Crow Wing County Historical Society (webpage header)


1874-1950 Brainerd Buildings Map
(Adapted from the 1874 Andreas Historical Atlas of Minnesota)
(Click on map to download 900 KB High-resolution PDF file)
A glance backward reveals the fact that Brainerd has experienced some very severe setbacks, a condition quite natural in a railroad town. The Jay Cooke failure of 1873 left the little city flat on its back. The boom of 1881 to 1883 was followed by a reaction. Then came the removal of passenger car repair work to the Como Shops in St. Paul and then the Staples cut-off, removing Brainerd from the main line of the Northern Pacific from St. Paul to the coast. The Northern Pacific hospital was taken away. In 1922 a prolonged strike cost the city one-half million dollars. A great lumber industry came—but left in 1905.
Furthermore, fires have destroyed dozens of large business blocks and scores of homes. Among them were: the Headquarters, Villard, Arlington, Commercial, Antlers, and Earl/Carlson Hotels, Bly’s Block, Sleeper’s Opera House, Columbian Block, and the Northern Pacific Depot. If these buildings were restored to us, they would constitute quite a city. (Brainerd’s Half Century, Ingolf Dillan, General Printing Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1923; pp. 65 & 66)
The companion map to this document is adapted from the Historical Atlas of Minnesota, published in 1874 by A. T. Andreas, Chicago, Illinois. It has been modified to show the locations of the key buildings of early Brainerd. The MAP numbers in the sections below refer to the numbered buildings on this map.

Ann M. Nelson

CITY JAIL (Second)


Chain Stores

George H. Hartford, engaged in the hide and leather business, added tea as a sideline in 1859. Within a few years he had 25 shops in New York and Brooklyn, and in 1917, when he died, the Atlantic and Pacific Tea company was operating 3,232 stores. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 23 August 1927, p. 6, c. 2)

Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. Sales for Year
Over Billion Dollars

New York, April 15.—(UP)—Sales of the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea company for the fiscal year ended February 28, 1930, were in excess of a billion dollars for the first time in its 70-year history, the company announced today.
Sales in the year ended February 28 totaled $1,053,692,882, an increase of $80,985,697 over those of the preceding year and $927,690,318 over those of 1917. Profits in the period were approximately 2 1/2 cents per dollar sales volume, totaling $26,219,631 or $11.78 a share. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 15 April 1930, p. 1, c. 1)


The Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company will open a grocery store at the location formerly occupied by the F. W. Woolworth Company on Front street within the next two months, it was announced today.
A lease was said to have been taken by the company completing the time in the lease of the Woolworth Company and additional time given by Henry I. Cohen, owner of the building.
The store will be one of a large grocery chain operation from coast-to-coast. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 18 April 1930, p. 3, c. 2)


Is One of 15,000 Operating in Country;
to be Combination Food
Service Shop

The first ad for the new A & P Store in Brainerd, 28 May 1930. A 1231x2070 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Brainerd Daily Dispatch
The Brainerd store of the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company opened at 618 Front street today.
The local store is one of a group of 15,000 branch stores operating throughout the country from the Atlantic to the Pacific, the first store being opened by John Hartford in New York 71 years ago.
The present owners of the chain are John and George Hartford, sons of the original owner.
Announcement was made by E. W. Sutliff, superintendent of stores for Minnesota, here for the opening, that the company purchased last year from Minnesota farmers over $23 million dollars worth of dairy products and other food products bring the total up to over $30 million dollars.
William I. Yde, assistant superintended for Northern Minnesota, assisted in the opening plans.
N. D. Angell, formerly of Austin, is local manager of the grocery department and R. W. Ruedy of Minneapolis is in charge of the meat department. Both are married and will move their families here within the next two weeks.
The Brainerd store is known as a combination food shop handling groceries, meats, fruits and vegetables and operates as a service store. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 29 May 1930, p. 7, c. 2)

American House Ad, 29 June 1872.
Source: Brainerd Tribune
Capt. Russell has been making extensive improvements in the American House during the past week, and has it splendidly fitted up, and no mistake. He has added a billiard table, etc., and other attractions and is now especially prepared to entertain travellers and transient custom generally. Give the “American” a call. (Brainerd Tribune, 06 April 1872, p. 1, c. 5)

The American House with two lots of ground, billiard table and hotel outfit is offered for sale—Capt. Russell, the proprietor, designing to change his location. This is one of the most desirable business corners in Brainerd, and is beautifully located—corner Fifth and Laurel. A great bargain can be had for ready cash. (Brainerd Tribune, 13 April 1872, p. 1, c. 4)

NOTE: The American House was where the first business office of the Brainerd Tribune was located before the Tribune moved to the north side of Laurel Street, midway between Fifth and Sixth Streets as of 06 April 1872. Captain Edward U. Russell was the brother of Morris C. Russell, founder, editor and publisher of the Brainerd Tribune.


Changed hands this week—Capt. E. U. Russell having disposed of that property to a Mr. Kiefer, from Shakopee, giving immediate possession. (Brainerd Tribune, 27 July 1872, p. 4, c. 1)

OPENING.—Mr. Ed. Morse, who we mentioned recently as remodeling the American House building, has the same completed, and has opened out a fashionable saloon. The house, as it now stands, is a beauty in its inside arrangement, and is a fine looking building externally. (Brainerd Tribune, 04 October 1873, p. 1, c. 6)

Dr. Winthrop has taken charge of the building known as the Academy of Music, and is fitting it up as a hotel. It is to be known as the American House. (Brainerd Tribune, 03 December 1881, p. 6, c. 4)

Fire animation On January 23 1882, a lamp left burning in the Le Bon Ton Saloon exploded burning the American House, Spalding’s Saloon, Hagberg’s blacksmith shop, Perley’s wagon shop and Hendrickson’s gun shop. The damages were estimated at $17,500.

SEE: 1882 Le Bon Ton Saloon Fire in the Brainerd: City of Fire page.

Built by Ransford R. Wise in 1918 and named for his wife, Anna, it houses several stores and fifteen apartments, located on the southwest corner of Front and Seventh Streets. (Brainerd’s Half Century, Ingolf Dillan, General Printing Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1923, p. 51)


R. R. Wise Starts Erection of Same,
50 by 80 Feet, Two Stories High
at 7th and Front


Teams Are Busy Excavating—Plans
Were Drawn by Alex Nelson,
Perham Contractor

R. R. Wise has commenced the erection of a brick and stucco two story business block on his lots corner Front and South Seventh streets measuring 50 by 80 feet, the improvement to cost $18,000 or more.
Plans drawn by Alex Nelson of Perham show the main floor arranged for stores. Teams are busy excavating and workmen are laying floor joists and breaking down much of the old walls as considered unfit for use.
The building will greatly improve a corner which suffered heavily in the fire of the winter months. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 26 March 1918, p. 5, c. 3)


R. R. Wise Erecting a Most Substan-
tial Block at Corner of South
Seventh and Front


Will Make a Structure With Almost
Equal Frontage on Seventh
and Front Streets

R. R. Wise is building at the corner of South Seventh and Front Streets and the building will be larger than originally intended as he recently bought the lot to the west of him owned by the L. J. Cale estate.
The building designed by Alex Nelson, Perham contractor, is to be of brick, cement and stucco and will be a model of its kind and a wonderful improvement for the business section.
At the National hotel property of Mr. Wise located on Laurel street masons are today at work replacing a pillar and other sections of the front. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 26 April 1918, p. 5, c. 2)

SEE: Cale Block

Alex Nelson, of Perham, contractor in charge of the construction of the R. R. Wise building, corner of South Seventh and Front streets, is in the city on construction matters. He has several other large contracts in the west on which he will build. (Brainerd Daily Daily Dispatch, 23 May 1918, p. 2, c. 3)

Fire animation On 05 January 1924, five businesses were ruined and ten families were displaced as fire caused about $50,000 in damage to the Anna Block at the corner of Front and South Seventh Streets.

SEE: 1924 Anna Block Fire in the Brainerd: City of Fire page.

Fire animation On 21 October 1991, eight businesses were ruined and more than 30 people were left without homes as fire destroyed the Anna Block at the corner of Front and South Seventh Streets. Damage from the fire was estimated at over $1 million, according to owner Dave Pueringer.

SEE: 1991 Anna Block Fire in the Brainerd: City of Fire page.

Antlers Hotel at 418 Front Street, ca. 1909.
Source: Carl Faust
This hotel, which becomes a Mecca for the last of the loggers later in its life, is located on Front Street [418 Front Street] next door and just to the west of the Globe Hotel [422 Front Street], which is located on the southwest corner of Fifth and Front Streets between Fourth and Fifth Streets, it burns in 1910. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946; pp. 90 & 111)

NOTE: This hotel did NOT burn in 1910 as stated by Zapffe. It burned on 23 January 1917.

NOTE: The Lumberman’s Exchange Hotel/Antlers Hotel was rebuilt by John Bubar in 1888 after the huge fire of June 30, 1888; its proprietor in 1909 was A. A. Armstrong.

NOTE: This hotel was originally known as the Lumberman’s Exchange Hotel.

Ed. Chamberlain has sold his interest in the Exchange hotel to E. K. Woodin, who is making extensive improvements, and fitting it up in first-class shape. The name will be changed to “The Antlers.” (Brainerd Dispatch, 09 October 1896, p. 4, c. 4)

SEE: Lumberman’s Exchange Hotel

Ed. K. Woodin, who at one time carried on extensive logging operations in this neck of the woods, he belonging as a member of the old firm of Fales & Woodin, was in town this week on a visit to his cousin, Martin Watson. Since leaving Aitkin, Ed. has engaged in the steamboat business on the lower Mississippi, but his love for the North Star state was ever dominant, and disposing of his shipping interests, came back to the state of sunny clime and bracing atmosphere, locating at Brainerd, and for over a year has been Mine Host of the Hotel Antlers at Brainerd.—Age. (Brainerd Dispatch, 11 June 1897, p. 1, c. 5)


The First Conviction Under the Ordinance
Regulating the City’s Sanitary

Monday morning the case of the city against Peter Orth, came up for trial before Judge Mantor. Several witnesses were put on the stand by the defendant, to prove that his place of business, the Antlers hotel, had always been kept in a sanitary condition and the premises regularly cleaned.
The testimony of the city officials had more weight with the judge than that given by the other witnesses and the defendant was fined $10.
The garbage about his place had been cleaned up, however, and it is likely that in the future, the provisions of the ordinance will be strictly adhered to. (Brainerd Dispatch, 05 July 1901, p. 2, c. 1)


Adam Armstrong Starts the Erection of a
Good Building to be Used as Saloon
Adjoining Hotel.

The ground is being broken for a substantial brick building on the lot west of the Antlers hotel which will be used by Adam Armstrong as a saloon. The building will be adjoined to the hotel and the present room where the saloon is will be utilized as a waiting room. Other changes are also to be made by Landlord Armstrong in the dining room. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 25 July 1903, p. 3, c. 2)

15 April 1913. On complaint of J. E. Robinson of Minneapolis, who is a detective of the Burns National Agency, several arrests were made for gambling on the 2nd floor of the Antlers Hotel and the B. F. Floyd confectionary store. Seven of the card players paid fines of $15 plus costs. (This was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 15 April 2013)

17 April 1913. To date, seven card players have paid fines in court. P. D. O’Brien demanded a jury trial and was found guilty. He appealed. A Burns detective was roughed up by three men in a saloon and he filed charges. One man pled guilty and was fined $50. The others seek a trial. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 17 April 2013)

18 May 1915. After their successful raid on the Ideal Hotel yielded liquor, Sheriff Theorin and Police Chief Squires went to the Antlers Hotel and seized a wagon load of beer and whiskey. Brainerd has been dry since the April 19 election, the first time since "Pussyfoot" Johnson closed saloons for 30 days. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 18 May 2015)

12 September 1916. Special Indian agents and city police made a second raid on the Antlers Hotel and, after a lengthy search, found a 52-gallon barrel of whiskey hidden under the cement walk leading to the kitchen. A pipe by the walk was used to fill it and a loose brick in the basement hid the drain tap. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 12 September 2016)


Hotel of Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Le-
Moine Has Been Remodeled and
Elegantly Fitted Up


Decorating Done by Frank H. McCaff-
rey, Hotel is Supplied With
Gas for Kitchen

The Hotel Antlers will be opened to the public on Monday morning. Contractor J. C. Clausen, under the direction of the proprietors, Mr. and Mrs. Maurice LeMoine, has made changes which have worked wonders in the interior appearance of the popular place.
The lobby, dining room and kitchen have been newly decorated by Frank H. McCaffrey. The lobby walls are paneled and painted a light golden brown shade.
The dining room is in blue and white. The kitchen is as bright as a dollar. Gas ranges have been added and a new steam table. A chef from Minneapolis has been engaged. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 02 November 1916, p. 5, c. 3)

Fire animation On January 23, 1917, a fire destroyed the Antlers Hotel, the Ideal Hotel, formerly the Globe Hotel, and a couple of other buildings, causing an estimated loss of $50,000. William Deering, a boilermaker, and Thomas F. Lamb, 76 years old, a flagman, employed by the Northern Pacific railroad, roomers at the Antlers Hotel, lost their lives in the fire.

SEE: 1917 Antlers Hotel Fire in the Brainerd: City of Fire page.

Arlington Hotel at the southwest corner of 6th and Washington, ca. 1889.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society
In 1889 Ransford R. Wise builds a hotel in a city in North Dakota, when business fails there, he dismantles his hotel and transfers it by trains, a distance of 322 miles, and reconstructs it in Brainerd without breaking a light or a glass. Each piece is marked to correspond with memoranda showing where it goes, the reconstruction not varying in any detail from the original plan. He operates the Arlington Hotel, located on the southwest corner of Sixth and Washington Streets, until it burns on 01 January 1904. (Brainerd’s Half Century, Ingolf Dillan, General Printing Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1923, p. 51)

The Headquarters Hotel built early in 1871 by the railroad company had been superseded in 1889 by Wise’s Arlington Hotel on almost the same premises. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946, p. 86)

Minnewaukan Had Bright Future as Resort Town on Devils Lake


One who felt Minnewaukan had a tremendous future was R. R. Wise, who built an immense hotel, the Arlington, to cater to summer tourists. The hotel was located on Main Street facing the street on the west side of the railroad tracks. The front of the hotel faced east and was located exactly where three evergreens now grow. The east front of the hotel was 190 feet long, extending north past the south front of the steel building which now houses Helland Welding. The Arlington was approximately 76 feet wide. It was three stories high, had 55 rooms and could accommodate 300 guests. It cost $20,000 to build, more than a small fortune at that time.
The hotel had a bar and billiard room, a barber shop and commercial travelers’ rooms. Mrs. William Plummer furnished much of the support for a free reading room (library) in the hotel. All rooms had electric bells, high ceilings, marble washstands and good ventilation.
The hotel was built in 1884. When the Benson County Commissioners hiked the liquor license to $1,000 annually, payable in advance, Wise closed the hotel and dismantled all but the southwest corner in 1888, shipping it to Brainerd, Minnesota, where he rebuilt it.
There must have been some prohibitionists on the county commission because $1,000 was a tremendous price for a liquor license at the time. If the purpose was to close his liquor business, they were successful. But the town lost a landmark building. However, the lake going down undoubtedly had some effect on Wise’s decision.
The southwest corner of the Arlington which remained was leased to the county for offices.... The last portion of the Arlington Hotel was torn down in 1969....
But in its heyday, the Arlington was really something. R. R. Wise built it and the tourists came. The September 12, 1885 issue of The Siftings stated, “Three trains and the Minnie H arrived at the West Shore metropolis Wednesday. Over 200 people packed in four elegant coaches came up from Jamestown Thursday on an intended excursion to Fort Totten. The excursion was attended by the usual heavenly weep in which part of the program there was no change until late in the afternoon. There were more excursionists than the Arlington could accommodate and the other hotels were all filled....”
The Arlington also hosted church services. An item in the September 5, 1885 issue of The Siftings reported, “A nickel entertainment, consisting of vocal and instrumental music, was given by the ladies at the corner room of the Arlington Saturday evening for the benefit of the church.” (Richard Peterson, Benson County Farmers Press, Wednesday, 30 August 1995, Minnewaukan, North Dakota)

The New Hotel Scheme.

Mr. John [sic] Wise, of Minnewaukan, D. T., was in the city several days this week looking over the city with a view of bringing his hotel here. He has a first-class hotel at that place but when it was constructed the future of the city was overestimated and it has proved a financial failure. He now proposes to take it to some place where it can be run as a paying institution. In these days of modern improvements and appliances it is possible to move a building of its magnitude and replace it in as good shape as when first constructed. It will cost the gentleman $6,500 to have it taken down, transported to Brainerd and put together again. The building is a 60-room frame house and presents a very handsome appearance, the front of the lower portion of it being largely composed of plate glass. The gentleman is a thorough hotel man with ample means and if he removes to Brainerd it will be of considerable importance to our city. (Brainerd Dispatch, 11 May 1888, p. 4, c. 4)

New Hotel Scheme.

The Board of Trade was called together on Monday evening to consider the matter of aiding the new hotel enterprise, and the members voted to give $300 out of the money in the treasurer’s hands towards the bonus of $4,000, which Mr. Wise asks to bring his hotel from Minnewaukan, D. T., to Brainerd. This practically settles the matter and assures to this city the erection of the structure. The building will be located on the site of the old Headquarters hotel and will be equipped with all modern conveniences, steam heat, electric bells and electric lighting. Of this $4,000 the Northern Pacific company have agreed to pay $1,000 and otherwise encourage the proprietor of the hotel to make the change. The bonus is not to be paid to Mr. Wise until the building is under way, and then in three installments, the last one when the plastering is completed. (Brainerd Dispatch, 12 October 1888, p. 4, c. 4)

The new hotel is being rushed with all possible speed. Several car loads of the material is already here and has been placed in shape. (Brainerd Dispatch, 09 November 1888, p. 4, c. 3)

The brick work on the new hotel is progressing rapidly, and is already up to the top of the second story. (Brainerd Dispatch, 14 December 1888, p. 4, c. 3)

The new hotel is being pushed forward very rapidly. The brick work was completed yesterday noon and the lathers have nearly completed their labors and the building is ready to put the plastering on. The wires to connect with the electric bell system were put into place on Tuesday. Mr. Wise expects to get things in shape to open up by February 1st. (Brainerd Dispatch, 21 December 1888, p. 4, c. 3)

The new hotel, which will be known as the Arlington, has been opened for business. (Brainerd Dispatch, 22 February 1889, p. 4, c. 3)

Built the Arlington and Ransford Hotels, ca. 1915.
Source: Brainerd’s Half Century, Ingolf Dillan
St. Paul Daily News: Ever since the destruction by fire of the fine hotel which adorned the enterprising city of Brainerd, Minn., that place has felt the need of more and better hotel accommodations. The city now rejoices in having that want supplied by the opening of the Arlington, under the proprietorship of R. R. Wise, who is a thorough hotel man in every respect. Mr. Wise formerly resided at Minnewaukan, D. T., and moved his hotel from that point, rebuilding at Brainerd. He has made it first class in every respect with all modern improvements. Every room is supplied with an incandescent electric light—water and sewerage appointments are perfect, and in fact, nothing lacks to make “The Arlington” a complete hostelry. The meals are equal to any first class hotel and superior to most. The News congratulates both Mr. Wise and the citizens of Brainerd upon “The Arlington.” (Brainerd Dispatch, 26 April 1889, p. 4, c. 6)

The Arlington has two elegant new signs. (Brainerd Dispatch, 10 May 1889, p. 4, c. 3)

BRAINERD has a hotel to be proud of in the Arlington. The formal opening last night would have done credit to a much larger and more pretentious city. (Brainerd Dispatch, 07 June 1889, p. 1, c. 2)

The Arlington Opening.

Arlington Hotel, 1903. A 1130x924 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society
The event of the season occurred last night at the opening of the Arlington hotel. Without any doubt it was the most brilliant event that has occurred here in many seasons. The house was beautifully decorated with flowers throughout, brought here from St. Paul, Minneapolis, and even from Tacoma, on the Pacific coast. The Third Regiment Band occupied the balcony and discoursed sweet music during the evening and until the banquet was at an end. The guests arrived as early as 9:30 and were shown to the parlors of the hotel on the second floor until the announcement was made that the banquet hall was in readiness. When the guests had been seated, President C. L. Spaulding, of the city council, opened with a speech as follows:
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: In behalf of the host and hostess I welcome you to this banquet with all the cordiality that the word welcome can imply. I welcome you as citizens whose every interest is identified with Brainerd, who are ever ready to encourage any enterprise that will result to our prosperity and conduce to the reputation of the city abroad. I behold here tonight many of our citizens whose remembrance takes them back to early days when the location of our churches, school houses, dwellings and business blocks was covered by the forests primeval when the majority of our habitations was represented by the wigwams and tepees of the savage Indian. I also see the familiar faces of distinguished guests from neighboring cities and towns, who have laid aside their usual vocations for a time that they might be with us tonight and enjoy these festivities. Among this number I observe Mr. B. S. Russell, who is thoroughly conversant with the development of the northwest, having lived to see the claims of Proctor Knott that this section was an arid waste proven false by the country being made into farms now dotted by the bleating flocks, the lowing herd and the waving grain—one who has been identified with the N. P. R. R. for the past twenty years—that magnificent system that has made us a city and developed the whole northwest, which at no distant date will run its limited trains from New York or the Atlantic to Portland or the Pacific. I observe several former citizens, some who have left behind them evidences of their energy in the form of blocks of buildings that are the pride of our city. But while I welcome you in behalf of our hosts, I in behalf of our citizens welcome you, Mr. and Mrs. Wise, to our city, and congratulate you upon the establishment of this enterprise that has filled a long felt want. We trust that your success may be such that you will be warranted in remaining with us for years to come, and that we shall appreciate your efforts in making this a hotel second to none in the state. As citizens we welcome you.
Then came on the eatables and drinkables in the following order:


Chateau Yquem
Blue Points
Small Patties of Chickens

Plank Shad, Maitre D’hotel
Shoe String Potatoes
Sliced Cucumbers

Pontet Canet
Tenderloin of Beef, with Truffles
Sweet Breads Glace
Green Peas

Pomery Sec
Broiled Plover on Toast
Baked Mashed Potatoes
Lettuce Salad

Roman Punch
Charlotte Russe
Angel Cake
Ornamented Pyramid Confections
Wine Jelly
Vanilla Ice Cream
Water Crackers
Roquefort Cheese

The toasts which came between the different courses were as happily served as was the magnificent menu. To the toast “Our City,” Rev. Geo. H. Davis responded in a very pleasing manner, and we would be pleased to publish his remarks, as well as those of the other gentlemen following him did space permit. B. S. Russell, of Valley City, responded to “N. P. Railway and Improvements,” and a very entertaining talk he gave the assembled audience. To “Mechanical Arts and Sciences,” J. E. Phalen, formerly of this city but now of Mandan, responded and his remarks were closely followed by his hearers. Bro. Stivers, of the Journal, took the subject “The State,” and although his remarks were impromptu he succeeded in interesting the listeners at that late hour. Remarks were also made by W. S. Martin, Hon. L. P. White and others, and at 1 o’clock the guests left the banquet hall and repaired to the armory where dancing was indulged in until the wee sma’ hours.
The Arlington is a hotel that the city need never blush for, and under the management of Mr. Wise, the proprietor, a thorough hotel man, it will continue to take a front rank among the popular hostelries of the state and the northwest. The building is a handsome brick structure and is centrally located. Its accommodations are first-class in every particular and all the modern improvements of the age are included in its make-up. There are sixty rooms and the furnishings are new throughout. The house was moved here from Minnewaukan, Dakota, by Mr. Wise, where it was originally built as a summer resort hotel. (Brainerd Dispatch, 07 June 1889, p. 1, c. 3)

Although a very large and roomy hotel, the Arlington seems inadequate for the business that it is receiving and a new addition 18x24 is being built onto the west end to be used as sample rooms for commercial men, which will make six rooms for this class of custom when completed. The Arlington is a credit to the city. (Brainerd Dispatch, 12 July 1889, p. 4, c. 4)

The Presto Change says that Messrs. Petrie & Sitherwood have taken charge of the bar at the Arlington. It will be re-fitted in elegant style and supplied with the very best of everything in the line of fluid refreshments. (Brainerd Dispatch, 28 November 1890, p. 4, c. 4)

The Chenquatana Club will give a hop on Christmas night at the Arlington Hotel. (Brainerd Dispatch, 18 December 1891, p. 4, c. 4)

A leap year party is on the tapis to take place next Friday evening, the 8th inst., at the Arlington, and it bids fair to be the society event of the season. (Brainerd Dispatch, 01 January 1892, p. 4, c. 4)


The Ladies Show Their Ability at Managing a Party.

