ST. CLOUD -- The man who designed the iconic Paramount Theatre left quite a legacy in downtown St. Cloud. Architect Leo W. Schaefer is responsible for the creation of several of our historic buildings.

Derick Segerstrom is the Manager of the Visual Arts Department at the Paramount Center for the Arts. He says Schaefer designed the then-called Sherman Theatre that opened in 1921, as well as several other buildings downtown.

Schaefer was an associate architect for the Stearns County Courthouse which was built in 1919.  Just across the street from the Paramount, the St. Mary's school which is now called the Mary Center was built in 1924.  And then, down the street, Schaefer helped design the Nathaniel Hotel in 1925, which today part of it houses Cream City Tattoo.

Schaefer's work could also be found in other parts of the St. Cloud metro area.

He also designed the State Bank of St. Cloud in 1917.  In 1919 he designed the Roosevelt School which was destroyed by fire in 2014.  And, he did the Sacred Heart Church in Sauk Rapids in 1922.

Around central Minnesota Schaefer also worked on buildings in Albany, Pierz, New Munich, and Holdingford.

Sherman Theatre in 1927, photo courtesy of the Stearns History Museum

Segerstrom says Schaefer was born in Albany in 1887. In 1912 at the age of 25, he enrolled in the Chicago Technical College for Architecture. And then in 1915 he returned to St. Cloud and opened his own office.

Schaefer eventually moved to Los Angeles. He died in 1952 at the age of 64.

Stearns County Courthouse in 1923, photo courtesy of the Stearns History Museum

Once a month on the News @ Noon Show we have a feature called "A Century in St. Cloud" where we look at the history of the Paramount Theatre celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

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