The Bank of St. Cloud
501 West St. Germain
Built: 1889, Addition in 1918


The First National Bank of St. Cloud was founded by James Bell and Joseph Smith in 1867. It was the first bank in Central Minnesota, and the largest bank in St. Cloud for most of its history. Completed in 1889, The Bank building was designed by architect Charles Sedgwick and constructed by James Carlisle and Son, both of Minneapolis. The bank directors paid $11,000 for the site location. Ironically, the directors adopted the building plans just one month before a gas explosion destroyed the interior of its original building, two lots down from the 1889 building site. An addition to the west, designed to match the original structure, was completed in 1918. Withthe assistance of the Stearns County History Museum, the construction plans for the 1918 addition, and a later 1957 renovation, were located.

The Bank is as impressive today as it was as the morning it opened on Monday, September 9, 1889. Overlooking the Mississippi River, the location was prime; welcoming merchants to a city of opportunity. The soaring building is faced with red pressed brick and carved grey granite from St. Cloud's own quarries, and is completed with a 3.5 story quarter turret and two story, cast iron windows. The interior was appointed with elegant finishes, including white marble tile and black marble moulding, cherry wood trim, abundant fire places and a marble staircase. The vaults were elegant, constructed of polished vitrified birch, and complete with an alarm system. It was the finest building in St. Cloud of its time, and was widely characterized among the finest buildings in the Northwest.

The First National Bank invested, loaned and safe-deposited the dollars of hard-working residents until it was forced to close its doors on June 17, 1925. The building has been home to a significant number of prominent businesses, and was instrumental in the founding and development of a majority of the significant businesses and institutions in Central Minnesota, including St. Cloud State University.

Project Scope

A 1916 brick, found on the third floor made by Hess & Son Brickmakers of St. Cloud, MN.

A 1916 brick, found on the third floor made by Hess & Son Brickmakers of St. Cloud, MN.

While the building has undergone a series of significant renovations, its condition is remarkable. The north entrance remains virtually unchanged, still adorned with red pressed brick and cherry paneled ceilings. The south entrance was significantly modified during a 1957 renovation, which moved the second and third floor staircase to the interior of the building. However, the main lobby, complete with a grand marble staircase, wrought iron railing and marble wainscot, remains intact. The first, second and third floors have seen substantial renovations. Several historically significant features remain however, including three fireplaces, areas of original trim work, plaster ceilings and moulding, skylights, wood plank floors and five stained glass windows.

Our vision is to rehabilitate The Bank building, making it an attractive option to future tenants and restoring its position as the preeminent location for key St. Cloud businesses to thrive. The Bank will provide one-of-a-kind, professional office space in downtown St. Cloud, while honoring the past visionaries whose passion and work contributed to the growth and development of our community during the past 150 years.



Completed Renovation - June 2016


Renovation Progress - June 2015

Pre-Renovation - 2014

Historic Photos

Historic Documents