St. Cloud’s 5th Avenue: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow [PART 4]
ST. CLOUD - We are continuing our look at St. Cloud's 5th Avenue, from yesterday, today and into tomorrow, with a look at the block that stretches from 1st Street South to Division Street - or Highway 23.
Recently the owners of the big grey building on the west side of the street installed the new "Davidson Opera House" sign to its exterior. Head archivist Steve Penick of the Stearns History Museum says it's a nod back to the building's roots. It was originally built in 1897. It was originally three stories tall, but it was gutted in a fire in 1913, then reduced to the current two stories.
Benson Brothers Grocery store was next door to the Davidson Opera House. It was built in 1891. Some of the businesses in that building over the years include: Granite Book and Bible House in 1968, Next To New in 1988, and a Bridal Outlet in 1998.
The Benson Brothers also built the building next door that's currently Brother's Bar and Grill. It was built in 1893. It was first used as a whole grocery store. St. Cloud Auto Supply and the Maytag Shop were in the building in 1929. 5th Avenue Sleep Waterbeds/Sleep Center was in there from 1977 until 2011.
The space at the south end of the Benson Brothers building is probably most well known for being the former home of Granite City Comics. Its newest tenant is Quarks American Benton. They specialize in fast healthy food. Quarks has been open since June of 2015.
A third Benson Brothers Building used to sit where the Perkins parking lot is now. It was the Benson Plumbing building. That was torn down in 1955.
Across the street at the corner of Division and 5th used to be the St. Cloud Public Library. It was built in 1902.
Some of the other businesses that used to be along the east side of 5th Avenue include: American Linen Supply Company, Sammy's Pizza (which was there from 1977 until 1982), and Montgomery Wards (which was at the corner of 5th and 1st Street South from 1966 until 1982).
Montgomery Ward, Sammy's Pizza, and the American Linen Supply were all closed and torn down in 1982 to make way for the Northwest Center Bank Building - now Wells Fargo.
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 story)