The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

History: Public History: M.A.




College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Donovan L. Hofsommer

Second Advisor

William T. Morgan

Third Advisor

Alton C. Wolfer

Creative Commons License

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

Keywords and Subject Headings

Munsinger Gardens, Clemens Gardens, St. Cloud, Joseph Munsinger, William (Bill) & Virginia Clemens, Parks, local history, cultural landscape


This thesis describes the history and evolution of the Munsinger and Clemens Gardens, municipal gardens located in southeast St. Cloud along the east bank of the Mississippi River. During the early 1930's Munsinger Garden was established under the direction of the city's first park superintendent, Joseph Munsinger. Approximately half a century later, the Clemens Gardens were developed as a result of the inspiration of St. Cloud's present nursery supervisor, David Morreim, and the patronage of William Clemens, a local entrepreneur. Since their inception, the Munsinger and Clemens Gardens, two seemingly disparate gardens that are linked by site, design, and spirit, have evolved to become one of the finest municipal gardens in the nation.

St. Cloud's Munsinger and Clemens Gardens have become an important part of the city's heritage. In the same way that pyramids provide data on ancient Egypt and gothic cathedrals disclose information on the Middle Ages, gardens reveal insights about the cultures in which they were created and maintained. As gardens are considered one of the highest representations of civilization and culture, St. Cloud's gardens represent both the fine arts of horticulture and garden design as well as the community's interest in civic beautification and the dedication and horticultural skills of their creators. The history of the Munsinger and Clemens Gardens provides a cultural record of the values and beliefs of its community and reflects the trends in American garden design during the twentieth century.


I gratefully acknowledge those who have assisted me in this endeavor. I would like to express particular thanks to David Morreim, Julie Dierkhising, Larry Haws, and Prentiss Foster of the St. Cloud Parks Department; John Decker and Lorie Fischer of the Stearns county Historical Society; the Clemens family; Robert W. Becker; Mary, Diane, and the Dean's Office of Science and Engineering at St. cloud State University; and Donovan L. Hofsommer, William T. Morgan, and Alton C. Wolfer.

OCLC Number


Included in

History Commons



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