ST. CLOUD - A must-see destination for Central Minnesota arts and entertainment, the Pioneer Place building has been in the area for over 100 years.

The building was originally made as an Elks Club in 1913. The granite pillars made the location a landmark for its time.

On the front of the building now features two clocks carved and set at 11 o'clock, the time when Elks had a moment of silence for their fallen brothers. Also inset into the stone of the building are the letters BPOE, which stand for the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.

The Elks Club owned the building until the 1970’s when they moved locations. The building then became home to the County Stearns Theatrical Company. Co-Founder of the Pioneer Place, Dan Barth, says the front of the building has served several purposes over the years.

"I think a lot of people will remember Tootsies Card Shop was here for many years, it was home to the Veranda Gift Shop, it was offices, the upstairs of the building at one time was apartments,' Barth says.

While known for its arts and entertainment, the Pioneer Place is also home to a unique piece of history-it’s large and historic urinal known as The King.

"The King has been in place as long as the building, it's this massive porcelain beast that is a floor-mounted urinal, it's unique because floor-mounted urinals are no longer approved in America anymore due to children drowning in them believe it or not," Barth says.

The Pioneer Place on Fifth officially opened its professional theater in 1998, the theater has grown to present a complete, 8-show season featuring all professional tours.

Since 2005, the front of the building has been home to the Veranda Lounge, which offers live music, food and a complete drink selection. The Veranda comes with outdoor seating and St. Cloud's only piano bar every Saturday at 9:00 p.m.

As part of the 5th avenue commercial buildings, the Pioneer Place was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

 

 

Dan DeBaun, WJON News