St. Cloud has grown slowly but pretty consistently over the decades. The big jump came in 1990. The population was less than 50,000. By the time 2000 rolled around, it had jumped to 60,000.

Throughout all the changes, there have been a few businesses and buildings that have survived it all. There are many residents, both inside the metro and outside the metro area, that have frequented them throughout. For many people, going into and even just driving by these establishments, sparks those memories from years ago.

We asked some Central Minnesotans what area business in the St. Cloud area brings their thoughts and feelings back to the days when their lives were a little simpler, and their worries were a little less. We asked the business or building still to be operational.

Here are what businesses, people said, brought back that nostalgia whenever they went there. Hopefully, someday soon, we will be able to shop them again and bring back that nostalgic feeling.

Paramount Theater

"Paramount Theatre" - Laura K. and Margaret

"I saw the original Star Wars there in 1977 when it as a movie theater" - Laura

The Paramount Theater you see today almost wasn't. After a fire in the 1980s, it was very close to getting torn down. Fortunately, it wasn't.

Photo: David Black
Photo: David Black
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Stearns County History Museum
Stearns County History Museum
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Skatin' Place

"The Skatin place for sure!" - Shawna S.

"The Skatin Place!" - Tracy L.

Adults and kids have been rolling around the Skatin Place since 1974.

 

Skatin-Place-
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Stearns County History Museum
Stearns County History Museum
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Val's Hamburgers

"Val's and the Paramount theatre." Margaret B.

The nostalgic feeling comes surging through at this 'little burger joint that could'. If you've never been to Val's, do yourself a favor and go. It's as basic as you get. For a place that has been around as long as they have, they never wanted to get any bigger than they were. You have to respect that.

 

Photo: David Black
Photo: David Black
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The Red Carpet

"The Red Carpet. Hung out there all the time during my college years" - Dave T.

If you went to "The Carpet" back in the day, you know what this place and the rest of downtown was sometimes. A bunch of college kids, mixed with plenty of non-college kids, usually made for some 'interesting' nights. Add in the Bar-hopping within a couple of block radius, and you've got a recipe for crazy nights.

 

Photo: David Black
Photo: David Black
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Gopher Bargain Center

"Gopher Bargain Center" - Rick S

"Gopher Bargain Center. I went there when I was a kid. I was called Gopher Lumber and Supply. They even had a cafeteria in the corner where they served hotdogs for something like 10 cents." - John U.

It's no wonder why Gopher fires up those nostalgic feelings.

Gopher Bargain Center
Gopher Bargain Center
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MC's Dugout

"MC's Dugout. The first bar I ever DJ'd at in St. Cloud back in 1990" - David B.

The building MC's sits in was built back in 1889, and there's a lot of history in one of St. Cloud's oldest buildings.

 

Photo: David Black
Photo: David Black
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Photo: David Black
Photo: David Black
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Crossroads Center

People began shopping at Crossroads back in 1966. There was a radio station in the late '80s, early '90s by the north entrance. I always think of that when I walk past that area. It has seen many changes over the last 20 years with additions like a new food court.

 

Crossroads-A
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Olde Brick House

"It's another place I spent a few years DJ'ing at when it was First Street Station back in the mid-'90s. I still get a nostalgic feeling when I walk in there." - David B.

This Irish restaurant maybe one of the newer businesses on the list, but the building is one of the oldest. It was built back in 1890 and has seen many businesses set up shop with all of them being of the alcohol variety.

 

Photo: David Black
Photo: David Black
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Brigitte's Cafe

"Brigitte's Cafe" - Lisa

Brigitte's used to be a Shakee's Pizza parlor over 20 years ago.

 

Credit: Brad Bichler
Credit: Brad Bichler
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Brigitte's Interior
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Lincoln Depot

Famous for its train that runs up by the ceiling throughout the whole bar, The Lincoln Depot used to be called "The Dew Drop Inn."

In 1997, I lived two blocks from Lincoln Depot and would stop for a cold one before heading home.

lincoln depot
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