A Brief History of St. Cloud’s International Harvester Building
ST. CLOUD -- With plans in motion once again to redevelop the large old Gulf Eagle Supply building on East St. Germain Street in St. Cloud, let's take a look back at the historical significance of that building.
It was originally built by the International Harvester Company. According to newspaper articles in the archives of the Benton County Historical Society, news of the so-called 'huge structure' was first reported in the summer of 1928.
The total cost for the project was $150,000. It was to be the largest single project in the city of St. Cloud that year, and it was touted at the time as the 'latest and best evidence of the growth of the city as a distribution center'.
It was supposed to be ready for occupancy by December of 1928, and it would replace International Harvester's present location, which was built in the 1880s, near the corner of Sixth Avenue and First Street North in downtown St. Cloud. The 1928 timeline means this building is 94 years old in 2022.
The picture below is of International Harvester's original headquarters.
International Harvester would go on to build a second building across the street at 536 East St. Germain Street which opened in March of 1937. An article is quoted as saying the 3,300 square foot salesroom is the main attraction of the large building.
The truck entrance had a restroom for the drivers to use equipped with a shower. There were also lockers and showers for the mechanics along with several electrical drinking fountains in the building.
Benton County Historical Society President Mary Ostby points out that nearly every business in the area at the time was advertising congratulations to International Harvester for the completion of this second building, which is a clear indication of how big of a player I.H. was in the community at that time.
By 1961 the original building at 539 East St. Germain Street had changed hands and was occupied by Landwehr Transfer & Storage Inc. So that means International Harvester only owned the building for less than 33 years.
In 1968 the Donlin Company bought the building. They were actually the building's longest tenant, moving out in 2005 after 37 years.
It was sold again in 2008 to A.H. Bennett Company. And, the most recent owners have been Gulf Eagle Supply.
Country Hearth owns the 536 building now.