The leap year party, given by the ladies of Brainerd at the Arlington [Hotel] on Friday evening, was an occasion which will long be remembered by the members of the sterner sex as an exquisite affair in every detail. It seems that the ladies had determined to outdo anything that had ever been attempted in the line of leap year parties, and to show the gentlemen that they knew how to manage an affair of the kind—and they succeeded. The gentlemen were served with notice by their escorts to be dressed and in readiness at not later than 8:10 p.m., as the grand march was set for 8:30, but an observer could easily see that many of the gentlemen kept their partners waiting, a thing never heard of on the other hand, as it was fully nine o’clock before the last of the invited guests arrived. The reception committee, consisting of Mrs. D. D. Smith, Mrs. N. H. Ingersoll and Mrs. Dr. Howes, who were stationed at the entrance of the reception rooms up-stairs, did the honors in the latest approved style and took care of the company with ease and grace. It was here that many of the gentlemen discovered for the first time that the ladies had practiced a unique joke on them by appearing in the calico dresses fashioned after the style worn by their great grandmothers. The secret, however, had leaked out to some—a little bird had probably told it—and about 20 of the gentlemen had full dress calico suits in their inside pockets, which were slipped on quietly in the dressing room after they arrived. The grand march was announced, and when they marched out the fun began. Miss Lottie Grandelmyer and Mr. George N. Day led the grand march in which some 60 people participated, those not caring to dance amusing themselves at cards in the reception rooms. The party was without exception the most enjoyable and most successful affair ever given in the city, and this without flattery to the ladies. A fine list of dances were arranged, the floor being admirably managed by Misses Flora Merrell [sic], Bertie Robinson and Lotta Grandelmyer [sic], and nearly all in attendance tripped the light fantastic toe until supper was announced at midnight. The supper deserves especial mention as it was served according to directions furnished by the ladies, and was one of the crowning features of the evening. At 2 a.m. the ladies escorted their gentlemen to their homes, and we doubt if any ever enjoyed a more pleasant evening. The following are the names of those present:
Miss Mary Small, Allie Fitch, Lotta Grandelmyer, Flora Merrell [sic], Bertie Robinson, Gertrude Morser, Nellie Howe, Charlotte Cahoon, Minta Holmes, Bessie Small, Lillie Wilson, May Clark, and Mesdames. G. W. Craine, O. C. Foster, G. W. Alexander, E. O. Webb, N. H. Ingersoll, D. D. Smith, Geo. Forsyth [sic], Ed. Breheny, J. C. Rosser, A. P. Farrar, N. D. Root, W. Courtney, Joe Howe, I. E. Fox, Fannie Mulrine, J. E. Goodman, A. F. Ferris, W. A. Fleming and J. R. Howes.
Messrs. Geo. N. Day, W. A. M. Johnston [sic] [Johnstone], F. A. Farrar, Horace Stedman, G. F. Watson, J. R. Westfall, Mark Root, C. E. Chipperfield, H. Linnemann [sic], N. McFadden, Geo. Forsyth [sic], G. W. Craine, N. H. Ingersoll, O. O. Foster, G. W. Alexander, D. D. Smith, Ed. Breheny, A. P. Farrar, A. F. Ferris, W. A. Fleming, Dr. Howes, Dr. Courtney, Dr. Camp, Dr. Groves, Dr. McPherson, Dr. McGregor, J. M. Elder, J. A. Wilson, Leon E. Lum, J. R. Smith, W. B. Heath, C. E. Dickinson and R. J. Hartley. (Brainerd Dispatch, 15 January 1892, p. 4, c. 4)

The people had scarcely quit voting Tuesday night before the improvements began to show up. R. R. Wise on Wednesday morning had a force of men at work on an addition to the Arlington. (Brainerd Dispatch, 03 June 1892, p. 4, c. 3)

The department was called out Saturday night at 12 o’clock by an alarm turned in from the Arlington, but its services were not required. A blaze had been started in the oil house in the rear of the hotel by a careless employee who lit a match in order to draw some gasoline. A pail of water extinguished the blaze. (Brainerd Dispatch, 22 July 1892, p. 4, c. 3)

The dance at the Arlington on Monday evening by the Chenquatana Club was a very pleasant social event, and was greatly enjoyed by the fortunate ones present. (Brainerd Dispatch, 06 January 1893, p. 4, c. 3)

Invitations have been issued by Mr. and Mrs. R. R. Wise, of the Hotel Arlington, for a masquerade Ball to take place on the evening of Jan. 19th. It will undoubtedly be the social event of the season, and society people are anticipating an evening of great pleasure. (Brainerd Dispatch, 13 January 1893, p. 4, c. 3)

A new oak sidewalk has been placed in front of the Arlington this week. (Brainerd Dispatch, 25 August 1893, p. 4, c. 3)

A barber shop has been opened in the lobby at the Arlington. (Brainerd Dispatch, 27 October 1893, p. 4, c. 5)

Negotiations are pending between R. R. Wise and G. W. Ingraham for a lease of the Arlington hotel to the latter gentleman for a term of years. Mr. Ingraham was a resident of Brainerd ten years ago. (Brainerd Dispatch, 12 January 1894, p. 4, c. 4)

R. R. Wise has constructed a fine cement sidewalk in front of the Arlington Hotel, and will build one in front of his property at the corner of 6th and Front streets. (Brainerd Dispatch, 15 June 1900, p. 10, c. 1)

Fire animation On May 1, 1895, a fire occurred in the Arlington Hotel. The building was saved from destruction, but not until somewhere in the neighborhood of $600 damage had been done, the water causing as much destruction as the fire.

SEE: 1895 Arlington Hotel Fire in the Brainerd: City of Fire page.

The Western Union telegraph office will occupy new quarters in the office of the Arlington Hotel within a few days, Manager Craig having received orders to that effect. The railroad office will handle the night business after 8 o’clock, as heretofore. (Brainerd Dispatch, 21 August 1896, p. 4, c. 4)

A leap year party will be given at the Arlington this evening, which bids fair to outdo anything of the kind ever attempted in Brainerd. The young ladies who have charge of the details will see that the gentlemen are given all possible attention and undoubtedly the occasion will be a very enjoyable affair. (Brainerd Dispatch, 11 December 1896, p. 4, c. 6)


A New Steam Heating Plant and Bath
Rooms Being Put In.

Extensive improvements are underway at the Arlington Hotel. Excavations are now in progress for a large basement under the hotel, and a big 60 foot chimney is being constructed preparatory to putting in a complete steam heating plant, the contract for which will be let in a day or two. The local plumbers are figuring on the work, also J. W. Moore, representing the Moore Steam Heating Co., of Minneapolis, and Allan Black and H. E. Stevens, of St. Paul. The work will be pushed to completion as soon as possible. Over 100 steam registers will be necessary to heat the building. In addition seven complete bath outfits will be put in, two for public use, and five in connection with private rooms. Mr. Wise is sparing no expense to make the Arlington one of the very best hotels in the northwest. (Brainerd Dispatch, 18 December 1896, p. 4, c. 5)

A Society Event.

A very pretty social affair was the reception given Tuesday evening at the Arlington by Mr. and Mrs. R. R. Wise in honor of their guest Miss Edna Bonebreak, of Louisville, Kentucky, assisted by Mrs. C. J. Wilson, of Jamestown, N. D., and Mrs. Gov. D. M. Clough, of St. Paul. The hours were from 9 to 11 o’clock, during which time the house was thronged with callers. The reception room was decorated with carnations and roses. The refreshment rooms were trimmed in pink and green, and the color effect was also produced in the refreshments served. A table beautifully decorated stood under the arch between portieres of asparagus fern and from the top of the arch smilax and pink ribbon fell to each corner caught up with a bunch of pink roses. The halls were trimmed in smilax, and in a parlor decorated with chrysanthemums frappe was served by Mrs. R. E. Berry. The other ladies who assisted in entertaining the guests were Mesdames E. M. Westfall, Fannie E. Smith, Misses Amy Lowey, Flo Halsted, and Eloise Smith. (Brainerd Dispatch, 22 October 1897, p. 1, c. 3)


William Delsworth, Porter at the Arling-
ton, Falls Down a Flight of Stairs

William Delsworth, porter at the Arlington, had a narrow escape from death Wednesday and the injuries which he received from falling down a flight of stairs at the rear of the hotel, may yet prove fatal.
It is thought that he was somewhat under the influence of liquor and was seated at the top of the outside stairway, and that he finally fell asleep while seated in this position and toppled over. The distance which he fell was about thirty feet, and besides being badly injured during the fall, he struck face downward on a pile of stone and other hard material.
Several large gashes were cut about his face, the flesh of his nose having been almost torn off. Dr. Groves was called and seventeen stitches were taken in the different gashes. While he is resting quietly today, it is thought that the wounds will be painful, and if he recovers at all, it will be a long time before he will be able to be out again. (Brainerd Dispatch, 27 September 1897, p. 4, c. 2)

Mr. and Mrs. R. R. Wise gave a Thanksgiving supper at the Arlington last evening in honor of Mr. and Mrs. J. R. Westfall, who expect to leave the city shortly. The banquet was a very elaborate affair. Among those present were Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Halsted, Mr. and Mrs. S. L. Bean, Mr. and Mrs. O. O. Winter, Mr. and Mrs. C. M. Patek, Mr. and Mrs. H. I. Cohen, Mr. and Mrs. F. A. Farrar, Mr. and Mrs. E. M. Westfall, Mr. and Mrs. F. S. Parker, Mrs. J. R. Westfall, Mrs. R. E. Berry, Mrs. Scoville, C. N. Parker, Jay and Harry Patek. (Brainerd Dispatch, 01 December 1899, p. 8, c. 2)


Negotiations Pending for the Lease of
Brainerd’s Leading Hotel.

Negotiations are pending for the lease of the Arlington Hotel. Mr. Wise stated to a DISPATCH representative that he had determined to be relieved of some of his business cares which were weighing too heavily on him as his interests grew, and with this end in view he had concluded to lease the Arlington property, provided the right man could be found and suitable terms can be made. He has offers from more than a dozen parties, but a partial understanding has been reached with Wm. Matthews, of Aberdeen, S. D., a hotel man of experience, who will come here about June 1st, and if an agreement can be reached will lease the property for five years.
Mr. Wise will retain his rooms in the hotel and make his home there, although he expects to spend most of his time at his farm a few miles west of the city, where he expects to get complete rest. He says he has been in the harness for over thirty years, and feels that he ought to be relieved from active business cares. (Brainerd Dispatch, 24 May 1901, p. 1, c. 4)


Landlord R. R. Wise to Retire from the
Active Management of the
Arlington Hotel.

Within a day or two the Arlington Hotel, so long managed and owned by R. R. Wise, will have a new man at its head, unless something unforeseen happens in the interim.
Last week Mr. Wise spent considerable time in St. Paul consulting with N. P. officials regarding the lease, and the transfer of the same to his successor.
The gentleman who comes to the Arlington is William [sic] [Sam] Matthews, well known throughout the northwest as a hotel man, having been connected for years with the Metropole hotel at Fargo. Mr. Matthews is expected in the city today and the final transfer will be made as soon as an inventory of the furnishings of the hotel can be taken. (Brainerd Dispatch, 07 June 1901, p. 6, c. 2)

Landlord R. R. Wise is making some extensive improvements in the lobby of the Arlington. The walls are being re-papered and renovated. (Brainerd Dispatch, 20 December 1901, p. 8, c. 1)

Fire animation On January 1, 1904, the Arlington Hotel, almost in the twinkling of an eye, was gutted by fire and reduced to ashes. A large amount of the furnishings of the building had been carried out into the street and piled up. Most of the stock of wines and liquors in the bar room were saved, although there was a heavy loss from breakage in handling the bottles. There were no fatalities and the amount of damages was estimated at about $50,000.

SEE: 1904 Arlington Hotel Fire in the Brainerd: City of Fire page.


The City to Support Them.

The members of Co. K, of this city, are feeling somewhat jubilant over the fact that the recent legislature passed a bill which compels the cities in which military companies are located to support them. The law provides that whenever it shall appear by the certificate of the commander of the regiment or battalion to which any company, organized under the provisions of the General Laws of the State of Minnesota (the military code), and the amendments thereof, belongs, that such battery or company reached the minimum number of enlisted men who regularly attend the drills and parades of such battery and company, the commanding officer of the regiment or battalion, the mayor and the treasurer of the city, town or village, or where there is no mayor, then the proper authorities of the town or village in which such battery or company is located, shall constitute a board to erect or rent, within the bounds of such city, town or village, for the the use of such battery or company, a suitable or convenient armory, drill room and place of deposit for the safe keeping of the arms, uniforms, equipments, accouterments and camp equipage furnished under the provisions of this act. And whenever, in the opinion of the officer in permanent command or in permanent charge of any armory, the same shall be unfit for the uses for which it is designed, he may make complaint in writing thereof to said board, which board shall forthwith examine into the condition of such armory and shall have power thereupon to direct the alteration, repair, enlargement or abandonment of the same, and in case of abandonment, to provide another suitable armory. The expenses of altering, repairing, enlarging or renting armories, purchasing lands for the erection of armories, and for providing the necessary camp stools, apparatus and fixtures for heating and lighting and the fuel and gas or oil for the same, and water closets in such building, and for the proper preserving from injury the arms, equipments, uniforms and records stored therein by the construction of suitable lockers, closets, gun racks and cases for uniforms, equipments, arms and records, and for the maintenance thereof in good and safe repair, shall be a portion of the charges of such city, town or village, and shall be levied, collected and paid in the same manner as other city, town or village charges are levied, collected and paid.
The law also provides that a janitor shall be appointed who shall care for the armory, and in case it is heated by steam, an engineer, the compensation for such person not to exceed $2 per day for actual time, and that he shall be paid monthly and be a charge upon the city, town or village in which said armory is situated.
The cost of maintaining Co. K will probably not exceed $900 a year, and as soon as things can be adjusted the city will be asked to either build or rent them a suitable place. The roller rink has been used by them and with some internal improvements can be made suitable for their use and satisfactory to the officers. Should the company desire to have new quarters, and the city be obliged to build, the expense entailed will be quite heavy. (Brainerd Dispatch, 08 May 1891, p. 4, c. 5)

Mayor Hagberg informs us that a formal demand has been made upon him to furnish an armory for Co. K. This demand is made in accordance with the law passed at the recent legislature, and the mayor would like to listen to suggestions from the people before he goes into the matter. There is no doubt about the request being as the law requires and that the City of Brainerd will have to bear the expense until the next legislature meets at least. The law is unjust to any city in which a military company is located as the state should provide for the support of its national guards. As it is now Brainerd has to support Co. K, while the state has full control of them and can call them to any part of its border. We think that if the state desires a militia that the whole state should contribute to their support. Any mention of the law was kept from newspaper publicity during the time that its passage was pending in the legislature for fear it would be killed did it get before the people, this we have from a gentleman who was there. Every company in the state should be supported in good style, but by the state. Company K has been self-supporting up to the present day, and the boys have worked hard to sustain the organization for which they are entitled to much credit. (Brainerd Dispatch, 15 May 1891, p. 4, c. 4)

NOTE: In January 1891 the roller rink also became known unofficially as the armory. On November 1, 1898 Gardner’s Hall became the armory through a lease of three years, expiring in 1901.

Armory at the northwest corner of 5th and Laurel, ca. 1930.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society
Armory at the northwest corner of 5th and Laurel, ca. 1970’s.
Source: Julie Nesheim
Built in 1936 it stands on the northwest corner of Fifth and Laurel Streets. [This building is demolished in 1996 and replaced by a strip mall containing offices.] (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946, p. 149)

18 April 1933. An imposing memorial building or armory in memory of Brainerd’s war veterans became possible with presentation of a deed to city property given by Mrs. Sarah Gardner to the American Legion. The property is 75 X 140 feet and lies opposite city hall. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 18 April 2013)

14 September 1935. Moving swiftly, the city council fulfilled all conditions necessary to establish an armory. The council pledged a half-mill levy to pay its share of the $40,000 in bonds to construct the building. The site at the NW corner of 5th and Laurel streets will be purchased from Sarah Gardner for $2,500. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 14 September 2015)

12 November 1935. The Brainerd Dispatch has learned from usually reliable sources that the $100,000 Brainerd armory project will be approved by WPA officials in Washington, DC, in a week to 10 days. Organization of a tank corps unit of 60 to 65 men is assured with support of veterans groups. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 12 November 2015)

20 November 1935. The last hurdle in the path of constructing Brainerd’s new $100,000 armory was cleared today when the WPA authorized work to begin. Federal money is now on deposit in St. Paul. The huge building will be built across from city hall. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 20 November 1935)

30 November 1935. Workmen have virtually completed tearing down the log palisade which surrounded the midway of last summer’s Paul Bunyan Exposition at 5th and Laurel Streets. Once that is complete, construction will begin on the new $100,000 armory building. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 30 November 2015)

29 January 1936. A trace of carbon monoxide gas sickened several men pouring concrete into forms at the new armory site. The problem occurred in the early hours today as men worked all night to complete the job. The areas were enclosed by canvas because of cold weather, and heaters caused the problem. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 29 January 2015)

08 April 1936. A crew of bricklayers, under the supervision of Ben Samuelson, local contractor, have taken over the show at the big armory project here. The brick walls are arising from the foundations put in during the cold months of winter, as the building will add to the Laurel Street skyline next summer. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 08 April 2016)

15 May 1995. Do you have $78,000 and a burning desire to save one of Brainerd’s significant buildings? If so, the city council has a deal for you. By a unanimous 7-0 vote the council decided to put the old National Guard Armory on the selling block until November. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 15 May 2015)

04 January 1996. The city council has learned that developers of the old Brainerd armory property have decided to raze the building. Gordy Winzenburg, representing the developers, said they intended to renovate the building but the cost was too great compared to the assessed value. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 04 January 2016)

22 May 1996. (Photo) A heavy equipment operator tears a beam from the old Brainerd Armory on Laurel Street as the structure begins to crumble. The landmark, host to hundreds of events through the years, will be replaced by a one-story office building. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 22 May 2016)

Baehr Building at the northeast corner of 6th and Front, ca. 1948.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society
Built in 1936 by the Baehr Theaters Company at a cost of $150,000. It is located on the northeast corner of Sixth and Front Streets where the Depot Park, also known as Hobo Park, is located. It houses apartments, offices and the Brainerd Theater, which begins operation in 1938. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946, p. 156)

24 November 1939. Opening of the Credit Clothing Store in the Baehr Building was announced today by Norman C. Hall, owner. A feature of the store will be its credit policy, offering merchandise for sale on a time payment plan. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 24 November 1999)

21 November 1948. Mr. and Mrs. Bennyhoff are planning the opening of their office supply shop at 615 Front Street tomorrow. Located in the Baehr Building. Mr. and Mrs. Bennyhoff have lived in Brainerd 10 years. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 21 November 2008)

30 September 1959. Rod and Marge Couture plan a grand opening of Couture Jewelry in Brainerd the first of October. Their lovely new shop is located in the Baehr Building. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 30 September 1999)

Fire animation On December 28, 1964, a $400,000 fire guts the Baehr building which contained the Brainerd Theater, eleven apartments, nine of which were occupied, and several offices. Four people were injured, one lost his foot. Three tenants were rescued by ladder.

SEE: 1964 Baehr Building Fire in the Brainerd: City of Fire page.

31 December 1964. The Brainerd Theater will be back in operation within a month and a new one-story office building will replace the gutted Baehr Building here. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 31 December 2004)

23 December 1985. The Brainerd Twin Theatre, at 6th and Front Streets, is being remodeled into a roller skating rink. A victim of competition from chain-owned theaters, the 1938 theater was the last movie house in downtown Brainerd, following the closing of the Paramount last September. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 23 December 2015)

NOTE: In the first week of February 1999 the Brainerd Theater building is torn down and the lot sits empty until it becomes a parking lot.

Brainerd Road Projects Draw Opposition

...Heard a report from City Planner Al Cottingham that the clean-up of the old Baehr building site on South Sixth Street was nearly complete when a 5,000 gallon fuel oil tank was discovered buried under the former location of the sidewalk near the building. He said that the discovery may increase the cost of site clean-up, and that he would keep the council posted. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 03 March 1999)

Hair Stylists File Suit on City

John Imgrund, owner of the Barber Shop, and Marlys Waddell, owner of the Beauty Nook, businesses previously housed in the former Baehr building in downtown Brainerd, have filed a civil lawsuit against the city of Brainerd.
The city purchased the building in the fall of 1998 and had it torn down earlier this year.
Imgrund and Waddell rented space in the building from the previous building owners, Floyd and Maxine Bunnell.
The plaintiffs, who both vacated the building in the summer of 1998, are seeking relocation expenses.
The Beauty Nook has closed. The Barber Shop relocated.
The civil lawsuit has been filed in Crow Wing District Court. A scheduling conference before Judge Richard Zimmerman is set for Sept. 27. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 21 July 1999)

Brainerd May Limit Brush Burning to Outlying Areas

...Council members met in closed session with attorney Tom Fitzpatrick and representatives from former business occupants in the now demolished Baehr Building. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 09 September 1999)

Located at 220 South Seventh Street in 1905.

Located on South Seventh Street, the Brainerd Arena is published from this building until about December 1910. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946, p. 154)

April 1904. For rent—Two fine suites of office rooms, steam heated, electric lighted, $9 and $11 per month. Bane Block. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, Sunday, 18 April 2004)


The Bane Block Main Floor has a
Cross Partition Put In. Making Two Store Rooms

E. C. Bane has just completed putting in a cross partition, running east and west, which divides the main floor of the Bane block, formerly used as a skating rink, into two handsome store rooms measuring 25x100 feet each.
The room next to C. M. Patek, 216 South Seventh street, has been secured by Mr. Patek and will be used by him as a furniture display room. The business of this popular furniture house has increased so rapidly that more floor space was necessary. Mr. Bane is having a large archway chiseled through the brick wall in order to connect the two rooms.
The remaining room, size 25x100 is vacant at present but Mr. Bane will soon have a tenant for this part too. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 11 May 1910, p. 2, c. 5)

NOTE: The skating rink referred to above was a roller skating rink called the Casino Rink.


Ralph A. Campbell Alleys in Bane
Block Opened to Public on
Saturday Evening

From Wednesday’s Daily:—
The opening of the new alleys, four Koehler & Hinrich alleys at the Bane Block and managed by Ralph A. Campbell, brought to the place one of the largest gatherings of bowlers seen in the city.
Interest centered on the man who made the biggest score as he was rewarded with a special prize in the shape of a box of cigars. The winner was R. G. Jenkins, who scored 199 pins.
The next high men were G. P. O’Brien, Mr. Dwyer and Art Drogseth, all bankers, and Clark Henry and up to 11:30 these four tied at 197 pins.
The alleys are the acme of elegance and convenience, are scientifically correct and in the finest shape and a delight to any man who wishes to try a game in the king of indoor sports. Mr. Campbell received many compliments regarding his alleys and they made a hit with the boys. (Brainerd Dispatch, 06 February 1914, p. 1, c. 2)

Fire animation On December 16, 1914 a fire believed to have started from a defective furnace completely destroyed the E. C. Bane block and damaged the C. M. Patek building and the Citizens State Bank buildings. The Journal Press newspaper lost everything.

SEE: 1914 Bane Block Fire in the Brainerd: City of Fire page.

Donated to the city on 11 March 1932 by local realtor E. C. Bane and his wife, M. Lurline Bane. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946, p. 143)


Bank of Brainerd Ad, 29 May 1880.
Source: Brainerd Tribune
Chartered and built by William A. Ferris and George W. Holland in 1879, it is located in a small frame building on the southeast corner of Front and Fifth Streets. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946, p. 13)

Since the transfer of the express business to the Northern Pacific company and the removal of the United States and American offices from this city, Mr. Ferris, the ex-U. S. agent, has decided to open a bank and engage in general banking business in Brainerd. He has accordingly changed his sign to “The Bank of Brainerd,” and will hereafter be a full-fledged banker, prepared to accommodate all comers, and Brainerd has a bank. Success to it. (Brainerd Tribune, 17 January 1880, p. 4, c. 1)

Fixing up is the order of the day. Just call in and see our genial jeweler and banker, Mr. Wm. Ferris, and see for yourself. (Brainerd Tribune, 21 February 1880, p. 4, c. 1)

William A. Ferris, ca. Unknown.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society
W. C. Hickox, agent for the Mosler Safe and Lock Co., of Cincinnati, was in the city on Monday and sold the Bank of Brainerd a time lock for the new burglar-proof vault Mr. Ferris is making preparations to have put in his building and while here, Mr. H. improved the opportunity to outfit a number of our businessmen with safes, among whom the Leland House and the Post Office are to each receive a large double-door Mosler. (Brainerd Tribune, 01 May 1880, p. 4, c. 2)

Bank of Brainerd at the southeast corner of 5th and Front, ca. 1881.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society
The brick is on the ground for the new brick vault about to be constructed by Wm. Ferris & Co. for their bank. (Brainerd Tribune, 19 June 1880, p. 4, c. 1)

Wm. Ferris & Co., bankers have their capacious brick vault completed and it is the heaviest and best one of the kind in the State. They have also purchased a burglar proof safe with a time lock to put inside of that again, after which the Brainerd Bank will be the safest of the safest. (Brainerd Tribune, 10 July 1880, p. 1, c. 3)

The building on the corner of Front and Sixth streets occupied by Miss Caley’s restaurant is being removed two lots east to make room for the new brick building, 50x75 feet and two stories high that is to go up on the corner. (Brainerd Tribune, 31 July 1880, p. 4, c. 1)

NOTE: This new brick building became the First National Bank building.

SEE: Caley (Mattie) Restaurant and Bakery

Brainerd Ahead.

Wm. Ferris & Co., of the Brainerd Bank, received this week from the Mosler Safe & Lock Co., of Cincinnati, Ohio, their new burglar proof safe and time lock and it is a beauty. They have placed it in their large brick vault, and the vault shelving and other fixtures are being put in place today. This constitutes the Brainerd Bank an absolutely safe depository, and we congratulate the proprietors upon the amount of business which enables them to afford the outlay and our citizens upon the security it affords them. Brainerd moves. (Brainerd Tribune, 27 November 1880, p. 4, c. 2)

The interior of the Brainerd Bank is being remodeled and fitted up in a first-class manner, and will soon be in shape for comfort as well as convenience. (Brainerd Tribune, 25 June 1881, p. 5, c. 2)

Bankers’ Association.

Mr. F. Weaverson, the general agent of the Bankers’ Association of Minnesota, is in town this week, and has organized the Bank of Brainerd as a permanent depository of this section. The plan of work is a new one, and under the management of some of the best known businessmen of Minnesota. It is operated through the banks as depositories and its capital is invested in U. S. Registered bonds exclusively. The above association in furtherance of its plan to build up throughout this State a system of mutual insurance for business and professional men that will endure for all time, is organizing local boards providing nineteen members are secured, after which the board can elect officers, and the secretary can do business after the departure of the general agent. It is the only strictly mutual plan of insurance backed up by a capital, and with equitable rates for different ages. This, together with the most rigid of medical examinations, makes it the most perfect system of life insurance ever devised. Having been in operation nearly a year without making an assessment for a death loss, very forcibly illustrates the care taken in admitting applicants for membership. Mr. Weaverson says Brainerd displays as healthy a boom as any city in the northwest, and hopes to make the Bankers’ Association boom accordingly. (Brainerd Tribune, 21 May 1881, p. 1, c. 2)

Mr. Henry H. Barber, clerk at the Millers River National Bank, has accepted the offer of a responsible clerkship in a private banking house at Brainerd, Minn., an important and growing junction town on the Northern Pacific railroad where Dr. A. W. Parsons is now successfully located. Mr. Barber has been a very useful, efficient and trustworthy clerk in the Millers River bank, and well earned this handsome promotion.—[Athol (Mass.) Transcript. Mr. Barber arrived in Brainerd last Thursday noon, and has already assumed official duties at the Brainerd Bank. Mr. Ferris is to be congratulated upon securing the services of so valuable an assistant. (Brainerd Tribune, 21 May 1881, p. 1, c. 6)

SEE: First National Bank Building
SEE: Hartley Bank Building
SEE: 1880 Brainerd-2 in the Early Accounts of Brainerd page.


New Sandwich Shop Will Open April 27

Maid-Rite shop ad, 26 April 1946
Source: Brainerd Daily Dispatch
The Barn located on the north side of Washington Street between Seventh and Eight Streets, 1955.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society
The Maid-Rite Sandwich Shop, located at 711 Washington street, owned and operated by Earl West and John W. Warren, both of Marshalltown, Iowa, will officially open for business at 6 a. m., Saturday, April 27.

