ST. CLOUD -- From the outside it looks like a prison but inside of the granite walls sits the former home of Husky football. This week in our Frozen In Time series we stopped out to Selke Field.

Approximately 17 acres of land were donated to St. Cloud State University by a local newspaper editor named Alvah Eastman in 1931.

Construction on the 35,000 foot wall began in 1934 during the Great Depression. It was a state of the art project at a time where more than 12 million Americans were out of work.

In 1935, U.S. Congress earmarked $11-million that put about 8.5 million people to work under Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal. Former SCSU professor, William Morgan says it was one of the most successful New Deal projects.

"The wall was part of an agency under the New Deal...called WPA, Works Progress Administration. It was really the most successful of all the New Deal Programs," says Morgan.

It took five masons about three years to construct the wall that was built brick by brick. The pink granite came from a quarry found inside of the St. Cloud Prison which is why it's called reformatory pink.

When the wall was completed, the field was named after then SCSU President George Selke.

The field is located six blocks away from the SCSU campus. Prior to Selke Field, the football team practiced and held their games on a field located in the middle of the university.

The new athletic facility contained a football field, baseball diamond, four softball fields, a cinder track, 12 tennis courts, a practice golf tee, archery and badminton.

The purpose of the field began to shift by the end of World War II. Morgan says the university started constructing buildings to house veterans who were enrolled for credits at the college under the G.I. Bill.

"The university built what I call barracks. It looked like an army site. Inside of that wall there were maybe 25 or 30 barrack like buildings," says Morgan.

Today the field is home to Husky softball. Youth soccer teams, club rugby teams and intramural sports use the irrigated turf field.

Stearns History Museum
Stearns History Museum

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