"The Granite City"
Location within Minnesota
Location within the United States
|Counties||Stearns, Benton, Sherburne|
|• Mayor||Dave Kleis|
|• City||41.23 sq mi (106.78 km2)|
|• Land||40.17 sq mi (104.04 km2)|
|• Water||1.06 sq mi (2.74 km2)|
|Elevation||1,030 ft (314 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Rank||US: 548th|
|• Density||1,714.78/sq mi (662.08/km2)|
|• Urban||110,621 (US: 281st)|
|• Metro||200,406 (US: 225th)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (CST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
56301, 56302, 56303, 56304, 56393, 56397, 56398
|GNIS feature ID||2396483|
St. Cloud is a city in the U.S. state of Minnesota and the largest population center in the state's central region. The population was 68,881 at the 2020 census, making it Minnesota's 12th-largest city. St. Cloud is the county seat of Stearns County and was named after the city of Saint-Cloud, France (in Île-de-France, near Paris), which was named after the 6th-century French monk Clodoald.
Though mostly in Stearns County, St. Cloud also extends into Benton and Sherburne counties, and straddles the Mississippi River. It is the center of contiguous urban area, with Waite Park, Sauk Rapids, Sartell, St. Joseph, Rockville, and St. Augusta directly bordering the city, and Foley, Rice, Kimball, Clearwater, Clear Lake, and Cold Spring nearby. The St. Cloud metropolitan area had a population of 199,671 at the 2020 census. It has been listed as the fifth-largest metro with a presence in Minnesota, behind Minneapolis–St. Paul, Duluth–Superior, Fargo-Moorhead, and Rochester. But the entire St. Cloud area is entirely in Minnesota, while most of Fargo-Moorhead's population is in North Dakota and Superior, Wisconsin, contributes significant population to the Duluth area.
St. Cloud is 65 miles (105 km) northwest of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis–St. Paul along Interstate 94, U.S. Highway 52 (conjoined with I-94), U.S. Highway 10, Minnesota State Highway 15, and Minnesota State Highway 23. The St. Cloud Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is made up of Stearns and Benton Counties. The city was included in a newly defined Minneapolis–St. Paul–St. Cloud Combined Statistical Area (CSA) in 2000. St. Cloud as a whole has never been part of the 13-county MSA comprising Minneapolis, St. Paul, Bloomington and parts of western Wisconsin.
St. Cloud State University, Minnesota's third-largest public university, is located between the downtown area and the Beaver Islands, which form a maze for a two-mile stretch of the Mississippi. The approximately 30 undeveloped islands are a popular destination for kayak and canoe enthusiasts and are part of a state-designated 12-mile stretch of wild and scenic river.
St. Cloud owns and operates a hydroelectric dam on the Mississippi, the state's largest city-owned hydro facility, that can produce almost nine megawatts of electricity, about 10% of the total electricity generated by 11 Mississippi hydro dams in Minnesota.
What is now the St. Cloud area was occupied by various indigenous peoples for thousands of years. Europeans encountered the Ottawa, Ojibwe, and Winnebago when they started to trade with Native American peoples.
Minnesota was organized as a territory in 1849. The St. Cloud area was opened up to settlers in 1851 after treaty negotiations with the Winnebago (Ho-Chunk) tribe in 1851 and 1852. John Wilson, a Maine native with French Huguenot ancestry and an interest in Napoleon, named the settlement St. Cloud after Saint-Cloud, the Paris suburb where Napoleon had his favorite palace.
St. Cloud was a waystation on the Middle and Woods branches of the Red River Trails used by Métis traders between the Canada–US border at Pembina, North Dakota and St. Paul. The cart trains often consisted of hundreds of oxcarts. The Métis, bringing furs to trade for supplies to take back to their rural settlements, would camp west of the city and cross the Mississippi in St. Cloud or just to the north in Sauk Rapids
The City of St. Cloud was incorporated in 1856. It developed from three distinct settlements, known as Upper Town, Middle Town, and Lower Town, that were established by European-American settlers starting in 1853. Remnants of the deep ravines that separated the three are still visible today. Middle Town was settled primarily by Catholic German immigrants and migrants from eastern states, who were recruited to the region by Father Francis Xavier Pierz, a Catholic priest who also ministered as a missionary to Native Americans.
Lower Town was founded by settlers from the Northern Tier of New England and the mid-Atlantic states, including former residents of upstate New York. Lower Town's Protestant settlers opposed slavery.
Upper Town, or Arcadia, was plotted by General Sylvanus Lowry, a slaveholder and trader from Kentucky who brought slaves with him, although Minnesota was organized as a free territory. He served on the territorial Council from 1852 to 1853 and was elected president of the newly formed town council in 1856, serving for one year (the office of mayor did not yet exist).