The foundation was laid November 15, and the building was completed this week.
This shop will specialize in sandwiches and hamburgers and will carry a complete line of soft drinks, cookies, doughnuts, coffee and cigarettes. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 26 April 1946, p. 5, c. 8)

NOTE: The old barn in the 1910 Carnegie Library picture background.

SEE: Carnegie Public Library

The “Best Theatre” has had its front nicely renovated and painted. The interior of this play house, formerly the Columbia, has been decorated and new seats installed and the opening will soon occur. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 18 October 1915, p. 2, c. 3)

J. J. Price, of Minneapolis, connected with the “Best Theatre” arrived in the city today. The opening of the new picture house will soon be announced. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 19 October 1915, p. 2, c. 3)


Former Columbia Theatre to be Con-
ducted by R. L. Livingston and
J. J. Price of Minneapolis


Quality and Comfort the Motto of the
New Theatre. Remodeled
and Decorated

The new “Best Theatre” will open Saturday with a matinee and evening performance. Located at the former Columbia theatre, the new owners, R. L. Livingston and J. J. Price, of Minneapolis, and the owner of the building, J. M. Hayes have remodeled and decorated the house and formed one of the most modern picture houses.
New seats have been installed, large, roomy, comfortable seats, each big enough to contain Tom Wood. They have been arranged in a half circle, thus enabling each one of the audience to gain a good view of the pictures. The aisles are broad so that a man and his family need not walk down in single file. The seating capacity is 464.
“The motto of the “Best Theatre,” said Mr. Price, “is Quality and Comfort.”
The house opens Saturday with “Graustark” in which Francis X. Bushman stars. This picture is direct from the Garrick in Minneapolis. Other feature films booked for the near future are “The Juggernaut,” “The Blindness of Virtue,” “Fool There Was.”
The “Best Theatre,” said Mr. Price will be a ten cent house. It will be best if money and ingenuity and experience count for anything, said he. The house will be practically a daylight one. During the performance one will be able to see each seat clearly and any possible accidents will be reduced to a minimum. Two ushers will be provided. Art Johnson, formerly with the Columbia, has been engaged as operator and Miss Cecil Witham as pianist. The piano is being installed today.
Wednesday nights are to be “Travelogue Nights,” at which time pictures of England, France, Peru, etc., will be shown. The Northwest Weekly service has been secured and Mr. Price announces that the town will soon be pictured in the movies and then shown all over the northwest.
A new Powers 6 B picture machine has been installed. The booth in which it is placed is fireproof and it, as well as every other part of the house, conforms to the rules of the insurance underwriters board.
The “Best Theatre,” said Mr. Price, is the first of a chain of popular priced houses to be established where people of the smaller cities will be able to see at moderate price the best pictures Minneapolis is favored with. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 20 October 1915, p. 5, c. 1)

The Best Theatre

While finishing touches were being added to various departments of the “Best Theatre,” it was discovered that the screen could be improved. At considerable expense Messrs. Price and Livingston immediately had the screen removed and started its improvements. When finished the screen will offer the public the best possible projection.
The theatre will be opened Saturday, Oct. 22, at 2:30 P. M., complete with every detail carefully inspected and ready to serve the public with those things that go to make a moving picture theatre a place of amusement, combined with the best music and accommodations.
A steady stream of visitors have already passed opinion that the “Best Theatre” opening will be a tremendous success. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 22 October 1915, p. 3, c. 3)

The “Best Theatre” will feature a three piece orchestra. Julius Witham, of the Bergh Violin school, has been selected as leader. Mr. Witham’s rapid progress and the increasing demand for his services reflect credit where it is due. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 23 October 1915, p. 3, c. 2)


New Theatre Presents “Graustark”
to Large Matinee Attendance
This Afternoon


Ushers at the Outer Doors and In-
side. Theatre Personifies Cour-
tesy and Comfort

The new “Best Theatre” of Brainerd opened its doors to the public this afternoon and the matinee was largely attended.
“Graustark” was the picture shown and pleased the patrons of the “Best Theatre” immensely. The trials of young Mr. Lowry and his courtship of Miss Guggenstocker were admirably portrayed.
Lighting and other arrangements of the theatre are of the best and were appreciated by the audience in which women largely predominated. An usher at the entrance opens the doors for patrons. The exit on South Sixth street is used so that there is no confusion.
“Our motto is courtesy, comfort and quality,” said the owners, Messrs. Price and Livingston. At the gala performance tonight crowds are expected which will tax the capacity of the house.
The orchestra includes Miss Cecil Witham pianist and Julius Witham, violinist. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 23 October 1915, p. 2, c. 5)


New “Best Theatre” Starts Out With
a Record Attendance of Over
2,500 in Two Days

The new “Best Theatre” started out with over 2,500 attendance for six performances Saturday and Sunday and the owners, Messrs. Price and Livingston, are highly pleased with their success.
A fine performance was given of “Graustark” and many who have seen the play and read the book were charmed by the wonderful film story. At a time when the interest of the world is centered on Austria and Germany, “Graustark” and its legendary Austrian history come with particular significance and the little principality and its beautiful queen, who traveled incognito as Miss Guggenstocker, form scenes and incidents which even now can find their counterpart in history.
There is an American in the cast and he fights his way to the throne and wins his beloved in spite of warring princes about him.
At the theatre an orchestra of three pieces led by Julius Witham discoursed pleasing music which like a mosaic fit in with the spirit of the pictures. The “Best Theatre” ushers were in evidence and looked after the comfort of the big audiences. The rear door opening on South Sixth street is also used as an exit, thus preventing congestion when one show closes and another is about to begin. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 25 October 1915, p. 5, c. 2)

At the Best

An ad for Charlie Chaplin’s movie, A Night Out, 03 November 1915.
Source: Brainerd Daily Dispatch
Tonight the “Best Theatre” will show the incomparable laugh making king, Charlie Chaplin, in that side splitting comedy, “A Night Out” in two reels. Holmes will be seen in the “Limited’s Peril,” a thrilling one reel railroad drama. The Paramount Travelogue, the most interesting of all travelogues also will be shown and for the news weekly this week the latest release of the Ford Weekly will be shown. News from all parts of the world. The management again requests the public to come early in order to secure seats. Last night not even standing room could be had. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 03 November 1915, p. 6, c. 3)


Best Theatre Co. has Fred C. Place
of Northwest Reel News Service
Photograph City


Pupils Walk Out of School in Fire
Drill in Just One Minute and
Two Seconds

Fred C. Place of the Northwest Reel News Service filmed Brainerd for the Best Theatre Co., J. J. Price and R. L. Livingston making a special trip to Minneapolis to get the service here at their expense. Mr. Place secured fine pictures of Brainerd.
The high school is shown emptying the big building in a fire drill executed in just 1 minute 2 seconds and that beats the record, the nearest best figures of a school of Brainerd’s size being 1 minute 45 seconds.
Two hundred and fifty members of rural school boards of Crow Wing county and over 100 pretty school teachers are shown as they held their convention in Brainerd.
There was filmed the power site of the Northwest Paper Co. where within a year there will be in operation the $300,000 paper and pulp mill of the Northwest Paper Co.
Brainerd’s football team is shown in practice work preparatory to the game with Akeley. The big motor fire truck of the Brainerd fire department is shown in action. Streets, shops, parks, etc. are faithfully portrayed. Post office, new city hall, new fire station and new city jail are shown.
Ten years ago Fred Place was a printer on the Brainerd Dispatch. Since then he was with the Minneapolis Journal and Chicago Tribune and his news photographs are known throughout the United States. Mr. Place’s parents reside near Brainerd.
The pictures will be shown at the Best Theatre next Saturday, Nov. 13, which illustrates how quickly the Northwest Weekly Reel News Service operates. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 06 November 1915, p. 5, c. 3)


Messrs. Wm. P. Meyers and J. B. Clin-
ton Lease the Best Theatre Build-
ing for 15 Years


Brainerd Will be the Twelfth Thea-
tre of a Chain They Control in
Duluth, Superior, Etc.

Wm. P. Meyers and J. B. Clinton of Duluth have closed a lease for 15 years with the option of purchase of the property of the Best Theatre building in Brainerd owned by J. M. Hayes.
The theatre vacated by the Brainerd Theatre & Amusement Co., is to be remodeled and decorated and the new firm expects to open for business for the Christmas holidays.
Messrs. Meyers and Clinton head a syndicate controlling and operating a dozen theatres and moving picture shows. These are the Lyceum, Strand, Sunbeam and Doric of Duluth; the Orpheum at Proctor; the Plaza and Rialto in Superior, Wis. The Brainerd moving picture theatre will be the twelfth of their chain of houses.
Mr. Meyers is well known on the iron ranges of the county where he has many interests. They have leased in Brainerd the whole theatre building which includes basement, theatre main floor and the second floor devoted to offices. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 02 December 1920, p. 5, c. 1)

Best Theatre Changes Policy

The management of the Best Theatre having given the 10 cent admission price a fair trial and finding that it is impossible to show the better class of feature films for this price, without losing money; they have decided to change the price of admission to 5 and 15 cents, they have also installed a $400 mercury rectifier and made other expensive improvements for the comfort of patrons.
These prices are very reasonable considering the class of films to be shown, these same films commanding the admission of from 15c to 50c in the larger cities, while in Brainerd they are to be shown at 5 and 15 cents. The class of feature pictures to be shown from now on at the theatre are of a better grade than heretofore shown, the bookings including “The Raven,” “Mortmain,” “The Heights of Hazard” and many other films which are so popular in the larger cities and having the long runs of two months and more.
The advance in admission will take effect Friday evening, Dec. 24th, starting with “The Christian” the eight reel Vitagraph-Leibes production of unexcelled merit by Hall Caines. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 22 December 1915, p. 4, c. 5)

NOTE: The Columbia Theatre became the Best Theatre.

SEE: Columbia Theatre
SEE: Lyceum Theatre
SEE: Hayes Block


An ad for the Bijou Theatre, 27 June 1907.
Source: Brainerd Daily Dispatch
An ad for the Bijou Theatre, 31 December 1907.
Source: Brainerd Daily Dispatch

The Bijou is installing an electric gong which will be placed over the street door and will ring two minutes before the commencement of each show every evening. People can thus, in the summer, loiter on the street until just before the program commences and know they are not missing any of it. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 17 July 1904, p. 2, c. 3)

NOTE: There was another Bijou theatre before the one below opened on August 21, 1906, location unknown.

The Bijou theatre was opened August 21, 1906 and was located at 514 Front Street in 1906.

01 August 1906. F. E. Low of this city and L. H. Low, of Fargo, have rented the store room in the Towne-McFadden block and are going to fit it up for a popular priced theatre. The performances will be continuous and will consist of moving pictures and illustrated songs. The place is to be re-painted and re-papered and smoking and all rowdyism will be absolutely prohibited. The price will be only 10 cents for adults and 5 cents for children. The name of the new enterprise will be the Bijou, and a handsome electric sign will be placed in front. (Brainerd 25 Years Ago, Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 01 August 1931, p. 2, c. 4)

NOTE: Fred E. Low became the operator of the Grand Theatre in 1910.

SEE: Grand Theatre

11 August 1906. The new Bijou theatre is rapidly assuming the appearance of a play house, from the front at least. There will be two large doors in the building, one for entrance and the other for exit. The electric sign, which will be the finest in Brainerd, is expected tomorrow. It will be installed at a cost of $100. The opening of the theatre will be in a couple of days. (Brainerd 25 Years Ago, Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 11 August 1931, p. 2, c. 3)

F. G. Ohmert, operator at the Bijou for several months when it first started, returned to this city last night and has accepted a position with Mr. Low. Mr. Smith will continue to run the machine, while Mr. Ohmert will act as lecturer, stage manager, etc. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 04 March 1908, p. 2, c. 3)


The attractions at this theatre are far above the ordinary, DeMonde and Dinsmore, novelty comedy singing duo are the headliners, and are attracting large crowds nightly. Mr. Paul Morton, baritone late of the Prince of Pilsen Opera Co., is still amusing the patrons with his repertoire of the latest song hits. This together with three thousand feet of motion pictures and beautiful illustrated songs makes an entertainment lasting one hour and fifteen minutes. The patrons of this most popular place of amusement are certainly getting their money’s worth. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 03 March 1909, p. 3, c. 2)

The vaudeville act at the Bijou this week is the well-known aerial gymnastic work of the marvelous Cowles family, consisting of Manager Cowles, Mr. Cowles and little Marguerite. Their work is all high-class and that of little Marguerite, the physical culture child wonder is of a class seldom seen in cities of this size. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 02 June 1909, p. 3, c. 2)

The council granted permission for the transfer of the license of the Bijou theatre from Al Cowles to the present proprietor. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 22 March 1910, p. 3, c. 2)

At the Bijou

The Bijou management is putting on an extra bill for this week. The vaudeville features and the motion pictures are claimed to be exceptionally good. The management is trying to do everything possible looking to the entertainment, comfort and safety of its patrons. The ventilating system installed is operating with good success.
Hopkins & Vogt appear in a special engagement. Gerald E. Evans, assisted by T. Lloyd Truss sings the beautiful song, “When I Dream in the Gloaming of You.” (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 10 May 1910, p. 5, c. 4)

At the Bijou

One of the headliners at the Bijou is the act put on by the Stevens. They are good singers. Mr. Stevens is especially good in his Hebraic character imitations. “Rose Mare” is sung by Gerald E. Evans and he displays a good voice and clear enunciation. The pictures are very good this week. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 27 May 1910, p. 2, c. 5)

Bijou Closes During Summer

The Bijou theatre has been closed for the summer months and T. Lloyd Truss, the manager, has gone to Fargo to look after affairs of the Webster Theatrical agency. The theatre will be opened by Mr. Truss again in the fall season about Sept. 10th, by which time the play house will be remodeled, a grotto front attached, an ice cooling system of ventilation put in and other improvements made, guaranteeing to make this, as Mr. Truss states, one of the most popular and fashionable theatres in the city. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 01 July 1910, p. 3, c. 4)

“Fatty” Woods and Mose DeRocher, of Brainerd, gave a vaudeville act at the Bijou theatre on Tuesday evening. The two boys made a hit with their stunt. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 06 February 1914, p. 3, c. 1)

(Top) Bly’s Block at the southwest corner of 6th and Front, ca. 1904. (Bottom) An ad from the 1888 Brainerd City Directory.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society
An early 1871 [sic] [1872] business block, standing on the southwest corner of Front and Sixth Streets, is a frame building measuring 50' x 70'. E. H. Bly, the owner, carries on a general merchandise business on the main floor. Bly’s Hall, on the second floor, is the center of all social and recreational functions from church suppers and sales to public and private dances and parties. Every old timer recalls pleasurable events at Bly’s Hall. The building also contains several offices on the second floor and Masonic lodge rooms in the attic. (Brainerd’s Half Century, Ingolf Dillan, General Printing Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1923, p. 15)

In September of 1871 comes Eber H. Bly. On Sixth and Front Streets, he erects the first general mercantile store. Bly's store is on the first floor; the second is used for theatricals, dances, and political rallies; the attic is used by lodges. This building remains until fire destroys it in June 1904. “Bly’s Hall” is a true landmark for thirty years. Eber Bly is the first mayor. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946, p. 7)

Another Splendid Business House.

We are pleased to know that our esteemed fellow-citizen, Mr. E. H. Bly, is about to commence the construction of his mammoth new store-house, on the corner of Front and Sixth street—fronting the Headquarters Hotel. Mr. Bly is the successor to the old and reliable business firm here of Fletcher, Bly & Co. The new building is to be a high two-story building, fifty by seventy feet, and will contain two grand store-rooms below, fitted up in the most modern and convenient style. The two store rooms will both be used to carry on Mr. Bly’s extensive business as a general dealer and supply merchant, and will have a large arched passage way between the two, about the center of the partition. Extensive glass fronts will be put in and there will be a commodious business office and counting room in the rear, communicating with both store-rooms. The upper portion will be finished off in fine style, containing a public Hall, forty by fifty feet in size, with high ceiling and good ventilation. This of itself will be a grand addition to the town. The location is one of the most convenient and beautiful in the city, and deserves the creditable structure it is to receive. (Brainerd Tribune, 23 March 1872, p. 3, c. 1)

The splendid business house of Mr. Bly, to which we referred in our last, is now under full headway, the mechanical supervision being under the direction of that thorough mechanic and gentleman, Mr. Doner, Mr. Lyman P. White having the general oversight of the fine structure. (Brainerd Tribune, 06 April 1872, p. 1, c. 5)

MR. E. H. Bly’s mammoth store building is gradually approaching completion, and in truth it is a “whale!” The front elevation is to be quite as tasty and neatly organized as would become the most dignified of business blocks. (Brainerd Tribune, 04 May 1872, 1, c. 5)



E. H. BLY’s new and mammoth store house and public Hall, is among the greatest and most important in the list. This building is fifty feet front and seventy deep—two beautiful storehouses below, a grand public hall in the second story, besides private offices, and a fine room the full length in the attic story, finely adapted for a lodge room. This building has been put up in the most substantial manner, from cellar to attic, and Mr. Bly deserves more than a passing notice for his great enterprise and liberal public spirit, as so prominently and creditably displayed in this fine structure. The location of the building is one of the very finest, too, in the city—on the corner of Front and Sixth, fronting the Headquarters Hotel. (Brainerd Tribune, 25 May 1872, p. 1, c. 4)


Bly’s store at the southwest corner of 6th and Front, 1873.
Source: Hoard & Tenney
On Monday and Tuesday last a force of men were engaged in removing the goods of Mr. E. H. Bly from the old store of Fletcher, Bly & Co., down near the river up to the grand new store block on the corner of Front and Sixth—opposite the Headquarters House and depot. Mr. Bly has finished up in truly metropolitan style his new building, which we have heretofore described. With the fifty foot front, ornamented with rich cornices and great windows, heavy doors and all other things in proportion, beside the rich coating of white paint it is receiving renders it a lasting ornament to our town, and speaks volumes in favor of the proprietor’s unselfish liberality. The inside of the grand structure—70 feet in length—is plastered with hard finish, and divided into two beautiful store rooms all countered and shelved in fine style. The two long rooms, however, are connected by a richly arched passage way about midway of their length, while at the rear end another archway is made where will be the counting room projecting out into either storeroom, and which will be an ornament to the inside arrangement. Each of these rooms will have distinct classes of goods, one from the other, and while they will be separate rooms, yet they will be one to all intents and purposes by many of the archways before referred to—one will contain the heavier, coarser classes of goods, the other the more showy, fancy classes. Above, is the public hall, fifty feet square, and a suite of private offices rooms in the rear, while in the third story is a fine hall 25 by 70 feet, finely adapted for a lodge room. We tender Mr. Bly our best wishes for continued success in businesses in his palatial new quarters. (Brainerd Tribune, 22 June 1872, p. 1, c. 4)


Messrs. Stearns & Louis, the painters who are doing the work on Mr. E. H. Bly’s new mammoth building, have a genuine city rigged swing stage, worked by rope and tackle and suspended from aloft by heavy hooks. It works like a charm in its way. (Brainerd Tribune, 22 June 1872, p. 4, c. 1)

FUN, FUN, FUN!--Under the auspices of the Brainerd Dancing Club, at Bly’s Hall, on the evening of the 24th of this month, there will be given a first-class Masquerade Ball, with tickets $2.00 per couple, and the invitations are authorized to extend to all the good people from Little Falls and Duluth to the Red River Valley to come and join in the grand affair. The ball is to be gotten up on the most dignified and elaborate scale, so that that the best and most fastidious classes can join enthusiastically in the entertainment. A committee in the ante-room will require everyone to unmask and show themselves before entering the hall, so that no questionable characters of either sex can gain admission. Masks to furnish 200 couples will be provided at the News Depot, next to the Drug Store. Let everybody make calculation to join in, and have at least one jubilee for the winter. All parties coming from abroad will be welcomed by a committee and shown to comfortable quarters.
Papers west and east of Brainerd will please notice. (Brainerd Tribune, 06 December 1873, p. 1, c. 5)

MR. E. H. BLY is fencing in and cleaning up his beautiful premises, and very soon will have a handsome home and fine business location all combined. (Brainerd Tribune, 09 May 1874, p. 1, c. 6)


Our fellow townsman, Eber H. Bly, Esq., is making many fine improvements in the city this fall. He owns a large number of residence and other buildings, and for the past two months he has had a corps of workmen—carpenters, plasterers, painters, and laborers—engaged in overhauling them. Some have had fine additions put on, while all have been repaired, plastered, newly sided up, painted, etc. This is a laudable work on the part of Mr. Bly, and while with his mammoth store he is doing an immense trade, he turns himself about and expends his money in improving and beautifying the town; and therefore deserves the thanks of all owning interest in our beautiful little city. (Brainerd Tribune, 07 November 1874, p. 1, c. 4)

EBER H. BLY has sold his stock of dry goods to W. H. Leland and W. A. Smith, who will continue the business in the old stand. (Brainerd Tribune, 25 March 1876, p. 1, c. 7)

E. H. BLY, of Brainerd, will erect a $25,000 hotel at Bismarck within the next four months if the townsite question is settled at an early day. The building will be probably placed on the rise of ground in front of Dunn’s drug store, and will be modeled to some extent after the railroad hotels at Fargo and Brainerd.—[Bismarck Tribune.
THIS is news to Mr. Bly. (Brainerd Tribune, 08 April 1876, p. 1, c. 5)

THE Ladies’ Leap Year Party, given at Bly’s Hall last evening, was largely attended, and, in fact, THE party of the season. The managers, Mrs. H. A. Towne, Mrs. A. A. White and Mrs. T. C. Bivins, are entitled to great credit for the very efficient manner in which they conducted the affair with uniform pleasure to all. The old established rules of etiquette were reversed with a good grace and few mistakes, though the way the ladies forgot their engagements, expecting the gentlemen to “come around,” and blushed when they asked a gentleman to see his programme, was not unobserved; but in that the gentlemen had little to boast of, for they were not infrequently caught without a ready answer to invitations, etc., and exhibited no little confusion. Upon the whole everything passed off in fine style, everyone enjoyed themselves, and the change was considered by all excellent for a change. (Brainerd Tribune, 12 February 1876, p. 1, c. 2)

BUSINESS Changes.—We learn today that W. A. Smith and Co. have dissolved partnership, that H. A. Campbell has entered into partnership with Mr. Smith and bought the stock of Smith & Co., and will consolidate the two stocks in the room at present occupied by Smith & Co.; and that N. McFadden, the druggist, has purchased the building occupied by Mr. Campbell, and will remove his stock of drugs, etc., into it. (Brainerd Tribune, 01 July 1876, p. 1, c. 7)

A NEW floor is being laid by Mr. Bly in his hall, the old one being worn a considerable amount in places, making it rough and uncomfortable for dancing. He is also building a stage at the west end, calculated for theatrical exhibitions, and we are informed that a local amateur troupe is now practicing, and will soon treat our citizens to an exhibition of the talent of some of our home tragedians. This is certainly a step in the right direction, and we second the motion with both hands and feet, and will guarantee that a movement of this kind will be highly appreciated, and help wonderfully to pass pleasantly the long winter evenings before us. If the young folks, and old folks too, would organize in connection with, or in addition to, this, a literary society, so much the better. Let our home talent arise and shake its limbs and show to the world that it has not been shorn of its strength, and a pleasant winter to all will certainly be the result, saying nothing of the general improvement it will effect in the best way. (Brainerd Tribune, 02 December 1876, p. 1, c. 5)

Bismarck Hotel.

Mr. E. H. Bly, of this place, has finally perfected negotiations with the Northern Pacific company for the erection of a first-class hotel at Bismarck. He receives a bonus from both the company and the city in lands, and is to have special rates on freight on the material. He has not let the contract yet for its construction, but operations will commence as soon as the foundation can be laid. The plans are already drawn, and are somewhat after the style of the Headquarters at Fargo, though some marked improvements are made. Mr. Bly has no intention of taking the role of landlord and conducting the hotel in person after its completion, but proposes to lease it to good hands. (Brainerd Tribune, 24 February 1877, p. 1, c. 5)

THE DROP.—The painters have completed the drop curtain in Bly’s Opera House, and it is, of a truth, “a thing of beauty.”
A rich landscape view adorns the mean, showing the estuary of a broad river, dotted here and there with sails of various sizes, and skirted on either side by jagged rocks, precipices, ravines and promontories; a rocky eminence in the far distance—a miniature Gibraltar—is capped by a quaint old castle of medieval mien; a moss-coverd church of Gothic type graces a little plateau between the hills in the foreground; on the left a peasant’s or fisherman’s cottage, suggestive of romance, nestles between the rocks in a quiet nook opposite, and the halo of a mellow Italian twilight on a balmy summer’s evening hovers over the scene, which for beauty, elegance and artistic skill, excels an oil chromo, and is equal to a $500 oil painting. A rich curtain of crimson damask, heavily fringed, is looped back on either side of the scenery in perfect imitation of the real, and capped by a heavy, rich drapery heading, which gives tone and prominence to the picture, unequaled.
The whole design—which was entirely impromptu—is chaste, and its execution, which was off-hand, is superbly grand, and adds the only missing link required to make this as complete and convenient a stage as the State affords.
The work was designed and the painting done by Messrs. J. C. Congdon and Chas. Netterberg, of the Northern Pacific paint shops, and they have certainly distinguished themselves in their fine art and Bly’s Opera House for its beautiful drop. (Brainerd Tribune, 06 January 1877, p. 1, c. 6)

IMPROVEMENT.—Another improvement is being made in Bly’s already very convenient Opera House. A graded floor is being laid raising the seats, one row above another in purely amphitheatrical style, which will rend the furthermost corner of the hall as desirable a location as the immediate vicinity of the stage. No more cries of “Down in front” will be heard, a change that will be appreciated by our citizens. What we shall do for a ballroom hereafter has not been stated. Bro. Weed [Headquarters Hotel] will probably be called upon to clear his dining room occasionally. (Brainerd Tribune, 20 January 1877, p. 1, c. 6)

CORRECTION.—Since our last we have learned that the new raised floor in Bly’s Opera House is movable, being made in sections like benches, and can be readily carried out in case the hall is needed for dancing purposes. (Brainerd Tribune, 27 January 1877, p. 1, c. 7)

THE THEATRE.—The second appearance of the Brainerd Dramatic Club at Bly’s Opera House on Thursday evening, was witnessed by a large audience from far and near, the hall being crowded to its utmost capacity, and was a grand success, far exceeding the hopes of the most sanguine, and gave the pleasing evidences of rapid improvement upon the part of the actors, who would compare favorably with professionals. It would be impossible, if we so desired, to criticize the exhibition in any of its features, and equally difficult to particularize any of the characters for peculiar merit without naming all, for all had their parts well committed and rendered them very appropriately, and with admirable adroitness and precision. The plays selected were the interesting and laughable dramas, Poor Pillicody, and The Two Buzzards, and brought forth round after round of applause, and kept the audience convulsed in laughter like an undulating sea during the whole evening. Brainerd is certainly to be congratulated upon so valuable an acquisition in the line of amusements. The gross receipts of the evening were a little over $80, which after defraying expenses goes to the M. I. O. I. Y. C. society, for the benefit of St. Paul’s church. The club proposes to give another entertainment about the 12th of February. Every week would suit the people best, however. (Brainerd Tribune, 27 January 1877, 1, c. 6)

E. H. BLY’s mammoth hotel at Bismarck is nearly completed. It is the intention now to open it on July 4th with a grand ball. Mr. Bly is negotiating with Col. Hull, of Duluth, to take charge of it when completed, and for the furniture of the Clark House. (Brainerd Tribune, 09 June 1877, p. 1, c. 3)

MR. E. H. BLY, one of the early residents of Brainerd, and for the seven years of its existence its leading business man is, we regret to observe, disposing of his interests here and elsewhere on the line of the N. P. as rapidly as possible, with a view to accepting one of two offers held open to him in the city of Minneapolis to invest in a heavy business enterprise. He has already disposed of his lumber at this place to Messrs. Clark & McClure for the round sum of $11,000, and has closed out his grocery and provision store and stock to Messrs. Smith & Campbell of this place, who are adding that branch to their already extensive line. He is now negotiating a sale of his hotel at Bismarck—the Sheridan House—and his steam saw mill at this place, and will doubtless close the bargain soon.
Mr. Bly has been a large public benefactor to our town in the past in a business point of view. Always having the capital to take hold of any business enterprise that offered, and conduct it successfully, he has established a substantial reputation for the town—in fact has been its backbone, and his departure from our midst will be an event in its history to be regretted. We are pleased, however, to see the young firm of Smith & Campbell able to step so promptly into his shoes, and can only say that we wish abundant success to all concerned in the changes. (Brainerd Tribune, 15 December 1877, p. 4, c. 1)

A Change in the Sheridan.

