The Reformatory Wall at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Saint Cloud
The Minnesota Correctional Facility in Saint Cloud MN a level four, close-security institution. This might seem like a strange thing to include in the list of wonderful reasons to love Saint Cloud and Central MN, but it is a definite part of the landscape in our society and here in Saint Cloud. The prison provides a needed service, offers good jobs in the area and has some bragging rights based on its construction and design.
The Minnesota Correctional Facility campus is 240 acres, 40 acres of the land was originally a solid granite ledge. The Facility was built in 1889, and is the site of the first granite quarry in the state. The quarry opened in 1868 and in 1885 when the legislators needed to find a place to build a reformatory they wanted a site that included one of the states quarries. The east St. Cloud, Sherburne County site was chosen in 1887 and was said to contain enough granite to keep convicts busy for hundreds of years.
The inmates mined the granite for commercial use until 1891, when pressure from the surrounding quarries mounted and the legislature decided to have the inmates build a granite wall for the prison. The original wall made of 16ft high oak planks would not survive as well as a granite wall and there was plenty of excellent material and labor.
The Reformatory Wall at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Saint Cloud is 22 feet high, 4 feet wide at the base tapering to 3 feet wide at the top. When completed, in 1922, the Reformatory Wall formed an amazing mile and 1/2 enclosure. The wall was quarried, dressed and laid completely by the inmates of the prison. The tailings, scrap and remnants from the building process were used as crushed stone for highways, this continued until about 1930.
The Saint Cloud Minnesota Correctional Facility's Reformatory Walls claims to fame include:
- the second longest connected wall in the United States,
- the largest granite wall in the United States
- one of the most extensive outlays of granite in the United States
- the longest wall in the world built entirely by penal labor
Currently on Highway 10, at the intersection with Minnesota Boulevard, the state is installing a new traffic light. Instead of driving by at 60 MPH it will now be easier for people traveling on Hwy 10 to really take a look at the massive structure that is the Reformatory Wall at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Saint Cloud.