56302, 56303, 56304, 56393, 56397, 56398
Area code(s) 320
FIPS code 27-56896[2]
GNIS feature ID 0650559[3]
Red River cart at Saint Cloud

St. Cloud (pronounced /ˌseɪntˈklaʊd/) is a city in the U.S. state of Minnesota and the largest population center in the state's central region. The population was 59,107 at the 2000 census, while 2009 census estimates show it at 67,203. It is the county seat of Stearns County[4]. It is named after the city of Saint-Cloud, France (near Paris), which was named for the 6th-century French monk Clodoald.

Though mostly in Stearns County, the city also extends into Benton County and Sherburne County. One of the fastest-growing areas in the state, St. Cloud is surrounded by a small metropolitan area, with Waite Park, Sauk Rapids, Sartell, St. Joseph and St. Augusta directly bordering the city, and Foley, Kimball, Clearwater, Clear Lake, Rockville, and Cold Spring nearby. With 181,094 residents at 2009 census estimates, the St. Cloud metropolitan area ranks behind only Minneapolis-St. Paul and Duluth-Superior among Minnesota population centers.

St. Cloud is located 65 miles (105 km) northwest of the "Twin Cities" of Minneapolis-St. Paul along Interstate 94, U.S. Route 10, and Minnesota State Highway 23. The St. Cloud Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is made up of Stearns and Benton Counties.[5] The city was included in a newly defined Minneapolis-St. Paul-St. Cloud Combined Statistical Area (CSA) in 2000, even though commuting criteria did not require mandatory inclusion. St. Cloud has never been part of the 13-county MSA comprising Minneapolis, St. Paul, Bloomington, and parts of western Wisconsin.[6] The boundary between the two MSAs is unclear because Sherburne County is considered part of the Twin Cities metropolitan area yet contains part of the city of St. Cloud.

The Mississippi River flows through the city, which owns and operates a hydroelectric dam that can produce up to 9 megawatts of electricity.[7][8] The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources designated a 12-mile section of the Mississippi south of St. Cloud part of Minnesota's Wild & Scenic Rivers Program in 1976.[9] It has the 30 undeveloped "Beaver Islands", multiple channels and sandbars, and no major rapids, and is popular for day trips by canoe.[10]



5th Avenue c. 1910

Minnesota was organized as a territory in 1849. The St. Cloud area had been opened to legal ownership by non-Native Americans following treaty negotiations with the Winnebago tribe in 1851 and 1852.

St. Cloud was a waystation on the Middle and Woods branches of the Red River Trails between the Canadian border at Pembina and St. Paul. The cart trains often consisted of hundreds of ox carts; the carters would camp west of the city and cross the Mississippi in St. Cloud or in Sauk Rapids, just to the north.

The City of St. Cloud was incorporated in 1856. It developed from three distinct settlements, known as Upper Town, Middle Town, and Lower Town, that were established beginning in 1853.[11] The remnants of the deep ravines that separated the three are still visible today. Middle Town was settled primarily by Catholic German-Americans, who were attracted to the region by Father Francis Xavier Pierz. Lower Town was founded by settlers from New England and the mid-Atlantic states. Upper Town, or Arcadia, was plotted by General Sylvanus Lowry, a slave-holding Southerner from Kentucky. Lowry was St. Cloud's first mayor, serving only one year.

Lowry battled Abolitionist newspaper editor Jane Grey Swisshelm. At one point Swisshelm's newspaper office was broken into and the press thrown into the Mississippi. St. Cloud's experience with slavery was brief. Nearly all of the Southerners left the St. Cloud area when the Civil War broke out. Lowry died soon after in 1865.

Stephen Miller served a two-year term as Minnesota governor beginning in 1864, the only citizen of St. Cloud to hold the office. Miller was a "Pennsylvania German businessman", lawyer, writer, active abolitionist, and personal friend of Minnesota Governor Ramsey. He was on the state's Republican electoral ticket with Abraham Lincoln in 1860.[12] With no previous military experience, Miller enlisted as a private in the Minnesota's First Regiment of Volunteers, and was promoted to lieutenant colonel and eventually "Brigadier General of Volunteers".[13] After fighting at Bull Run and in eight other battles, Miller became ill and later transferred to another unit, missing the regiment's famous charge at Gettysburg. His son Wesley, who had enlisted with his father, was killed in the battle.[14] While in military service, Miller also served as commander of Mankato's Camp Lincoln, where 38 Dakota men were executed for their role in the Dakota War of 1862.

Although he never attended college, as governor Miller supported higher education, including the state "Normal" schools, one of which later became St. Cloud State University. In his final legislative address as governor, he made a strong but unsuccessful argument for a black suffrage amendment to the state constitution.

St. Cloud was named after Saint-Cloud, the Paris suburb, by John Wilson, a Maine native with French Huguenot ancestry. Wilson later said that his decision came from his interest in Napoleon, whose favorite palace was located in Saint-Cloud.

Steamboats once docked at St. Cloud, although river levels were not reliable. Granite quarries have operated in the area since the 1880s, giving St. Cloud its nickname, "The Granite City."