E. H. Bly, the owner of the Sheridan House, has assumed the personal management of that well known hotel and will hereafter make Bismarck his home, and his hotel investment the best paying property of the kind in the northwest. We anticipate a reputation and business for the Sheridan, the coming season, that will make investors wonder why they hadn’t hit upon the Sheridan. W. H. Hurd, of the Merchants hotel, St. Paul, will arrive this evening, to take charge of the dining hall and kitchen. He is reputed to be a first-class hotel man—none better in his line.—[Bismarck Tribune. (Brainerd Tribune, 23 February 1878, p. 4, c. 1)

Col. E. H. Bly, of the Sheridan, Bismarck, arrived in Brainerd on Monday with his wife, daughter and servant, and took possession of his beautiful residence once more. (Brainerd Tribune, 30 March 1878, p. 4, c. 1)

A grand prize ball, gotten up by a number of leading citizens of Brainerd, will be given at Bly’s Opera House in this city on New Year’s night, January 1st, 1879, at which a number of valuable prizes will be distributed to the ticket holders. Among them are a span of horses worth $350; a beaver overcoat worth $100; a gold watch and chain worth $100; a breech-loading shot gun; lot 24 of block 42 of Brainerd; a town lot in West Brainerd; a set of furs, and a Winchester rifle. The total value of the prizes to be distributed is $785. Tickets per couple, including supper at Headquarters Hotel and a chance in the distribution of prizes, $5. First-class music and a grand affair are assured. (Brainerd Tribune, 21 December 1878, p. 4, c. 1)

The grand prize ball, advertised for New Year’s evening, has been postponed to the eve of Washington’s birthday, Saturday, February 21st, 1879, and several valuable prizes have been added to the list, which will be published in due time. (Brainerd Tribune, 28 December 1878, p. 4, c. 1)

SEE: Bly’s Sawmill in the Bridges, Dam, etc. in Brainerd page.

Members of the Five Charlies’ Club. Back, left to right: Charlie B. White, Charlie King. Front, left to right: Charlie Pegg, Charlie D. Johnson, Charlie Wadham, ca. 1880’s. A 677x766 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Nikki Shoutz
The Five Charlie Club, under the management of Charlie Johnson, Charlie Wadham, Charlie Brinkerhoff, Charlie Pegg, and Charlie White, gave a grand ball at Bly's Hall on Thursday evening. The company was quite recherche, being composed of the elite of the town, and a gay time was enjoyed. (Brainerd Tribune, 25 January 1879, p. 4, c. 1)

An invitation to a dance held in Bly’s Hall and sponsored by the Five Charlies’ Club, 22 January 1880. A 720x960 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Nikki Shoutz
THE FIVE CHARLEY'S RECEPTION AND BALL Thursday evening was one of the most enjoyable affairs, for our young folks, of the season. These young gentlemen spared no trouble or expense to please their guests, and the eminent satisfaction of those in attendance is sure evidence that they know how to do these things. Dancing commenced promptly at 9 o'clock and was kept up until the "wee sma' hours ayant the twal." The music was excellent and everyone in joyous spirits. The five Charleys have carried the day, and are unanimously elected "d—ish good fellows." (Brainerd Tribune, 24 January 1880, p. 4, c.'s 1 & 2

Bal Masque.

The first annual masquerade of the season will be given in Bly’s Hall, Wednesday, Feb. 18, 1880. Now then, ye young folks, here is lots of fun. The gentlemen connected with this entertainment insure its success. All are going in for a good time, and the excellent opportunity to obtain masks and costumes is a feature never presented to the good little folks of Brainerd before. It’s too jolly, isn’t it? (Brainerd Tribune, 14 February 1880, p. 4, c. 1)

The Bal Masque.

“There was revelry by night.” It was at Bly’s Hall, Wednesday evening, the 18th inst. Deity was there: a god of ridicule and raillery, whom the Greeks called Momus, and if he was ever fantastically represented it was on this occasion. From a pair of white knit cotton drawers to Indian calico every conceivable fabric was represented, and the mannerisms of kings, princes, potentates, fools, idiots and clowns, apes, monkeys and side shows were prevalent. The tableaux were varied, the acting heterogeneous, and where all performed well in their respective roles it would be offensive to discriminate and praise. There was a homogeneity in ridiculousness, scintillating all over the hall; throwing off jets here and there, and painfully disturbing the gravity of the numerous spectators. Had there been more costuming a better spectacle would have been presented. But it was sufficiently spectacular to satisfy the curious. As a bal masque it was a success, and all thought it “awfully jolly.” The affair passed off pleasantly, everybody pleased, some more so, and all congratulated themselves that they at least had contributed largely to the “hilarity of the occasion.” The music was good, the dancing good, costumes good, and a good time all around. Voila tout. (Brainerd Tribune, 21 February 1880, p. 1, c. 2)

Col. E. H. Bly of the Sheridan House Bismarck was in Brainerd several days this week.... While in Brainerd Mr. Bly let the contract for putting a brick foundation under his business block corner of Front and Sixth Streets and for changing the stairway from the east side to the rear, and enlarging the hall in the second story to meet the growing demands of our city. It is well. (Brainerd Tribune, 22 May 1880, p. 4, c. 1)

Mr. Bly is greatly improving his block of buildings, corner of Fifth [sic] [Sixth] and Front Streets. The old wood foundation is being taken out and brick inserted, making it firmer; new floors will be put in the store-rooms; and the hall will be subsequently modified and enlarged by removing the partition and having no ante-room thus converting the whole of the second floor into the public hall, removing the stage from the west to the south side, and placing the stairway in the rear instead of at the side. A new plank walk will be built around the entire block. Mr. Bly’s enterprise should be seconded by our businessmen. (Brainerd Tribune, 12 June 1880, p. 1, c. 2)



BRAINERD, July 17.—Bly’s opera house is undergoing repairs. A brick foundation is being laid. The hall is to be re-plastered; it has been made twelve feet larger. The stage has also been enlarged, which will be an inducement for the best troupes to visit Brainerd, and they will be assured of sufficient room to display their talent and ability. The building will undoubtedly be painted inside and out. (Minneapolis Tribune, 19 July 1880, p. 8)

B. F. Hartley today purchased of E. H. Bly his block, consisting of ten lots, two stores and house. Consideration, $8,500. (Brainerd Tribune, 29 January 1881, p. 1, c. 3)

The large double-store building, with hall above, known as Bly’s Hall, on the corner of Front and Sixth streets, together with the warehouse in the rear and the lots from the corner to Schwartz’s store, on Front street, was sold by Mr. Bly this week to B. F. Hartley, whose grocery store now occupies the corner store, for the sum of $8,500. This property comprises the best business corner in Brainerd, and Mr. Hartley is to be congratulated upon its acquisition. (Brainerd Tribune, 29 January 1881, p. 4, c. 1)



BRAINERD, Feb. 8.—The A. O. U. W. [Ancient Order of United Workmen] will give a grand ball at Bly’s Hall the 17th instant. The Wadena lodge, with their ladies will be in attendance, and a “huge” time is anticipated. (Minneapolis Tribune, 10 February 1881, p. 5)



BRAINERD, Feb. 17.—The A. O. U. W. [Ancient Order of United Workmen] gave their annual ball at Bly’s Hall last evening, and was the crowing event of the season. The St. Cloud band was in attendance, and its enchanting music died away not until the gray morn put it its appearance. (Minneapolis Tribune, 19 February 1881, p. 5)

SEE: Leland House / Commercial Hotel

...At the corner of south Sixth and Front Streets, where the Ransford Hotel now stands and over a general store was Bly’s Hall. The formal dances of the year were the one’s given by the Volunteer Fire Department, the Locomotive Firemen and the O. R. C. (Order of Railway Conductors). After Bly’s Hall was converted into a roller skating rink, Gardner’s Hall was used for dances. Dreskell’s orchestra furnished the music. Dances usually began at eight, at midnight an hour’s intermission for lunch, generally in J. T. Sanborn’s City Hotel, then the dance continued until morning. Winter sleigh ride parties to Toting places, the forerunners of our present day roadhouses and resorts, provided frequent country dances. (As I Remember, Dr. Werner Hemstead, born April 1860; came to Brainerd in 1882)

The double store of W. A. Smith & Co. on Front street is one of the tastiest and neatest in the city. The business is divided into two parts—in one the clothing and gent’s furnishings are kept and a finer array of goods is hard to run across. In the other room is the dry goods department which is replete with everything in that line. Everything about the establishment has an air of cleanliness and general harmony, and the clerks are gentlemanly and obliging, making it pleasant for their patrons, and they are deserving of the large custom which they are receiving. (Brainerd Dispatch, Thursday, 09 August 1883, p. 3, c. 2)

The building occupied by T. McMaster at the corner of Front and Sixth streets is being raised to a level with the other buildings on the street and will be otherwise improved. Lon. Everett has the contract. (Brainerd Dispatch, 07 September 1894, p. 4, c. 3)

Large Property Sale.

The most important sale of real estate that has taken place in Brainerd for some time was closed the latter part of last week through the real estate agency of Keene & McFadden. The property sold is at the corner of Front and Sixth streets, known as the Harrison [Bly’s Block] property, 50 feet front and running back to the alley, and the buildings are at present occupied by R. F. Walters, T. McMaster, Peter Johnson, Wm. Dresskell and Bane & Co. The purchaser is R. R. Wise of the Arlington hotel, the price paid being $16,000, half cash and the balance in four years. (Brainerd Dispatch, 27 September 1895, p. 4, c. 6)

Bly’s building burns in June 1904. (100th Anniversary, Aurora Lodge, No. 100—A. F. & A. M., 1973; containing 75th Anniversary History, 1947; Carl Zapffe, p. 11)

NOTE: Bly’s building did NOT burn in June of 1904 as stated above by Zapffe. The building burned on 30 January 1905.

Fire animation On January 30, 1905, Bly’s Block aka the Wise Block, owned by Ransford R. Wise, and two other buildings burned. From $15,000 to $20,000 worth of property was consumed. At the time it burned, it was probably the oldest building in Brainerd.

SEE: 1905 Bly’s Block Fire in the Brainerd: City of Fire page.

Bly, Eber H.
Arrived in Brainerd in September of 1871 and erected the first mercantile store. In 1874 Bly purchased the first sawmill located in Brainerd from Barrows, Prescott and Bassett relocating it to the north shore of Boom Lake and adding a planing mill. From 01 January 1873 to May 1874, Eber Bly served as Brainerd’s first Mayor. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946; pp. 5, 9, 199)

When the railroad was built westward from Carlton in 1870, one of the contractors who built the road was Eber H. Bly. We need to say something about him because Bly was probably the best businessman in Brainerd in his days. He seems to have been born and raised to pitch in and do things. When events moved too slowly, he would pull out and go elsewhere because for one like him there is always something to do. He was a builder. He is dead—the year being 1901, and lies buried in Superior, Wisconsin. [sic] [He was buried in Fairview Cemetery, Bismarck, Burleigh County, North Dakota.] His only daughter, Harriet S. Bly, still resides in Minneapolis.

He was born in Ticonderoga, New York, in 1830. He married Francis [sic] [Frances] R. Baker, of Pulaski, New York, in 1856. His arrival in Brainerd is dated September 1871, although due to his work he had been here before that. He came from Superior, Wisconsin. In 1877 Bly moved his enterprises to Bismarck, North Dakota. Without a doubt Bly had done Brainerd much good during the few years he was here. (It Happened Here, Carl Zapffe, Brainerd Journal Press: 1948, p. 18)

Smith, W. A.
Is a native of Franklin county, New York, where he was reared until eighteen years of age, when he went to Syracuse and attended school for some time. He was then employed as a clerk in various mercantile houses until September, 1874, when he came to Brainerd and entered the employ of Mr. Bly, and became a partner the following spring. H. A. Campbell purchased the interest of Mr. Bly soon after, and the business was conducted by Smith & Campbell until March, 1880, when Mr. Campbell retired from the firm. Subsequently, Mr. Smith formed a partnership with W. E. Campbell, under the firm name of W. A. Smith & Company. Their business is quite extensive, carrying a stock of $20,000, and employing four salesmen. (History of the Upper Mississippi Valley, Winchell, Neill, Williams and Bryant, Minnesota Historical Company, Minneapolis: 1881, p. 653)

SEE: Wise Block
SEE: Ransford Hotel

A brewery was started in 1872 but it was about 1880 that Peter Ort built a small brewery on the east shore of Boom Lake, or what would be Fourth or Fifth Street if extended that far south. Soon, however, it became idle. In 1882 or 1883 [sic] [1894] George Donant [sic] bought and re-opened the plant. Before long, which we believe would be about 1884 [sic] [1897], Fred Hoffman purchased the plant. It grew to larger proportion as more lumbermen, more loggers, more lumberjacks and more river drivers came to town to “hoist a few,” in the parlance of that day. Ed Boppel next became a partner. After the institution changed ownership again in 1906, with Boppel and Hemstead as owners, it became Brainerd Brewing Company. Again it grew, having in 1910 a capacity of 10,000 barrels per year. Breweries in this area met their doom when in 1914 enforcement of an 1859 [sic] Indian Treaty was invoked. Although making and selling beer was made legal again, a brewery has never since been operated in Brainerd. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946, p. 44)

As near as can be determined, a brewery is started in 1872; but it is about 1880 that Peter Ort builds a small brewery on the east shore of Boom Lake, near what would be South Fourth or Fifth Streets if extended that far south. Soon, however, it becomes idle. In 1882 or 1883 [1894] George Donant [sic] buys and re-opens the plant. Before long, about 1884 [1897], Fred Hoffman purchases the plant. It grows larger as more lumbermen, loggers, lumberjacks and river drivers come to town. Werner Hemstead and Edward Boppel become partners in 1889. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946, p. 90)

John Hoffman opens the Brainerd Brewery in 1872. (Brainerd’s Half Century, Ingolf Dillan, General Printing Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1923, p. 16)

Mr. Hofman’s [sic] new brewery is being pushed toward completion with all possible dispatch. Lovers of good beer will “tally one.” (Brainerd Tribune, 10 February 1872, p. 3, c. 1)

The Brewery.

Brainerd Brewery Ad, 02 March 1872.
Source: Brainerd Tribune
On Thursday last Mr. Hofman [sic] commenced operations in his new brewery, and is now prepared to “grind out” lager beer wholesale and retail. If more good quality lager beer was drunk, and less whisky, there would be a better understanding between the stomach and head, and folks’ legs would not become tangled so badly as is too common now-a days. But as for us, give us—liberty or give us the “Wine of Tar.” (Brainerd Tribune, 02 March 1872, p. 3, c. 2)

Peter Ort, of Sheboygan, Wis., who will be remembered by our townsmen and the traveling public generally, as the most popular clerk the Headquarters Hotel ever had, appeared to us this week. The supposition is that he will remain in Brainerd. (Brainerd Tribune, 10 August 1878, p. 4, c. 1)

A fine a stock of pure wines, liquors and cigars as is to be found in the town or city is kept constantly on hand at P. Ort’s new place, corner of 5th and Laurel Streets and Peter is ever ready with a smile and a good word to draw you a glass of fresh beer or something stronger if you wish it. Drop in as you pass. (Brainerd Tribune, 24 April 1880, p. 4, c. 2)

SEE: Woodland Park

Peter Ort, corner Fifth and Laurel streets, has recently added a fine Brunswick & Balke Co. billiard table to the attractions of his parlors, and it seems to be the popular attraction of the town. Pete keeps first-class liquors and cigars and good cool refreshing beer, and the man with soul so dead as not to be able to enjoy and hour’s visit at his place—does not visit saloons. (Brainerd Tribune, 07 August 1880, p. 4, c. 1)

Peter Ort, proprietor of the Billiard Parlors, corner 5th and Laurel streets, set a crew at work this morning tearing down the old stable and dwelling in the rear, on the lot adjoining his saloon, on the north and proposes to clean the entire premises up in good shape. He will merit the eternal gratitude of his neighbors and in fact of the entire town in removing that old barn which has stood in danger of burning the town up for a good many years and in improving the appearance of that part of the town. The lumber taken from the buildings removed he will use in the erection of a new dwelling on South Fifth street on a lot he has recently purchased between Maple and Norwood and next spring he expects to remove the building on the corner, at present occupied by his saloon and replace it with a substantial brick block. (Brainerd Tribune, 09 October 1880, p. 4, c. 2)

Ort, Peter
Was born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, in the year 1849. He came to Brainerd in 1870, and was employed at the carpenter trade for five years. Was then clerk in the “Headquarters Hotel” until January, 1880, when he opened a billiard hall on the corner of Fifth and Laurel streets, of which, he is now the proprietor. (History of the Upper Mississippi Valley, Winchell, Neill, Williams and Bryant, Minnesota Historical Company, Minneapolis: 1881, p. 652)


Buried Alive.

BRAINERD, July 14.—A terrible accident, attended with the loss of two lives, occurred here yesterday afternoon. Four men were excavating for the foundations of the new brewery, near the east bank of the Mississippi, south of the bridge, and had dug some distance into the bank, when a large mass of earth fell, covering them all. Two, who were nearest the outer edge of the super-incumbent mass, managed to crawl out with but little injury. Workmen were soon on the spot, but it was several hours before the remains of the other two men were reached. They were both dead when taken out. The victims were single men, one of them being an American and the other a German. Their names are not known. (Minneapolis Tribune, 15 July 1882, p. 2)

Peter Ort has opened a bottling department in connection with his Brainerd brewery. (Brainerd Dispatch, 31 July 1884, p. 3, c. 2)

Peter Ort is in Milwaukee for the purpose of engaging a first class brewer to take charge of his brewery. (Brainerd Dispatch, 30 October 1885, p. 3, c. 3)

According to the Brainerd Tribune, 16 Jul 1886, Peter Ort’s brewery on the east shore of Boom Lake burned down. (Town of Brainerd, Township 45, Range 31, Anna Himrod, WPA Writer’s Project; CWCHS, Brainerd, Minnesota: circa 1941-1946, p. 24)

Fire animation On July 12, 1886, a fire burned Ort’s Brewery aka the Brainerd Brewery building worth about $22,000 and $2,000 worth of beer stored in the building. Since there was no fire hydrant nearby the entire brewery burned. There was $5,200 insurance on the building.

SEE: 1886 Brainerd Brewery Company Fire in the Brainerd: City of Fire page.

Peter Ort will begin operations at his brewery at once. It has been standing idle for some months. (Brainerd Dispatch, 21 December 1888, p. 4, c. 3)

The Brainerd brewery seems to be doing a very prosperous business at present. It seems that Brainerd people are bound to have beer and such being the case it is much better for the prosperity of the town to have it manufactured here rather than to send the money to outside places. The aggregate paid out by the saloonkeepers of this city in the course of a year for beer would astonish most anyone not conversant with the facts. (Brainerd Dispatch, 03 May 1889, p. 4, c. 4)

Fire animation On March 24, 1892, a fire again burned the Brainerd Brewery Company resulting in about $5,000 in damages. The nearest fire hydrant was too far away to save the brewery building but the manufactured beer on hand was saved.

SEE: 1892 Brainerd Brewery Company Fire in the Brainerd: City of Fire page.

A New Brewery.

Jacob Dobmeier, of Grand Forks, is in the city making arrangements for the erection of a new brewery and if arrangements can be made Brainerd will have as fine an institution of this kind as there is in the northwest, Mr. Dobmeier proposes to form a stock company and asks that the saloon keepers of this city take stock to the amount of $2,000 in the aggregate. This is simply as a matter of good faith that the product of the brewery will be used in this city, and to get them interested in the concern. At a meeting held last evening a committee was appointed and to-day are endeavoring to fix the matter, and we have no doubt but that they will be successful. The new institution will be located on the flat near the old Northern Pacific pumping station just north of the railroad bridge and will be of solid brick, the cost of the building to be $10,000. (Brainerd Dispatch, 15 April 1892, p. 4, c. 5)

There is a prospect ahead for a new brewery in this city, J. M. Engelhart [sic], and Geo. Donat [sic], of Little Falls, being the gentlemen who are interesting themselves in the matter. If satisfactory arrangements as to site, etc., can be made, they will locate here and erect suitable buildings for carrying on that branch of industry. Both gentlemen are practical brewers. (Brainerd Dispatch, 19 January 1894, p 4, c. 4)

The city council in special session last evening heard the first reading of an ordinance permitting the cutting of ice in Boom lake for cooling purposes, the ice to be used in the district named. It is expected that work on the new brewery will begin at once. (Brainerd Dispatch, 09 February 1894, p. 4, c. 4)

The City Council.


Englehorn [sic] & Donat [sic] petitioned the city council to be allowed to cut ice in Boom lake for cooling purposes, the ice to be used in a brewery proposed to be erected by these gentlemen was referred to the committee on health, sewerage and police, they to confer with the board of health. (Brainerd Dispatch, 09 February 1894, p. 4, c. 7)

Peter Ort has the contract for putting up the buildings for the new brewery on the site of the one destroyed by fire near Howe’s mill, and the work will be done as speedily as possible. (Brainerd Dispatch, 16 February 1894, p. 4, c. 3)

Bought the Brainerd Brewery.

Fred Hoffman and Edward Boppel ad, 1903.
Source: 1903 Brainerd City Directory, p. 5
The brewery in this city has been purchased by Little Falls parties, who will take charge May 1st. Concerning the men the Transcript says:
Little Falls will soon lose one of its most esteemed citizens, Frederick Hoffman, who has been one of our leading business men for the past seventeen years, has, with Edward Boppel, brewer for the Little Falls Brewery, secured control of the plant of the Brainerd Brewing company in that city, and will take charge of the business the first of next month.
It is Mr. Hoffman’s intention to remove his family to Brainerd sometime this summer, and their departure will be regretted by the many friends they have made in this community.
Mr. Hoffman has, besides his handsome residence property on Fourth street southeast, considerable property interests here, some of which he will dispose of, but he intends keeping his home, for the reason that he has lived here so long that he looks upon it as his only home, and may some time decide to return here to live.
However Mr. Hoffman thinks that the business into which he has just embarked will prove a paying investment. Brainerd is not only a good town itself but there are several smaller towns tributary to it, which Mr. Hoffman thinks he can do business in, by paying strict attention to the quality of the article they manufacture.
Mr. Hoffman is not only a man of good business ability, but has had five years experience in the brewing business at Red Wing, before coming to this city. Mr. Boppel, who will have charge of the brewing, is a first class brewer, and the out look is certainly good for the new firm’s success.
While we regret to see a gentleman as enterprising as Mr. Hoffman leave our city, we wish him prosperity in his new location. (Brainerd Dispatch, 16 April 1897, p. 1, c. 4)

Brainerd Brewery Company on the eastern shore of Boom Lake, ca. 1890.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society
Fred Hoffmann [sic] returned from Brainerd Tuesday, where he had been for several days, completing the purchase of the Brainerd brewery by himself and Mr. Boppel. They took possession of the property May 1, and are now operating it. Mr. Hoffmann [sic] reports the property in good condition, supplied with good appliances for making beer, but needing a few additions to increase its capacity and add to the convenience of operating. He says there is no doubt of the enterprise paying fairly well, and he is well pleased with Brainerd. The large number of men employed in the railroad shops and the saw mill bring large amounts of money in circulation monthly, and the business men generally report a good volume of trade. The people of Brainerd will find Mr. Hoffmann [sic] to be an excellent citizen, reliable and trustworthy in every particular. He is held in high esteem in Little Falls and has served several terms on the city council and board of education.—Little Falls Transcript. (Brainerd Dispatch, 07 May 1897, p. 4, c. 4)

The institution changes ownership again in 1906, with Edward Boppel and Werner Hemstead as owners, it becomes Brainerd Brewing Company. It continues to grow, having a capacity of 10,000 barrels a year in 1910. Breweries are doomed in 1914 with the enforcement of an 1859 [sic] Indian Treaty. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946, p. 44)

In 1906 Dr. Werner Hemstead purchases the interests of Fred Hoffman in the Brainerd Brewery Company. The amount of the consideration is not given but is reported on the streets to be $20,000. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 02 May 2006)


The Brainerd Brewing Company, of which Dr. Werner Hemstead and Edward Boppel are the principal stockholders, has a good sized plant in the south side of the city and is planning extensive improvements, a part of which will be made this year. They will consist of a wash house 50x28 feet, one story high, and a racking room 14x25, two stories high. Both buildings will be of solid brick construction and equipped with first-class, up-to-date machinery. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 16 January 1908, p. 4, c. 5)


Brainerd Brewing Company, illustration of new building being built in 1910, owned by Edward Boppel and Werner Hemstead, a partnership formed in 1906, located at Boom Lake, ca. 1910.
Source: Special Publication, 02 September 1910, p. 16, A. J. Halsted, Editor and Publisher, Brainerd Tribune
The accompanying view illustrates the new buildings of the Brainerd Brewing Company, now partially completed. The new plant will be a model of its kind and will add greatly to the producing capacity of the company and give employment to a number more people. The bottling department will establish a new feature, and in the near future the people of Brainerd may secure the product of this Brainerd institution bottled and delivered to their homes.
This organization was formed four years ago, succeeding the firm of Hoffman & Boppel, which had previously carried on the business. The capacity and equipment of the brewery have been increased and about 10,000 barrels of beer are manufactured annually. The beverage turned out here is of a superior quality and finds a ready market in Brainerd and adjacent towns in Crow Wing, Aitkin, Cass and Todd counties.
The growing reputation of this product is chiefly due to the care exercised in its manufacture and the fact that only the purest and best ingredients are used. The malt is produced in Minnesota and the best domestic hops are obtained from the Pacific coast, while a considerable quantity of German hops is also imported each season. A supply of the purest water, so essential to the production of the best beer, is obtained from an artesian well extending a number of feet below the bed of the Mississippi river. The ice used is cut from Boom lake, which adjoins the premises and is fed by living springs. (Special Publication, 02 September 1910, p. 16, Brainerd Tribune, A. J. Halsted, Editor and Publisher)

Brainerd Woman Dead.

