Chilling Facts Behind St. Cloud’s Two Forgotten Graveyards
The story behind St. Cloud’s forgotten cemetery on 3rd Street North and Cooper Avenue sound like something from a movie. A few homeowners reported finding caskets and gravestones in their yards and underneath their homes. No one really knew why and some even claimed to have experienced strange happenings. Little did the residents know at the time that their houses were sitting on the site of a former settler cemetery.
Over the years some residents have looked up old property records. Their findings were absolutely bone chilling. City records from the Stearns History Museum gave some validation to the paranormal claims. Old photos of St. Cloud show a photo from the 1800's that depicts a drawing of a cemetery and Lake George can also be seen in the foreground. The bodies were moved in 1891 to a new cemetery, but this wasn't the only case like this in the area.
There was a second unmarked graveyard where St. Cloud State University's library and Performing Arts Center currently sit as well as in some of the surrounding neighborhoods in the area also known as Block 26.
When SCSU began building their new library in 1999, workmen were excavating for the basement in Block 26 and dug up a little more than they had bargained for. Back in the 1800's it was custom to bury the dead on the settler's homestead because there weren't incorporated graveyards. Most of the time the graves went unmarked--that was the case for Block 26. SCSU professors and students helped with the dig which unearthed 24 graves--only 14 actually contained human remains.
Some residents of the area have wondered how two graveyards could be overlooked. In the late 1800's the bodies were moved to North Star Cemetery but the city was growing and being divided into lots and blocks. Since there were many unmarked graves, the bodies just got overlooked and forgotten. The city is pretty sure that they located and moved all of the bodies, but there are still rumors that unmarked graves and bodies of St. Cloud settlers are still out there. Only time will tell.