St. Cloud, Florida

Coordinates: 28°13′50″N 81°17′7″W / 28.23056°N 81.28528°W / 28.23056; -81.28528
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St. Cloud, Florida
St. Cloud City Hall
St. Cloud City Hall
Official logo of St. Cloud, Florida
The Friendly Soldier City
"Your Centerplace for Life"
Location in Osceola County and the state of Florida
Location in Osceola County and the state of Florida
Coordinates: 28°13′50″N 81°17′7″W / 28.23056°N 81.28528°W / 28.23056; -81.28528[1]
CountryUnited States
FoundedApril 16, 1909[2]
IncorporatedJanuary 3, 1911[3]
 • TypeCouncil–Manager
 • MayorNathan Blackwell
 • Deputy MayorLinette Matheny
 • CouncilmembersKolby Urban,
Ken Gilbert, and
Shawn Fletcher
 • City ManagerVeronica Miller
 • City ClerkIvy Llauro
 • Total25.53 sq mi (66.11 km2)
 • Land25.49 sq mi (66.02 km2)
 • Water0.04 sq mi (0.09 km2)  0.061%
Elevation69 ft (21 m)
 • Total58,964
 • Density2,313.22/sq mi (893.13/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
34769, 34771-34773
Area code(s)321, 407, 689
FIPS code12-62625[6]
GNIS feature ID2405392[5]

St. Cloud or Saint Cloud[5] is a city in northern Osceola County, Florida, United States. It is on the southern shore of East Lake Tohopekaliga in Central Florida, about 26 miles (41.8 km) southeast of Orlando. The population was 35,183 in the 2010 census, and 58,964 in the 2020 census. The city is part of the Orlando–Kissimmee–Sanford metropolitan area.

St. Cloud was founded as a retirement community for Civil War union veterans, and gained the nickname "The Friendly Soldier City".[7]


St. Cloud Hotel c. 1922
St. Cloud Hotel, 2011

During the 1870s, Hamilton Disston of Philadelphia took an interest in developing the region while on fishing trips with Henry Shelton Sanford, founder of the city of Sanford. Disston contracted with the Florida Internal Improvement Fund, then in receivership, to pay $1 million to offset its Civil War and Reconstruction debt. In exchange, Disston was awarded half the land he drained from the state's swamps. He dug canals and, in 1886–1887, established St. Cloud sugarcane plantation, named after St. Cloud, Minnesota, although many longtime locals claim the town was named after Saint-Cloud, France.[8]

Disston opened the Sugar Belt Railway to the South Florida Railroad in 1888 to carry his product to market. But the Panic of 1893 dropped land values, and the Great Freeze of 1894–1895 ruined the plantation. Disston returned to Philadelphia, where he died in 1896. The Sugar Belt Railway merged into the South Florida Railroad. An attempt to cultivate rice in the area failed, and for several years the land remained fallow. Then in 1909, the Seminole Land & Investment Company acquired 35,000 acres (14,000 ha) as the site for a Grand Army of the Republic veterans' colony. St. Cloud was selected because of its "health, climate and productiveness of soil." It was first permanently settled in 1909 by William G. King, a real estate manager from Alachua County who had been given the responsibility "to plan, locate and develop a town."

On April 16, 1909, the Kissimmee Valley Gazette announced the "New Town of St. Cloud", a "Soldiers Colony" near Kissimmee. The newspaper called the Seminole Land and Investment Company's purchase "one of the most important real estate deals ever made in the State of Florida." It was reported that the company had searched all over Florida for the perfect site for a veterans' colony, particularly one suited for "health, climate, and productiveness of the soil". It is believed that many of the streets were named for states from which the Civil War veterans had served, but the street names were already assigned to the platted land before settlement occurred.[9]

Early St. Cloud is believed to have history as a Sundown Town with a plot of land outside the city reserved for black residents officially dubbed “Colored Quarter.” This name is still active on official land records as the title of this section of land.[10] Early newspaper records support the history of being a “Sundown Town” with firsthand accounts of local residents making attempts “to keep the colored folks in their own quarters outside the town.”[11]