Brainerd, Minn., Nov. 20—(Special.)—Mrs. Edward [Louise] Boppel, wife of a leading resident of Brainerd, died very suddenly yesterday morning of typhoid fever, having been sick only a few days. She leaves a husband and eight children. (Minneapolis Morning Tribune, 20 November 1909, p. 23)

Fire animation On October 19, 1914, a fire gutted the interior of the brick two-story, twenty-five by forty foot Brainerd Brewery building located near Boom Lake. There was no fire used in the building since the machinery was run by electricity. The next day the wreck in the interior was still smoking and piles of glass bottles lay melted in heaps. The remains were allowed to cool slowly so as not to crack the heavy cement floor.

SEE: 1914 Brainerd Brewery Company Fire in the Brainerd: City of Fire page.

William “Pussyfoot” Johnson, ca. 1920.
Source: Unknown
Most unique in the annals of any city is the incident that arose in 1911. Brainerd was not alone in this instance. It was a feature in the activities of the Prohibitionists throughout the nation. The Federal Department of Indian Service had in its employ a man named “Pussyfoot” Johnson [William Eugene Johnson 1862-1945]. He came to Minnesota to stop the sale of liquor to Indians and the introduction of liquor into those lands which the federal government had acquired by treaty with Indians. Brainerd was in an area so covered by a treaty made in 1855 [sic]. The experience need not be related beyond the fact that in 1914 the United States Supreme Court also rendered a decision on the matter and the prohibition lid was clamped on tight. Saloons were raided. In some cities beer and liquor were dumped into the gutters in the smashing-up campaign which the federal agents had to pursue to enforce the edict.
In Brainerd the court decision closed twenty-six saloons, which was a very heavy loss of revenue for the city, as the license fee was $750. The money so collected had been put into the general revenue fund prescribed by the charter of 1908. That charter did not prescribe a special fund for the payment of street lighting, hydrant rental and use of water in public buildings and parks. Being deprived of license fees, the council began not paying the bills it had contracted to pay the Water and Light Board; whereupon the Board cut out the lights. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946; pp. 112 & 113)


Closing Order Prohibiting Manufac-
ture of Beer Made by Indian
Department Extended


Brewing Company is Producing Non-
Alcohol, Temperance Beverage
Meeting with Good Sale

Ordered closed July 30, the Brainerd Brewing Co. has secured an extension of 30 days from Special Agent H. A. Larson of the Indian department, which will enable the brewing company to dispose of most of its manufactured product.
In the meantime, the brewing company has worked up quite a trade in non-alcohol, a temperance beverage. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 31 July 1915, p. 5, c. 2)

02 August 1915. Exploding a charge of nitroglycerin, robbers last night broke open the safe at the Brainerd Brewing Co. and stole $125 in currency and $75 in silver. A window was forced to gain entrance and a buggy pulled by a large horse was used for the escape shortly after midnight. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 02 August 2015)

05 November 1915. If there is any advocate of prohibition who drank beer before 1855, let him speak out and save the government’s case in trying to close the Brainerd Brewing Co. The firm is fighting closure under the 1855 Indian Treaty, saying beer cannot be banned as there was none here in 1855. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 05 November 2015)



The Mayor Vetoes the Street Railway
Ordinance and the Council Refuses
to Pass It Over the Veto.

At the regular meeting of the city council a week ago Monday night Ordinance No. 100, granting a franchise for a street railway, was introduced, and on motion consideration of the same was deferred for a special meeting which was held Thursday evening, June 9th. On that evening the ordinance had its first and second readings and was passed, but a new section, No. 10, had been added. The ordinance as passed was as follows:


Relating to street railways and motors, and granting the right to construct them to J. N. Nevers, Henry Spalding and H. J. Spencer.
The council of the city of Brainerd do ordain:
SECTION 1. There is hereby granted to J. N. Nevers, Henry Spalding and H. J. Spencer, and to their successors, assigns and legal representative, for the term of twenty-five (25) years from the date of passage hereof, permission and authority to lay lines of narrow gauge railway for the carriage of passengers with single or double tracks and with all necessary tracks for switches, sidetracks and turntables, together with the right to plant necessary poles and wires for the conveyance of electricity for propelling cars and the right to make necessary excavations for laying cable ropes and appurtenances for propelling cars, in any and all of the streets, and on and over any and all bridges in the present or future limits of the city of Brainerd, and to operate passenger cars thereon upon the conditions hereinafter contained.
SEC. 2. The carriages used shall be of the best style used upon street railways in other cities, and in case they are propelled by steam motors, the motors shall have all modern improvements for the consuming of smoke and to prevent the escape of steam and fire.
SEC. 3. The city council may regulate the speed of running said cars so far as to conform the same to the speed generally permitted for similar cars in other cities.
SEC. 4. The tracks of such railways shall be laid so as to conform to the grade of the streets on which the same are laid, and when the grade is changed, the tracks shall be re-laid without expense to the city. In case the city shall cause any street, upon which said street railways are laid, to be paved or otherwise improved, the grantees herein, their successors, assigns or legal representative shall improve in similar manner the space between the rails of their tracks.
SEC. 5. Said tracks shall be laid even with the surface of the street and along the central portion of the street where practicable, and the space between and on either side of the rails shall be kept so as not to interfere with travel over the same, all at the cost of the grantees.
SEC. 6. The rate of fare for any distance within the city limits on any line of said railway, shall not exceed five cents for each passenger with ordinary hand baggage.
SEC. 7. The rights and privileges hereby granted shall be forfeited unless there shall be equipped and in full operation at least one mile of railway on or before July 1st, 1893.
SEC. 8. The running of cars on any part of said railways may be suspended by the city council for such reasonable time as may be necessary on account of repairs of streets, building of sewers or other public improvements, and when it shall be necessary to take up and relay any track for the purposes aforesaid, the same shall be done at the expense of the grantees.
SEC. 9. The said street railway cars shall be entitled to the track, and in any case any team or vehicle or animal led or driven, or pedestrian, shall be overtaken by or meet, the same shall give way immediately to said cars; nor shall any person willfully obstruct, hinder or interfere with any of said cars, after being warned or notified by the driver, engineer or conductor of any car, by ringing of the car bell, or otherwise, of such obstruction or hindrance.
Whoever shall violate any of the provisions of this section shall, upon conviction of such violation before the Municipal court of said city, be punished by a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars nor less than five dollars, and shall be imprisoned until such fine is paid not exceeding thirty days.
SEC. 10. The said street railway shall be located in part of its course on Kingwood and Kindred streets between Eighth street north, in the city of Brainerd, and some one of the avenues in East Brainerd numbered one (1), two (2), three (3) and four (4), and from some point on said Kindred street northerly on some one of said avenues in East Brainerd, numbered one (1), two (2), three (3) and four (4); but this provision shall be binding on the grantees only so long as said streets and avenues are properly kept open and all bridges therein properly maintained and kept open, and in repair for public travel by said city of Brainerd or its successors.
SEC. 11. The right is reserved to the city council to make such police regulations concerning such railways, and the operation thereof, as may be necessary.
SEC. 12. Ordinance No. 81 and Ordinance No. 92 are hereby repealed.
SEC. 13. This ordinance shall take effect and be in force from and after its publication; provided, that within three days after the approval thereof by the Mayor the grantees herein shall accept in writing the conditions hereof.
On Tuesday evening of this week the mayor called a special meeting of the city council and returned the ordinance without his signature and the following veto message:
BRAINERD, MINN., June 13, 1892.
To the city council of Brainerd:
I herewith return Ordinance No. 100 to you without my approval. My reasons for not approving this ordinance are: 1st—The western terminus of the proposed line of street cars should not be permitted to rest on 8th street. The road should run into the city south of the N. P. track on 6th street. This enterprise is supposed to be, to a certain extent, for the benefit of the public and ought to be so constructed as to at least, work no harm to any portion of the city or to any business in the city. 2d—There is nothing in this ordinance to compel the operation of the proposed street car line after the completion of the one mile stipulated for. There should be a forfeiture clause, so that, if after the franchise is carried, it should cease to be operated, the city could forfeit the franchise. 3d—The franchise ought to be made non-assignable until after the completion of the one mile made necessary to earn it. This would prevent the franchise from becoming a subject of speculation. 4th—The ordinance ought to compel the use of electricity only. The use of horses and mules in these progressive times ought to be prohibited. Respectfully,
A motion was made to pass the ordinance over the mayor’s veto, but it was lost, all the members of the council recognizing the force of the mayor’s objections and voting in the negative.
The passing of the ordinance raised quite a storm of protests among our citizens, and a petition against it was talked of, but when it was learned that the mayor intended to veto it, the matter was dropped as it was known that enough of the council men were opposed to it to prevent its becoming a law.
The principal objection to the ordinance was that it did not require the construction of any portion of the system south of the track, and it did not contain a forfeiture clause in case the company who held the franchise ceased operating the railway. It is to be hoped that an ordinance covering all the objections, and jealously guarding the rights of the city will be passed, as the building and constructing of a street railway system will be a great advantage, and the gentlemen who have applied are every way worthy and responsible citizens. (Brainerd Dispatch, 17 June 1892, p. 1, c.’s 4 & 5)

The Electric Railway.

The ordinance relating to the construction and operation of street railway lines in Brainerd which received the mayor’s veto was presented to the council in a revised form on Monday evening and received its first reading and will at the next meeting of that body come up in its regular order. The changes in it require the grantees to have at least one mile in running order, fully equipped, by July 1, 1893, and provides for electric or steam motor lines. The location of the line is as follows:
“The said street railway shall be located, in part of its course, on Sixth street south, in the city of Brainerd, and run from some point on said Sixth street south, and over such other streets as may be selected by the said grantees, their successors, assigns or legal representatives, to Kingwood street, and thence along said Kingwood street and Kindred street to some one of the avenues in East Brainerd, numbered one, two, three and four, and from some point on said Kindred street northerly on some one of said avenues in East Brainerd, numbered one, two three and four; but in such manner as to form a continuous line of railway from said point on Sixth street south to the terminus of said railway on one of the avenues aforesaid, or wherever the same may be after running over one of said avenues, as hereinbefore contemplated and expressed.” (Brainerd Dispatch, 24 June 1892, p. 4, c. 5)

Satisfactorily Settled.

The street railway matter has been settled in a manner which suits all concerned. The mayor vetoed the ordinance as it was amended and passed, the reason being that the parties receiving the franchise were not compelled to build the railway any further south than Front street and Mayor Hagberg thought it should at least go to the corner of Quince and Sixth. At a special meeting of the council on Saturday evening the aldermen refused to pass the ordinance over his head by a unanimous vote. An ordinance with the amendment that the line be built from Rice lake to the corner of Sixth and Quince streets was then passed, the rules were suspended and the second reading had and it was placed upon its final passage and the ordinance has received the mayor’s signature. (Brainerd Dispatch, 15 July 1892, p. 4, c. 4)

Electric Street Railway Route, ca. 1893-1897 plotted on a ca. 1948 Brainerd City Map. (See the 860 KB high-res PDF file)
Source: A. Nelson
Charles N. Parker was given a thirty-year franchise by the city beginning on 17 September 1892; he was to have a line in operation by 01 July 1893; and he was to build his own power plant. The route of the Electric Street Railway would begin at Willow and South Sixth thence north to Front Street; turning east at the First National Bank corner and going to Eighth Street [Broadway]; then it would go north to Kingwood and east to the ravine. At the ravine, Parker erected a private timber-trestle about one hundred feet or so south of the city’s wagon bridge. From the Kindred Street end of the bridge the line went to Third Avenue, then north to Ash (“H” Street today), east on Ash to Mill and north on Mill to virtually its present end. That made four miles of track. There, on the west side of the road, Parker erected a car barn and an electric generating power-house. On the east side of Mill Street the huge plant of the Brainerd Lumber Company and affiliates was erected and to the west of Mill Street was the dam and the city power plant. To the north of the Parker power plant was the depot terminal of the Brainerd & Northern Minnesota Railway Company. In 1895 the street railway was operating along its full length. On 02 June 1898, the big windstorm hit Brainerd. It blew down both bridges over the ravine. Parker said the street railway business did not pay, he did not replace his bridge and sold his cars and motors and abandoned everything else. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946; pp. 66 & 67)

A special meeting of the city council was held last Saturday evening, when an ordinance containing the changes suggested in our last issue was passed, granting to C. N. Parker the right to construct and maintain a street railway. The terms of the new ordinance are the same as the old with the exceptions suggested. (Brainerd Dispatch, 23 September 1892, p. 4, c. 3)


A $50,000 Electric Street Railway to
Be Built and in Operation
in 45 Days

A Magnificent Three Story Solid
Brick Business Block a
Certainty this Fall.

Charles N. Parker, 1834-1911, founder, Northern Pacific Bank, Brainerd Electric Street Railway & builder of the Northern Pacific Foundry, ca. Unknown.
Source: Brainerd’s Half Century, Ingolf Dillan
If there are any people in this city who have had any doubts in regard to Brainerd’s future prosperity, the developments of the past two days ought certainly to dispel every thought of such a character. When one of the most careful, conservative and successful business men of the state considers it a good business proposition to invest at least $50,000 in an electric street railway in this city, our own citizens certainly ought to have confidence in the future. That this is the case we are most happy to state. The franchise which was recently granted to H. Spalding, H. J. Spencer and J. N. Nevers has been by these gentlemen voluntarily and gratuitously relinquished to C. N. Parker, of Parker & Topping of the N. P. foundry, who will immediately begin the construction of the road and push it to completion, before winter sets in. On being questioned in regard to the matter Mr. Parker not only corroborated every statement made above, but furnished the DISPATCH with additional information that will be of interest. He stated that he had been figuring on the matter for several weeks so that he had all the details arranged and could proceed with active work on the construction at once. Instead of building the road over the line required by the old franchise Mr. Parker will commence at the extreme south end of Sixth street and extend it north to Front, and east on Front to Eighth and north on Eighth across the track to Kingwood and from there over the old line to the new mill at Rice Lake. A special meeting of the council will be called to amend the ordinance giving Mr. Parker the right to make these changes. The power house will be built as closely to the new mill as possible, so as to use the refuse matter of the mill for fuel. Power will be furnished by a 100 horse-power generator which will be propelled by a 125 horse-power engine, two boilers each of 120 horse-power capacity furnishing steam. The track will be laid with forty-pound steel rails. Mr. Parker will not use the wagon bridge over the ravine but will build a trestle expressly for the street car track.
He will put on four motors at once but will have power to propel more than double that number. The length of the track will be nearly four miles and Mr. Parker confidently assures us that it will be built and in operation in forty-five days. The entire cost of the system will be in the neighborhood of $50,000. Mr. Parker will take personal charge of putting in the system himself and expects to save a great deal thereby.
But this is not the only enterprise of importance that Mr. Parker expects to engage in. This fall or early in the spring he contemplates the erection of a three-story solid brick building with all the modern improvements. He has not decided upon the exact location, as he has several in view, but says positively that he will build such a building if not this fall, certainly in the spring. From what we could learn it will certainly be the most pretentious building in the city. (Brainerd Dispatch, 16 September 1892, p. 4, c. 5)

A special meeting of the city council was held last Saturday evening, when an ordinance containing the changes suggested in our last issue was passed, granting to C. N. Parker the right to construct and maintain a street railway. The terms of the new ordinance are the same as the old with the exceptions suggested. (Brainerd Dispatch, 23 September 1892, p. 4, c. 3)

Proposals will be received until Oct. 1st for the furnishing of 350 cedar or tamarack poles 28 feet long, and 25 to 30 feet long, from 7 to 8 inches at top, peeled and smoothed; also 8500 sawed pine ties 6 by 8 inches, seven feet long. Delivered on board cars at Brainerd. For further particulars enquire of:
C. N. Parker,
Brainerd, Minn.
(Brainerd Dispatch, 23 September 1892, p. 4, c. 6)

The Electric Line.

Electric Street Railway Powerhouse located west of Mill Avenue and south of the highway bridge, 1893.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society
The contract has been let by C. N. Parker for the boiler and engines which will furnish the power for the new street car line and they are to be here by the 15th of October. The rails have been bought for three and a half miles and the poles contracted for and they also are to be delivered here by the 15th at which time active work will be commenced. The electric power house will be located on the piece of land which Mr. Parker acquired from the city at the meeting on Monday evening being about one acre in the southeast corner of lot 4, section 18. (Brainerd Dispatch, 30 September 1892, p. 4, c. 4)

The City Council.

A proposal from C. N. Parker to purchase ground for street railway purposes was granted, and a motion was carried directing that a deed of same be drawn and executed. Mr. Parker’s proposition is as follows:

BRAINERD, Minn., Sept. 26, 1892.
To the Honorable City Council of the City of Brainerd.

Gentlemen: I hereby make application to purchase from the City of Brainerd the land hereinafter described; and, in the event of a favorable consideration by the council of this proposition, I will pay to the city the sum of one dollar for a quit claim deed of said land.
My object in purchasing said land is to use the same in connection with my street car franchise, and to erect thereon an electric power house, a car stable and such buildings and structures as may be necessary.
The tract which I desire to purchase is all that piece of land belonging to the city which lies east and south of the right of way of the Northern Pacific Railroad company’s mill track, and consists of about one acre, in the southeast corner of the city property situate in Lot 4, Section 18, Township 45, Range 30.
Trusting that my motives in making this application will be considered by you to be a sufficient inducement to the granting of the same, I am, gentlemen,
Very respectfully yours,
(Brainerd Dispatch, 30 September 1892, p. 4, c. 5)


Now Being Made in this Vicinity, and
Others Contemplated.


Actual work on the new street railway has been commenced, all the poles for the road and nearly all the ties having arrived, and are now being unloaded and distributed along the line of the road. The work of setting the poles will begin immediately, and it is expected that the work of laying the track will begin the 15th, when the rails and other material will be delivered here.
The large three-story brick business block which we stated Mr. Parker would construct in the near future, has been definitely located, Mr. Parker having on Wednesday purchased four lots at the corner of Front and Eighth streets from H. Spalding and Leon E. Lum for that purpose, the consideration being $5,000 cash. The building will be built early in the spring.


(Brainerd Dispatch, 07 October 1892, p. 4, c. 4)

The Electric Line.

The bids were opened and contract awarded yesterday for the construction of the power house and the bridge across the ravine for the electric street car line. The power house is to be 40x40 solid brick and Mr. C. Rasmusson secured the contract for $1,200. The bridge contract was let to Fogelstrom & Falconer [sic] for $2,349. The work will be pushed rapidly to completion. The engine for the power house arrived on Monday last, and the rails have been shipped and will probably be here by Monday next at the latest. The ties and poles are being distributed along the line and the work of placing them in position will be commenced in a few days. The track is to be standard gauge. (Brainerd Dispatch, 14 October 1892, p. 4, c. 5)

The poles for the electric street car line are being placed in position as rapidly as possible. (Brainerd Dispatch, 21 October 1892, p. 4, c. 3)

Work on the Electric Line.

Work on Brainerd’s new electric street car line is being pushed with all possible speed. The work of setting the poles was finished last night. Yesterday a crew of men were put at work on the track at the south end of Sixth street. The engine and boilers are here and will be placed in position at the power house as soon as it is ready to receive them. (Brainerd Dispatch, 28 October 1892, p. 4, c. 4)

Work of laying the new electric street car line is being pushed with all rapidity. The graders are near the ravine bridge to-day and the track would have been laid to that point but for unnecessary delay in getting supplies. (Brainerd Dispatch, 04 November 1892, p. 4, c. 3)

The grade established for the electric railway line on Sixth street where the paving is being done was found to be four inches too low after the track was laid and Mr. Parker, was obliged to put a crew of men on Wednesday for the purpose of getting it up to grade. The mistake was quite a serious and expensive one to the proprietor of the line. (Brainerd Dispatch, 18 November 1892, p. 1, c. 4)

C. N. Parker yesterday let the contract to Thos. Reilly for paving the center of the electric railway track and it will be done at the same time the street is paved. (Brainerd Dispatch, 18 November 1892, p. 4, c. 3)

C. N. Parker is having the cross wires for the electric line placed in position this week. (Brainerd Dispatch, 09 December 1892, p. 4, c. 3)

The bridge built by Foglestron [sic] [Fogelstrom] & Faulkner [sic] for the new electric line has been completed and accepted. The bridge is one of the best of its kind in the state. (Brainerd Dispatch, 09 December 1892, p. 4, c. 3)

On Friday evening last a banquet was tendered J. E. Glass, R. W. Jones, C. N. Parker and F. S. Parker, at the Arlington hotel, the occasion being the completion of the first division of the B. & N. M. railway and the new electric line in this city, by the Chenquatana club. The occasion was first-class in all respects, toasts were responded to by those present and the evening was a very enjoyable one. (Brainerd Dispatch, 16 December 1892, p. 4, c. 4)

Electric Street Railway Company Car, ca. 1893.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society
A Dispatch representative visited the car house of the Brainerd Electric Street Railway Company the first of the week, and inspected the new cars that have just arrived. They are beauties and no mistake. They are about 25 feet long and built after the latest and most improved patterns. They are exquisitely finished and are equal in every respect to any car on the Twin Cities line except the new vestibuled cars. Mr. Parker is certainly doing just what he said he would viz: Putting in a strictly first class electric street railway plant in every respect, without regard for expense. (Brainerd Dispatch, 13 January 1893, p. 4, c. 3)

The new generator for the electric street railway plant has been put in position for operation, and the trolley wire is all that is necessary to begin operations. (Brainerd Dispatch, 13 January 1893, p. 4, c. 3)

The work of placing the new street railway in shape for operation has been commenced. The frame work for the trolley wire on the bridge is being placed in position. (Brainerd Dispatch, 31 March 1893, p. 4, c. 4)

The work of putting up the trolley wire for the street railway is now in progress, and will probably be finished entirely within a week. This is the last work necessary to operate the line, which will begin immediately after the trolley wire is up. (Brainerd Dispatch, 07 April 1893, p. 4, c. 4)

Elected Officers.

A meeting of the stockholders of the Electric Street Railway was held on Wednesday, and an organization was perfected by electing the following officers:
President—C. N. Parker.
Vice President—R. W. Jones.
Secretary and Treasurer—F. S. Parker.
Superintendent—F. S. Parker.
(Brainerd Dispatch, 14 April 1893, p. 4, c. 7)

It was exactly 2 p. m. on May 4th, 1893, when the first electric street car ever run in the city of Brainerd passed the bank corner at Sixth and Front streets. We are quite metropolitan now. (Brainerd Dispatch, 05 May 1893, p. 1, c. 3)

BRAINERD has real electric street cars and a line of road in operation, and she’s proud of it. (Brainerd Dispatch, 05 May 1893, p. 1, c. 3)

The First Run.

The first car was run over the electric street car line yesterday immediately after dinner. The trip was entirely satisfactory and was made in sixteen minutes. The cars will begin their regular trips on Sunday morning and a car will pass every twenty minutes. The cars are as fine and nicely finished as any manufactured and presented a novel sight as they moved rapidly over the line. The streets were filled with people to see the first car. (Brainerd Dispatch, 05 May 1893, p. 4, c. 4)


Brainerd’s Electric Street Car Line is
Formally Opened.

Tuesday last was a day long to be remembered in this city. It was the opening day of the electric street car line and nearly every person in the city who could get a spare moment was out to see the cars. At 4 o’clock the four cars started from the power house running to the bank corner on Sixth street. Here they were met by the Third Regiment Band and hundreds of people who had assembled in honor of this occasion. By request of President Parker as many of the business men and others who could be accommodated took passage in the cars and were given an excursion over the line of road, accompanied by the band. The run to the south end of Sixth street was made and on the return the party went out to the power house, the trip being made without accident and in a very short space of time. Arriving at the power house the entire place was inspected and the workings explained to the visitors. From the street car barn the party went over to the Northern Mill Co.’s plant, which was in full operation, and a half hour was spent there. On the return refreshments were found awaiting the party at the power house, after which came the return trip home.
A review of the building and operation of the plant will not be out of place at this time and from information furnished by Mr. Parker we glean the following:
The length of the road is three and a half miles, ironed with 35-pound steel rails, the ties being hard pine, the track being constructed by John Jackson, of Duluth. The bridge across the ravine was built by P. G. Foglestrom and John Falconer, of this city, and is a very substantial structure. The boilers and engine were made by A. L. Ide & Co., of Springfield, Ill., and were put into position by L. A. Chase, of Minneapolis. The generator and car motors were manufactured by the Westinghouse Electric Manufacturing Co., of Pittsburgh, Pa., and were adjusted and started by J. F. Boustead, of Minneapolis. The overhead structure was furnished by the Northwestern General Electric Co., of St. Paul, and was erected by O. French and D. B. Clark, of this city. The cars themselves are sixteen feet long and were built by the Lamokin Car Works, of Chester, Pa. They are beauties and an ornament to any city.

Brainerd Electric Street Railway Workers and Officials, ca. 1893.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society
The power house is a brick structure, and the car house is built of wood, both being steam heated.
The road for the present will be operated with three cars, which will be run fifteen minutes apart, the first trip being made at 5:45 a. m., and the last one at 10 p. m.
The road was built by C. N. Parker, of St. Paul, assisted by his son Fred S. Parker, of this city. A company has been organized, with the addition of Ray W. Jones to the above named gentlemen, and incorporated, C. N. Parker being elected president, Ray. W. Jones vice president and Fred S. Parker secretary and treasurer.
The following is the force employed in operating the road at present:
Fred S. Parker, superintendent; D. B. Clark, electrician; Orin French, first engineer; C. Gauvin, second engineer; W. Isackson, fireman; J. Neburg, track foreman; F. A. Bradbury, G. H. Ohstead, A. O. Narrow and W. Wells, motoneers [sic]; G. W. Grewcox, C. J. Mitchell, B. H. Smith and W. A. Durgan, conductors.