In 1917, Samuel C. Pandolfo started the Pan Motor Company in St. Cloud. Pandolfo claimed that St. Cloud would become the new Detroit for all the Pan-Cars produced. He was later convicted and imprisoned for attempting to defraud investors.[15][16]

St. Cloud was recently chosen to host the 2012 Can-Am Police and Fire Games.


The city maintains 95 parks, totaling more than 1400 acres and ranging in size from 80 "neighborhood and mini parks" to 243 acres. The largest developed park, Whitney Memorial Park, is the former location of the city airport. It features numerous softball and soccer fields.

Popular culture

- Courtroom scenes in the Disney Film The Mighty Ducks were filmed in St. Cloud, and a few cut scenes were filmed at the Municipal Athletic Center (MAC).

- Senator Al Franken and Tom Davis's One More Saturday Night is set in St. Cloud, but was not filmed there.

- Marshall Eriksen, of the TV show How I Met Your Mother, is originally from St. Cloud.

- Juno was partially set in St. Cloud, which is referred to as "East Jesus Nowhere". None of the filming actually took place in the city, however.

- The song "On a Bus to St. Cloud", by Gretchen Peters, is on Trisha Yearwood's 1995 album "Thinkin' About You".

- Academy Award winner Gig Young was born in St. Cloud and once worked at the Paramount Theater as an usher.

- In the movie 1408, St. Cloud is mentioned as one of the scariest places the protagonist has visited.

- Director Stephen Sommers attended Apollo High School in St. Cloud. He then attended college at nearby St. John's University. His 1989 film Catch Me If You Can was filmed in St. Cloud.

- Writer/director Wendell Jon Andersson was born and raised in St. Cloud, attending Tech High School. He wrote and directed the film "With or Without You" and worked on the Comedy Central television program Mystery Science Theater 3000.

- Actress June Marlowe, who played Miss Crabtree on The Little Rascals, was from St. Cloud.

- Judith Guest and Rebecca Hill's novel Killing Time in St. Cloud is set in the eponymous city.

- John Bellairs's character Mr. Emerson is from St. Cloud.


St. Cloud is a regional transportation hub within Minnesota. Major roadways including Interstate Highway 94, U.S. Highway 10, and Minnesota State Highways 15 and 23 pass through the city.[17]

Bus service within the city and to neighboring Sartell, Sauk Rapids, and Waite Park is offered through St. Cloud Metro Bus which was recognized in 2007 as the best transit system of its size in North America. An innovative system gives transit buses a slight advantage at stoplights in order to improve efficiency and on-time performance.[18] The Metro Bus Transit Center in the downtown area is also shared with Jefferson Lines. Several rail lines run through the city as well, which is a stop on Amtrak's Empire Builder line. A commuter rail line running from the Twin Cities known as the Northstar Corridor will reach the city in a second phase.

St. Cloud is also home to St. Cloud Regional Airport, which makes daily connecting flights to Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport on Delta Connection, operated by Mesaba Airlines.


The city of St. Cloud is home to the St. Cloud Area School District, which serves St. Cloud, St. Augusta, Clearwater, Waite Park, St. Joseph, and Haven Township. The district [1] has eight elementary schools, a new K-8 school in St. Joseph, and two major public high schools, St. Cloud Technical High School and St. Cloud Apollo High School. St. Cloud also has a major private high school, Cathedral High School. Both public high schools offer a broad selection of Advanced Placement courses, and rank high in the state in number of AP tests taken and of test takers. [2] St. Cloud Tech is the older of the two, opening in 1917, and is just west of downtown on the city's south side. Apollo opened in 1970 and serves the expanding north side of the city. Other high schools and secondary schools that serve the city of St. Cloud include St. Robert Bellarmine's Academy, St. Cloud Christian School, Immaculate Conception Academy, and St. Cloud Alternative Learning Center. St. Cloud also has one of the most successful charter schools in the state, STRIDE Academy [3], which is K-8. The nearby cities of Sauk Rapids and Sartell also have their own school districts and high schools, bringing the number of public high schools in the metropolitan area to four.



The St. Cloud area is home to several higher education facilities, including the second-largest university in the state, St. Cloud State University. As of 2007, 17,892 students attend SCSU. Other post-secondary institutions and campuses in St. Cloud proper include St. Cloud Technical and Community College (SCTCC), Rasmussen College, Globe University/Minnesota School of Business, and the College of St. Scholastica. Additionally, the College of St. Benedict (an all-female private Catholic liberal arts college) is located in nearby St. Joseph, while its all-male sibling school, St. John's University, is in nearby Collegeville.


The mayor of St. Cloud is Dave Kleis. St. Cloud is in Minnesota's 6th congressional district, represented by Michele Bachmann (R). St. Cloud is partly in Minnesota House of Representatives district 15A, represented by Steve Gottwalt (R), and partly in 15B, represented by Larry Haws (DFL). State Senate District 15 is represented by Senate Assistant Majority Leader Tarryl Clark (DFL).