On June 1, 1915, the Florida Legislature incorporated St. Cloud as a city. Its downtown features landmark buildings by the Orlando architectural firm Ryan & Roberts, a partnership consisting of two women. The buildings by Ryan and Roberts and others downtown are predominantly Spanish Revival.[12]

St. Cloud has tried to separate itself from neighboring cities, and particularly the theme parks, by promoting an image of small-town life, and by attempting to make itself economically less dependent on Kissimmee. On March 6, 2006, St. Cloud introduced the CyberSpot program, becoming the first city in the United States to give residents free high-speed wireless Internet access, but the program ended in 2009.[13]

Water tower cross controversy[edit]

In the late 1960s, the city of St. Cloud was gifted a Latin cross during the Christmas season. The twelve-foot tall cross, which was illuminated at night, stood atop the city’s water tower off U.S. Route 192 for nearly twenty years without issue.[14]

By November 1986, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed its first lawsuit against the city of St. Cloud to have the cross removed. Four months later, in March 1987, private citizen Ronald Mendelson filed a similar lawsuit that the cross violated the U.S. Constitution’s mandate of separation of church and state.[15] Mendelson, a Jewish resident who lived east of St. Cloud, decided to sue because of the city’s implicit endorsement of Christianity atop the water tower and the inconvenience Mendelson felt due to the “shadow of the cross.”[14] In defense of its presence, residents cited the cross as a local landmark and directional marker for boaters, drivers, and pilots commuting within St. Cloud.[16]

On August 16, 1989, a U.S. District judge ruled in favor of Mendelson to have the Latin cross removed off the water tower.[14][17] The judge, however, suggested in his ruling that the city replace the Latin cross with a Greek cross, distinguished for representing a plus-sign, to identify St. Cloud as a crossroad city.[18] The ACLU quickly filed an additional lawsuit, claiming that the new Greek cross still violated the U.S. Constitution in an attempt to evade the judge’s original ruling.[15]

Eventually, the city of St. Cloud agreed to remove the cross in 1990, primarily due to the mounting legal costs incurred by the ACLU.[15][19] Local support through the city council to reinstate the Latin cross on private property within St. Cloud was proposed.[19] Ultimately, those discussions fell through due to the 35-foot height restriction that the cross would have exceeded on a structure within city limits.[20]

The original Latin cross has since been moved atop a 60-foot tower on private property in nearby Intercession City, where it has remained since 1995.[19]


The approximate coordinates for the City of St. Cloud is located at 28°13′50″N 81°17′7″W / 28.23056°N 81.28528°W / 28.23056; -81.28528.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.2 square miles (24 km2), of which 0.11% is water. St. Cloud is on the southern shore of East Lake Tohopekaliga, an exceptionally clear lake, with good visibility to depths of 7 to 9 feet (2.1 to 2.7 m). East Lake is nearly circular in shape and covers approximately 12,000 acres (49 km2).

The major highway is U.S. Route 192 running in tandem with U.S. Route 441 east and west. This six-lane road is intersected by avenues running north and south. Many have names of US states in no particular order.[21]


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild winters. According to the Köppen climate classification, the City of St. Cloud has a humid subtropical climate zone (Cfa).


Historical population
2022 (est.)64,4899.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[22]

2010 and 2020 census[edit]

St. Cloud racial composition
(Hispanics excluded from racial categories)
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race Pop 2010[23] Pop 2020[24] % 2010 % 2020
White (NH) 21,851 23,799 62.11% 40.36%
Black or African American (NH) 1,633 3,392 4.64% 5.75%
Native American or Alaska Native (NH) 79 100 0.22% 0.17%
Asian (NH) 580 1,111 1.65% 1.88%
Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiian (NH) 21 51 0.06% 0.09%
Some other race (NH) 143 393 0.41% 0.67%
Two or more races/Multiracial (NH) 596 2,038 1.69% 3.46%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 10,280 28,080 29.22% 47.62%
Total 35,183 58,964 100.00% 100.00%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 58,964 people, 15,986 households, and 11,496 families residing in the city.[25]

As of the 2010 United States census, there were 35,183 people, 12,776 households, and 9,206 families residing in the city.[26]

