The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Culminating Project Title

Barden Park: A Case Study in Preservation

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

History: Public History: M.A.




College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Don L. Hofsommer

Second Advisor

William T. Morgan

Third Advisor

Lewis G. Wixon

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


The impact of the presence of a city park in a neighborhood is profound in several ways. A case in point is Barden Park in the South Side/Barden Park Neighborhood of St. Cloud, Minnesota. This paper will discuss the development of the park throughout history; the development of parks as an essential part of the American city such as Central Park in New York City, Central-Loring Park in Minneapolis, and Central-Barden Park in St. Cloud.

Barden Park, originally named Central Park in 1855, is a prime example of the origination of public parks, first in the United States and later throughout the world. Urban planners of that time were beginning to see the benefit of recreation and green spaces for people who were living in the expanding urban environments of the United States. Central Park St. Cloud followed Central Park New York which was designated in 1853. Central Park New York was the first public park of its kind in the world. Vintage post card images of early central parks, found in the appendix of this paper, show central parks in all areas of the country. These images also show the characteristics that are common in central parks of the nineteenth century.

The contemporary definition of park is a democratic notion. We believe that parks were a public good for the benefit and enjoyment of all members of society and not only for the elite. By 1885 Central Park Minneapolis was a reality, although St. Cloud Minnesota had its Central Park thirty years before. The name Central Park t. Cloud was changed to Barden Park in the spring of 1938 in honor of Charles Barden who was volunteer superintendent of St. Cloud parks. Central Park Minneapolis was also renamed Loring Park in honor of its superintendent. The following is a list and brief description of structures and monuments that have been part of the park's landscape:

  • Wood Band Stand.
  • Granite Band Stand. It was constructed of local granite.
  • Fountains. There have been two fountains in the park.
  • Cannon. It was removed for WWII scrap metal.
  • Monument/Drinking Fountain. This monument is the water fountain that a 1925 park record indicates cost $50,000 and was "to be of granite." Plantings and Landscaping. The park is filled with mature oak trees and a circular flower garden.

A neighborhood organization has been working in recent years to preserve and restore the South Side/Barden Park Neighborhood. Of all the events that have taken place in Barden "Central" Park over the years the annual St. Cloud City Band summer concerts have been the most anticipated and best attended. .

In order to restore the park a historical survey of the park was compiled. St. Cloud Historic and Neighborhood Preservation Association raised the funds needed to hire a professional historian as a consultant, designated the park a local historic, and raised funds for a new fountain and qther restoration following the city's master plan for restoration of Barden Park.

OCLC Number


Included in

History Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.