St. Cloud, Minnesota

St. Cloud, Minnesota

Buildings on 5th Avenue in downtown St. Cloud

Nickname(s): "The Granite City"

Location of the city of St. Cloud
within Stearns, Benton, and Sherburne Counties
in the state of Minnesota
Coordinates: 45°33′N 94°10′W / 45.550°N 94.167°W / 45.550; -94.167Coordinates: 45°33′N 94°10′W / 45.550°N 94.167°W / 45.550; -94.167
Country United States
State Minnesota
Counties Stearns, Benton, Sherburne
Founded 1856[1]
  Mayor Dave Kleis
  City 41.08 sq mi (106.40 km2)
  Land 40.04 sq mi (103.70 km2)
  Water 1.04 sq mi (2.69 km2)
Elevation 1,030 ft (314 m)
Population (2010)[3]
  City 65,842
  Estimate (2015)[4] 67,109
  Rank US: 525th MN: 10th
  Density 1,644.4/sq mi (634.9/km2)
  Urban 110,621 (US: 281st)
  Metro 194,418 (US: 222nd)
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
GNIS feature ID 2396483[5]
Red River cart at Saint Cloud, 1887
Downtown Saint Cloud, 2007

St. Cloud /ˌsntˈkld/ is a city in the state of Minnesota and the largest population center in the state's central region. Its population is 67,109 according to the 2015 US census estimates, making it Minnesota's tenth largest city.[6] St. Cloud is the county seat of Stearns County[7] and was named after the city of Saint-Cloud, France (in Île-de-France, near Paris), which was named after the 6th-century French monk Clodoald.

Though mostly in Stearns County, St. Cloud also extends into Benton and Sherburne counties, and straddles the Mississippi River. It is the center of a small, contiguous urban area totaling over 116,000 residents, with Waite Park, Sauk Rapids, Sartell, St. Joseph, Rockville, and St. Augusta directly bordering the city, and Foley, Rice, Kimball, Clearwater, Clear Lake, and Cold Spring nearby. With 189,093 residents at the 2010 census, the St. Cloud metropolitan area is the fourth-largest in Minnesota, behind Minneapolis–St. Paul, Duluth–Superior, and Rochester. (The population of Fargo-Moorhead is also larger than St. Cloud's, but most of that is in North Dakota, with only 58,999 residents in Minnesota.)

St. Cloud is 65 miles (105 km) northwest of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis–St. Paul along Interstate 94, U.S. Highway 10, and Minnesota State Highway 23. The St. Cloud Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is made up of Stearns and Benton Counties.[8] The city was included in a newly defined Minneapolis–St. Paul–St. Cloud Combined Statistical Area (CSA) in 2000. St. Cloud as a whole has never been part of the 13-county MSA comprising Minneapolis, St. Paul, Bloomington and parts of western Wisconsin,[9] although its Sherburne County portion is considered part of the Twin Cities metropolitan area by Census Bureau definition.

St. Cloud State University, Minnesota's third-largest public university, is located between the downtown area and the Beaver Islands, which form a maze for a two-mile stretch of the Mississippi. The approximately 30 undeveloped islands are a popular destination for kayak and canoe enthusiasts[10] and are part of a state-designated 12-mile stretch of wild and scenic river.[11]

St. Cloud owns and operates a hydroelectric dam on the Mississippi that can produce up to nine megawatts of electricity.[12][13]


What is now the St. Cloud area was occupied by various indigenous peoples for thousands of years. Europeans encountered the Ottawa, Ojibwe, and Winnebago when they started to trade with Native American peoples.

Minnesota was organized as a territory in 1849. The St. Cloud area was opened up to settlers in 1851[14] after treaty negotiations with the Winnebago (Ho-Chunk) tribe in 1851 and 1852. John Wilson, a Maine native with French Huguenot ancestry and an interest in Napoleon, named the settlement St. Cloud after Saint-Cloud, the Paris suburb where Napoleon had his favorite palace.

