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Welcome to Brainerd Minnesota History!


​There are lots of new tools out there to make this easier!  See how YOU can help.


This is not can be FUN!  OK, moving 50 wheelbarrows of dirt, dozens of boulders and hundreds of bricks at the brewery site was a bit of a chore, but there is strength in numbers, and we had a big group.

Brainerd History Walks

You will see that history CAN be fun!!!

This website is a place to "round up" all that there is known to be found on Brainerd, Minnesota.  With the age of the internet, there is a lot out there, and a lot of activity on researching its history.  There is also a lot of research being done locally, and "in the field"...literally!  Hopefully, we can round it all up for you here!
See Mission Statement below!
There is a world of great Brainerd photos to be found,
so we'll try to locate them for you!

2021: Sesquicentennial celebration, our 150th, set for  Sept. 18-25, Sat. to Sat.!

Brainerd's historic water tower,

from a 1955 post card

Well, here was the thinking:
-To act as a portal to all websites on Brainerd.
-To showcase the historical research work that has been done in years' past.
-To showcase the work being done NOW.
-To showcase the people behind the work.
-To stimulate more people to get involved in these exciting projects.
-To have fun with history!
Please use the navigation bar at the top to find many MORE pages!  Click the MORE button, duh.

The time to start recording history,

 is before we are history!

DISCLAIMER:  This is one of those DIY freebie websites, where the template is already done, and might be like Sally's Beauty Shop.  You go in and take out the eyebrow section, and add your own copy.  Then you take out the fingernail get the idea.  It's pretty easy, but I have not taken out all of Sally's stuff yet, and it does NOT have Spellcheck, or Grammarcheck!  This is bad.  So you see I am on my own here.  I am more concerned right now with content, so in time I'll try to fix the goobers.



NOTE: If you find a link or button that is not clickable, or you are unable to open it, PLEASE notify me! Just use the Contact Us form below.
Acronyms and abbreviations found on this site:
BCD: Brainerd City Directory
BHG: Brainerd History Group
BTD: Brainerd Telephone Directory
BTW: By The Way
CWCHS: Crow Wing County Historical Society (our Museum too!)
FYI: For Your Information
HELP: Help. I need help, no, not that kind of help, well...
LMK: Let Me Know
TBA: To Be Announced...I'm not done yet.


Support your local sheriff!


Well, in this case, the old Sheriff's Residence, built in 1917.  That residence was in front, and the back was the county jail. Now the whole thing is the best darn museum in the area!  See their great website, below.

Contact us!

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What's New...or is it OLD?


2013/3/29: New Railroad! page.

2013/4/3: New projects; see Railroad, and Projects pages.  Made in Brainerd section under that page title.

2013/4/7: Brainerd History Group page, urgent request for info under Help Wanted!  BIG news on the PROJECTS page...can't tell ya!  Look for NEWS FLASH.

2013/5/9: Spring vandalism season opens!  See BHG page.

2013/5/19: Two new links to Brainerd bricks, and cool video!

2013/10/21, Oct. 1 outdoor event!  New Buffalo Hills Trail ribbon cutting.  See below.

2013/10/22: Report to the City Council on last year's historical activity!  See below, left.

2014/9/10: NEW questions on the LOST! page added: "Hunting for History!"  Click below.

2014/9/18: Your location for 2015 Brainerd History Week now has its own Page by that name...look under MORE.

2015/1/11: Yet MORE history is lost.  See the LOST section!

2015/3/7: New Photo Scanning Project!  2015/8/13: See video link below and new separate page on it under MORE.

2015/8/17...NEW Brainerd History Walks page.

2015/9/17... NEW Facebook Memories page.

2015/9/21...RESEARCH page updated, MORE places to find cool stuff.

2015/9/29: Long Lost 1982 Breezy Point history book, found and available here!  Look in Made in Brainerd.

2015/10/22:  The Q4 City Newsletter is out!  Check out History Corner there.

