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Riverview (1913)

Riverview, 1916

First floor of Riverview, ca. 1915

Riverview classroom, 1918

Riverview cupola, ca. 1990s

St. Cloud State opened as a Minnesota state "normal" school in 1869. Its primary purpose was to train teachers to teach in Minnesota public schools. Today, the university no longer has a single focus on training teachers, but it still remains an important part of its currciulum.

Several buildings at St. Cloud Sate have served as the campus "laboratory" school, dating back to 1869. The laboratory school was a fully functioning school with grades from kindergarten to 8th, sometimes more, depending on the time period. Teachers in-training would observe "master" teachers teach children as well as have a place to do their own student teaching.

Riverview, which opened in the fall of 1913, served as St. Cloud State's campus laboratory school until the fall of 1958. The Old Model School, which opened in a few years earlier in 1906 and stood just north of Riverview, became St. Cloud State's library.

It is unknown why St. Cloud State needed a new model school so soon after it had just built one. Yet planning began for Riverview by at least early 1911, likely even earlier. The 1911 Minnesota state legislature appropriated to St. Cloud State $65,000 to construct a new "model" school, as well as $17,200 to be used partly for the acquisition of property that the new building would be located.

The Clarence Johnston-designed building served as the campus laboratory school until the fall of 1958 when the Thomas J. Gray Campus Laboratory School opened. The school would close in 1983. Riverview became the home of the Division of Languages and Literature and, later, the department of English until 2008.

In 1989, faculty member Bill Morgan led the effort for the building to be placed on Minnesota's National Register of Historic Places.

After a $6.2 million total renovation was completed in 2009, Riverview is now the home for the department of Communication Studies. The renovation won a Restoration/Rehabilitation Award from the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota in 2010.

The blueprints for Riverview, as it was completed in 1913, are available on the Minnesota Digital Library's web portal Minnesota Reflections.

Sources used include:

Minnesota State College Board minutes for February 14, 1911, May 6, 1911, June 6, 1911, and June 19, 1913; 1911 Minnesota State Legislative Session, Laws, Chapter 28

Images - click on each image to download from the University Archives' Archon portal.


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