Any parties desiring street car tickets can obtain them by applying to F. S. Parker.
N. McFadden was the first purchaser of street car tickets, and he is giving them to customers. (Brainerd Dispatch, 12 May 1893, p. 1, c. 4)

The Brainerd Electric Railway Company has moved its office into the N. P. Bank building. (Brainerd Dispatch, 19 May 1893, p. 4, c. 3)

The street car company had to do a transfer business for a short time Tuesday morning owing to a sink in the track on Sixth street near the mill track, occasioned by the settling of the sand around the sewer pipe which runs down the center of that street. (Brainerd Dispatch, 26 May 1893, p. 4, c. 3)

Cheaper Than Shoe Leather.

Fred S. Parker informs a DISPATCH reporter that tickets will be on sale next week good on the electric street car line which will enable the workingmen to ride to and from their work. These tickets will be good between the hours of 6 and 7 in the morning and 6 and 7 in the evening, and will sell for 50 cents and one dollar, the former being good for fifteen rides and the latter thirty. Tickets will be punched as presented and will not be transferable. This will reduce the fare to three and one-third cents a trip. (Brainerd Dispatch, 26 May 1893, p. 4, c. 5)

The signs on the street cars have been changed to “Sixth and Mill Streets,” which is more appropriate. (Brainerd Dispatch, 28 July 1893, p. 4, c. 3)

The street car company has put registers in their cars, the same as those used on all street car lines. (Brainerd Dispatch, 04 August 1893, p. 4, c. 4)

The state law requiring all electric cars to be vestibuled for the protection of the motormen against the extreme cold, went into effect Nov. 1st. A penalty of $50 for each car is prescribed for violating the law. (Brainerd Dispatch, 03 November 1893, p. 4, c. 5)

Brainerd Electric Street Railway Company Car, ca. 1893.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society
The first real snow storm of the season occurred on Tuesday and for a time during the evening it looked as if we were to have a real old fashioned Minnesota blizzard but the storm abated towards morning after about four inches of snow had fallen. Street car service was not materially interfered with although Supt. Parker was out nearly all night with a force of men keeping the track open. (Brainerd Dispatch, 24 November 1893, p. 4, c. 3)

The cars on the electric line are being provided with vestibules on each end as a protection to the motor men and conductors, and in accordance with the state law. (Brainerd Dispatch, 01 December 1893, p. 4, c. 3)

On and after January 1st the Brainerd Electric Street Car Co. will cease to issue the cheap rate tickets, but all tickets outstanding will be honored until used. (Brainerd Dispatch, 08 December 1893, p. 4, c. 3)

Three cars are being run on the electric line again, the business calling for the increase. (Brainerd Dispatch, 29 December 1893, p. 4, c. 3)

The Brainerd Electric company are having excellent luck in keeping their street car line open and if it is blocked by snow during the coming winter months it will not be the fault of Supt. F. S. Parker. A snow plow has been constructed at the company’s plant near Rice lake which effectively removes the “beautiful” from the track in a very satisfactory manner. (Brainerd Dispatch, 01 January 1894, p. 4, c. 4)

Koop’s delivery team ran away yesterday and in their flight collided with the water hydrant at the corner of Eighth and Front streets, breaking it off even with the ground and quite seriously injuring one of the horses. They became frightened at a passing street car. (Brainerd Dispatch, 05 January 1894, p. 4, c. 4)

The cars on the electric line are now started out at 6 a. m. to connect with the trains on the B. & N. M. R’y. (Brainerd Dispatch, 16 February 1894, p. 4, c. 3)

Street Car Line Tied Up.

The smoke stack at the power house of the street railway was blown down by the fierce wind about 2 o’clock this p. m. which will tie the line up for three or four days until the damage is repaired, so we are informed by F. S. Parker, superintendent. A staging had been built about the stack to put on a spark arrester, and this was blown away carrying with it the stack. (Brainerd Dispatch, 12 April 1895, p. 4, c. 6)

The street car company have had a force of men at work on their track during the past week getting it in shape for winter. (Brainerd Dispatch, 18 October 1895, p. 4, c. 4)


The Brainerd Traction, Light and Power
Co., is the Name of the New

Fred Parker, son of Charles N. Parker., ca. 1893.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society
A letter received yesterday by Fred S. Parker, from his father, C. N. Parker, who is now in Chicago, states that on Monday, an application for a license to incorporate was made under the laws of the state of Illinois, and that the name of the new company was the Brainerd Traction, Light and Power Co. The stockholders are:
C. N. Parker, Brainerd, Minn.
E. C. Gibson, New York City.
P. A. Gibson, Erie, Pa.
Fred S. Parker, Brainerd, Minn.
W. S. McClenahan, Brainerd, Minn.
The first board of directors will also be the above named gentlemen, and the officers will be as follows:
C. N. Parker, President.
E. C. Gibson, Vice President.
P. A. Gibson, Secretary and Treasurer.
Fred S. Parker, Manager.
H. D. Treglawny, Assistant Secretary and Treasurer.
The office of the new company will be located on the first floor of the building between the Northern Pacific bank and the post-office, now occupied by Harry Fox.
On January 5th, Mr. Rice, Chief Engineer of the Stillwell, Brice [sic], Smith, Vail Co., of Dayton, Ohio, and Mr. Roe, expert electrician of the General Electric Co., will start for this city to look the plant over and make estimates on improvements, etc., and then the new company will at once begin operations.
The Harrisburg, Pa., Telegram, in speaking of a Consolidated Company just organized at Akron, Ohio, of which Mr. E. C. Gibson, of New York, vice president of the Brainerd Traction, Light and Power Co., is president, and Mr. P. A. Gibson, also of the Brainerd company, is a stockholder, says:
This company of solid financiers will also add numerous new plants, as it is remarkably strong and composed of men prominent in the financial world. That the chartering of this great company means much for Akron and its surroundings goes without saying, and to the city the future vouchsafes much in the way of vastly increased street railway facilities as well as street illumination. No stone will be left unturned in the matter of financial aid to the great work of upbuilding the city in the matter of furnishing and supplying two of the greatest street conveniences, the transportation and illumination. The new consolidation company starts on a solid foundation and its future is decidedly radiant. (Brainerd Dispatch, 27 December 1895, p. 4, c. 4)

The election of officers for the Brainerd Traction, Light and Power Co., occurred, as stated in these columns last week, at Chicago, and Messrs. C. N. Parker, F. S. Parker and W. S. McClenahan were in attendance at a meeting of the directors last Friday. They report that the deal between the company and the city will undoubtedly be closed on Feb. 3rd. (Brainerd Dispatch, 17 January 1896, p. 4, c. 4)

The storm of Tuesday and Wednesday was the most severe by far of any experienced during the season. The high wind drifted the snow in heaps and railroad traffic was delayed. Over two feet of snow fell on the level. Superintendent Parker experienced considerable difficulty in keeping the electric line open but managed to keep the cars moving. (Brainerd Dispatch, 03 April 1896, p. 4, c. 4)

Supt. Parker found it necessary to put the third car in service on the electric street railway on Wednesday in order to accommodate the increasing travel. (Brainerd Dispatch, 17 April 1896, p. 4, c. 3)

As has been their custom for many years Messrs. Parker & Topping, of the Northern Pacific foundry, presented each one of their employees with a nice fat turkey for Christmas dinner yesterday. The street car company also made their employees happy in the same manner. (Brainerd Dispatch, 25 December 1896, p. 4, c. 4)

The street railway company has put on another car, and are now running three cars until 10:30 in the evening. (Brainerd Dispatch, 23 April 1897, p. 4, c. 3)

Electric streetcar at the corner of Sixth and Front Streets looking south, ca. 1894.
Source: Brainerd’s Half Century, Ingolf Dillan
It is the intention of the street car company to close up their business and take up the track not later than August 10th so the DISPATCH is informed by Supt. F. S. Parker. The reason for this action is because the business does not pay and future prospects for the business is not flattering. When the announcement was made public a number of the business men called a meeting to see if some arrangements could not be made whereby Mr. Parker would continue the business but nothing definite was arranged and a further meeting will be held the first of next week. In the event that the line is abandoned the Brainerd & Northern Minnesota will run its trains into the city from the Northern Pacific depot. (Brainerd Dispatch, 30 July 1897, p. 4, c. 4)

Not Yet Settled.

Electric streetcar at the corner of Front and Sixth Streets looking east, ca. 1894.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society
Two meetings of the citizens have been held during the week for the purpose of considering some means by which Mr. C. N. Parker could be induced to continue operating the electric street car line. Mr. Parker finally informed the gentlemen in writing that if $2,500 was raised he would operate the line for another year. On Wednesday evening some thirty of the business men were in attendance and a committee consisting of Geo. A. Keene, H. I. Cohen, J. F. McGinnis, Con O’Brien and J. W. Koop were appointed to see what could be done to raise the amount. Yesterday something over $1,000 was subscribed and probably the amount can be raised to $1,500 but it is quite improbable that $2,500 can be made up. The committee expect to meet Mr. Parker today and have a further conference with him. The discontinuance of the line is a matter that would seriously affect business interests and would be a great inconvenience to the traveling public and it is hoped that some arrangements can be made whereby it will be continued. (Brainerd Dispatch, 06 August 1897, p. 8, c. 2)

The electric street car company will cease operations on Sunday [15 August] evening and after that date Brainerd’s elegant street car service will be a thing of the past. The track will not be taken up at once but arrangements will be made to have it removed before cold weather sets in. It is an institution that will be greatly missed by our people. (Brainerd Dispatch, 13 August 1897, p. 8, c. 1)

The telephone exchange will be removed to the room now occupied by the street car company as an office in the Walker block on Sunday. (Brainerd Dispatch, 13 August 1897, p. 8, c. 1)

F. S. Parker informs the DISPATCH that work will be commenced the coming week on the removal of the electric street car line. Mr. Parker thinks it will take about a month to take the rails and ties up and remove the overhead work and store it. (Brainerd Dispatch, 06 May 1898, p. 8, c. 1)

NOTE: The electric street car business was discontinued on 15 August 1897, before the “twister” mentioned below.

It Was a Twister

Brainerd Visited by the Worst Wind
Storm in its History

The East Brainerd Wagon Bridge and the Electric
Street Car Bridge Are in the Bottom
of the Ravine

Four-Fifths of the Trees in the City Park Leveled to
the Ground, and the Beauty of the
Park Ruined

Damage to Residence and Business Property Cannot
Be Estimated at This Time But is Very
Heavy—No Fatalities Reported

(Top) Street car and the railway bridge. (Bottom) Street railway bridge after the ‘twister’ of June 2, 1898.
Source: Frank Butts Collection and Crow Wing County Historical Society
Brainerd was visited by one of the worst storms in its history last night. The clouds looked threatening during the afternoon but it was shortly after 5 o’clock when the fury of the gale made itself felt. A strong wind was blowing from the northeast and a bank of black furious looking clouds came up from the southwest directly against the wind and when directly over the city the wind changed in an instant to the north and torrents of rain fell accompanied by a slight fall of hail and the terrific wind swept through the city leveling trees, tearing off chimneys, unroofing buildings and shattering things generally. The two bridges that spanned the ravine at East Brainerd were picked up and thrown to the bottom of the gully and are both a total wreck. The electric street car bridge was owned by C. N. Parker and the loss will be fully $2,800. The city wagon bridge was built some years ago and while the loss on it is not as great as on the other bridge, it comes at an inopportune time and will be a matter of great inconvenience to the public. The Laurel street bridge [This bridge was also known as the Mahlum Bridge.] across the same ravine was badly damaged and is not considered a safe structure. A string of freight cars standing on the dump were all derailed and piled up together.
The City [Gregory] Park, the pride of every resident of Brainerd, is certainly a most desolate looking place today. The fury of the storm seemed to have centered on that one spot and nearly all the pines were leveled to the earth and piled in great windfalls in every direction. The beauty of the place is forever gone as the pines cannot be replaced and new trees of some other variety will have to be reared in their stead.
The bell tower at the central hose house used for fire alarm purposes was blown down directly across Front street and demolished but the bell was not broken although it fell directly on the pavement.
At the railroad shops the cupola which runs the entire length of the blacksmith shop was unroofed and the slate roof badly damaged.
In Southeast Brainerd the new two-story brick store of John Backler in course of construction, was demolished and the dwelling house of Henry Holm unroofed.
The machinery warehouse of J. C. Hessell near the railroad crossing on Fourth street was practically wrecked being shaved completely off its foundation and the heavy weight of machinery in the building only saved it from being blown down. In this building was 1,000 bushels of wheat and the loss on it will be considerable on account of the rain beating in on it. The building is damaged to such an extent that it will have to be torn down and rebuilt again.
Nearly every tin roof in the city was blown off, including the buildings owned and occupied by L. J. Cale, Losey & Dean and Wm. Bredfeld.
From all parts of the city come reports of demolished chimney’s, broken window glass, shade trees uprooted and outbuildings blown down.
A large Norway pine standing near H. Ribbel’s residence on north Fifth street was blown on the house but luckily no serious damage was done.
A. W. Miller who lives near Gilbert Lake lost a large barn and reports the ruin of his garden. The barn was practically a new one.
Nearly all the pine trees in the 2nd ward along the river bank and in various other places were leveled, the pines seeming to become a much easier prey to the storm than the shade trees.
The store fronts blown in include those of A. L. Hoffman & Co., A. Z. Renslow, J. A. McColl, C. M. Patek, Mrs. Grandelmyer, Northern Pacific Bank, Albert Angel and Mrs. Pearce.
The warehouse of the Cross Lake Logging Company was blown off the underpinning and damaged to quite an extent.
The large lumber shed at the Northern Pacific shops was completely demolished.
The railroads suffered considerably there being a bad washout near Pillager and one near Adam Brown’s place.
The telephone company sustained a severe loss, the wires in the Second ward being nearly all down. The electric light wires are also in bad shape.
The rain continued falling in torrents during the entire night.
Work will be commenced at once to put a roadway in condition to be traveled across the ravine in East Brainerd. The street committee of the council has decided to build a culvert over the creek and fill in on each side of it. A temporary roadway will be made using the old road that was traveled before the bridge was built between the bridge and the dump.
The members of the Northwestern Editorial Association who were to have reached Brainerd today on their way to Walker are delayed at Little Falls and Staples as the track is under water in both directions, Secretary Bernard had telegraphed that the excursion will run tomorrow afternoon leaving Brainerd at 2:20 p.m.
Washouts are reported between Brainerd and Staples and also between this city and Little Falls and it is also reported that the “cut-off” is badly washed. No trains ran over any of of these tracks last night and one or two trains were caught between washouts and are waiting for the tracks to be fixed before they can proceed.
The Brainerd & Northern suffered but little damage there being but two washouts, one on this side of the river and one two or three miles up the road. The track has been repaired and trains are running, the passenger train today being four hours late. (Brainerd Dispatch, Friday, 03 June 1898, p. 1)

SEE: Gregory Park

A force of men have been at work during the week tearing up the street car track, and when that is finished the wires overhead will be taken down and then the poles will be removed. The rails will be piled and stored until they can be sold. The power house with the dynamos, engine and boilers will be left intact until Mr. Parker can dispose of them. It is with great regret that the citizens of our city witness the passing away of the street car plant, but it has been a losing concern from the start, and can’t be helped. (Brainerd Dispatch, 01 July 1898, p. 8, c. 2)

WANTED—A man and his wife to live in the Electric railroad power house near the mill. Rent free.
(Brainerd Dispatch, 12 August 1898, p. 8, c. 1)

C. N. Parker will give the street car ties now remaining in the roadbed free to any person or persons who will fill and level up the places from which they are taken. They will make good fuel. (Brainerd Dispatch, 26 August 1898, p. 8, c. 1)

The Inter-State Traction Co., of Duluth, has purchased the material of the late Brainerd Electric Railway Co. The above company has a horse car line running from the south side of the canal down Minnesota point to accommodate the owners of summer cottages out on the point. (Brainerd Dispatch, 12 May 1899, p. 10, c. 1)

The rolling stock, rails and material used on Brainerd’s electric street car line were loaded on the cars and shipped to Duluth Tuesday. (Brainerd Dispatch, 25 May 1899, p. 10, c. 1)

29 July 1913. (Adv.) Street Railway Franchise—mass meeting tonight at Gardner Hall. Free expression of opinion on the franchise now before the city council. Special invitation to R. R. Wise and his clique to prove he and his little group are right and everyone else is wrong. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 29 July 2013)

27 August 1913. When Mayor Henning returned to the city clerk without his signature the ordinance authorizing the street railway franchise he, in effect, vetoed it. The charter provides for a two-thirds vote of the council to override the veto. The ordinance had passed by 9-1. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 27 August 2013)

05 September 1934. An old city landmark, the car barn on Mill Avenue which housed the old street cars, may soon go the way of other relics of Brainerd’s hey-day. The city council is considering demolishing it. The street cars ceased to operate longer ago than the younger generation can remember. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 05 September 2014)

Hugh Brandon is the new clerk employed by the Brainerd Fruit Co. in the Gardner block. In summer the company will erect its own building at some point convenient to Northern Pacific railway trackage. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 06 May 1914, p. 2, c. 3)

SEE: Gardner Block

The Brainerd Fruit Co. is handling three cars or more of fruit a week. There has just been received from California a carload of Elberta peaches, fine for canning. Plums, blue and red, promise to be cheap at this season. A carload of watermelon was sold in Brainerd and another is coming before the end of this week. In apples the Wealthies arriving are of the best quality. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 16 August 1914, p. 2, c. 5)


Brainerd Fruit Co. Inaugurates New
Departure of Pleasant Antici-
pation for Housewives

“Peach Week” starts next Monday and will be a new departure for the Brainerd Fruit Company of this city, which through its manager, J. C. Higbe, has bought three carloads of peaches which will be handled by local merchants.
Now that sugar has dropped, housewives will find that the peaches of the Brainerd Fruit Company will prove fine canning and Mr. Higbe anticipates no difficulty in disposing locally of the entire three carloads order. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 22 August 1914, p. 3, c. 3)

The Brainerd Fruit Co. landed a carload of cabbages in the city and is distributing them among the merchants. They are good, hardy heads. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 22, July 1915, p. 5, c. 1)


Brainerd Fruit Co. Buys the Farmers’
Produce Co. Warehouse on
Front Street

The Brainerd Fruit Co. has purchased the potato or storage warehouse of the Farmers’ Produce Co. and will install an elevator, ice box and put in other improvements. Their headquarters will be established there on November 1.
The Brainerd Fruit Co. is managed by J. C. Higbe of Brainerd and operating from Brainerd a large territory is supplied with fruit and vegetables. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 14 October 1914, p. 5, c. 3)


Brainerd Fruit Company Buys Ware-
house on Front Street From
Brainerd Produce Co.


Alterations Being Made, Platform
Near Track Side, New Offices.
Bracket Roof in Front

Brainerd Fruit Company located at 809 Front Street, ca. 1920’s. A 1986x1110 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society
The Brainerd Fruit Company, formerly of the Gardner block, Laurel street, has acquired the Brainerd Produce Co. warehouse on Front street near the W. F. Holst machinery depot and on Thursday, Oct. 28, open up in their new quarters which are being rapidly remodeled to suit their convenience.
The warehouse has a full basement with high ceiling and measures 40 by 60 feet. The basement offers storage for five carloads of apples. A freight elevator will be installed.
On the main floor the office has been partitioned off and occupies floor space 15 by 20 feet. The banana section takes up 10 by 14 feet. A platform has been built on the track side, permitting the easy handling of supplies and the new location does away with drayage costs.
J. M. Jones and A. Snell are the carpenters putting in the changes. A bracket roof will be built on the Front street side measuring 8 by 60 feet.
J. C. Higbe is the manager in charge of the Brainerd Fruit Co. and he invites all friends of the company to view their nice quarters, merchants especially, so as to familiarize themselves with the clean, sanitary arrangements of the warehouse and the facilities of the company in handling orders and executing them with dispatch and satisfaction. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 27 October 1915, p. 5, c. 3)

The Brainerd Fruit Co. was granted permission to install three-phase service at their warehouse on Front street. Mr. Higbe was given to understand that the minimum motor service will be $1 per horsepower. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 October 1915, p. 5, c. 1)

A. B. Loye, associated with the S. G. Palmer Co., inspected the new headquarters of the Brainerd Fruit Co. on Front street and was pleased with the same. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 03 November 1915, p. 2, c. 3)

A. C. Ebert, of Minneapolis, has succeeded J. C. Higbe as manager of the Brainerd Fruit Co. His family will remove to Brainerd in the spring. The present office force will be retained. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 30 December 1915, p. 2, c. 3)

A. B. Loye, Minneapolis, of the Palmer Co. fruit and commission house, was in the city and at the Ransford conferred with A. C. Ebert, the local manager of the Brainerd Fruit Co. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 11 July 1917, p. 5, c. 1)


Steve Nichols Victim of a Runaway,
Just Started to Work for the
Brainerd Fruit Co.

Young Steve Nichols, just starting to work for the Brainerd Fruit Co., was tossed from the wagon when his team ran away and landed on his head on the cement paving. He was taken to a hospital where it was found no bones had been broken. He was badly bruised and unconscious when picked up. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 16 July 1917, p. 5, c. 3)

A. C. Ebert, manager of the Brainerd Fruit Co., accompanied the Minneapolis trade tour, joining A. B. Lloyd of the S. G. Palmer Co., of Minneapolis at Brainerd. He is expected back home today. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 04 June 1919, p. 2, c. 3)

The Brainerd Fruit Company has put on a selling campaign for California Sunkist Navel oranges. “Buy them by the box,” is the slogan of the company. Retailers of the city are cooperating with the wholesale house in the sale of the fruit. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 12 April 1920, p. 2, c.’s 2 & 3)

The campaign of the Brainerd Fruit Co. selling Sunkist oranges by the box has yielded results from the very start. The carload of oranges was received Saturday at 8:30 in the morning and by 1:30 P. M. the company had sold 139 boxes. Merchants in turn reported splendid sales and the idea of buying oranges by the box is meeting with favor among their clientage. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 12 April 1920, p. 2, c. 3)


Company Entertains Its Employees at
Rocky Point Resort on Wed-

An ad for the Brainerd Fruit Company advertising fresh Elberta peaches from California, 03 August 1920.
Source: Brainerd Daily Dispatch
The Brainerd Fruit company entertained its employees at a picnic on Wednesday. On account of the stores being closed for the day the company voted to close for the day also. The party, eighteen in number, left Brainerd at 9:30 a. m. and motored to Rocky Point resort in Nisswa, arriving there just in time to do justice to a picnic dinner that had been furnished by the company. There was no limit to the amount of ice cream cones, pop and Cracker Jack. Boats were hired for the day for the entire party so everyone could enjoy the lake breezes of beautiful Gull Lake.
After a picnic supper the party left via Pillager all expressing their appreciation of the hospitality extended them by Mr. and Mrs. Anderson, but most of all did they appreciate the kindness shown them by the company in giving them an opportunity to spend such a pleasant day. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 12 August 1920, p. 5, c. 5)


Elberta Peaches and Luscious Grapes
Being Supplied by Brainerd
Fruit Company

The Brainerd Fruit Company report an exceptionally large sale on grapes this week. The company, through its local grocers, are distributing a carload of luscious Concords, and they are being eagerly snapped up by Brainerd housewives.
Grape jelly is now the order of the day, and a great many of the kitchen windows of the city are decorated with glasses of this toothsome delicacy.
Manager Ebert of the Brainerd Fruit Company declined to commit himself on the quantity of grapes being sold for beverage purposes but stated the supply was going fast, and orders should be placed immediately to insure their filling.
The Brainerd Fruit Company have also lately received another carload of Elberta peaches, the last one of the season, and though they are being picked up rapidly, a number of eleventh-hour orders can still be taken care of . There will be no excuse for friend wife not having plenty of canned fruit and jellies set by for this winter’s use. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 20 September 1922, p. 5, c. 4)


Brainerd Fruit Co., to Entertain
Employees Saturday at Big
Pelican Lake

The fifth annual picnic of the employees of the Brainerd Fruit Company will be held on Saturday of this week at Pelican lake. Each year the company entertains its employees with a picnic and this year the event is expected to be bigger and better than any previous judging from the provisions already in store for the occasion.
The wholesale house and office will close promptly at 10 A. M. so as to allow its employees to enjoy the day to the fullest extent. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 25 July 1924, p. 7, c. 4)

(Top) Brainerd High School without the 1903 addition, ca. 1884. (Bottom) Brainerd High School on the south side of Oak between 8th and 9th with the 1903 addition, ca. 1905.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society and Postcard
The School Board authorizes a vote on a bond issue of $40,000 for a new high school on 04 February 1884, the proposal carries by a vote of 106 to 3. A lot on the south side of Oak Street between Eighth and Ninth Streets is purchased for $5,200 and the bid to build the building at $27,000 by F. B. King and Company of Minneapolis is accepted. The building is built from Brainerd-made Schwartz cream brick. On 12 January 1885 the board accepts the new building. In February of 1929, the school burns down. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946; pp. 38, 47, 135, 139)

NOTE: The building did NOT burn in “February of 1929” as Zapffe stated above, it burned on 30 March 1928.

A call has been issued for a special school meeting of the school district of Brainerd on the 4th of February, Monday evening next to vote bonds for the purpose of purchasing a site and erecting a high school building. It is proposed to build a fine edifice that the city will not be ashamed of and one that will be adapted to our growing city. The proposed building will be built of brick and heated with steam, having all the modern improvements. It is hoped that the people will turn out to the meeting and see that the vote carries for if there is one thing that Brainerd needs more than another it is a suitable place of instruction for the young. (Brainerd Dispatch, 31 January 1884, p. 3, c. 4)

A High School Building for Brainerd.

The meeting called on Monday night to see about voting bonds with which to purchase a site and erect a high school building for the independent school district of the city of Brainerd was called to order at 7:30 p.m. and the object of the meeting stated, and a motion made to vote by acclamation and also one to vote by ballot for the bonds were made, the latter carrying. When the votes were counted it was found that there was 106 in favor a bonding the district and three against it. The action of this meeting isa big thing for the city, for with the $40,000 voted a fine site will be purchased and an elegant high school building erected thereon which will add much to the city not only at home, but in the estimation of the people in other places. Heretofore Brainerd has made no pretensions in this respect and the public can well congratulate themselves upon this valuable acquisition. (Brainerd Dispatch, 07 February 1884, p. 3, c. 3)

The school board have selected an architect to draw the plans for the new school house, and will meet Friday night for the purpose of selecting a site for the same. (Brainerd Dispatch, 06 March 1884, p. 3, c. 2)

The High School Contract.

