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Lake George

Page history last edited by Lynn Wegner 10 years, 4 months ago

   Lake George


      On April 25th, 1855, R.B Blake (the first surveyor of Stearns County) recorded the existence of a seven and a half block lake in the plat book and named it Lake George.  Local historians figure Lake George was named after George Brott, the founder of lower St. Cloud, or George Schaefer who had a home, hotel and brewery near the lake. No one knows for sure. Lake George was once about seven blocks long and 3 blocks wide.  In 1928, the city decided to dredge the muck from the lake to fill both ends, resulting in the lake dropping in depth. At points it was 20 feet deep and then after the dredge it drops to 35 feet deep at its deepest point. 



       Lake George in 1855





       By 1876, it was noted that the lake was steadily drying up and in 1883, a movement was underway to clean the lake bottom and improve the lake by adding a driveway around the lake. By 1927, it was incorporated into the city’s drainage system and had shrunk to a 23 acre swamp.  The city hired a dredging company to remove sediment from the lake bottom and place it at the north and south ends of the lake.  The newly redone park was named Eastman Park and dedicated in 1936. The park was named after Alvah Eastman, a city newspaperman and former President of Park Board.  In 1937, a warming house was built by the WPA with bricks salvaged from the demolition Pan Motor Company buildings and the Tillson Mill.  In the 1930’s, a Veteran’s Memorial Garden was developed west of 12th Avenue between Second and Third Streets South.  A monument was erected in honor of James J. Hill, the great railroad pioneer. 






     Saint Cloud Municipal Swimming Pool   


     July 1947 the St. Cloud Municipal Swimming Pool is dedicated with a flag raising, music by the St. Cloud Municipal Band, and an exhibition of precision swimming.  The lake surrounded by Eastman Park which encompasses the Municipal Pool, which is open for swimming during the summer months, and four sand volleyball courts at the sound end of the park. The St. Cloud Municipal Pool hosted many U.S.A. Swimming competitions and was the location where many children from the community learned to swim. The Municipal pool was closed in 2002 due to declining attendance and an expensive mechanical problem which was extremely expensive to fix. Before the pool closed, there was  a  gas chlorine leak. The chlorine leak killed numerous trees in the park and sent a few patrons to the hospital. OSHA came after the chlorine leak to inspect the pool and eventually led to the pool being shut down.   






     There have been many suicides, drug busts, and tales of enormous fish stories that happened in Lake George.  In the early 1940s Jerry Eller who was an aide to Senator Eugene McCarthy, states seeing a women walking into slowly into the lake and committed suicide.  Paddle boaters found the body of another suicide victim floating in the late in the early 1970s.  June 1971, Mark Grafft, who was eleven at the time, was fishing on Lake George.  He thought he snagged a rock, but it turns out it was a 10.5 pound northern. 



















                                         Lake George Swans, Killer and Geraldine



     In 1967, two European Mute Swans were donated to the City Park Department by the St. Cloud Softball Association. These swans made Lake George their home for 23 years. The swans were called, “Killer” and “Geraldine.” On June 25, 1984 Killer and Geraldine gave birth to four signets named, Upper, Downer, Dipper and Sinker. A poem was written by the Park and Recreation Director Larry Haws at the time read,


                                                                           “The trumpeters blow their horn.

                                                                      To Killer and Geraldine, quads are born.

                                                                              We no longer can stay mute,

                                                                               four new signets we salute.”  


     During the Lake George Restoration, the two swans were found dead.  The Saint Cloud State University Biology Department conducted an autopsy of the two dead swans. They found the male died of a broken neck and the female died from stress induced trauma, apparently panicked to death by the intruders.Two eggs had been taken from the nest and thrown in the lake.                                                              





      The bath house of the Municipal Pool was then renovated in 2006 to become the Lake George Municipal Complex. The bath house of the Municipal Pool was said to be a masterpiece of architecture. Lake George was renovated in 2006 with a new splash pad, two playgrounds, patio, concession stand, public restrooms and other improvements. Additions to the lake include, running-biking-skating path beyond the walking path, two fishing piers, memorials, fountain, and an arbor. The renovation process took over a year to make all of the improvements, from the site of St. Cloud's old Municipal Pool at Eastman Park.  The total cost of the renovation process was 1.3 million dollars. The Rotary Club contributed many of the funds for all the improvements to Eastman Park.



