ST. CLOUD -- This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Stearns County courthouse building in downtown St. Cloud.

Stearns County History Museum Archivist Steve Penick says construction took about 18 months starting in 1921 and ending in December of 1922.

The courthouse sits on the site of the original courthouse that was built in 1865 with additions in 1871, 1874, 1884, and 1897 because the county was growing so fast.

Original Stearns County Courthouse, Stearns History Museum
Original Stearns County Courthouse, Stearns History Museum

Penick says it's clear the county commissioners at the time wanted to make a statement with this new building.

You look at some of the vistas, it certainly has an imposing presence downtown.  It's got a spot. It's a showpiece.  I think that was part of the design.

Penick says the structure features the six granite columns that are each one solid piece. The county spent $125,000 buying granite from Rockville.

For the inside of the building, they used less local material including marble from Tennessee.

Penick says the courthouse was designed to house all county offices at that time.

So it was a complete package. The jail had space for the sheriff, so he had living quarters.  There were about 20 cells or so for the inmates. It was a complete admin package.

The total cost was over $800,000, which equals about $12.8 million in today's money.

Stearns History Museum
Stearns History Museum
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Once a month Penick will be on the News @ Noon Show on WJON for our ongoing series called "A Century in St. Cloud" as well look back at the historic significance of the Stearns County Courthouse during its 100th anniversary.

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