The bids for the construction of the high school building were opened last evening by the school board. They were as follows:
Haglin & Morse, $28,295.
F. A. B. King & Co., $27,525.
Enos Baker, of Marshalltown, Iowa, $26,200.
Contract awarded to Enos Baker. (Brainerd Dispatch, 29 May 1884, p. 3, c. 5)

F. A. B. King & Co., have been awarded the contract to build the new school house, which is to be completed Jan. 1st, 1885. This insures a fine structure for Brainerd, for as a builder Mr. King is considered to be of the best. (Brainerd Dispatch, 12 June 1884, p. 3, c. 5)

Contractor King, is busily engaged in getting the material on the ground for the construction of the new school house. (Brainerd Dispatch, 19 June 1884, p. 3, c. 1)

Many are the complimentary remarks that the new school house is receiving as it nears completion. The building is an elegant one and will be a credit to the town, both in appearance and from an educational point of view. (Brainerd Dispatch, 19 September 1884, p. 3, c. 2)

School Meeting.

The board of education met at the office of W. W. Hartley on Monday night with a full attendance. The meeting was for the purpose of accepting the new high school building which was done on motion of W. W. Hartley, seconded by J. S. Gardner, with the promise that contractor F. A. B. King put in the rostrum which had been overlooked. The president, treasurer and clerk were authorized to settle with the contractor on the building contract, and storm doors were ordered to be put up on the new building. (Brainerd Dispatch, 16 January 1885, p. 3, c. 3)

The new school house will be occupied next Monday [26 January] for the first time. (Brainerd Dispatch, 23 January 1885, p. 3, c. 2)

An alarm of fire at the new school house called the department out in a hurry on Friday afternoon. The cause of alarm was from some rubbish in the furnace room that had caught on fire but was put out without damage. (Brainerd Dispatch, 23 January 1885, p. 3, c. 2)

“On the last day of January, [26 January] 1885, the teachers and pupils of the Sixth Street School formed in procession headed by the city band and school board, marched over with band playing and flags flying, and took possession of the new high school building just completed. Principal J. A. Wilson...and others made speeches. That day was an epoch in the progress of education in Brainerd. Everybody was proud of the fine new building. It was the most complete and finest furnished school building in Northern Minnesota.” (J. A. Wilson) (Brainerd’s Half Century, Ingolf Dillan, General Printing Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1923, p. 31)

School in the New Building.

Monday morning, of this week was an occasion long to be remembered by the pupils of the public schools of this city. It was the occasion of the removal from the old school building, on Sixth street, to the elegant high school building which has just been completed. The building, just vacated, has long been too small and cramped to accommodate the scholars, and for the teachers to do justice to the pupils. Therefore, the thoughts of the coming removal to their now elegant quarters, with its modern improvements, spacious apartments, etc., had made the average pupil “too full for utterance,” and Monday morning, although the weather was bitter cold, the scholars were at their old quarters at an early hour getting in readiness for the removal. At nine o’clock the different teachers formed their scholars in line, and marched in a body to the new building. The citizens of Brainerd had been invited to attend the exercises that were to take place, and a fair representation was in attendance. The scholars were marched up the broad stairway into the room that is to be occupied by the high school scholars, where they were formed into rows and packed closely together, and by tight squeezing, they were all gotten in, three hundred in all. The exercises were opened by prayer from Rev. Dr. Hawley, who was followed by Rev. N. B. Kelly, in a few very pleasing and instructive remarks to the pupils. W. A. Fleming , county superintendent of schools, was called upon for remarks in honor of the occasion, and he responded in his usual easy and suave manner. Editor Stivers also gave the scholars a few, short remarks, complimenting them on their new quarters, pleasant surroundings and the superior advantages the pupil of the present day had over those enjoyed by their parents. A. W. Frater, on behalf of the school board, was called upon and in a few words he impressed upon the minds of the scholars the necessity of education, the pride which they should have in keeping the building in good condition, and explained how the board had exerted themselves in giving to them the fine surroundings which had been that day turned over to their keeping. Prof. Wilson followed these speakers in a reply, on behalf of the different schools, after which came singing by the pupils of Miss Hawley’s school, and then from the scholars of the high school. After the exercises were finished, the teachers conducted the pupils to their several rooms, where they were assigned their places, after which they were dismissed for noon.
The school building is one of the finest in the northwest, and the scholars of Brainerd, as well as their parents, should feel proud of the structure, which they undoubtedly do. The building is heated by furnaces in the basement, and it supplied with water from the water works. The principal has an elegant office, on the second floor, which will also be used for meetings of the board. (Brainerd Dispatch, 30 January 1885, p. 3, c. 4)

Let the Contract.

...The school board appointed a committee to confer with C. F. Kindred in regard to having the grading of the Eighth street school grounds finished in thirty days. (Brainerd Dispatch, 28 August 1885, p. 3, c. 4)

The Brainerd Council.

The regular meeting of the city council occurred on Monday evening. On roll call all the aldermen were found present except Percy and Graham. The report of city surveyor Whiteley on the grade of the high school grounds was read and on motion accepted.... (Brainerd Dispatch, 09 October 1885, p. 3, c. 5)

The school board have concluded to put a neat iron fence around the block, on which the high school building stands. The contract for putting the fence in position will be awarded next Wednesday evening to the lowest bidder. This improvement will cost $1,200. (Brainerd Dispatch, 09 July 1886, p. 4, c. 4)

At the meeting of the school board on Wednesday evening the contract was let for putting iron fence around the school grounds, for the sum of $1,100 to the Herzog Manufacturing Co., of Minneapolis, this including one coat of paint. The fence will be put into position September 1st. (Brainerd Dispatch, 16 July 1886, p. 4, c. 4)

Board of Education.

The Board of Education met Tuesday evening. After the usual routine business had been transacted Prof. Dresskell appeared before the body and stated that he would furnish the high school building with an electric clock and system of bells, for calling all classes throughout the building simultaneously, for $100. That he would place the appliance in the building for three months, and if not satisfactory at the end of that time, he would remove it without cost. The board accepted his proposition.... (Brainerd Dispatch, 10 February 1888, p. 4, c. 3)

A new furnace has been received by the board of education which will be placed in the High School to heat the hall. (Brainerd Dispatch, 17 February 1893, p. 4, c. 3)

A large new addition is completed in 1903. (Brainerd's Half Century, Ingolf Dillan, General Printing Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1923, p. 32)


The second week of school is ended and now we fully realize that work is our first duty.
The assembly room is well filled and in every other seat the beaming face of some little freshman is visible, and now they seem to be better acquainted with their new surroundings, some quickly, others more slowly.
This year the freshmen will study the Thomas & Howe English book, instead of the Herrick & Damon; the juniors will use an American literature as the basis of their English work.
The seniors commenced experimenting in the laboratory this week, but no accidents have occurred.
The football team has been allowed to practice on the school grounds and about twenty candidates appear every evening. The team is unusually light but will endeavor to make up for this deficiency in speed. Alderman, Mahlum, Trent, Purdy and Brady are the old members, and the boys are being coached by A. T. Larson and Walter Wieland. If we only had a gymnasium then the girls could get some athletic practice also.
The members of the chorus miss Mrs. Dial very much and we hope that someone will soon be secured to fill her place. In the high school this year there is plenty of material for glee clubs as well as for a good chorus. In many of the leading high schools, music is as much a part of the course of study as science or mathematics, and as much time is devoted to it. We hope that the time is not far off, when the ways and means may be found for making music a study of as much importance, as any other, in our course.
Teacher—”Have you any conflicts?” Freshie, stammering—”No-o-I don’t take that this year.”
High school lament, “I love the grass, but oh! you high board fence.”
This week William Barker and Richard Johnson returned to school after their trip through the great lakes. Miss Nettie Fogleberg, of Montevideo, enrolled also.
Prof. McCarthy’s puzzle—Why?

In classes he’s so brilliant
And blushes at their praise;
He never sassed the teacher,
In all his high school days.

To skip a class, or even a day,
Would be an awful crime,
But still on all his absent notes
We read this little rhyme:
So sorry he’s been absent,
But he was sick again.

(Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 21 September 1910, p. 3, c. 4)

31 August 1915. A statement from school superintendent W. C. Cobb says that school will open next Tuesday, Sept. 7. He encourages parents to make sure students start on opening day. High school students who desire may rent books for 75 cents a semester instead of purchasing them. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 31 August 2015)

Fire animation On March 30, 1928, the Brainerd High School building was completely destroyed by fire. The yellow gray walls that housed Brainerd students for the past 43 years was all that remained. Estimate of the damage placed it close to $150,000.

SEE: 1928 Brainerd High School Fire in the Brainerd: City of Fire page.

BRAINERD HIGH SCHOOL (Second) (Washington) (MAP #51)
On Monday morning, 15 December 1928, the first actual work on the construction of the new Brainerd High School will be started. It is expected that labor, to a large extent, will be allowed Brainerd workmen. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, Tuesday, 09 December 2008)


Briefest and Very Informal Exercises
Held Saturday


Delegation From High School Class of
1928 Furnishes Corner-
stone for Building

On Saturday afternoon at 4 o’clock the cornerstone of the new high school building was laid in a most informal manner and with the briefest possible exercises.
Only members of the board or about six of them and a delegation from the high school class of 1928 were present. The graduating class had at the time of the burning of the old high school building offered to furnish the cornerstone for the new building as a class memorial.
The main exercises of a city-wide nature will be held at the time of the dedication, which it is hoped will be before many months and at that time an extended program will be offered to the public and a completed building will be ready for their inspection. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 06 August 1929, p. 3, c. 4)

16 December 1929. The Brainerd board of Education will consider acceptance of the new high school in a meeting Friday evening at the new Washington high school. The board has completed an inspection and will conduct another inspection on Friday. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, Wednesday, 16 December 2009)


Board of Education Accepts New
Building Subject to Corrections
of Minor Flaws


General Public Will be Permitted to
Visit School Next Satur-
day and Sunday

Washington High School on the south side of Oak between 8th and 9th, ca. 1935.
Source: Minnesota Historical Society
The Brainerd Board of Education at a meeting last evening accepted the new Washington high school in reintion [sic] to the general and sub-contractors subject to protective conditions and correction of any flaws or imperfections now known or may be discovered later.
The building will not be open to the general public before Saturday and Sunday, December 28 and 29. Tentative hours for inspection have been set from 1 p. m. to 5 p. m. and from 7 p. m. to 9 p. m. Saturday and 10 a. m. to 5 p. m. Sunday.
The basketball squad, but not spectators, under the direction of Coach Warren E. Kasch, was given permission to use the gymnasium immediately.
Work accepted included the general construction by Ed. Hitt and Son, of St. Cloud; heating and plumbing by M. J. O’Neil of St. Paul; wiring by H. A. Brown and Son, Waseca, Minn.; temperature control by Johnson Service Co. of Milwaukee, Wisc.; installation and furnishing of laboratory and vocational furniture by the W. W. Kimball Co., Minneapolis; stage equipment by the Twin City Scenic Co., of Minneapolis; library shelving and furniture, Kewaunee Co. of Kewaunee, Wis.; auditorium seating and students’ desks, Minneapolis School Supply Co.; teachers’ desks, stools and chairs, Farnham Stationery and Printing Co., Minneapolis; steel lockers, Lyon Metal Product Co., Aurora, Ill.
Action was deferred on the ventilating contract of R. Greenberg of the Grand Forks Tin Shop, Grand Forks, N. D. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 21 December 1929, p. 7, c. 1)

Tornstrom Auditorium named after Mary Tornstrom, beloved Brainerd High School teacher and principal
Source: ca. Unknown
In 1930 the new Washington High School, replacing the burned structure at a cost of nearly $600,000, is ready for occupancy. Circa 1933 it houses grades 10 through twelve. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946; pp. 49 & 141)

Kindred called his company The Brainerd Street Railway Company, he was president, A. E. Taylor secretary, and W. J. Bain was the third director. In the middle of this hotel-depot street corner, on Main [Washington] and North Sixth Streets, Kindred put in a turntable. Charles F. Kindred lived on the southeast corner of North Sixth and Kingwood. His home, his office and his large horse barn stood where the parking lot of the Sawmill Inn is now located. Tracks were laid north one block to where his house stood and then turned eastward on Kingwood. The city’s wagon bridge across the ravine was used to get over to Kindred [“A”] Street in East Brainerd. In using that bridge he had only to observe that horses walk at not to exceed five miles per hour. On Kindred [“A”] Street lay also the passing-track for the other car, which made its start on a turntable in the middle of Ash Avenue [“H” Street] and Third Avenue and moved south down Third Avenue. The horse barn was on the corner of Ash [“H” Street] and Third Avenue. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946; pp. 33 & 34)

An Interesting Meeting.

...The ordinance relating to the Brainerd Street Railroad had its first reading and was referred to a committee of three appointed by the President consisting of Aldermen Keene, Hempsted [sic] and city attorney Lum.... (Brainerd Dispatch, 25 September 1885, p. 3, c. 6)

Will We Have Street Cars.

Rumor hath it that ere long Brainerd will have a street railway in full operation. It is said that the line will connect south Brainerd with the postoffice center and that another line will run to East Brainerd to accommodate the vast amount of travel to and from the Northern Pacific shops. The road when built will probably pass over the bridge that has been ordered over the ravine. Just keep your hand on your pocket and have the exact change ready for pickpockets will undoubtedly abound in profusion. (Brainerd Dispatch, 02 October 1885, p. 3, c. 5)


The City Bonded for Ten Thousand Dollars—
The Street Railway Ordinance Passed.

...The street railway committee reported in regard to limiting the time that the franchise shall extend, and also other minor matters, which report was accepted.
...Ordinance 38, relating to street railway had its second reading, and the ordinance was passed, all aldermen voting in favor of it. (Brainerd Dispatch, 23 October 1885, p. 3, c. 4)

The Brainerd street railway will be in full operation by the first of July next, and by October the gas and electric light plant will be put in. (Brainerd Dispatch, 21 January 1887, p. 1, c. 3)

Mr. Kindred in conversation with a Dispatch scribe stated that by the first of July he would have over a mile of street railway in operation. It will be built from the Villard hotel across the ravine bridge through East Brainerd to the dam. Mr. Kindred’s contract with the city requires that a mile of railway be built and in operation by the above mentioned date, and it is too valuable a franchise to let it go by default. (Brainerd Dispatch, 13 May 1887, p. 4, c. 4)

The Brainerd street railway company will have to rustle if they get their track down in time to hold the franchise. But parties that know claim that it will be done. (Brainerd Dispatch, 10 June 1887, p. 1, c. 4)

Part of the iron for the street railway has arrived. Brainerd and East Brainerd will soon be connected by a “hoss” car track. (Brainerd Dispatch, 01 July 1887, p. 4, c. 3)

The street car stables will be built in Farrar & Forsyth’s addition out of the brick saved from the Villard hotel. The grounds have been purchased. (Brainerd Dispatch, 08 July 1887, p. 4, c. 3)

C. F. Kindred will have to commence rustling in order to get the street car line built and in operation before the extension of thirty days expire. (Brainerd Dispatch, 22 July 1887, p. 4, c. 6)

The city council at a special session last Saturday night extended Mr. Kindred’s street railway franchise for sixty days. (Brainerd Dispatch, 05 August 1887, p. 4, c. 4)

The ties for the street railway will be sawed out next week. Something like 3,000 ties will be required. (Brainerd Dispatch, 26 August 1887, p. 4, c. 4)

The preliminary work on the Brainerd street railway has been begun, the timber having been distributed along the route through East Brainerd. (Brainerd Dispatch, 09 September 1887, p. 4, c. 3)

When the street cars begin to run you can go on a fishing excursion to the dam and back for 10 cents. (Brainerd Dispatch, 16 September 1887, p. 4, c. 3)

The street railway is in course of construction with A. E. Taylor in charge. (Brainerd Dispatch, 23 September 1887, p. 4, c. 3)

Brainerd’s New Street Cars.

Charles Firman Kindred, ca. Unknown.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society
The new street cars for the Brainerd street railway arrived Wednesday morning and were unloaded at the freight depot in the afternoon. The cars are of the improved style and are fitted up with modern improvements having stoves in to heat them in cold weather. The track is laid from the depot on Sixth and Main streets to Kingwood street where it turns east and runs out across the dump into East Brainerd and at present the end of the track is about three blocks beyond Ed Breheny’s residence on Third avenue. It is the intention to complete the line to the dam which will be done shortly.
It was discovered when the first car was put on the track Wednesday that the rails were too far apart by an inch and a quarter to fit the trucks of the cars. The parties who sold the cars to Mr. Kindred wrote him that they were made on the three foot and a half gauge and consequently the track was laid accordingly. The man who made the measurement of the car trucks was full or made a bad blunder and they had to be taken to the N. P. shops and the wheels spread before they could be used—nothing serious but making a vexatious delay. (Brainerd Dispatch, 30 September 1887, p. 4, c. 6)

The turn tables and side tracks for the street railway have been placed in position. (Brainerd Dispatch, 07 October 1887, p. 4, c. 3)

A building to be used by the street car company is being erected in East Brainerd. (Brainerd Dispatch, 21 October 1887, p. 4, c. 4)

Last Sunday was a beautiful day, and fully five hundred people viewed the improvements at the dam. The street cars were crowded all day long. (Brainerd Dispatch, 11 November 1887, p. 4, c. 4)

The extension of the street railway to the dam will be commenced immediately. (Brainerd Dispatch, 27 April 1888, p. 4, c. 3)

Street cars now leave the N. P. depot every 40 minutes during the day, beginning at 7:20 in the morning. (Brainerd Dispatch, 18 May 1888, p. 4, c. 3)

At the corner of Main [Washington] and Sixth Streets, 1888.
Source: Northwest Illustrated Monthly Magazine, Volume VI, Number 7, July 1888, E. V. Smalley, Editor and Publisher
The street cars were laid off yesterday in order to fix up the track and rolling stock after the heavy travel of the Fourth. (Brainerd Dispatch, 06 July 1888, p. 4, c. 3)

Canfield telegraphs the St. Paul papers that C. F. Kindred has sold the street cars and rails to the Fargo Street Car Company. (Brainerd Dispatch, 10 August 1888, p. 4, c. 3)

We understand the Brainerd Railway has been leased by St. Paul parties and will be run at its full capacity this season. (Brainerd Dispatch, 15 February 1889, p. 4, c. 3)

Council Proceedings.


On motion it was decided to remove the street car rails 200 feet distance from the east and west end of the East Brainerd bridge. (Brainerd Dispatch, 05 April 1889, p. 4, c. 7)

City Matters.


Ordinance No. 79, which revokes ordinance 39, had its first and second readings and [was] adopted. Ordinance 39 gives the street railway franchise to C. F. Kindred, and as it has been forfeited, it was thought best to have the matter in shape for future use, provided some one else desired to run a street railway. (Brainerd Dispatch, 07 June 1889, p. 4, c. 5)

Claims Mr. Spencer Worked the

The case of the First National Bank of Brainerd, against the Brainerd Street Railway Company and C. F. and Sara E. Kindred and A. E. Taylor, to recover $4,002.50 was transferred yesterday from the district court of Crow Wing county to the United States circuit court upon the affidavits of C. F. Kindred, Sara E. Kindred, J. B. Douglass and H. D. Powers, under the act of congress of March, 1887. The act provides, says the Pioneer Press, that where in any state court an action is brought, in which local influence and prejudice may imperil the interests of either party, the same may be presented to the court and the cause transferred to the United States courts. The present case is the first one ever transferred under the act in Minnesota since the decision of Judge Brewer on the case of Short vs. the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway Company, in which he held the law to be constitutional. The action is based upon a note given by the Brainerd Street Railway company to the bank and endorsed by C. F. Kindred and Sara E. Kindred, for the sum of $4,000, with $2.50 for the fees paid in protesting the note. For answer, the defendant, Kindred, sets up a statement of facts as follows: That he deposited in the case of H. J. Spencer, president of the plaintiff’s bank, bonds of the street railway company to the amount of $51,000 as collateral security for the note endorsed by him, and that said bonds were worth at that time $30,000. That Spencer induced the city council of Brainerd to annul, cancel and void the franchise of the railway company whereby the bonds were made worthless. Therefore a judgment for the balance of $26,000 is asked by the said defendant. (Brainerd Dispatch, 08 November 1889, p. 1, c. 3)

The case of the First National Bank vs. The Brainerd Street Railway will come on for trial in St. Paul next Monday. (Brainerd Dispatch, 13 December 1889, p. 4, c. 4)

The First National Bank of this city secured a judgment of $5,000 against C. F. Kindred in the United States court at St. Paul on Monday last. (Brainerd Dispatch, 17 January 1890, p. 4, c. 3)

Council Proceedings.


...On motion the street commissioner was instructed to take up the rails of the street car track wherever it appeared as a nuisance, and to have said rails and outfit put in [the] street car barn. (Brainerd Dispatch, 11 July 1890, p. 1, c. 6)



Mr. Dennis McNannay, at his old City Restaurant stand, Front street, has substituted a splendid two-story hotel building in place of the big tent of old, and next week he will open for the accommodation of his many friends, and the public, a first-class hotel, which same our friend Mac knows just how to keep, in order to please and make comfortable his guests. (Brainerd Tribune, 17 August 1872, p. 1, c. 6)

Among the countless improvements now being made in our city, the new business house of Dennis McNannay, on Front street, deserves especial mention. He has adorned it with a beautiful cornice and it is now the nicest looking building in that block.
Our friend Mac, through his note-worthy industry and untiring energy as a citizen, has built a hotel that is a credit to our town, as well as an ornament to the street upon which it is located. His house is neat, convenient, clean, new, tidy in all its departments, is kept in good style, and is a house we can cordially recommend to the public. (Brainerd Tribune, 24 August 1872, p. 1, c. 4)

Brainerd House Ad, 21 September 1872.
Source: Brainerd Tribune
HOTEL FOR SALE—Our friend, D. McNannay, Esq., offers his hotel, the Brainerd House, for sale at a bargain. New house, well furnished, and one of the best business stands in the city. See advertisement. (Brainerd Tribune, 21 September 1872, p. 1, c. 7)

Mr. Geo. Evans has taken charge of the Brainerd House, on Front street, and will fit it up in good shape, thoroughly renovating and refitting it. The house will probably be closed until about July 1st. during which time it will be prepared to open out to the public in good style. (Brainerd Tribune, 25 June 1881, p. 5, c. 2)

Mrs. Burgess now has charge of the Brainerd House, on Front street. (Brainerd Tribune, 10 September 1881, p. 5, c. 2)

E. Curo, the man who has been running the Brainerd House, has jumped the country, leaving sundry unpaid debts, which together with the fact that he has sold mortgaged property make a complicated mess of it. The last named offense makes it a state’s prison job for him if he is found. (Brainerd Dispatch, 06 September 1883, p. 3, c. 2)

Brainerd House Ad, 08 November 1883.
Source: Brainerd Dispatch
Bundy & Burns, proprietors of the Brainerd house, have a new advertisement in today’s issue. (Brainerd Dispatch, 08 November 1883, p. 3, c. 1)

The proprietor of the Brainerd House had his pocket book stolen Sunday night. (Brainerd Dispatch, 10 July 1884, p. 3, c. 2)



Brainerd Ice Company Will Commence to
Harvest the Annual Big Crop of Ice
Tomorrow Morning

Tomorrow morning the Brainerd Ice company will start to work putting in its annual ice crop. A large number of teams and men will be employed and it is likely that they will consume a week or two of time. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 02 January 1906, p. 3, c. 2)


H. H. Hitch Caught Runaway Team
Belonging to Brainerd Ice Co.
After a Sharp Foot Race

Brainerd Ice Company wagon and team, ca. Unknown. A 1634x1110 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society
H. H. Hitch established his reputation as a sprinter this afternoon. A team belonging to the Brainerd Ice Company came from the south of Sixth street and turned west on Laurel St. Mr. Hitch who was in his office in the Hoffman building saw them and running out succeeded in overtaking them and climbing into the rear of the wagon. After a short struggle he succeeded in pulling the team down, stopping them just east of Fifth street. This team has a fashion of lighting out for the ice house at every opportunity, but seem to be careful to avoid doing damage, as they have not had a smash up yet. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 05 October 1907, p. 3, c. 3)



Charlotte E. Neal has sued R. J. Hartley, C. H. Paine and A. L. Hoffman, copartners doing business as the Brainerd Ice Co. for $1,000 damages. In her complaint she alleges that the ice company owns lots 1, 2 and 3 of block 53 of Brainerd. Mrs. Neal alleges she owns lots 7 to 12 inclusive and lots 19 to 24 inclusive of block 53.
She claims that the ice company, for a long time, has maintained on the lots named a storage ice house wrongfully, carelessly and negligently constructed and that the same is in great danger of falling down and collapsing, that it is dangerous and unsafe for the plaintiff and the public to pass in going to and upon her property.
The ice house, continues the complaint, is rotten and poorly constructed and to prevent the same from falling down a great number of props are placed against it, and that the outer ends of the props extend out into the public street, Laurel street, and that a part of the ice house is across a public alleyway used by the plaintiff and all other persons.
The props, says the complaint, are poles 50 or 60 feet long, one end fastened to the building near the eaves and the other end fastened to the ground by stakes, being buried therein, in the alley and Laurel street, about 30 or 40 feet from the building.
The complaint then concludes with the severe indictment that the ice house is a “ramble-shack structure, unsanitary, unsightly and and a public nuisance.” (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 02 May 1914, p. 3, c. 3)

Ice cutting on Rice lake will commence Monday morning, when the Brainerd Ice Co. will put 15 men to work on the lake under Si Hall and 40 teams will commence hauling. It will take about eight days to harvest the ice, providing weather conditions are right. After the company ice houses are filled, smaller contracts will be attended. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 15 January 1916, p. 2, c. 3)

Brainerd Lumber Company Main Office Building aka Van’s Cafe, moved to the northeast corner of 6th and Washington, ca. 1895.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society
Before it was moved in 1906 to become Van’s Cafe, the Brainerd Lumber Company’s main office building stood on the northeast corner of Mill Avenue and Walker Street (now “Q” Street).

