From Sawmill to Flower Garden
Located on the Mississippi River, the future Munsinger Gardens began life in 1890 as a sawmill. Nearby was Riverside Park which was once a tourist area with six cabins for camping. In 1926, Campfire Girls planted the Scotch and Norway pines that still give Munsinger Gardens its dappled shade.
In 1930, Joseph Munsinger (1876-1946) became the Superintendent of Parks for the City of St. Cloud. He was a visionary thinker and used the labor available from the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and Civilian Conservation Corps. (CCC) to create parks for the City of St. Cloud that are enjoyed to this day. He did extensive plans for Munsinger and a number of other city parks. In 1934, the ‘timekeepers cabin’ was moved to its current location in Munsinger Gardens near the River. The Lily Pond and what is now known as the ‘Chain Link’ Pool were completed in 1935. Flower beds and paths were constructed according to detailed plans drawn up by Joseph Munsinger. In 1938, the first greenhouse was constructed to grow the flowers for Munsinger Gardens.
In 2009, a modern greenhouse opened to raise the flowers needed for both Munsinger and Clemens Gardens and to have a place to overwinter the collection of tropical and other non-hardy plants that are used in the Gardens. In 2017, about 75,000 plants were raised for Munsinger and Clemens Gardens. Munsinger is still a shady place filled with annuals, perennials and shrubs chosen for their color, form and texture. Take a walk or sit on a bench to enjoy the view of the flowers and sound of the river.