First Avenue Wall – St. Cloud MN

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The First Avenue Wall located in front of Riverview was one of many improvements made on the St. Cloud Teacher’s College campus in the 1930s. Under President George Selke, the building of retaining walls such as the ones off First Avenue took place in the summer of 1936, made possible with use of W.P.A. labor in conjunction with NYA. The total cost for general building repairs, construction of steps and stairways, landscaping, and retaining walls at the time was $20,400.54. The purpose of building retaining walls on campus was not only for aesthetics, but for convenience and to prevent drainage wash and erosion. The wall, as well as every other granite wall on campus, was constructed using granite cut from the quarry on the Teachers college land. The campus paper, The College Chronicle, reflected with pride how SCSU students could “look out the window of the Main Building, Riverview, or Eastman Hall and see progress and beauty developing under the W.P.A. project.”

On October 30th, 2012, Brian Kostreba, a master mason, placed a granite sign reading, “WPA 1336” on the First Avenue Wall. This act marked the end of a two-month long project that helped to maintain and restore the walls along First Avenue. The restoration project’s total cost amounted to $200,000. The wall still stands outside of Riverview and looks the same as it did 83 years ago.

Source notes

“Many Improvements Made on College Campus During Summer months.” The College Chronicle. September 17th, 1937. Page 1,

“More than Mile of Sewers Laid in St. Cloud During 1937, WPA Projects Aid in Great Development of Sanitation.” St. Cloud Times. January 1st, 1938. Page 5,

“Student Council Tours Campus To View Improvements.” The College Chronicle. May 8th, 1936. Page 1, file:///Users/maggiemiddlestaedt/Downloads/03348_web.pdf

“Teacher’s College Completes $165,795 WPA Improvements.” St. Cloud Times. January 1st, 1937. Page 1,

“WPA Work of Lasting Value Says Lemm at Kiwanis Lunch.” St. Cloud Times. May 26th, 1936. Page 11,

Brainard, Dudley S. History of St. Cloud State Teachers College. 1954. Page 81, file:///Users/maggiemiddlestaedt/Downloads/BrainerdHistory.pdf

Morgan, William T. Earth, Wind, Stone: Central Minnesota Lives and Landmarks. 2008. Pg 134-135,$002f$002fSD_ILS$002f0$002fSD_ILS:654642/one

University Communications. “WPA wall restored and dedicated.” Outlook St. Cloud State University. 2012. pg. 4,

Project originally submitted by Maggie Middlestaedt on December 23, 2019.

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Location Info

St. Cloud, Minnesota 56301

Coordinates: 45.5513363, -94.14833929999998

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