Central Minnesota is a neat little place with a lot of character. Even though we’re small compared to some places, there’s still a lot to explore. Here are some places you may not know exist/existed in our area! How many of these places did you already know about?

1. Sportsman’s Island, St. Cloud–I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I had no idea Sportsman’s Island existed until a year ago. I’m a St. Cloud native–for 27 years now. This little island is located near St. Cloud State University and the St. Cloud Country Club and has been completely abandoned since the 1980’s. If you’re lucky enough to get a glimpse of the island, you’d see old buildings left from what once was a popular picnic destination.

2. St. Cloud Regional Airport, St. Cloud–People who have lived here forever obviously know there’s an airport. But if you’re new to town there’s a chance you had no idea there was an airport here. It’s not like it’s located along a main stretch of town or something. It’s kind of hidden away from sight.

3. St. Cloud State University tunnels, St. Cloud–There’s a rumor floating around that SCSU has a secret tunnel system. And, those rumors are true. The tunnel systems were once used by students to navigate their way around campus in the winter. They’ve been shut down for many years, but they’re still there and mostly filled with storage.

4. Apollo High School tunnels, St. Cloud–Like SCSU, Apollo High School also has a tunnel system that stretches around the campus. Today, they’re used for storage–things like old cheer leading costumes, desks and chairs.

5. Pool at North Junior High, St. Cloud–There was once a pool at North Junior High School. They drained the pool and put flooring above it. Today it’s a gym space.

6. Unmarked graveyards, St. Cloud–St. Cloud was once home to not one, but two unmarked graveyards. One was located near Lake George and the other was located where the SCSU library currently sits today. But, don’t worry, the city says they’ve relocated all of the remains. That doesn’t stop the ghost stories from flaring up every now and then.

7. Grasshopper Chapel, Cold Spring–It’s a small one room chapel that overlooks the city of Cold Spring on a hilltop out of sight. It’s widely believed that this chapel stopped the grasshopper infestation that plagued the state in 1877.

8. Stella Maris Chapel, Collegeville–Saint John’s and Saint Ben’s students are very familiar with Stella Maris Chapel which was built in 1872. It’s located along Lake Sagatagan. But, if you’re not a student, you probably didn’t know this place existed. There’s a rumor that if you go on the “chapel walk” with someone you love, you’ll end up marrying them.

9. Poor Clare Monastery–It’s a quiet place that keeps to its own, so you’ve probably never thought twice about it. The nunnery first opened on top of a hill in Sauk Rapids in 1923. It’s a convent for nuns who live their entire lives in solitude and rarely leave its confines.

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