In 2010, the population of the Hispanic or Latino was 29.22%. Out of that percentage, 18.7% were Puerto Ricans who were by far the largest Hispanic or Latino group. The median age of St. Cloud's population was 36.8 years. 7.8% of the population was 65 or older. There were 12,565 households with 9,145 of them constituting families.[27]

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 20,074 people, 6,716 households, and 5,424 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,190.8 inhabitants per square mile (845.9/km2). There were 8,602 housing units at an average density of 938.8 per square mile (362.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 90.27% White, 2.07% African American, 0.47% Native American, 0.95% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 4.10% from other races, and 2.06% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 13.36% of the population.

In 2000, there were 7,716 households, out of which 34.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.8% were married couples living together, 12.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.7% were non-families. 23.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.00.

In 2000, in the city, the population was spread out, with 25.5% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 29.7% from 25 to 44, 19.7% from 45 to 64, and 17.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.4 males.

In 2000, the median income for a household in the city was $36,467, and the median income for a family was $41,211. Males had a median income of $30,955 versus $22,414 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,031. About 6.2% of families and 8.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.7% of those under age 18 and 8.3% of those age 65 or over.


All of the public schools in St. Cloud are served by the School District of Osceola County, Florida.

Elementary Schools

  • Hickory Tree Elementary School (HTE)
  • Lakeview Elementary School (LVES)
  • Michigan Avenue Elementary School (MES)
  • St. Cloud Elementary School
  • Narcoossee Elementary School (NCES)
  • Harmony Elementary School (HCES)
  • Neptune Elementary School
  • Canoe Creek K–8 (Formerly Canoe Creek Charter)

Middle Schools

  • St. Cloud Middle School (SCMS)
  • Narcoossee Middle School (NCMS)
  • Neptune Middle School (NMS)
  • Harmony Middle School (HCMS)

High Schools

  • Harmony High School (HHS) (Although HHS is not within the city limits (about 15 miles east), students in the eastern part of city limits along with 1/3 of the south portion of the city attend this school)
  • St. Cloud High School (SCHS)

Parochial Schools

  • St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School (Pre-K–8)

Charter Schools

  • St. Cloud Preparatory Academy (K–9) CLOSED as of 2022
  • Creative Inspiration Journey School (K–5)
  • American Classical Charter Academy (K–8) CLOSED as of 2022
  • Mater Academy (K–8)
  • BridgePrep Academy (K-8)

Private Schools

  • St. Cloud Christian Preparatory School (K–12)
  • City Of Life Christian Academy (Pre-K–12)

Public library[edit]

The Veteran's Memorial St. Cloud Library is home to the city of St. Cloud. The branch library is in a remodeled SunTrust Bank, five blocks away from historic downtown St. Cloud.[28] Its hours are Monday-Saturday from 9am to 6pm. The branch offers many programs, such as LIVE storytimes, virtual bookclubs and over 50,000 volumes.

History of Veterans Memorial Library[edit]

The first form of a library in St. Cloud was in 1910, when the new woman's club set up a traveling library and a table at the train station with reading materials for locals. By 1911, there was a reading room that was purchased on Pennsylvania Avenue that the ladies of the town worked to make comfortable and stocked with things to read. Within the next couple of years the collection had outgrown the reading room and moved to the People's Bank and then City Hall. In 1915, the town began fundraising to build a proper building. These efforts were put on hold temporarily while war efforts were made a priority. When 1922 rolled around, it was decided that there was enough money to pay an architect to begin planning and building. The contract price was for $4,506.20. The building was extremely well-built and designed with many updated features, including electricity. On February 17, 1923, the new library was dedicated and named "Veteran's Memorial Library" which remains today.[29]

From 1923 to 1968, Veteran's Memorial Library was operated and taken care of by the Woman's Club of St. Cloud. It was in 1968 that it officially became part of the Osceola County Library System. From 1972 to 1974, the location of the library collection moved into a former bank on the corner of New York Avenue and 10th Street. At this point, the original building because a thrift store to benefit the Red Cross and other groups. In 2001, the building was purchased by The City of St. Cloud, and with the help of other organizations was planned to become a museum. The grand opening of The St. Cloud Heritage Museum (pictured below) was held on February 17, 2005.