Jane Grey Swisshelm, an abolitionist newspaper editor who had migrated from Pittsburgh, repeatedly attacked Lowry in print. At one point Lowry organized a "Committee of Vigilance" that broke into Swisshelm's newspaper office and removed her press, throwing it into the Mississippi River. Lowry started a rival paper, The Union.
The US Supreme Court's 1857 decision in Dred Scott ruled that slaves could not file freedom suits and found the Missouri Compromise unconstitutional, so the territory's prohibition against slavery became unenforceable. Nearly all Southerners left the St. Cloud area when the Civil War broke out, taking their slaves with them. Lowry died in the city in 1865.
Beginning in 1864, Stephen Miller served a two-year term as Minnesota governor, the only citizen of St. Cloud ever to hold the office. Miller was a "Pennsylvania German businessman", lawyer, writer, active abolitionist, and personal friend of Alexander Ramsey. He was on the state's Republican electoral ticket with Abraham Lincoln in 1860.
Steamboats regularly docked at St. Cloud as part of the fur trade and other commerce, although river levels were not reliable. This ended with the construction of the Coon Rapids Dam in 1912–14. Granite quarries have operated in the area since the 1880s, giving St. Cloud its nickname, "The Granite City."
In 1917, Samuel Pandolfo started the Pan Motor Company in St. Cloud. Pandolfo claimed his Pan-Cars would make St. Cloud the new Detroit but the company failed at a time when resources were directed toward the World War I effort. He was later convicted and imprisoned for attempting to defraud investors.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has an area of 41.08 square miles (106.40 km2); 40.04 square miles (103.70 km2) is land and 1.04 square miles (2.69 km2) is water.
The city is bisected by the Mississippi River, and part of the Sauk River runs along its northern edge.
Just south of downtown is the 7-acre, 35-feet-deep Lake George. In 2021, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) credited decade long-city investments in stormwater filtration with reducing Lake George's phosphorus levels well below the state standard. It called Lake George one of three "success stories" in the state, and planned to remove it from a list of impaired waters.
Granite bedrock quarried in the area has been estimated to be 1.7 billion years old and was exposed after several miles of rock above it eroded. The city lies on a band of modern Mississippi river sediment surrounded by land scoured several times by Wisconsin Age glaciers beginning about 35,000 years ago, ending with the Lake Superior St. Croix lobe. The later Des Moines lobe created glacial moraines and drift south and east of the city.
St. Cloud lies in the warm summer humid continental climate zone (Köppen climate classification Dfb), with warm summers and cold winters with moderate to heavy snowfall. The monthly normal daily mean temperature ranges from 11.6 °F (−11.3 °C) in January to 70.3 °F (21.3 °C) in July. The record high temperature is 107 °F (42 °C). The record low temperature is -43 °F (-42 °C).
|Climate data for St. Cloud Regional Airport, Minnesota (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1894–present)|
|Record high °F (°C)||56
|Mean maximum °F (°C)||42
|Average high °F (°C)||20.7
|Daily mean °F (°C)||11.8
|Average low °F (°C)||2.9
|Mean minimum °F (°C)||−22
|Record low °F (°C)||−43
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||0.67
|Average snowfall inches (cm)||8.8
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||7.8||6.4||8.3||9.7||11.4||12.3||10.6||9.3||10.0||9.7||7.3||7.7||110.5|
|Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)||8.5||6.4||5.0||2.2||0.2||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.9||4.6||8.2||36.0|
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2020, there were 68,881 people and 26,374 households residing in the city. The population density was 1,644.5 inhabitants per square mile (634.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 77.1% White, 14.6% African American, 0.6% Native American, 3.4% Asian, and 3.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.2% of the population.
St. Cloud is the principal city of the St. Cloud Metropolitan Statistical Area, a metropolitan area that covers Sherburne, Benton and Stearns counties and had a combined population of 199,671 at the 2020 census, an increase of 5.59% since 2010.
As of the census of 2010, there were 65,842 people, 25,439 households, and 13,348 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,644.4 inhabitants per square mile (634.9/km2). There were 27,338 housing units at an average density of 682.8 per square mile (263.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 84.6% White, 7.8% African American, 0.7% Native American, 3.7% Asian, 0.8% from other races, and 2.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.4% of the population.
There were 25,439 households, of which 25.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.6% were married couples living together, 10.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 47.5% were non-families. 30.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.95.
The median age in the city was 28.8 years. 18.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 23.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.5% were from 25 to 44; 21.5% were from 45 to 64; and 10.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 51.5% male and 48.5% female.
As of the census of 2000, 27.3% of St. Cloud households had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.4% were married couples living together, 9.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.9% were non-families. 30.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 3.00.
