The Soldier Friendly City
In the 1880’s Hamilton Disston built a sugar plantation outside of modern St. Cloud. It was this plantation that gave our town its name. From St. Cloud, France (not St. Cloud, Minnesota). This is an area known historically for its sugar farms. The sugar plantation closed in 1894 but out town kept the name.
Little happened from 1894 until 1907 when a classified ad was run in The National Tribune, a national publication for Union Soldiers, by J.M. Willson, Jr. offering lots of land for sale in Beautiful, warm and sunny Florida. The first lots of land were sold for $50.00 and included a 25 foot by 150 foot lot and 5 acres on the outside of town to grow crops or raise any animals. After the first lot sold the second series sold for $100.00 and included a 25-foot by 150-foot lot. Most of these were sold sight unseen by veterans of the Civil War.
The Grand Army of the Republic was searching for a place to create a retirement city for their Veterans and they chose St. Cloud. In 1909 St. Cloud was placed on the auction block to sell its lots. By 1909 the population of the town was approximately 500. In 1915 the population was 2,080 people.
Our retirement town has since grown into a 8.5 mile long city with a population of 17,500. Complete with many schools, shops, housing developments, and Lots of Really Great People.
We hope you have enjoyed the short story of how our town got its start. The start of the “Soldier Friendly City”.
I found this story at the Chamber of Commerce and thought to share it here.