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Frozen in Time: D.B. Searle’s in Downtown St. Cloud [VIDEO]

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ST. CLOUD – Considered a must-see in the downtown St. Cloud area, the D.B. Searle’s building has been a fixture off 5th Avenue for over 127 years.

In 1886, local landowner and lawyer Dolson Bush Searle constructed the building. Searle served in the the Civil War and came to St. Cloud in 1871. Manager of D.B. Searle’s, Nick Barth, says Searle was also a good friend of President Abraham Lincoln.

“He was a personal friend of Lincoln’s and he was at Ford’s Theater the night Abraham Lincoln was shot,” Barth says.

The building was designed by A.E. Hussey, who also designed the Mitchell Building, which is now The Red Carpet Nightclub. The building cost $38,000 to create.

The three-story red brick building has had many purposes over the years.


In its early history it was a state bank for several years, the building has also been home to a funeral home and the Pan Motor Company offices.

The restaurant and bar first opened in 1978. Barth says it’s evolved numerous times since the 70’s.

“The restaurant has really evolved since that 1970’s supperclub, in the 80’s it got a little more uptempo, it’s been really upscale and very Americana, when we bought it we brought in this local farm-to-table concept,” Barth says.

Barth adds that the location of the building has played a large role in its longevity.

“I think the location is so key, that it was downtown-it was in a good area where people were out enjoying themselves, even after the long drives out to the supperclubs they could just come downtown for a similar experience,” Barth says.

In 1982, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places. D.B. Searle’s lasting legacy in the downtown area has made it a cornerstone for many in Central Minnesota. The building has even been a popular destination for wedding engagements.

“The number of people who have been engaged here is insane, I would say four or five times a week we have people who come here for an anniversary dinner because this is where they got engaged,” Barth says.


D.B. Searle’s Timeline

1886: Structure bult by Dolson Bush Searle
1886-1897: German American Bank
1886-1888: D.B. Searle’s office
1886-1912: Masonic Hall for St. Cloud Freeemason Lodge
1906-1914: Tileston Milling Company
1911-1924: Farmer’s State Bank
1917-1918: Pan Motor Company offices
1925-1926: Goedert-Rengel Printing Company
1935-1936: St. Cloud Musicians Association/Town Mart Furniture
1939-1970: Colbert Funeral Home
1971-1974: Next To New Shop
1975: Sova Piano Tuning & Repair
1975: Building receives $400,000 in renovations
1978-2012: D.B. Searle’s Restaurant and Bar
2012-Present: D.B. Searle’s Bar & Nick’s Third Floor Restaurant

Special thanks to the Stearns History Museum for historical photos.


See Previous Frozen in Time Episodes

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D.B. Searle’s today. (Dan DeBaun, WJON News)

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