In the 2008 presidential election, Barack Obama and Joe Biden won 54% of the vote in the city, and John McCain and Sarah Palin 46%.[19]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 30.9 square miles (80.1 km²), of which 30.2 (78.1 km²) are land and 0.8 (2.0 km²) (2.62%) water.


St. Cloud lies in the cool summer-type Humid continental climate zone (Köppen Dfb), with warm, humid summers and very cold winters with heavy snowfall. January is the coldest month, with an average high temperature of 19°F (-7°C) and an average low temperature of -1°F (-18°C). July is the warmest month, with an average high of 82°F (28°C) and an average low of 58°F (14°C).

Climate data for St. Cloud, Minnesota
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Average high °F (°C) 19
Daily mean °F (°C) 9
Average low °F (°C) -1
Source: {{{source}}} {{{accessdate}}}


St. Cloud is the principal city of the St. Cloud Metropolitan Statistical Area, a metropolitan area that covers Sherburne, Benton and Stearns counties[20] and had a combined population of 167,392 at the 2000 census.[2]

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 59,108 people, 22,652 households, and 12,254 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,959.9 people per square mile (756.7/km²). There were 23,249 housing units at an average density of 770.9/sq mi (297.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 91.75% White, 2.37% African American, 0.72% Native American, 3.11% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.58% from other races, and 1.40% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.33% of the population. Since 2000 these proportions have changed significantly, in part because of a continuing, rapid influx of immigrants from Somalia.

27.3% of St. Cloud households had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.4% were married couples living together, 9.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.9% were non-families. 30.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the city the population was spread out with 20.8% under the age of 18, 24.1% from 18 to 24, 27.6% from 25 to 44, 17.3% from 45 to 64, and 10.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28 years. For every 101 females there were 101.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $37,346, and the median income for a family was $50,460. Males had a median income of $33,670 versus $23,759 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,769. About 5.0% of families and 13.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.0% of those under age 18 and 9.9% of those age 65 or over.



The city is home to the St. Cloud State University Division I ice hockey team. The team competes in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

St. Cloud is also home to the St. Cloud River Bats of the Northwoods League, a collegiate summer baseball league. The River Bats play at Joe Faber Field in St. Cloud and were founded in the 1997 season.

Sites of interest


The main newspaper is the St. Cloud Times, a Gannett newspaper. The St. Cloud Diocese also publishes the St. Cloud Visitor, which serves the regional Catholic community.

Television station KPXM (channel 41), an "ion" network affiliate, is licensed to the city, though the signal also reaches the Twin Cities region. Low-power stations are: WCMN (channel 13) which is not always on the air, K19BG (channel 19) a TBN affiliate, and KTCJ (channel 30) a digital-only Christian. Additional, St. Cloud State University students operate cable-only UTVS (channel 21), which includes local news.

Radio stations include:


Minnesota Public Radio began in nearby Collegeville at St. John's University.

Sister cities

See also


  1. ^ Dominik, John J. (1986). That You May Find Healing. St. Cloud, Minn: St. Cloud Hospital. pp. 5. 
  2. ^ a b c "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ "Area Definitions - Metropolitan Statistical Areas". Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. Retrieved 2009-10-03. 
  6. ^ Metro Council website, Twin Cities Metropolican Area Geographic Definitions, "Definitions Used By The U.S. Census Bureau"
  7. ^ City of St. Cloud, Public Utilities, Hydroelectric Services
  8. ^ John Weeks, The Bridges and Structures of the Mississippi River Headwaters, A Detailed Look At The Bridges, Dams And Other Structures On The Mississippi River In The Headwaters Region From Lake Itasca To Minneapolis First Edition — November 2007.
  9. ^ "The Wild & Scenic Mississippi River". Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 2009-10-03. 
  10. ^ Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, "Mississippi River", "St. Cloud to Anoka"
  11. ^ 3 Towns Into 1 City, A Narrative Record of Significant Factors in The Story Of St. Cloud Minnesota.
  12. ^ John J. Dominik Jr., "Three Towns Into One City, St. Cloud Minnesota, 1976, St Cloud Area Bicentennial Commission, page 13
  13. ^ Minnesota Historical Society "Governors of Minnesota, Stephen Miller, Fourth State Governor"
  14. ^ First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Stephen Miller.
  15. ^ "Pan History". St Cloud Antique Auto Club, Inc.. 2007-01-01. Retrieved 2007-06-20. 
  16. ^ Automotive History Online, Pan Motor
  17. ^ "St. Cloud, Minnesota". Google Maps.,+minnesota&ie=UTF8&ll=45.568871,-94.2136&spn=0.121133,0.32135&z=12&om=1. Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  18. ^ WCCO News, "System Helps St. Cloud Buses Stay In The Green", July 17, 2009.
  19. ^ County of Stearns, Minnesota, election results.
  20. ^ Metropolitan statistical areas and components, Office of Management and Budget, 2007-05-11. Accessed 2008-07-30.
  21. ^ St Cloud's Historic Downtown, Walking Tour Guidebook (pdf) front side, back side

External links


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