St. Cloud was a waystation on the Middle and Woods branches of the Red River Trails used by Métis traders between the Canada–US border at Pembina, North Dakota and St. Paul. The cart trains often consisted of hundreds of oxcarts. The Métis, bringing furs to trade for supplies to take back to their rural settlements, would camp west of the city and cross the Mississippi in St. Cloud or just to the north in Sauk Rapids

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 by European-American settlers starting in 1853.[15] Remnants of the deep ravines that separated the three are still visible today. Middle Town was settled primarily by Catholic German immigrants and migrants from eastern states, who were recruited to the region by Father Francis Xavier Pierz, a Catholic priest who also ministered as a missionary to Native Americans. Lower Town was founded by settlers from the Northern Tier of New England and the mid-Atlantic states, including former residents of upstate New York.

Upper Town, or Arcadia, was plotted by General Sylvanus Lowry, a slaveholder and trader from Kentucky who brought slaves with him, although Minnesota was organized as a free territory.[16] He served on the territorial Council from 1852 to 1853 and was elected St. Cloud's first mayor in 1856, serving for one year.[16][17]

Jane Grey Swisshelm, an abolitionist newspaper editor who had migrated from Pittsburgh, repeatedly attacked Lowry in print. At one point he organized a "Committee of Vigilance" that broke into Swisshelm's newspaper office and removed her press, throwing it into the Mississippi River. Lowry started a rival paper, The Union.[17]

The US Supreme Court's 1857 decision in the Dred Scott case ruled that slaves could not file freedom suits, as well as declaring the Missouri Compromise unconstitutional, so the territory's prohibition against slavery became unenforceable. Nearly all Southerners left the St. Cloud area when the Civil War broke out, taking their slaves with them.[17] Lowry died in the city in 1865.

Beginning in 1864 Stephen Miller served a two-year term as Minnesota governor, the only citizen of St. Cloud ever to hold the office. Miller was a "Pennsylvania German businessman", lawyer, writer, active abolitionist, and personal friend of Alexander Ramsey. He was on the state's Republican electoral ticket with Abraham Lincoln in 1860.[18]

Steamboats regularly docked at St. Cloud as part of the fur trade and other commerce, 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 Pandolfo started the Pan Motor Company in St. Cloud. Pandolfo claimed his Pan-Cars would make St. Cloud the new Detroit. He was later convicted and imprisoned for attempting to defraud investors.[19][20]

Immigrant communities

Somali immigrants began to arrive in St. Cloud at the beginning of the 21st century to work in the meatpacking industry, and arrived in larger numbers after about 2010, reaching 10% of the population and sparking a period of ethnic tension.[21]

In January 2016, Susan Du published an article headlined "St. Cloud is the Worst Place in Minnesota to Be Somali" in the Minneapolis tabloid City Pages. A Somali writer for the St. Cloud Times identified numerous factual errors in the article, describing it as "a schlocky story built only from negatives" and "a misleading narrative...backed...with incorrect statistical evidence".[22]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 41.08 square miles (106.40 km2); 40.04 square miles (103.70 km2) is land and 1.04 square miles (2.69 km2) is water.[2] The city is bisected by the Mississippi River, and part of the Sauk River runs along its northern edge. Just south of downtown, near Technical High School, is the 7-acre, 35-feet-deep Lake George.

Adjacent communities


St. Cloud lies in the warm summer humid continental climate zone (Köppen climate classification Dfb), with warm, humid summers and cold winters with heavy snowfall. January is the coldest month, with an average high temperature of 21.4 °F (−7 °C) and an average low temperature of 1.8 °F (−18 °C). July is the warmest month, with an average high of 82.3 °F (28 °C) and an average low of 58.4 °F (14 °C).

Climate data for St. Cloud, MN (St. Cloud Regional Airport)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 56
Average high °F (°C) 21.4
Average low °F (°C) 1.8
Record low °F (°C) −43
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.76
Average snowfall inches (cm) 10.1
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 8.8 6.9 8.3 9.4 11.1 11.4 10.6 10.0 9.3 8.5 8.3 7.9 110.5
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 8.5 6.8 5.1 2.4 0.2 0 0 0 0 0.8 5.7 8.3 37.8
Source #1: NOAA (normals, 1981–2010)[23]
Source #2: The Weather Channel (records)[24]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201567,109[25]1.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[26]
2015 Estimate[27]

2010 census

As of the census[3] of 2010, there were 65,842 people, 25,439 households, and 13,348 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,644.4 inhabitants per square mile (634.9/km2). There were 27,338 housing units at an average density of 682.8 per square mile (263.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 84.6% White, 7.8% African American, 0.7% Native American, 3.7% Asian, 0.8% from other races, and 2.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.4% of the population.

