The Large Granite Boulders In Downtown St. Cloud Were Dedicated – On ‘This Date In Central Minnesota History’
ST. CLOUD – August 30th, 1973 – “Granite Trio” dedicated
We have all seen the three large boulders on St. Germain Street in front of Herberger’s store. Have you stopped to admire this piece of art and wondered what the story is behind it? This 32 ton sculpture is called “Granite Trio” and was dedicated on this day back in 1973.
Anthony Caponi was chosen to be the artist for this project. This was the first major project of the St. Cloud Community Arts Council (known as Visual Arts Minnesota today). They received a $5,000 grant from the state arts board and, along with the Downtown Association, chose Caponi from among a group of 7 artists. The St. Cloud Community raised another $5,000 to match the state grant to pay for this artwork.
Caponi spent the summer of 1973 working on this project. His wife had just died, and he took the project on as a challenge and to prove to himself that his sorrow would not affect his creative ability. Caponi took a ride in the country and spotted a large rock in a field and said “I want that one!” The rock was in the field of Rockville area farmer Jerome Zabinski and made up “the jewel stone” of the trio. The other two rocks, “The castle” and “The sentinel”, were taken from the Rockville quarry of the Cold Spring Granite Company. His son and another assistant helped him using tools such as mallets, chisels, a jack hammer, air compressor, and a crane on loan from Cold Spring Granite.
People watched him complete his artwork, and when people see something made like that, they become part of it. “They became protective”, Caponi said. It could have been vandalized, but it wasn’t. “ I contribute this almost total acceptance to the fact that they felt like they helped make it.”
The sculpture was finished and dedicated, along with Mall Germain, on 30 August 1973. 3,000 people attended the dedication. Though Mall Germain is no more and many of the storefronts behind it have changed, the Granite Trio still stands in Downtown St. Cloud. Next time you pass by, stop and observe and think of the story behind this work of art.
Thanks to Sarah Warmka and the Stearns History Museum for their help with our series, “This Date In Central Minnesota History” on WJON.