History 2

In 1852 a man named Ashley Riggs chose this nice spot on the Red River trail for an Indian trading post.  He brought his goods to it up the Sauk in a ‘bateau’, a boat pointed at both ends.  Riggs later founded the town of Monticello.  In 1853 a man named William Buchanan made a claim nearby.  Some Winnebago Indians from the reservation then north of Sartell came with him to help him build a log cabin.  But he didn’t stay.  In 1855 the permanent settlers arrived in the adjacent forest, where they began clearing our first farms.  The heads of these famous “Six Families” were Nicholas Jacoby, J. Maselter, Nicholas Hansen, John Theis, John Fuchs, and Nicholas Kirsch- German Catholics soon being visited by the great missionary, Father Pierz. In 1856 John Arcenault and Samuel Wakefield made claims on the present site of the village of Cold Spring and settled down to stay.  In the fall of that same year, 1856, four promoters named Turner, Gibson, Gordon and Strout purchased the greater part of the Arcenault claim, and platted and named the village, “Cold Spring City.”  The Arcenault log cabin was the first structure in it.  Of the 4 promoters, Seth Turner and Joseph Gibson stuck around to make the newly created village their home.  Turner opened a store.  Gibson was noted through the entire county as a Bible scholar.  In 1857 Edward Abbot, making the first official and systematic survey of the region, approached Cold Spring along the east boundary of our new Sportsmen’s Park, and found a dam built with a sawmill in operation, a hotel, a store, a blacksmith shop, a carpenter shop, and a number of dwellings.

In 1857 Cold Spring City’s post office was established, Seth Turner postmaster.  In 1861 the first public school was opened, Florence Jodoin, teacher.  She had 10 pupils, all of the first grade.  In 1862 the Sioux Outbreak, greatest Indian revolt in United States history, forced the village to prepare for attack.  A company of militia was formed, armed with Prussian muskets, and a barn back of where the water tank now stands was fortified.  But the Redskins got no closer than Richmond, where some isolated farm cabins were burnt.  In 1870 the township name was changed to Wakefield in honor of its first chairman.  In 1874- or maybe it was 1875- the first Cold Spring Brewery was built, by a man named Michael Sargel.  In 1878 St. Boniface parish was organized, the Rev. Leo Winter, O.S.B., first pastor.  Local Catholics before that date had gone to church at Jacobs Prairie- as Rockville Catholics continued to do for another third of a century.  In 1886 the railroad was built through town.  This ended the stagecoach era.  In this same year the public school moved to a new brick building. In 1889, by petition, the name of the village was shortened from Cold Spring City to plain Cold Spring.  The Post Office Department in Washington by mistake omitted the word “Spring” instead of “City” so the official postal name was “Cold City” for a while till the blunder could be rectified.  In 1899 the Cold Spring Record began publication.  Peter Honer, owner and editor.  This date marks a mid point in a long period of historical repose, presided over by the Maurins, Mugglis, Osters, Hermanutzes, Peters and Friedmans, who erected their mansions in a German-speaking Catholic village, the original Yankees having slowly evaporated from the scene.

The 1915 edition of the History of Stearns County written by William Bell Mitchell, described Cold Spring very well at that time when he wrote:

“Cold Spring is one of the most thriving and best known among the smaller village of the Northwest.  It has a population of about 750, and is located on the Great Northern Railway, sixteen miles southwest of St. Cloud.  It is situated in the midst of a prosperous farming country, and is well laid out, being modern in every respect.  Cement block sidewalks line the streets throughout the village, and there is a continuous day and night electric service from St. Cloud.  The vicinity abounds in natural mineral springs, and the two companies that have made the water famous over a wide territory, do a business amounting to some $20,000 a year.  The brewery, which also uses the spring water, sold some 16,000 barrels of beer in 1914.  The flour mill, which uses the excellent water power, has a daily capacity of 200 barrels.  Spring water of the best grade is on tap in every home, from nineteen blocks of water mains, which are supplied from a 50,000 gallon tank, 120 feet high, the water plant being owned by the village.  There are also two miles of sewer.  The third-class post office does a business of some $130 a month, while the opera house, 40 by 100 feet, secured some excellent attractions.  The village has a Catholic church, two grain elevators, two hotels, a creamery, three general stores, two hardware stores, two furniture stores, one meat market, one garage, two blacksmith shops, one wagon maker, one wholesale wine house, and two cement block manufacturers.  A weekly newspaper the “Record”, is published.  The village is becoming more and more popular as a summer resort, its genial people, its splendid water, its beautiful scenery, its river and near-by lakes, its hunting and fishing, all making it a most attractive place to spend the summer.  The principal shipments from this point are grain, flour, butter, beer, mineral waters, wood and live stock.”

