More lake george facts

A boat race captured citywide attention in summer 1867. An oar-propelled skiff won the race, and to the amusement of spectators, it was equipped with wheels for land use.

In 1890, a corduroy road of logs was built across the swampy ground on the southern border to create a simple wagon trail. The trail became Seventh Street South.

There were two recorded incidents in which horses became stuck in the muck of Lake George. The first happened in 1911 when George Schulte of St. Cloud Grocery drove his team into the lake to swell and tighten the wagon wheels that had been loosened by the heat. Both horses suddenly sank into the muck. Only their heads remained above water. Another team of horses from the icehouse pulled them out after a considerable struggle. In October 1928, while filling in the north section of low land around Lake George, a horse from a team hauling gravel from the new fire hall excavation was sucked into the mud. A rope was thrown around its neck, and it was pulled to safety by workers.

The St. Cloud Ice Co. harvested ice from Lake George to sell to local residents. An estimated 16-17 tons of ice was taken off the lake in 1911. When the Mississippi River ice was deemed too dirty for public use by state authorities in 1913, almost 15,000 tons of ice was cut from the lake, averaging 24-26 inches thick.

Horse racing was popular on the boulevard around the lake, which was nicknamed “Lake George Speedway,” with the first series of races taking place in February 1912. Early Alice and Philador were early winners of the coveted Moos Cup, a local invention given by St. Cloud resident John Moos.

The water level in Lake George became dangerously low in 1921 due to the new Pantown sewer system. The water that once drained into Lake George from the west was now flowing into the Sauk River. Residents “frantically” pumped water into the lake using hoses. Two lines sent more than 1,000 gallons of water per minute into Lake George until its level was restored.

During the dredging process in 1928, a large granite ledge was uncovered on the lake’s west side. Its highest point is 9 feet under water.

A giant toboggan slide was built on the southwest corner of the lake in winter 1928. It stood 45 feet high and 200 feet long, sloping toward the east shore.

A flower garden with a little stone bridge and miniature golf course once stood along Ninth Avenue and Second Street South. It was removed when Division Street was extended past the northern edge of Lake George.

Swans were first introduced to Lake George in 1948.

The fountain on Lake George was installed in 1969 at a cost of $11,500. Individuals, civic groups and local businesses raised the money.

Sources: Times archives, Stearns History Museum

by Gena Hiemenz