St. Cloud was an ideal place to settle if you were a quarryman looking to make a living in the 1880s. The area was rich with a multitude of colors of granite. All that was needed was the right skill set. It was an opportunity just waiting for the likes of the experienced, Scottish-born quarryman Henry N. Alexander who at age nine began learning the craft from his stonemason father near Aberdeen, Scotland. Henry came to the United States in 1880 and established a family granite dynasty that today is the largest granite producing company in the United States.
By the early 1900s, Goodhue County had emerged as Minnesota's leading cheese producer. The county's southeast district around Pine Island, including Pine Island Cheese Company was a production leader, 1937.