Frozen in Time: Benson Brothers Building in Downtown St. Cloud [VIDEO]
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ST. CLOUD – Currently home to Brothers Bar and Grill, the Benson Brothers Building has a history in downtown St. Cloud stretching back to 1901.
The building started when John and Andrew Benson came to St. Cloud from Germany in the 1800’s to start The Benson Brothers Grocery Store. John Decker with the Stearns History Museum says the building was used as a grocery store until the Great Depression, when two automobile supply store businesses took over until the 1950’s.
A soft water and bookstore used the building until the mid-60’s, the building was also home to an electronics store until 1975, when a matress and furniture store moved in for the next 35 years.
Like other locations off of 5th Avenue, Director of Operations at Fortney Hospitality Group, Josh Aliesch, credits the longevity of the Benson Brothers building due to its location in a popular and high traffic area.
“You have an area where you have this synergy of all different resturants and bars-it has a flavor for everybody and you feel it keeps getting better and better,” Aliesch says.
While the building has undergone significant change over the years, it still maintains its historic character. The exterior design reflects a unique Romanesque Revival style that was popular in the 1800’s. The inside also has some historic gems, including an old tobacco advertisement on the interior bricks.
“We could see at one point that was an exterior part of the building, that’s a piece that we left and didn’t touch, we leave it for everyone to see because that’s a piece of St. Cloud history,” Aliesch says
“This is an existing shell, we exposed the beams and the floors and everything it has to offer-it’s a sense of pride,” Aliesch says.
-The Stearns History Museum and Google Maps provided some photos for video story-
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