2015/11/2: WEBSITE links, businesses with GREAT HISTORY sections...see RESEARCH page.

2015/11/30: New Restaurant Review!...such as it is.  See the OPINION page.

2015/12/7: Crow Wing County Historical Society MEMBERSHIP DRIVE. See RESEARCH page.




2016/1/10: Page added...My Brainerd, under MORE.  Or, click the red button below, "My Brainerd".

2016/1/26:  Your Invitation to FUN.  Go to the Facebook Memories page. 

20165/1/28: Brainerd's temporary bridge.  The what?  Go to FOTO FINDS, or PHOTO SCANNING PROJECT.  This is so cool I had to put it in 2 different places!

2016/3/1: March scanning times announced!  See separate page.

2016/3/27: CWCHS Museum building in need of repairs. See the vid on the RESEARCH page.

2016/4/4: 2015 Photo Scanning Project DIGITAL version now online!   See that page!

2016/8/24: More Vintage Vids...this time 1989.  See Foto Finds...and Vids!

2016/9/18: Privy Digs...really.  See the FOUND page.  This is SO cool!!!

2016/11/28: RIVER page added!





2017/1/12: Brainerd Historic Art & Photo List...UPDATED to 2017!  Find it on the RESEARCH page.

2017/1/13: History Corner COMPILATION...all articles in one place!  See the bottom of this page for a link.

2017/2/12: NOW, the entire 2016 Photo Scanning Project in a slideshow!  Look on that page at the bottom, click and enjoy!

2017/3/14: The Word, a history of Brainerd's churches-1971 Centennial booklet.  See the Research page.

2017/3/29: 2 BIG projects of the day.  Go to the PROJECTS page.  This one is BIG!!!

2017/4/4: Go to the Brainerd History Week page for early 2017 event news!  Go to the Opinion page for Water Tower thoughts.

2017/4/10: List of all known Historic Site markers in Brainerd...see PROJECTS.

2017/4/15: Good news on that BIG project mentioned above...on the Projects page.

2017/4/21: What WAS in this building??? Address Business Lists from the 1980's, Go to the  PROJECTS page.  Here is a FUN project that you can easily be part of.

2017/5/24: Brainerd History Week 2017 Schedule of Events announced.  See Brainerd History Week page.

2017/5/25: Mississippi Putt & Paddle!  Find the Historic River Tour on the RIVER page.

2017/7/21: NEW "History Happenings" events section on this HOME page.

2017/9/5: Yearbooks... now scanned!  Nine years, starting with 1911.  See the Research page.

2017/9/24: WATER TOWER page added.

2017/11/27: The 1914 Crow wing County scanned!  See the RESEARCH page.





2018/1/3:  A great start to the new year.  We FINALLY have the first book written on Brainerd scanned!  See Ingolf Dillan's 1923 book on the RESEARCH page.

2018/1/9: Brainerd History Week dates announced! See the Brainerd History Week page.

2018/3/1: GREAT 1934 aerial photo, and a bit of opinion to go along with it.  Find it on the RIVER page and the OPINION page.


2018/5/27: FINALLY, there is some movement...yes, literally, on the disposition of the 1898 Laurel St. Bridge railings and plaques.  See the PROJECTS page.

2018/7/2: What happened to downtown?  See the OPINION page.

2018/7/30: FINAL Brainerd History Week schedule posted...see that page!


2018/8/10: Ann M. Nelson out-did herself in her 2018 "Along The Mississippi From Rice Lake To Boom Lake" booklet.  See the Brainerd History Walks page.

2018/10/2: Fishing display???  See the PROJECTS page.

2018/10/20: Brainerd Junior College yearbook-SAGA, now's a blast from the past!  See the RESEARCH page and scroll down to the "businesses with great history pages" section.


2019/2/20: Ron's Squaw Point HISTORY!  See the RESEARCH page. See here also: 

The City Newsletter has been discontinued.

2019/3/26: First National Bank plaque found!  See the, well, FOUND page!


2020/2/10:  New page, Brainerd in the News!

