Since I'm only 2-years new to St. Cloud, things around here can still be confusing. I've started to learn about this area, starting with Munsinger Clemens Gardens. Do you know the real story?

According to the Munsinger Clemens Botanical Society, The site of the Munsinger Gardens was originally the H.J. Anderson Sawmill in the late 1800's. After multiple fires, the sawmill never rebuilt and the city started to acquire land around the destroyed mill in 1910. A few years later it was planned for a park and named "Riverside Park".

In the early 1930's, Munsinger Park started taking shape thanks to the Superintendent of the park, Joseph Munsinger, who was well-known and respected for his contribution and design of many parks in the area. The gardens received federal grants from President Roosevelt's - Works Progress Administration (WPA) and employed many workers to build the gardens for great wages during the depression era. In the 1940's an on-site greenhouse was built and grows a majority of the flowers in Munsinger Gardens each year. The garden is maintained by a staff and many volunteers to keep it looking picture perfect year round.

The Clemens Gardens location was donated by a prominent St. Cloud resident in the late 1910's, and was used as a grassy recreation field in the summers and ice rinks in the winter. Contrary to belief, the land was not originally donated to the city by William and Virginia Clemens. The gardens in this location were started in 1985 as part of a national garden trend happening. In 1988, the site of the what's now the Virginia Clemens Rose Garden was put up for sale. The Clemens were worried the purchaser would build in this location and ruin their beautiful view of the river and Riverside Park, so they bought the land and donated it to the city to build a garden. The Munsinger Gardens staff desired a rose garden area, so the Clemens donated $500,000 to fund the garden. In 1990 the city renamed the garden to "Clemens Gardens" in honor of the contributions of William and Virginia Clemens.

This is how the gardens came to be, hope you learned something...I sure did!

Flowers in full bloom at Munsinger Clemens Garden
Alex Svejkovsky, WJON News


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