This week I took on the task of finding new and interesting tidbits of trivial information about the St. Cloud area. I figured since I've lived in St. Cloud for six years now, and I'm a lifelong Minnesotan, this should be easy! I just went to my computer and started googling. But then I realized, if it's easy to find online how "little known" can it be? So I went back to the drawing board, called a few of my regular sources, and started to dig a little deeper. The result is the following five facts. You may have already heard of a few of these, but hopefully there's a few surprises. Feel free to use these facts to impress your friends at your next party.

  • 1

    St. Cloud Boasts One of the Longest Walls in the World

    When it was completed in 1922 the 1 ½ mile wall surrounding the St. Cloud Prison was the longest wall in the United States, and the second longest wall in the world, next to the Great Wall of China. Today it’s still the longest granite wall in the world, the second longest wall of any kind in the U.S., and it also holds the title of the longest wall in the world built entirely by prisoners.

    Stearns History Museum archives
  • 2

    Major Leaguers Swinging Bats Made in Stearns County

    A company in Brooten called Maxbat makes hundreds of bats a year for everyone from amateurs on up. However, their biggest claim to fame is the bats they make for major league baseball players like: Josh Hamilton, Jason Kubel, Jimmy Rollins, Torii Hunter, Matt Tolbert, Alexi Casilla, and more. Maxbat is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary this year.

    Jason Kubel (Getty Images)
  • 3

    The Pontoon Was Invented in Richmond

    A man by the name of Ambrose Weeres was asked by a friend to create a contraption out of tubes and oil barrels that would float on water back in 1951. By the next year he had founded Weeres Industries. In 1990 the State Legislature passed a resolution officially recognizing Weeres at the inventor of the pontoon.

    Stearns History Museum Archives
  • 4

    Homes Now Sit Over Forgotten St. Cloud Cemetery

    A large Catholic cemetery used to be located at 3rd Street North and Cooper Avenue. It was moved in 1891. Supposedly it was up to the families to move the bodies of their loved ones to the new cemetery. Any that were not moved by November 20th, 1891 would be moved by the church. However, legend has it several were forgotten, and there are stories of people finding caskets when digging basements for new homes.

  • 5

    Lake George Used to be Much Bigger

    Way back in 1855 when St. Cloud was just getting started record books show the size of the lake to be 7 ½ blocks. However, already by 1876 officials noticed the lake was starting to dry up. The city council took action in the 1920’s to dredge the lake. The mud was used to fill-in the north and south ends of the lake, and by 1928 the 23 acre swamp had been reduced to a seven acre lake, 35 feet deep in spots.

    Stearns History Museum archives