2020/6/20: Here is a dandy from the Ed Tom O'Brien family video collection. See the PHOTOS page.

2020/7/9: CWCHS newsletters since 2012-BOUND!


Sesquicentennial  celebration, our 150th, set for  Sept. 18-25, Sat. to Sat.!


2023/11/30: SC HOOLS age added.


What ELSE?  Keep posted!

Scan the QR code below with your smartphone

to bring you right to this site!  Ya, I know, you are looking AT your mobile phone, so how can you scan it, right?  This guy is nuts you are thinking.  Well, he is, but he wants you to share it with ANOTHER smart phone user!!!

Share it!

The City of Brainerd had a great newsletter to keep you up to date on happenings in the town.  And, on the back pages, there was the History Corner section where you could find anything new on OLD stuff!  One signed up on the site for automatic newsletter e-mailings.

UPDATE, 9/28/2019: Sadly, the newsletter was discontinued at the end of 2018.  All issues are still posted. The History Corner was saved in a document, found below.

We will miss you, James Wallin!  Mayor, with a capital M.


A few years ago, I asked Jim to give a commentary on what he loved the most about Brainerd...besides our water of course. He loved our water, less fluoride of course. He always went to the water treatment plant to get water from the UN-fluoridated tap. I knew what his subject was going to be. He had little statues of the Tower all over his office, that he had made down in Mexico I think. Jim was always on hand to make a proclamation. He was a proclamation kind of guy, always in the full dark suit, always THE official. He was also a hand shake guy. You shook his hand you were his buddy. He loved our town. Enjoy this little video he made. It was unrehearsed, as it was his passion, and no second take was needed. We will miss you, Jim! Thanks for being here for Brainerd.



Upcoming fun stuff:

Reports in RED.

(I'll leave the summer 2017 events up for a while so you can see how much fun we had!  2018 events will fill in at the bottom.)


-2017/7/28 & 29: Jaycees Street Fest, Friday & Sat.  I will be doing the Downtown Brainerd History Walk, a short version, on Sat. at noon & 2:00.  Starts in the City Hall parking lot.  Join us!

GREAT turnout for the Fest AND the Walks; about 18 per walk.


-2017/8/1: Tues. National Night Out in Gregory Park.  Northside residents party.  As usual, I will be bringing a bunch of city directories to look up folks’ addresses and find former owners.  I’ll be set up under the tent by 5:00.  I can ALWAYS use help on this one!  Oh, you will also see what we have been digging up out of old outhouse  "privy" holes!

Everybody REALLY enjoyed the privy dig booty. Many signed up to have THEIR lot dug.


-2017/8/ 2 & 3: Wed. & Thurs.  I’ll be at the Crow Wing County Fair in the backroom of the store, 10-1:00.  Also as usual, they are horribly short on volunteers for the week to man the schoolhouse and the other buildings.  Who do you know that could help?

The privy dig displays went over very well.  We might do it again NEXT year!


-2017/8/5: 30-year reunion of the great band Wyld Ryce, at the Pequot Lake Centennial Fire Dept. celebration.  A double whammie!

This one topped them all!  The town was packed and the Band knocked 'em over!  I don't think we have seen the last of Wyle Ryce!


If you find that the event time has expired, you missed it and we already had a blast!


-2017/8/18: Well, it's all done, and yes it was all a blast!  Stay tuned to this section for upcoming Brainerd HISTORY events!



-2018/1/25: Privy Dig bottle & artifact display at the Brainerd Public Library.  Souvenir display, too!



-2018/2/1: Privy Dig bottle & artifact sale at the  CWCHS museum!



-2018/3/10: Mark Youngblood program on Privy Diggin', Brainerd Public Library, 10 am.


-2018/4/17: Councilman Dave Badeaux gives a presentation on the Water Tower at 6:00 PM at the library.  Stop in at 4-6:00 to see the paintings of the tower done in the prior month and be there for the judging!


-2018/8/9-12: Brainerd History Week!





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