From Sawmill to Flower Garden
The history of St. Cloud's Munsinger Gardens may be compared to the garden's well-worn paths; for both have interesting and unexpected turns. During the 1880s the lower east bank of the Mississippi River was the site of a sawmill. But by 1915 the city purchased the area for use as a neighborhood park. Eventually, the site became known as Riverside Park and Munsinger Gardens, the latter section named in honor of a former superintendent of parks, Joseph Munsinger. Munsinger Gardens has experienced many different stages of development. Improvements to the gardens occurred during the Great Depression through the Works Progress Administration. Projects from this period included planting trees and flowerbeds. Other additions included the creation of rock-lined paths, a lily pond, and a fountain. However, most of the work in developing the garden was directed by Joseph Munsinger. The first greenhouse was built in 1938. While the original greenhouse is gone, new ones stand in its place, and garden staff continues the tradition of growing flowers that help beautify this wonderful jewel known as Munsinger Gardens.