There were 25,439 households of which 25.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.6% were married couples living together, 10.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 47.5% were non-families. 30.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.95.

The median age in the city was 28.8 years.[28] 18.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 23.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.5% were from 25 to 44; 21.5% were from 45 to 64; and 10.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 51.5% male and 48.5% female.

2000 census

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

In the 2000 census, 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.

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.


Top employers

According to St. Cloud's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[29] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 CentraCare Health System / St. Cloud Hospital 4,110
2 State of Minnesota / St. Cloud State University 2,036
3 St. Cloud VA Medical Center 1,360
4 Electrolux Home Products 1,259
5 St. Cloud School District 828
6 New Flyer Industries 530
7 Wolters Kluwer Financial Services 525
8 ING Direct 495
9 Bluestem Fulfillment 484
10 City of St. Cloud 438

Arts and culture

Sites of interest

The St. Cloud VA Medical Center was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012.


The city is home to:

Parks and recreation

The city maintains 95 parks, totaling more than 1,400 acres (5.7 km2) and ranging in size from 80 "neighborhood and mini parks" to 243 acres (0.98 km2). The largest developed park, Whitney Memorial Park, is the former location of the city airport. It features a recreation center for senior citizens, a dog park, and numerous softball, baseball, and soccer fields.


The mayor of St. Cloud is Dave Kleis, who won reelection in 2012 running unopposed. St. Cloud is in Minnesota's 6th congressional district, represented by Tom Emmer (R). St. Cloud is partly in Minnesota House of Representatives district 14A, represented by Tama Theis (R), and partly in 14B, represented by Jim Knoblach (R). State Senate District 14 is represented by vice chair of the state capital investment committee John Pederson (R).

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%.[37]

Past mayors of St. Cloud include Sylvanus B. Lowry (1856), John L. Wilson (1857–58), E. O. Hamlin (1868), J. A. McDonald (1900), J. R. Boyd (1901), J. E. C. Robinson (1902–05 and 1906), J. N. Bensen (1905), David McCarty (1907), Louis Brown (1907), Hugh Evans (1908–09), D. H. Freeman (1910 and 1916–19), P. J. Seberger (1911–12), H. J. Limperich (1919), W. W. Matson (1920–24), J. Arthur Bensen (1924–28), James H. Murphy (1928–32, 1945–48), Phil Collignon (1932–45), Mathew Malisheski (1948–52), Lawrence A. Borgert (1952), George Byers (1953–60), Thomas E. Mealey (1960–64), Ed Henry (1964–71), Al Loehr (1971–80), Sam Huston (1980–89), Chuck Winkelman (1989–97), Larry Meyer (1997–2001), and John Ellenbecker (2001–05).


The city of St. Cloud is part of the St. Cloud Area School District, which serves St. Cloud, St. Augusta, Clearwater, Waite Park, St. Joseph, and Haven Township. The district 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.[38] 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.[39] 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, St. John's Preparatory School, St. Cloud Alternative Learning Center, and charter school STRIDE Academy,[40] 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.


St. Cloud is home to several higher education institutions, including Minnesota's third-largest university, St. Cloud State University. St. Cloud State's fall 2013 enrollment was 16,245, including 1,604 graduate students, 1,025 international students and 700 veteran students.[41]

Other post-secondary institutions and campuses in St. Cloud include St. Cloud Technical and Community College (SCTCC), Rasmussen College and Globe University/Minnesota School of Business. Neighboring Sartell is home to a campus of the Duluth-based College of St. Scholastica, and the College of St. Benedict and St. John's University are in neighboring St. Joseph and nearby Collegeville, respectively.[42]


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-TV (channel 41), an ion network affiliate, is licensed to the city, though the signal also reaches the Twin Cities region. Low-power stations include WCMN (channel 13) which is not always on the air. Additional, St. Cloud State University students operate cable-only UTVS (channel 21), which includes local news.

Radio stations include:




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.[43]

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.[44] The Metro Bus Transit Center in the downtown area is also shared with Jefferson Lines, providing national bus service.

Bus service links downtown St. Cloud and St. Cloud State University with the western terminus of the Northstar Commuter Rail line in Big Lake, by the way of Northstar Link Commuter Bus, which in turn links to the Metro Transit bus and light rail system at Target Field Station in downtown Minneapolis.

