ST. CLOUD (WJON News) -- This month we learned two businesswomen have big plans to transform the vacant St. Joseph Mill into a brand new development.

According to records at the Stearns History Museum, there was an original mill on that site at least as far back as 1862.  However, a fire destroyed that building in 1899.

Three brothers with the last name of Schroeder bought the property and built a new mill creating the Schroeder Milling Company.

Photo Courtesy of the Stearns History Museum
Photo Courtesy of the Stearns History Museum

It was a flour mill plant with the capability of producing 75 to 80 barrels of flour daily.  It was operated by steam power and cost about $8,000 to build.

The mill was near the Great Northern Railroad Depot, and of course, now sits along the Lake Wobegon Trail.

It was sold in 1946 and turned into a feed mill.  The Farm Bureau bought it in 1965.  In 1980 it was still operating and making pet food.

Photo Courtesy of the Stearns History Museum
Photo Courtesy of the Stearns History Museum

The documents at the Stearns History Museum don't indicate when the business was shuttered.

You might remember there was an ambitious plan announced back in 2005 to transform the property into student housing for the College of St. Benedict and St. John's University, but that never happened.

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The new plan to create a multi-use space for microentrepreneurs passed the St. Joseph Planning Commission on Monday night.  It now goes on to the City Council for its consideration on January 16th.

According to city documents, the mother and daughter team have been running a successful food truck business called Pit Stop BBQ for several years. They have outgrown their kitchen capacity and have intentions to remodel the building.

They envision the ground level as a commercial kitchen with a possible walk-up takeout counter. They also want to have a multi-rider bicycle rental business with a bike repair shop. This would be the first phase of the remodel along with structural repairs.


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