A Day In St. Cloud, Florida

A Day In……

Monday, January 6, 2020


So, there we were, tooling along Highway 192 in Central Florida.  It’s time for lunch and we’re only a few miles away from the city of St. Cloud.  This is a place whose motto is “Celebrating Small Town Life.”  Who could resist?  We figured St. Cloud was a city we should explore; and that’s exactly what we did!

We found Crabby Bill’s Seafood Restaurant on the south shore of East Lake Tohopekaliga.  It’s located in the Lakefront Park Marina with stunning views of both the lake and marina.  The prices are quite reasonable:  glass of house Pinot Grigio, $3; $5 for Reef DonKey beer, on draft; Garlic Mussels, $10.99; Andouille Po’Boy, $12.99.

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Crabby Bill’s Seafood Restaurant in St. Cloud is located in Lakefront Park, adjacent to the marina.
This is a view of East Lake Tohopekaliga from the southern shore.
This is a view of East Lake Tohopekaliga from the southern shore.
Lakefront Park
Lakefront Park
Lakefront Park
Lakefront Park
Lakefront Park Marina as seen from Crabby Bill's
Lakefront Park Marina as seen from Crabby Bill’s
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Crabby Bill’s is a large facility with several dining options. We chose an inside table overlooking the lake.
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For his afternoon libation, Rog chose Reef DonKey, on draft, from the Tampa Bay Brewing Co.
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For lunch, Sandy had Garlic Mussels sauteed in white wine with garlic and butter. $10.99
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Rog had the Chicken Andouille Po’ Boy: blackened chicken sauteed with andouille sausage & onions, served on a toasted bun and topped with remoulade sauce. $12.99


While sipping our libations and awaiting the entrées, we did a little research on the area.  Known as Los Musquitos since the early 1500s, this area became Mosquito County when Spain, no longer willing to send settlers or garrisons to the territory, ceded control of the Florida Territory to the United States with the Transcontinental (Adams-Onis) Treaty of 1819.  At the time, growing sugar cane was a major Florida industry.  Sugar was king long before cattle or citrus.    Sugar cane grew well in Florida’s sandy soil.  Huge plantations spread across Central Florida all along the navigable St. John’s River.  However, after the Second Seminole War (1835-1842), the population of settlers was decimated.   By 1844, Mosquito County ceased to exist (today, this is Osceola County.)  Co-incidentally, that same year Hamilton Disston was born.  The son of a wealthy Philadelphia industrialist, Hamilton grew up working in his father’s saw manufacturing plant; he served in the Union Army during the civil War; and in 1881, he purchased four million acres of Florida land.  His plan was to drain the swamp.  He dug canals, established the St. Cloud Sugarcane Plantation and founded the Sugar Belt Railway to carry his product to market.  The great freeze of 1894-95 ruined the plantation.  Disston returned to Philadelphia and died in 1896.

The land remained fallow until 1909 when the Seminole Land & Investment Company acquired 35,000 acres to establish a colony for Grand Army of the Republic veterans.  The southern shore of East Lake Tohopekaliga was chosen for the settlement because it suited the criteria for “health, climate and productiveness of the soil.”  And that explains why St. Cloud is nicknamed “The Soldier City.”

St.Cloud was founded on April 16, 1909.  It’s a quaint community with some awesome murals and a super self-guided walking tour.  Here are the photos:

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If you approach St. Cloud from the east on Highway 192, you can easily visit the Mount Peace Cemetery. Here, many veterans of the civil war, as well as the Spanish-American War are buried.
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As the veterans settled in St. Cloud, if they were first on their block, the street was named for their home state.
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Don’t you just wonder…why did James and Emily decide to come to St. Cloud? He was from Indiana. Perhaps the cold winters up north were a factor?
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Most Civil War veterans who came to St. Cloud were from the north. Infantryman Gray was a young man when he entered the war with Company C of the Arkansas Infantry of the Confederate States of America.
Capt. Duddles was a Spanish-American War veteran.
Capt. Duddles was a Spanish-American War veteran.
There are some very lovely spots in this cemetary.
There are some very lovely spots in this cemetery.
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Founded in 1909, St. Cloud was incorporated in 1911. The old City Hall and fire department were built that same year. It’s now a private business with a mural depicting the original fire department garage.
This is the new St. Cloud City Hall on 10th St.
This is the new St. Cloud City Hall on 10th St.
The Old Sugarbelt Depot is now VFW Post 3227.
The Old Sugar Belt Depot is now VFW Post 3227.

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The mural, War Heroes from the Past and Present” by John Votel is on the old St. Cloud Sugar Belt Depot.
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The Veterans Memorial Library was designed by the first woman to earn a Masters Degree from M.I.T., Ida Annah Ryan and her partner, Isabel Roberts, who studied under Frank LLoyd Wright. In 1974, it became the St. Cloud Heritage Museum.
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This mural shows J. T. Burbank representing the St. Cloud Veteran Fife and Drum Corps. It was created by Amy Rosebush.
Redidential neighborhood
A Residential neighborhood
A view of Downtown St. Cloud. That is the Hunter Arms Hotel on the left.
A view of Downtown St. Cloud. That is the Hunter Arms Hotel on the left.
Nice old street lights.
Nice old street lights.

This was a thoroughly satisfying afternoon excursion!!!