Several rail lines run through the city, which is a stop on Amtrak's Empire Builder passenger rail line. St. Cloud is also home to St. Cloud Regional Airport, from which daily connecting flights to Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport were made on Delta Connection, operated by Mesaba Airlines, until January 1, 2010, when the service was discontinued. On December 15, 2012, Allegiant Air began nonstop flights between St. Cloud Regional Airport and Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, on McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft.[45]

Major highways

Notable people

Sister cities

In popular culture

See also


  1. Dominik, John J. (1986). That You May Find Healing. St. Cloud, Minn: St. Cloud Hospital. p. 5.
  2. 1 2 "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  3. 1 2 "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  4. "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
  5. "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  7. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  8. "Area Definitions - Metropolitan Statistical Areas". Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. Retrieved October 3, 2009.
  9. Metro Council website, Twin Cities Metropolican Area Geographic Definitions, "Definitions Used By The U.S. Census Bureau"
  10. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, "Mississippi River", "St. Cloud to Anoka"
  11. "The Wild & Scenic Mississippi River". Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved October 3, 2009.
  12. City of St. Cloud, Public Utilities, Hydroelectric Services
  13. John Weeks, 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, November 2007.
  14. Kevin Knight. "Diocese of Saint Cloud". New Advent. Retrieved April 5, 2013.
  15. "3 Towns Into 1 City, A Narrative Record of Significant Factors in The Story Of St. Cloud Minnesota."
  16. 1 2 "Sylvanus Lowry", Minnesota Legislators Past and Present, accessed 4 Juley 2012
  17. 1 2 3 Ambar Espinoza, "St. Cloud professor unearths history of slavery in Minnesota", Minnesota Public Radio, May 7, 2010, accessed July 4, 2012
  18. John J. Dominik Jr., "Three Towns Into One City," St. Cloud, Minnesota: St Cloud Area Bicentennial Commission, 1976, p. 13
  19. "Pan History". St Cloud Antique Auto Club, Inc. January 1, 2007. Retrieved June 20, 2007.
  20. "Automotive History Online, Pan Motor". Retrieved November 6, 2011.
  21. Du, Susan (20 January 2016). "St. Cloud is the worst place in Minnesota to be Somali". City Pages. Retrieved 18 September 2016.
  22. St. Cloud Daily Times, Abdul Kulane, "City Pages report lacked accuracy", January 27, 2016
  24. "Monthly Averages for St. Cloud, MN". The Weather Channel.
  25. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  26. United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  27. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved June 2, 2016.
  28. "St Cloud city, Minnesota". Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010; 2010 Demographic Profile Data. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 8, 2012.
  29. City of St. Cloud CAFR
  32. "Tag Archives: FrozenFour". St. Cloud State University. Retrieved June 14, 2013.
  33. "Hobey Baker Memorial Award". Hobey Baker Memorial Award Foundation. Retrieved June 14, 2013.
  34. "Men's hockey: Top seed, title". St. Cloud State University. Retrieved March 14, 2013.
  35. "Brooks Center: It can happen here". St. Cloud State University. Retrieved October 15, 2013.
  36. "SCAR Dolls (league-run site)]".
  37. County of Stearns, Minnesota, election results.
  38. "St. Cloud Area School District 742". September 1, 2011. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
  39. "AP Exams by School". Retrieved November 6, 2011.
  40. "Home". Stride Academy. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
  41. "Fall enrollment 2013". St. Cloud State University. Retrieved October 15, 2013.
  42. "College of Saint Benedict Saint John's University". Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  43. "St. Cloud, Minnesota". Google Maps. Retrieved May 19, 2007.
  44. WCCO News, "System Helps St. Cloud Buses Stay In The Green", July 17, 2009.
  45. "St. Cloud Airport Website". St. Cloud Airport.
  46. Tom Burgmeier at SABR Baseball Biography Project
  47. Nicole Muehlhausen, BIO: Tom Petters,, September 24, 2008, Accessed October 8, 2008,
  48. Hughes, Art (December 2, 2009). "UPDATE 2-Tom Petters found guilty of Ponzi scheme fraud". Reuters. Thomson Reuters. Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  49. "US-Japan Sister Cities by State". Asia Matters for America. Honolulu, HI: East-West Center. Retrieved November 20, 2015.

External links

Wikisource has the text of a 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article about St. Cloud, Minnesota.
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