Crow Wing County Historical Society (webpage header)

87th Annual Meeting - Tuesday, April 29th

You are invited to the Crow Wing County Historical Society's 87th annual meeting, dinner and silent auction on Tuesday, April 29th, 2014, at the Eagles Club at 124 Front Street in Brainerd.

   5:00   Social Hour & Cash Bar, Silent Auction Bidding Begins.
   6:00   Welcome, Introductions, Invocation, Dinner.
   7:30   Guest Speaker: Jeremy Jackson, Brainerd area historian, will give a presentation on the events surrounding the “Blueberry War” of 1872.
   8:00   (approx.) Annual Message, Reports, Election, Silent Auction Results and Closing Comments.

A few of the silent auction items: Grand Casino - overnight stay and 2 buffets; Ruttgers Bay Lake Lodge - 2 vouchers for 18 holes of golf; Arrowwood Lodge - 4 water park tickets; Gift certificates for several area restaurants. Updated!

Tickets cost $25.00 per person - includes a buffet-style dinner with three meats, tax & tip and a donation to the Historical Society.

Call the museum at 218-829-3268 if you are interested in receiving an invitation in the mail or if you want to purchase tickets. Payment must be received by April 15.

This annual event is open to the general public.

We Are Now On Facebook

FB The Historical Society has joined the modern age on Facebook! “Like” our page to get event announcements & reminders and the occasional tidbit in your news feed.

Brainerd Public Library presents Genealogy Conference 2014

The conference will be held Saturday, April 26, 2014 at Forestview Middle School in Baxter. Three speakers will give presentations on "Genealogical Research at the Minnesota Historical Society", "Minnesota Digital Library" and "Beyond Online Databases".

The event is funded in part or in whole by the Legacy Fund Minnesota sales tax and is free to participants. The Genealogy Conference 2014 Brochure has more details and is available online (1.4 MB PDF file). Registration is required.

Ryan Law Office Historic Display

Don Ryan, Crow Wing County attorney, has donated a large selection of heirlooms from his family's long line of attorneys-at-law. The items include a wooden desk, a map cabinet, photos, letterhead, trial exhibits, even a spittoon. More details are found in the Brainerd Dispatch article: Legal legacy: Ryan family donates items to museum.
(Photo credit: Kelly Humphrey)

The new Ryan Law Office exhibit is on the third floor of the museum, next to the newly-restored portrait of Lyman P. White. Visitors hours are 10-3, Tuesday through Saturday.

Northern Pacific Railroad Video

The historic Northern Pacific Railroad Shops and the significant role they played in the development of Brainerd are the subject of this video produced by Central Lakes College student, Tyler Mumm.

Carbine House Will Be Restored!

Announcement from Executive Director Pam Nelson: "The Crow Wing County Fair Association in collab­oration with the Historical Society has recently been awarded a County Fair Arts Access and Cultural Heritage Grant that will be used to restore the historic Carbine house at the fairgrounds. Once again fair goers will have the opportunity to see one of the area's first log structures. The building was first used as a trading post and later became a dwelling."

More information can be found on our Carbine House Restoration web page.

2012 Railroad Roundhouse Symposium

The 2012 Brainerd Lakes Railroad Roundhouse Symposium on Saturday, September 15, 2012 at the Northern Pacific Industrial Center was attended by over 180 people. As part of the program, the original NP Shops Steam Whistle on display at the museum blew once again for the first time in 29 years.

Lakeland Public TV did a nice Community Spotlight report on the Symposium and the NP Railroad's connection with the founding of Brainerd.

Cultural Heritage Fund Grants

Exciting news for genealogists and researchers! Thanks to a state grant and generous donors, the Crow Wing County Historical Society has purchased a ScanPro 2000 Digital Microfilm Scanner for its research library. It attaches to a PC and digitally scans microfilm or microfiche. The digital scan can be printed, emailed, or saved to a flash drive.

We applied for and were awarded another state grant to restore a very large portrait of Lyman P. White (1810 - 1902), said by some to be the "Father of Brainerd" for all he did in the early days of Brainerd. The portrait used to be on display in the former museum located in the basement of the court house, but has been in storage due to its poor condition. When the restoration and frame repair is complete, it will once again be on prominent display in the museum.

The state grants for these projects were made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the vote of Minnesotans on November 4, 2008. Administered by the Minnesota Historical Society.

Brainerd History Walks - Downtown Tour

Through a collaboration of the Brainerd History Group, the Brainerd Public Library, the Crow Wing County Historical Society and a tremendous group of volunteers, you can now tour the history of Downtown Brainerd in a variety of formats.
All items are available at the City of Brainerd's website:

This project was funded in part or in whole with money from Minnesota's Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.

Lakeland Public TV "Common Ground" Video

The March 4, 2010 episode of Lakeland Public TV's "Common Ground" program has a segment narrated by former Museum Director Marilyn Anderson that was taped in January showcasing the Sheriff's Residence and exhibits. Watch the segment online (00:08:40 long) by clicking on the image, below (will open a new window).

The Crow Wing County Historical Society has been keeping tabs on Crow Wing County's history since 1927. The museum has three floors of exhibits including displays on the lumber industry, the railroads, mining, and home life. You can also walk through a period home from the early 1900s, completely restored!

Venture into your own history using the museum's research library; look through hundreds of historical photographs, maps, and books. Page through historical copies of several area newspapers, some going back to the late 1800s.

The museum and library are open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 AM to 3 PM. We ask a donation of $3.00 per adult. Come take a look!
“Images of America: Brainerd” Book Cover
The pictorial book authored by the Society is available for purchase. Click on “Brainerd” Book in the top menu for details & ordering info.

Updated! March 18, 2014 Updated!

Buildings & Parks of Some Historical Significance to the City of Brainerd

Bridges, Dam, Jumps, Rinks, Slides, Steamboats and Ferries
in the City of Brainerd

Early Accounts of Brainerd

Brainerd: City of Fire

Northern Pacific R. R. in Brainerd

N. P. R. R. 1888 Directory

Fall 2013 Newsletter
Summer 2013 Newsletter
Fall 2012 Newsletter
Summer 2012 Newsletter

Plaque: Museum is on the National Register of Historic Places
The Historical Society Museum is on
the National Register of Historic Places.

Portrait by Freeman Thorp of Unidentified Man
Freeman Thorp painting of Unidentified Man.
Help Us Solve the Mystery!
(Click on picture to enlarge to 2700x3100)