In 1920, with the backing of local capital, the Cold Spring Granite Company was founded by Pat and John Alexander.  It has grown to become the main industry of the community and the home of the largest building granite producing plant in the world.  The company quarries, processes and sells building granite nationally and has established subsidiary plants in Texas, California, New York, Wisconsin and Canada.  It employs locally some six hundred persons on a regular basis.

This growth of the granite industry has played an important part in the continued growth of Cold Spring and while it serves today as a trading center for a portion of the agriculturally rich Sauk River Valley it is predominantly an industrial town.

The village today has, tow banks, housed in new modern granite front buildings, whose aggregate deposits total over $4,000,000.00.  It has a farmers’ co-operative creamery and one grain elevator, both in existence over forty years.  The Brewery is now in its 87th year, regularly employing about 52 persons.  The Great Northern railroad played an important part in the community’s early growth and today still makes a daily freight run.  Its first track was laid to 15 feet east of the depot in 1885.  On March 2,1886, track was laid from that spot to 2,000 feet west of the depot, and presumably on from there.  The first agent at Cold Spring was J.B. Beatty, who started on July 1, 1886.  The present agent R.N. Glover took ever with the retirement of Allen Alexander in November 1958.  The present depot was remodeled in 1954. 

Cold Spring today has some fifty commercial businesses, including a drug store, several medical clinics, a two dentists, a veterinarians, two chiropractors and two lawyers.  It has several active service clubs, including the Lions, Booster Club and Sportsmen’s Club; and also a well organized and efficient Chamber of Commerce.  The American Legion has completed a new granite front clubhouse, which it shares with the V.F.W. and auxiliary organizations.  The community’s Senior Center provides a wide variety of program activity for its older citizens.  For the youth of Cold Spring scouting organizations for both boys and girls provide many hours of recreation, as do the Knight Youth Club and the community’s summer recreation program. 

The City still remains as a popular summer resort area.  The twelve lakes and over 30 resorts within a 10-mile radius of the village provide good fishing, swimming and boating. 

The Assumption Chapel located on a high hill (Chapel Hill) just east of the village is a popular stop for local residents as well as tourists and is one of the historic spots of central Minnesota.  The story of the history and founding of the old chapel I related by Cold Spring residents year after year.  Grasshoppers were destroying farm crops in the summers of 1876 and 1877, so Rev. Leo Winter, O.S.B., then pastor in nearby Jacobs Prairie and St. Nicholas, suggested that parishioners bind themselves by a vow to erect a chapel in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and to hold services there. 

On the following day, the grasshoppers were gone.  The story doesn’t end there, however.  In 1894 a tornado tore the chapel from it foundation and threw it with force onto a pair of nearby oak trees.  The weight of the building injured the trees permanently.  They still stand there today, however, bent and parallel to the ground, but nevertheless sturdy and healthy.

Over the years, people in the Cold Spring area never gave up making visits to the site of the little chapel.  But it wasn’t until the summer of 1951 that plans for erecting a similar chapel were made.  Money, materials and labor for the new structure all were donated by the people living in the area and by business firms.  The principle item of material in its construction is granite, both on the exterior and interior.

Above the granite alter in the structure has been placed the original statue of the Blessed Virgin and Christ Child which was salvaged from the wreckage of the former chapel.  It was carved in the 1870’s by J. Ambroziz of St. Joseph.

The history of secondary education in Cold Spring has been one of continued growth and under the direction of Father Elmer Eisenschenk.  Additions to the school were made in 1960-61.  These additions, built almost entirely of granite include additional classrooms for both the high school, a new band room, gymnasium and bowling alleys.

Until 1916 the ninth and tenth grades as well as the elementary grades were taught in the old, three-story, gray stucco building which was later used as a convent, and in more recent years, served as District 14 H.S.  Demolishing of this building has now been completed.  The parochial elementary school was built in 1916 under the direction of Rev. Meinrad Seifermann, O.S.B.  Plans allowed for the use of a section of the second floor for high school classes.  Though not a four-year high school during the earliest years of its history, the Cold Spring High School was attended by many students mainly from Cold Spring.  A number of these students after completing the work offered them at Cold Spring, either discontinued school to pursue their chosen careers or enrolled in other schools of this region, especially St. Benedict’s and St. John’s.

In 1926 under the direction of Rev. Adolph Dingmann, O.S.B., the main high school building was constructed.  By 1946 the enrollment exceeded twice the number for whom the school had been built.  Meeting the essential needs of this growth called for considerable interior reconstruction.  In this way five class rooms were made available in the high school proper.  Still this did not provide sufficient space and the Sisters’ convent, which had originally been the district school, was reconverted for school purposes. 

Another period of building expansion for St. Boniface High School began in 1946 and was completed by the opening of school in 1948.  This construction was under the supervision of Rev. Victor, O.S.B.  With students attending St. Boniface from the nearby areas of Richmond, Watkins, Rockville, St. Nicholas, and Jacobs Prairie the enrollment continues to grow yearly and necessitated new additions.