While the St. Cloud Heritage Museum still proudly boasts the name "Veteran's Memorial Library", the branch location was moved to a former SunTrust bank building on 13th Street and Indiana Avenue in 1995, where it still operates today as part of the Osceola County Library System.

Sites of interest[edit]

St. Cloud Heritage Museum

Notable people[edit]

In popular media[edit]


Play (and film) based in St. Cloud[edit]

Films shot in St. Cloud[edit]


  1. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  2. ^ About St. Cloud, FL. Retrieved 2015-04-26.
  3. ^ City Facts - St. Cloud, FL. Retrieved 2015-04-26.
  4. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 2, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: St. Cloud, Florida
  6. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  7. ^ "Sharing Tales Of Early Settlers Will Preserve St. Cloud's Past". Retrieved September 9, 2018.
  8. ^ Berman Law Group
  9. ^ "St. Cloud Main Street - History". Archived from the original on August 7, 2008. Retrieved July 30, 2008.
  10. ^ "St. Cloud-area neighborhood records reflect racism – Orlando Sentinel". April 8, 2007.
  11. ^ "St. Cloud Tribune Vol. 17, No. 35, April 22, 1926". St. Cloud Tribune. University of Central Florida. April 22, 1926. Retrieved August 23, 2021.
  12. ^ Dalles, John, "The Pathbreaking Legacy of Ryan and Roberts", in "Reflections", the journal of the Historical Society of Central Florida, Summer 2009; pages 8 and 9.
  13. ^ "St. Cloud pulls plug on free citywide Wi-Fi". September 29, 2009.
  14. ^ a b c "Mendelson v. City of St. Cloud, 719 F. Supp. 1065 (M.D. Fla. 1989)". Justia Law. Retrieved September 12, 2023.
  15. ^ a b c Fernandez, Phil (April 20, 1990). "St. Cloud Officials Decide Water Tower Loses Cross". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved September 12, 2023.
  16. ^ "ACLU Finds Plaintiffs In Cross Fight". South Florida Sun Sentinel. February 20, 1987. Retrieved September 12, 2023.
  17. ^ "Quirks In The News". UPI Archives. September 30, 1989. Retrieved September 12, 2023.
  18. ^ Ahmad, Ishmael (September 30, 1989). "Symbols Swapped Atop St. Cloud Water Tower". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved September 12, 2023.
  19. ^ a b c "Intercession City Has Long History Of Involvement With Christians". Orlando Sentinel. September 16, 1995. Retrieved September 12, 2023.
  20. ^ "St. Cloud's Cross Getting A New Home". Orlando Sentinel. January 10, 1991. Retrieved September 12, 2023.
  21. ^ Mapquest accessed March 12, 2008
  22. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  23. ^ "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE - 2010: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) - St. Cloud city, Florida". United States Census Bureau.
  24. ^ "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE - 2020: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) - St. Cloud city, Florida". United States Census Bureau.
  25. ^ "S1101 HOUSEHOLDS AND FAMILIES - 2020: St. Cloud city, Florida". United States Census Bureau.
  26. ^ "S1101 HOUSEHOLDS AND FAMILIES - 2010: St. Cloud city, Florida". United States Census Bureau.
  27. ^ 2010 general population and housing report for St. Cloud
  28. ^ "St. Cloud Library | Osceola Library System". Osceola Library System. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  29. ^ "St. Cloud Heritage Museum". St. Cloud Heritage Museum, St. Cloud, FL. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
  30. ^ Moreland, Quinn (March 27, 2020). "Waxahatchee Breaks Down Every Song on Her New Album, Saint Cloud". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 16, 2024.
  31. ^ Romer 2000, pp. 63–64.
  32. ^ Morgenstern, Meg (January 19, 1964). "When Pleasant Valley Came To St. Cloud". Orlando Sentinel. Orlando, Florida. p. 20F.


  • Romer, Jean-Claude (2000). "A Bloody New Wave in the United States (July 1964)". Horror Film Reader. New York: Limelight Editions. ISBN 0-87910-297-7.

External links[edit]