St. Cloud’s 5th Avenue: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow [PART 1]
ST. CLOUD - 5th Avenue is one of the most significant streets in St. Cloud's history. It was originally called "Main Street" before city leaders changed the name in the 1870's.
Today (Monday) WJON news is kicking-off a week-long look back at how 5th Avenue has evolved over the decades. We're starting with the block from 1st Street North to St. Germain Street.
Steve Penick is the head archivist from the Stearns History Museum. He says you can't help but notice the big First National Bank Building, built in 1889. However, it didn't stay a bank very long, closing in 1925. Brian Schoenborn and his partners recently bought the building and are in the middle of a major remodeling project. MC's Dugout bar remains in the lower level of the building.
Across the street where the River's Edge Convention Center parking lot is now, you might remember the M & H Appliance building that used to be on the corner of St. Germain and 5th. Next to that building was Erbert's and Gerbert's. Prior to those businesses, the Greyhound Bus Depot used to be on that corner. It was built in 1944.
A man by the name of Jim Hermanson used to own Jim's Bicycle Shop along 5th Avenue. He moved his business to that block in 1927, and it was still there in the 1950's. He was known to the community as "The Bicycle Man". Every year after Christmas he'd give away free ice skates to needy kids in the St. Cloud area.
In 1973 the city demolished several buildings along the block, including: Stevenson's Auto Parts, Jim's Bicycle Shop, and the Western Union Building.
With construction crews and a large crane on the block right now, this is the stretch of 5th Avenue undergoing the most visible changes right now. City Planning Director Matt Glaesman says the new parking ramp has been a long time coming for downtown.
Monday: the block from 1st Street North to St. Germain Street
Tuesday: the west side of the block from St. Germain Street to 1st Street South
Wednesday: the east side of the block from 1st Street South to St. Germain Street
Thursday: the block from 1st Street South to Division Street
Friday: the block from Division Street to Ramsey Place
(WJON video reporter Alex Svejkovsky contributed to this series)