The racial makeup of the city was 91.7% White, 2.4% African American, 0.7% Native American, 3.1% Asian, 0.7% other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.3% of the population.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2020 the annual mean wage for 99,600 employees across all occupations in St. Cloud was $50,800. The median hourly wage was $24.42.
According to St. Cloud's 2020 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:
|#||Employer||# of Employees|
|1||*CentraCare Health System St. Cloud Hospital||7,854|
|2||State of Minnesota / St. Cloud State University||2,259|
|3||St. Cloud VA Medical Center||1,767|
|4||** St. Cloud School District||1,092|
|5||Fullfillment Distribution Center||784|
|6||*** Stearns County||732|
|7||New Flyer of America Inc.||677|
In 2019 the city of Saint Cloud, Minnesota was awarded three first places awards from the Rome based International Awards for Liveable Communities (LivCom), one of several most livable cities awards. The city won the first-place whole city award for its size and first-place for cities of all sizes for Enhancement of landscapes and public spaces, Arts, culture and heritage management and Community participation and empowerment. The international organization praised the city for its focus on improving parkland and trails, as well as its enhancements and maintenace of 96 parks. The city has been a finalist at the LivCom awards four times since 2007.
The St. Cloud Area Convention and Visitors Bureau promotes an area events calendar, dining and lodging information. The city-owned St. Cloud River's Edge Convention Center hosts a variety of events including regional conferences, consumer/trade shows, small group meetings and social events.
The city is home to:
The city maintains 95 parks, totaling more than 1,400 acres (5.7 km2) and ranging in size from 80 "neighborhood and mini parks" to 243 acres (0.98 km2). The largest developed park, Whitney Memorial Park, is the former location of the city airport. It features a recreation center for senior citizens, a dog park, and numerous softball, baseball, and soccer fields.
Since 2005, St. Cloud's mayor has been Dave Kleis. He was reelected to a fifth term in 2020.
St. Cloud has been moved by Congressional redistricting to a wide variety of Minnesota regions, including northern, south central, northwest and southwest. In Congressional district maps in effect since 2003, it has been grouped with rural areas and suburbs north and west of the Twin Cities. The district had only minor changes in a 2022 map drawn by a five-judge panel based on the 2020 census. St. Cloud is the largest city in Minnesota's 6th congressional district, represented by Republican Tom Emmer.
The city makes up the majority of population of Minnesota State Senate District 14, which straddles the Mississippi River and includes parts of three counties, represented by Aric Putnam. Minnesota House District 14A includes generally western parts of the city as well as Waite Park, St. Augusta and adjacent rural areas, represented by Dan Wolgamott. District 14B includes east central and northeast St. Cloud, neighboring Sauk Rapids and parts of rural Benton and Sherburne Counties, represented by Tama Theis.
St. Cloud was recognized in 2016 for its efforts to convert to clean renewable energy, converting from 5% to 80% renewable energy in three years, utilizing solar gardens, street light improvements, biogas and other energy efficiency initiatives. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has recognized St. Cloud's wastewater plant for its unique process of converting sugar-laden liquids from local food and beer manufacturers into fuel and fertilizer. Future plans would make the facility the first in the world to produce green hydrogen fuel and pure oxygen on site, and first in the nation to capture carbon from exhaust, selling the end product for building materials. Since 2020, the city has produced more energy than it consumes.
Past mayors of St. Cloud include:
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris won St. Cloud's votes in the 2020 presidential election by a margin of 9%, higher than the state margin of 7.12%. In 2016, former President Donald Trump won St. Cloud by 1.75% over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
The city of St. Cloud is part of the St. Cloud Area School District, which serves St. Cloud, St. Augusta, Clearwater, Waite Park, St. Joseph, Haven Township, and parts of Sauk Rapids. The district has eight elementary schools, a new K-8 school in St. Joseph, and two major public high schools, St. Cloud Technical High School and St. Cloud Apollo High School. St. Cloud also has a major private high school, Cathedral High School. Both public high schools offer a broad selection of Advanced Placement courses and rank high in the state in the number of AP tests taken and of test takers. St. Cloud Tech opened in 1917 across from a city park and Lake George. In 2019, it moved to a new 69-acre, 104-million facility on the southwest edge of the city. The historic 1917 building has been acquired for use by city government. Apollo opened in 1970 and serves the expanding north side of the city. Other high schools and secondary schools that serve the city of St. Cloud include St. Robert Bellarmine's Academy, St. Cloud Christian School, Immaculate Conception Academy, St. John's Preparatory School, St. Cloud Alternative Learning Center, and charter school STRIDE Academy, which is K-8. The nearby cities of Sauk Rapids and Sartell also have their own school districts and high schools, bringing the number of public high schools in the metropolitan area to four.