     The City of Saint Cloud shares the parking lot with St. Cloud Technical High school. The city used to lease the parking lot to Tech High School for $1.00 per year. Just last year, after Tech High School raised parking costs for their students, the city raised the cost to $5,000 per year. The City of St. Cloud also has a collaboration with Saint Cloud State University for the use of the paddle boats and the canoes that are used on Lake George.



     Today, the Lake George Municipal Complex is the home to city employee offices and community rooms for the public to use. The Lake George Municipal Complex is a multi-use facility programmed by the City of St. Cloud Park and Recreation Department.  The park hosts numerous different events such as Summertime by Lake George, Liberty Lagoon, Pond Hockey Tournament and many more. These events have brought entertainment to the citizens of St. Cloud, MN. http://www.ci.stcloud.mn.us/index.aspx?NID=174




  Lake George Municipal Complex





Dave Driver

     Dave Driver, who is now in his late 70’s, grew up and still lives in St. Cloud today, used to work for the city’s parks department. He remembers driving his tractor onto the ice and he completely fell through the ice while on his tractor. He remembers popping his head up above the water, where the hole was. He remembers that the water was so cold that he couldn’t even talk. This was his most dramatic thing that happened to him while clearing off the ice all those years he worked there.

     He remembers how they put a pump in Lake George to keep the water cleaner. He remembers when the water used to smell bad and not look as good as it does today. They put the pump in the lake to also pump better water into the lake. He remembers how there used to be grass that ran all the way down to the water. He also mentioned that before his time, Lake George used to run all the way to Saint Mary’s Cathedral.

     Dave remembers skating on Lake George as a young child and remembers the brick building, which used to be the old warming house, which was on the East side of the lake. He can remember that the building had a “funny” smell to it, “it smelled like tar” he said. He also remembers that there was an upstairs to the building and that is where they sold candy. He said that they built a new warming house and the old warming house was demolished. He would usually go skating on Friday nights at Lake George.

     He also has some good memories about working at Lake George. He remembers while clearing snow on the West end of Lake George, seeing a co-worker on the East side of the lake driving his truck onto the ice and actually seeing the ice bending. This was the most bizarre thing that Dave witnessed while working at Lake George.

     Dave also did many other jobs around the city, but he had a few jobs maintaining Lake George. He used to clear the snow off Lake George and made hockey rinks on Lake George. He also poured some type of liquid into the lake to kill the bad odor the lake had at the time.

     He also said “every time you would clear all the snow off of Lake George, you would put 47 miles on the truck.” This is what he remembers about Lake George and how he contributed to working on and at Lake George.


Bob Rice

     Bob Rice, now 81, who now lives in St. Joseph, also worked for the city’s park department. He worked for the city for 41 years. He started working for the park department around 1955-56. He was a heavy equipment operator. Some of the jobs he did was snow plowing and he worked with a pay loader.

     He plowed the snow off of Lake George. It took him one hour and twenty minutes to clear off the entire lake. He used a two ton truck, which had a sweeper in the front and a plow on the side.

     Bob remembers driving onto the east side of Lake George and feeling his truck sinking, but fortunately he got off the ice in time before his truck would have fallen through the ice. He does remember one day falling through the ice on the south side of the lake. He was just about to get onto the ice when his front tire sank through the ice and the back tires were still on shore. He was unable to back it out himself, so they had to get a tow truck to get his truck out of the water. These are the stories that Bob remembers about when working at Lake George.  




Then (1855):                                                     Now (2012):









    Franklin Pierce                                                                                                              Barack Obama




Used steam boats and trains.                                                                                            Mitsubishi i-MiEV releases a car

                                                                                                                                      that gets 112 mgp (with electric power)

April 21:

The first train crossed the

Mississippi River's

first bridge.  




Celluloid is patented by Alexander                                                                                     Top 10 Tech Inventions shaping 2012.

Parkes, he developed the first                                                                                            http://blog.sherweb.com/top-10-tech-inventions-shaping-2012/

man-made plastic material from

guncotton and camphor.


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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mbf5CuabIlY                                                         http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xn676-fLq7I



George Martin Lane "The Lone Fish Ball"                                                                            Rihanna "We Found Love"     


Mrs. Norton "Juanita"                                                                                                         Adele "Set Fire To The Rain"






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to test camels for military use.                                                                                                total of $703 billion.




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Created By: Lynn Wegner, Jen Ridler, Mara Parson, Bethany Shevich, Mark Runnoe

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