ST. CLOUD -- The Stearns County Courthouse is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

During the past century, there have been a number of big events that have been held there but nothing as big as when then-presidential candidate Dwight Eisenhower made a campaign stop in October of 1952.

Stearns History Museum Archivist Steve Penick says St. Cloud rolled out the red carpet for him.

So he comes and has a little bit of a parade. St. Cloud Normal School at that time had their Homecoming Queen meet him.  The Stearns County Dairy Association gave him a bunch of butter.

Eisenhower gave a 10-minute speech on the south steps of the courthouse.

St. Cloud State University Archives
St. Cloud State University Archives

There was also a parade through the downtown that lasted about a half-hour. Eisenhower was only in town for about three hours be it is estimated that 8,000 people showed up to see him.

Stearns History Museum
Stearns History Museum

Later, in the 1960s and 1970s, several large rallies protesting the Vietnam War were held at the courthouse.

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Arguably the most notable was the filming of a Hollywood movie. The movie "The Mighty Ducks" shot scenes inside the courthouse on January 31st and February 1st in 1992. Penick says the film crew in town had everyone buzzing.

The crew was spending most of their time filming in the Twin Cities and they were looking for a courthouse, and they looked around the area and Stearns County was the one they picked.  They had to do an interior courthouse scene and they did some remodeling to accommodate the film.  It was a big deal, Emilio Estevez came to town and went to a couple of restaurants.  People were very excited about this moment of Hollywood touching St. Cloud.

Some county employees and area residents got to be extras in the scene.

Once a month Steve Penick is on the News @ Noon Show on WJON for a segment called "A Century in St. Cloud" which will look at the 100-year history of the Stearns County Courthouse.

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