St. Cloud is home to several higher education institutions, including Minnesota's third-largest university, St. Cloud State University. St. Cloud State's fall 2020 enrollment was 12,607, in a year affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
St. Cloud's other post-secondary institutions and campuses include St. Cloud Technical and Community College (SCTCC) and Rasmussen College. Neighboring Sartell is home to a campus of the Duluth-based College of St. Scholastica, and the College of St. Benedict and St. John's University are in neighboring St. Joseph and nearby Collegeville, respectively.
The main newspaper is the St. Cloud Times, a Gannett daily newspaper.
St. Cloud is part of the Twin Cities television market. One full-power station, the Ion-owned KPXM-TV (channel 41), is licensed to the city, but moved its transmitter to the Twin Cities in 2009 as part of the digital transition, and maintains no presence in the city. WCMN-LD (channel 13) is a low-power station licensed to St. Cloud that broadcasts in ATSC 3.0. Additionally, St. Cloud State University students operate cable-only UTVS (channel 180), which includes local news and broadcasts from a studio on campus.
Radio stations include:
|FM radio stations|
|St. Cloud State University|
89.3 The Current
Adult Album Alternative
|Minnesota Public Radio|
|Air 1||Contemporary Christian||Educational Media Foundation|
|90.1||KSJR||Classical MPR||Classical||Minnesota Public Radio|
|Christian||Minnesota Christian Broadcasters|
|92.9||KKJM||Spirit 92.9||Contemporary Christian||Gabriel Media|
|1390 Granite City Sports||Sports||Townsquare Media|
|Album Rock 540||Classic rock||Tri-County Broadcasting|
|94.9||KMXK||Mix 94.9||Adult Contemporary||Townsquare Media|
|The Bear||Sports||Tri-County Broadcasting|
|96.1||WROJ (LPFM)||The Rock FM||Contemporary Christian||The Rock FM Communications, Inc.|
|96.7||KZRV||The River||Classic Hits||Townsquare Media|
|97.5||KVEX (LPFM)||RadioX||Alternative Rock||St. Cloud State University|
|98.1||WWJO||98-1 Minnesota's New Country||Country||Townsquare Media|
|KZPK||Wild Country 99
|99.9||KCML||99.9 Lite FM||Adult Contemporary|
|Uptown 1010||Adult Standards||Tri-County Broadcasting|
Album Rock 540
106.5 The Point
(KZPK HD-3 Translator)
|Z-Rock 103.3||Classic rock||Leighton Broadcasting|
|103.7||KLZZ||The Loon||Classic rock||Townsquare Media|
|104.7||KCLD||Top 40||Leighton Broadcasting|
|105.1||KZYS (LPFM)||Somalian||Saint Cloud Area Somali Salvation Organization|
(WHMH HD-3 Translator)
|106.5 The Point||Alternative||Tri-County Broadcasting|
|Album Rock 540||Classic rock|
|AM radio stations|
|540 AM||WXYG||The Goat||Classic rock||Tri-County Broadcasting|
|660 AM||WBHR||The Bear||Sports|
|800 AM||WVAL||Classic Country|
|1010 AM||WMIN||Uptown 1010||Adult Standards|
|1180 AM||KYES||Relevant Radio||Catholic||Gabriel Media|
|1240 AM||WJON||News/Talk||Townsquare Media|
|1390 AM||KXSS||1390 Granite City Sports||Sports|
|1450 AM||KNSI||News/Talk||Leighton Broadcasting|
St. Cloud is a regional transportation hub within Minnesota. Major roadways including Interstate Highway 94, U.S. Highway 10, and Minnesota State Highways 15 and 23 pass through the city.
Bus service within the city and to neighboring Sartell, Sauk Rapids, and Waite Park is offered through St. Cloud Metro Bus, which was recognized in 2007 as the best transit system of its size in North America. An innovative system gives transit buses a slight advantage at stoplights in order to improve efficiency and on-time performance. The Metro Bus Transit Center in the downtown area is also shared with Jefferson Lines, providing national bus service.
Bus service links downtown St. Cloud and St. Cloud State University with the western terminus of the Northstar Commuter Rail line in Big Lake, by the way of Northstar Link Commuter Bus, which in turn links to the Metro Transit bus and light rail system at Target Field Station in downtown Minneapolis.
Several rail lines run through the city, which is a stop on Amtrak's Empire Builder passenger rail line.
St. Cloud is home to St. Cloud Regional Airport, from which daily connecting flights to Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport were made on Delta Connection, operated by Mesaba Airlines, until January 1, 2010, when the service was discontinued. On December 15, 2012, Allegiant Air began nonstop flights between St. Cloud Regional Airport and Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, on McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft.
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