The Brainerd Lumber Company is an industry second in importance only to the Northern Pacific shops. It is one of the finest lumbering properties in the state. The capacity of the mill (in 1900) is "from fifty to fifty-five million feet per annum, with an average daily shipment of twenty cars of lumber." From 450 to 500 men are employed during the sawing season, and about 600 men in the woods in the winter. By 1905 the available supply of logs has dwindled to such an extent that the company is obliged to withdraw its mills, and move.... This action marks the passing of a great industry.... (Brainerd’s Half Century, Ingolf Dillan, General Printing Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1923, p. 46)

In 1900 the Brainerd Lumber Company owns a controlling interest in the railroad to the north, the Minnesota and International Railway. (Brainerd’s Half Century, Ingolf Dillan, General Printing Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1923, p. 46)

The mills of the Brainerd Lumber Company in this city close down tonight with the sound of the whistle and the work of sawing logs for the season of 1901 will be at an end. Something like 500 men will go to the woods for the winter where wages are very good. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Daily Dispatch, Sunday, 11 November 2001)

By 1906 the last part of the Brainerd Lumber Company had been dismantled and moved away. After only thirteen years from the day of its beginning every vestige of that industry had been obliterated. The vacant office building stood there for awhile as a silent sentinel. A Brainerd "chef" purchased it in 1908. He moved it intact and set it over the basement excavation on North Sixth and Main started in 1888 by C. F. Kindred for his projected second Villard Hotel. The building was redressed, but it still retains its general appearance, even though the main floor has been converted into a restaurant and the top floor into living quarters. Today [1946], remodeled in modernistic style, it is known as Van's Cafe [Sawmill Inn after 1982]. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946, p. 65)

C. F. Kindred will commence the erection of a hotel on the vacant lots opposite the former Villard site immediately. The lower floor will be made into store rooms and we understand that they have already been spoken for. Ed. Mahan has the plans and specifications. (Brainerd Dispatch, 20 April 1888, p. 4, c. 4)

Throwing Dirt Lively.

Excavating for a new block at the corner of Main and Sixth streets was commenced Tuesday morning and a large force of men are at work. It has not been given out definitely whether the building is intended for a business block or a hotel but the probabilities are that it will be used for the latter purpose. It is also stated that it will be built with a view of starting a bank on the lower floor. (Brainerd Dispatch, 18 May 1888, p. 4, c. 4)

C. F. Kindred has sold the stone which he had hauled to build the new block to the parties who are rebuilding the burned district. (Brainerd Dispatch, 20 July 1888, p. 4, c. 3)

NOTE: The three articles above refer to the basement excavation on North Sixth and Main started in 1888 by C. F. Kindred for his projected second Villard Hotel mentioned by Zapffe above. It would appear that the excavation hole remained open for twenty years before the move below occurred.

SEE: Villard Hotel

Mill Business Brisk.


The company is building a new office on the corner of their property near the street car track, which, when completed, will be a very unique affair. (Brainerd Dispatch, 24 May 1895, p. 4, c. 4)

Big Mill Company Office to be Moved Down to City and Made Into a Restaurant

C. D. Herbert’s Lunch Room, unknown waitress, ca. 1910’s, the small sign hanging below EAT says "Tables for Ladies."
Source: Nancy Silvernail
C. D. Herbert has purchased the office building formerly occupied by the Brainerd Lumber Company, in East Brainerd and will move it down town and onto the lots at the corner of Main and Sixth streets recently leased by him from Mrs. Mary Howe and will fit it up into a first class restaurant on the first floor and will have his residence up stairs. A. Everett will move the building. This will be a large undertaking and amount to more than the purchase price of the building which was at a decided bargain. (Brainerd Dispatch, 28 August 1908, p. 2)

The work of erecting, or rather re-erecting the building purchased by C. D. Herbert for a restaurant, commenced yesterday. Francis Britton has the contract and expects to have the building ready for occupancy in about two weeks. The Slipp-Gruenhagen Co. also has a crew of men at work connecting the building with the Sixth street sewer. (Brainerd Dispatch, 06 November 1908, p. 2)

SEE: Gruenhagen Block

C. D. Herbert has a crew of men working on the re-erection of the building he purchased from Mrs. Francis Britton. It required considerable work to take this building down and move it from North Mill street to the corner of Sixth and Main streets, but “Dick” will have a fine restaurant when it is finished and will no doubt do a good business. He contemplates fitting the second story into modern rooms, with bath, hot and cold water, to accommodate transient trade. (Brainerd Arena, 06 November 1908, p. 5)


Basement Fire Raged at Dick Herbert
Building North of

The two-story frame building previously occupied by Dick Herbert as his lunch room, located north of the Northern Pacific depot, was discovered on fire at 5:30 in the morning by George W. Grewcox of the post office force. He gave the alarm and the fire was confined to the basement and checked. There is no tenant in the building at present. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 01 July 1919, p. 5, c. 4)


George Russell and Harry Bayer Have
Leased Building and Put in
New Equipment

The depot lunch room formerly conducted by Dick Herbert has been leased by George Russell and Harry Bayer, who under the firm name of Russell & Bayer will operate the cafe.
At the depot lunch room exterior and interior has been nicely painted, effecting a great transformation in appearance. New furniture and fixtures were bought through the Northern Home Furnishing Company.
Six rooms on the second floor have been elegantly furnished with all conveniences and will be used as sleeping rooms.
On the restaurant floor there will be a general lunch counter, tables for those desiring the same and a private dining room for ladies. The grand opening will be of an informal nature and will take place either the latter part of this week or early the week of August 15th. Messrs Russell & Bayer are to be commended for their business activity and enterprise. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 03 August 1920, p. 5, c. 4)


Opens Under New Management And
Will Hereafter be Known as
“Van’s Lunch Room”

Van’s Cafe showing the slightly modified office building, ca. 1928.
Source: Van Essen Family Archives
Mr. and Mrs. C. C. Van Essen who have been connected with the N. P. lunch room for the past three years will continue to run this establishment. They have taken over the interests of DeRocher Brothers who are now operating the New Brainerd Cafe and expect to see many new patrons and friends.
Mr. Van Essen states that there will be some changes in prices as well as additions to the menus. “Van’s Lunch Room” will serve nothing but the best of eats and assures their many friends the best of quality and service at all times. Saturday’s Dispatch will advertise their special Sunday dinners. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 27 January 1925)

10 January 1933. Consummation of a deal whereby C. C. Van Essen acquires the property in which his café is located was announced today. The sale involves $12,000 and includes the two-story building housing Van’s Café and two smaller buildings facing Washington Street. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 10 January 2013)



Even before the world’s fair in Chicago had officially opened but when the modernistic motif began to take shape in the early construction stages of the international exposition, the inspiration had been provided for the remodeling and enlargement of Van’s cafe, now completed in its every detail and open for public inspection.
Patterned after the world’s fair structures, in modernistic design throughout, the newly enlarged cafe carries out the architectural theme throughout.

Finished in Cream

Van’s Cafe at the northeast corner of 6th and Washington, ca 1933.
Source: Postcard, Van Essen Family Archives
Its exterior, transcending from the semi-gabled roof with cupolas, to the cornice and side walls, is of the latest design in architecture, modernistic in vogue and application.
Finished in a cream stucco, the building rises in prominence by virtue of its design. It has an asbestos roof of colored and ornamental shingles transcending down to the cornice that folds into the walls.
Five metal strips, dressed in duco finish, surround the building to emphasize the modernistic touch. The five are approximately six inches in width and are finished in black.
To complete the color effect, a two foot black vitriolite strip appears at the base. The color is harmonious and welcome, carrying out the theme in appealing design.
Adding to the exterior significance are sand-blasted windows of modernistic design with horizontal windows in the side walls.
Ornamental awnings complete the exterior design.
The windows are decorated with chromium, adding to the attractiveness.

Interior in Tiffany

Nearly doubling the seating capacity on the interior, the foyer opens on a clever arrangement of tables at the left. If you choose, booths are available to your right. It is a sort of horseshoe shape with a half partition separating booths from the tables and lunch counter. In the middle, the service counter finds at its back the beer and soda fountain and equipment for handling pastries, etc.
The cashier’s desk is at the front, meeting both sides of the service accommodations.
The interior walls are colorfully depicted in tiffany, blended in drapes at the windows of red with the customary shades of kindred hue.
Standing nearly 4 feet high, is a strip of paneling. The paneling and wainscoting are of birch, carried out in artistic and modernistic style.
Expressive lighting effects are found throughout and ceiling fans add comfort for the summer patron. Etched mirrors also are found at the door.
Another feature of comfort and convenience is the washed air cooling system which changes the air in the interior at regular intervals insuring crisp, fresh air at all times.

Second Floor Modernistic

With the cafe occupying the entire ground floor, a look into the upstairs finds eight bed rooms, a living room and two bathrooms. The second floor, likewise, is carried out in modernistic vogue, emphasized in the trim of the interior walls, lighting fixtures and other appointments.
Electrical devices are stressed in other commodious equipment. Four large compressors generate refrigeration for the large vegetable storage vault, the beer and soda fountains and the all service refrigerator. All are powered by electricity. (The Brainerd Daily Dispatch, Saturday, 26 August 1933, p. 5 , c.’s 1 & 2)


In developing Van’s cafe to a point where it has become known throughout the United States, being a popular eating place for tourists as well as for an established local clientele, C. C. Van Essen has stressed service and congeniality.
Mr. Van Essen assumed ownership of the cafe, then a small lunch room of about one-fourth the present size and boasting of only a lunch counter, in 1924. Since that time he has gradually expanded the business until it had outlived its size and development was necessary to take care of the fast growing throngs that frequented Van’s cafe for their meals.
It was in 1916 that Mr. Van Essen first came to Brainerd. He was sent here as manager of the F. W. Woolworth store. He remained here for one year and then was transferred to F. W. Woolworth Co. at Kenosha, Wis., where he remained until 1921.
Then it was that he entered the restaurant business, becoming associated with his father-in-law, M. DeRocher, in the operation of the lunch counter. In 1924, Mr. Van Essen purchased the business and immediately expanded it, adding new fixtures and otherwise modernizing it.
Since 1924, the cafe has gradually outgrown its size, winning a high class clientele by virtue of its fine foods and excellent service. He expanded the place in recent years until expansion was inevitable. He then purchased the real estate and immediately began plans for the development that now is being heralded as the finest in the Northwest.
Mr. Van Essen is married and has three children. Mrs. Van Essen was the former Miss Clare DeRocher, who married in January 1917. (The Brainerd Daily Dispatch, Saturday, 26 August 1933, p. 5 , c.’s 4, 5, 6, 7)

Located at 214 South Eighth Street (aka South Broadway).


New Industry for Brainerd Opened
for Business on Monday Morn-
ing, January 5th


Every Piece of Machinery in this Most
Modern Plant is Motor Driven,
Inspection Invited

After nearly nine months work, in the building and plant of the Brainerd Model Laundry company, is about completed, and the laundry will open for business on January 5th, 1914, giving to Brainerd and Crow Wing county the most up-to-date laundry plant in northern Minnesota. The plant represents an investment of over $20,000, exclusive of the building which is being erected by the Slipp-Gruenhagen company.
As is well known, the Brainerd Model Laundry company is made up of Brainerd men, as follows: W. A. Barrows, Jr., Pres., Carl Zapffe, V. P., J. E. Rotthaus, Sec. and Treas., and D. L. Fairchild, whose summer home is at St. Colombo, Gull lake.

Brainerd Model Laundry equipment, 05 Janaury 1914. A 746x1101 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Brainerd Daily Dispatch
The power plant, both steam and electrical, was furnished by R. B. Woltacre & Co., of St. Paul, and the laundry machinery by the Troy Laundry Machinery Co., Chicago, Ill., the largest independent manufactory of this class of equipment in the world. Aside from these two contracts, the wood and material has, almost without exception, been handled through local merchants and contractors, resulting in the expenditure of thousands of dollars in the city of Brainerd during the past few months, and giving employment to many residents of the city.
The officials of the laundry have, at various times, visited practically every modern laundry plant in the Twin Cities and Duluth, looking for new ideas. Wm. C. Marks, the superintendent of the plant, was formerly in charge of a portion of the home plant of the Davis Laundry Co. at Cleveland, Ohio, the most up-to-date plant in the U. S. All the modern ideas thus obtained have been embodied in the laundry just completed. The word “modern” usually conveys, to the ordinary mortal, an idea of increased cost for something supposedly up-to-date. In the laundry world, however, the contrary is true. Modernity in the laundry plant means labor saving, non-destructive machinery, with every safeguard to life and limb. The profit on this expensive machinery comes not alone with the increased output, but with the satisfied customers and employees. If this were not true, the modern laundry would not exist, and the Chinaman would still be moistening your yellow collars with saliva, as in the days of yore.
A plant of this nature is a novelty in this vicinity, and we believe that a brief description of some of the more important operations would prove interesting.
On the ground floor are located a battery of four washing machines, motor driven. Any one of these, in 75 minutes, can wash 150 shirts, which is one of the reasons why a laundry can do your washing cheaper and better than it can be done in the home.
From the washers, the laundry goes to the “extractors,” of which there are two. These are centrifugal wringers, revolving at 1500 revolutions per minute and drawing the water from the clothing without any strain whatever. These machines, of which there are two, are motor driven. In fact, every piece of machinery in the plant is motor driven.
A 5-roll flat-work ironer, or ironing machine, is located on this floor. Sheets, towels, napkins, etc., are fed between steam heated rolls and ironed in a few seconds.
To the the rear of the ground floor stands what is known as a dry room tumbler, wherein great heat and strong air drafts, in combination with the “tumbling” motion, dry and sterilize woolen garments, leaving them soft and fluffy as when new. This machine is the “last word” in laundry science, and is the only one of its kind in this section of the country.
On the second, or finishing, floor are located the various finishing machines such as collar and cuff ironer, edge smoother, neck band and yoke press, cuff press, collar and cuff dampener, collar starcher, collar shaper, seam dampener. It will be noted that each machine is designed to do just one thing: for example, the Floran seam dampener is an elaborate little machine to dampen the seams on collars to allow turning in ironing without breaking the fibre of the collar.
The collar and cuff ironer, installed at a cost of nearly $700, does nothing except, as its name indicates, to iron collars and cuffs, which is done by means of a number of steam heated rolls. This floor is fairly crowded with specially designed machinery, but space will not permit of a detailed description.
In the matter of sanitation and the comfort of its employees, the plant is also a “model” one. The building is amply lighted from all sides: a large ventilating fan causes a change of air every two minutes in the was room; all machines are properly safeguarded; individual lockers are provided for employees; employees are obliged to use individual towels; each floor is provided with three exits, so that the fire danger is eliminated. The management feels that an employee can only do his best work when he is in harmony with his work and his employer, and that this co-operation can only be brought about by sanitary conditions and humane treatment.
The exterior of the building is pleasing to the eye. The front is of red pressed brick with stone trimmings. With its elevated front windows, and the neat little gold-and-black sign by the door, it looks more like a city club or private residence than a busy industrial enterprise. In fact, throughout the entire plant, there is an absence of gaudy display; simplicity and good taste are everywhere apparent.
The company’s delivery wagon, gray in color, shows on its sides the company’s slogan, “The Model Way.” The horse is iron gray.
As has been previously stated, at least ten people will be employed at the start, which force will later be regulated by the trade conditions. These employees, almost without exception, are Brainerd residents.
The laundry company owns the property adjoining the laundry building on the south, which property will be parked next spring. The property is being reserved for possible future additions to the present plant.
Superintendent Marks extends to the citizens of Brainerd and Crow Wing county a hearty invitation to visit the plant any afternoon. It is a novelty in this vicinity and well worth the hour or two it takes to see the machinery in operation. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 05 January 1914, p. 4, c.’s 1-4)

NOTE: The Brainerd Model Laundry was providing steam heat for the Whitney Funeral Home in October 1915. Whitney was located at 720 Front Street, the lot next west of the parking lot on the southwest corner of Front and South Eighth Streets.

SEE: Losey & Dean Undertakers


Erected at 212 South Broadway by
the Slipp-Gruenhagen Co., Owners
of the Structure


Front on South Broadway is of Pressed-
ed Brick—The Suites of Flats
on Third Floor

Slipp-Gruenhagen Co., the owners of the building housing the Brainerd Model Laundry Co., situated at 212 South Broadway, erected the same, the work being done under the supervision of Ernest Husemann, a well known and efficient building contractor of this city.
All hardware and similar supplies were furnished by and the roofing, etc., done by the Slipp-Gruenhagen Co. The electric wiring, a most difficult piece of work, was very satisfactorily done by the Slipp-Gruenhagen Co., who also furnished considerable electrical supplies.
The building has a large commodious ground floor and this and the next floor are occupied by the Brainerd Model Laundry company.
On the third floor the Slipp-Gruenhagen Co. has planned and is completing six suites of flats, being two 2-room, two 4-room and two 5-room suites. So popular have these been, that even before completion, the entire six suites have been rented to tenants who are ready to move in as soon as they are in shape for tenancy.
Of fumed oak, birch floors throughout, and provided with all possible conveniences, these flats are ideal homes, situated in the heart of the city. Especial attention was paid to the floors to make them perfectly sound-proof. Heavy sheets of deadening felt were used.
In the construction of the building and in the material used preference was given in every possible way to Brainerd labor and Brainerd material.
The Dower Lumber Co. has the contract supplying the laundry company with coal.
E. H. Husemann of this city, supervised construction work. He is a local contractor who does very good work.
J. C. Clausen, of Brainerd, built the sorting tables, sorting racks, pressing tables and counters used.
H. W. Congdon did the inside painting and decorating and gold leaf sign work. Curtis & Weaver the large sign painting. Hagberg Brothers the brick laying.
The Mahlum Lumber Co. furnished the lumber used in the building and this firm, as usual, maintained its reputation for supplying the best the market afforded.
Brainerd brick were used to a large extent, the red building kind being furnished by David Ebinger, whose brick yards are in Northeast Brainerd.
The building is a credit to the city and Slipp-Gruenhagen are to be complimented in their efforts to build up Brainerd. They have shown their faith in Brainerd and its permanency by constructing a building which is the equal of any laundry building in Duluth, St. Paul or Minneapolis. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 05 January 1914, p. 4, c. 4)

SEE: Ebinger Brickyard


Runaway Team of Brainerd Model
Laundry Tears Down Front
Street this Afternoon


Runs His Car into Curb, Scares Team
to the Side Just Missing His
Two Children

A miraculous escape from instant death occurred this afternoon in front of the H. P. Dunn drug store when Hugo A. Kaatz, leaping from his car which he had run into the curb, waved his hands at the dashing runaway team of the Brainerd Model Laundry Co. and shied them to the side of the car, where they tore past, just grazing his little son, Richard, aged a year and a half and Bernice, aged 3, who stood laughing in the front seat and wondering why their father was waving his hands so frantically.
The team started from near the laundry and with the heavy weight dragging, they surged west on Front street. The laundry wagon upset in the commotion and laundry bags and bundles flew broadcast.
From Seventh and Front they meandered about the street, sometimes on the walk and near the curb and shortly after almost colliding with Mr. Kaatz’s car they were brought to a stop. The tongue of the wagon was split. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 30 October 1914, p. 7, c.’s 3 & 4)


Former Head of Elk Laundry, St.
Paul, Succeeds J. E. Rotthaus at
Brainerd Model Laundry


Serves Over 80 Towns Within a Radi-
us of 400 Miles From Brainerd
—Has 40 Employees

Joseph Rubin, formerly with the Elk Laundry, St. Paul, yesterday took charge of the Brainerd Model Laundry, succeeding J. E. Rotthaus as manager. Mr. Rubin has had experience in the laundry business in conjunction with J. Claire Stone, recognized as one of the liveliest wires in St. Paul business circles. Mr. Rubin comes to Brainerd with improvements in mind, which it is anticipated, will put the Brainerd Model Laundry in line with the best laundries in the state.
Previous to entering the business field, Mr. Rubin was an instructor of commercial subjects and a successful athletic coach of several of the best prep schools in the country, among these being the Morgan Park Military Academy of Chicago, the Lawrence Academy of Groton, Mass. Mr. Rubin has traveled widely, having completed his high school course at Redlands, California, attended college at Bowdoin in Brunswick Maine.
The Brainerd Model Laundry, which has not yet been in operation three years, has assisted Brainerd’s growth in a material way. It handles laundry from over 80 towns, within a radius of 400 miles of Brainerd. The company ships and receives more express than any other Brainerd concern. From 30 to 40 people are employed by this company regularly.
As announced in these columns several weeks ago, the company recently installed a complete dry cleaning plant, including a small fireproof building. This department is in charge of O. J. Bouma, of Minneapolis, a past master at the subtle art of dry cleaning.
Mr. Rubin comes to this community with the reputation of a 24-karat hustler and will no doubt give a good account of himself here. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 19 December 1916, p. 4, c. 4)

Fire animation On 24 July 1919 $10,000 worth of damage was done to the Slipp-Gruenhagen building which housed the Brainerd Model Laundry and several apartments on South Eighth Street. The fire jumped the firewall and burned the apartments above the Model Laundry causing severe losses to the tenants.

SEE: 1919 Model Laundry Company Building Fire in the Brainerd: City of Fire page.


Big Copper Still With Worm and
Everything, and a Capacity of
30 Gallons an Hour


Government Agent Notified, Still
Distills Gasoline for Further
Cleaning of Clothes

There was a flutter among the old-timers today when it became noised about that there was a copper still in town with a capacity of 50 gallons an hour. Big as life, made of copper, with a worm and everything, it looked fully capable of turning out that much, and it was being installed in the Brainerd Model Laundry.
O. J. Bouma, manager of the laundry, when seen, said the government agents had been notified and a permit or license would soon be secured.
It will be used to distill gasoline, taking out all the impurities and making it possible to use that liquid several times in the cleaning of the clothes, etc.
Mr. Bouma said the laundry was gaining a wide reputation for careful work and good results in cleaning clothes, rugs, carpets, etc. and that business was increasing every day. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 19 November 1919, p. 5, c. 2)


Management Transferred from the
Original Owners of Brainerd
Model Laundry to


Meyer Brothers Have Been Engaged
in Laundry Business in St.
Cloud Nearly 25 Years

Today the management of the Brainerd Model Laundry was transferred from the original owners to E. F. Meyer and Oscar Meyer, of St. Cloud.
When the Model Laundry was first built in 1913, it was equipped with modern machinery and was made a pleasant place to work in, and Brainerd was enabled to boast of the nicest and best plant in the state outside of the three largest cities. Brainerd had never had an up-to-date laundry and business had to be built up from virtually nothing. Many obstacles had to be overcome and many difficulties were gradually surmounted, but since that time probably the most important move has now been made when these two experienced laundry-men were procured. Besides laundry, the Model Laundry also does dry cleaning, dyeing and rug-cleaning, and only a few weeks ago a water softener system was set up to enable better work.
E. F. Meyer and Oscar Meyer are brothers and have been engaged in the laundry business in St. Cloud for nearly a quarter century. Other brothers of theirs operate laundries in Wahpeton and Minot. These two men will always give the business their personal supervision and the best of workmanship appears assured. Mr. Oscar Meyer has already established his home here.
The present name of the plant will be continued, but hereafter, beginning with November 15th the business will be conducted on a cash basis, which has become the custom in most places.
The Model Laundry has been one of Brainerd’s big industries, more so than most people have realized. The experience and ability of the Meyer brothers as launderers and cleaners will raise not only the standard of the workmanship but also the importance of this industry locally. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 15 November 1920, p. 5, c. 2)

A petition was received from a party of business owners in the city complaining on the smoke caused from the smoke stack of the Brainerd Model Laundry, the smoke stack being in poor condition, it was stated. The city engineer was instructed to handle the matter. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 23 June 1926, p. 7, c. 1)

Stokers at Model Laundry

City Engineer Campbell reported that the smoke stack of the Model Laundry which had caused smoke bother would be removed with the installation of stokers. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 07 July 1926, p. 7, c. 1)

NOTE: This building, in 2016, houses the new Last Turn Saloon (second) which was established in 1996.

SEE: Last Turn Saloon

Located at 709-711 South Tenth Street.


International Falls People Start an
Industry in Brainerd and In-
corporate the Same


Site To Be on South Tenth Street Near
St. Paul Tracks of the Northern
Pacific Railway

The Brainerd Sash and Door company has been incorporated by International Falls people with a capital stock of $25,000, Brainerd to be the principal place of business.
A site for a factory has been secured on South Tenth street near the St. Paul tracks of the Northern Pacific railway. The papers were drawn up in Brainerd and were signed by Attorney W. H. Crowell, Miss Lillian E. Smith and Attorney C. A. Russell.
Mr. Russell was not at liberty to announce the names of the actual incorporators at this time. One of them has already bought a house and lot in Brainerd and will soon remove his family here. The annual meeting of the stockholders will be held on May 9. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 April 1914, p. 3, c. 2)



W. H. Crowell mentioned the acquisition of a new industry in Brainerd, the sash and door factory financed by International Falls capitalists and of which John Zeta was the principal stockholder. Mr. Zeta had been in business in Montana and International Falls. He had bought the four lots where the old grist mill had stood on South Tenth street and expected to employ 50 men when the factory was running full blast. He had bought two lots on the north side and expected to build a $5,000 residence. Mr. Zeta had examined Crosby, as well as many other towns as a prospective point to locate his factory and then decided on Brainerd as being the best center for shipping in raw material and for distributing the finished product. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 02 May 1914, p. 3, c. 1)


Construction of a Building 50 by 100
Feet, Three Stories High Has
Been Started


John Zeta is President and C. A.
Brown, Secretary-Treasurer of
the Corporation

The Brainerd Sash and Door Company, newly organized by International Falls and Brainerd people, has secured a factory site near Tenth and Quince streets, along the Northern Pacific tracks of the St. Paul division of the road.
A building 50 by 100 feet in size, three stories high, is to be built. Machinery in the main building will cost $15,000. A small addition, 20 by ?0 feet, will house the pumps, boilers, etc. On the dry kilns $5,000 will be expended. The location embraces four lots.
John Zeta is the president of the company and C. A. Brown the secretary-treasurer.
The factory will turn out sash and door work in regular styles and will also specialize on contract work of all kinds. Some furniture will be made. Brainerd was selected as a strategic point from which to do business. The city is near the raw material and is a good distribution point for the finished product.
President Zeta has had 14 years experience in his line of work. He had a business at Staples, then removed to International Falls where he had a sash and door factory and also a plant across the river at Fort Francis. The nearest sash and door factory to Brainerd is at Wadena. The only competition comes from that point and Minneapolis.
The Northern Pacific railway will soon put in a spur to the factory at Brainerd. Local people are becoming interested in the proposition and considerable stock has been sold by W. ?. Lawson, whose headquarters are in the Iron Exchange hotel. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 23 May 1914, p. 5, c. 1)


Brainerd’s New Business Institution
Employes 22 Men Averaging
$3.25 Each Day

In a statement made by the president, the Brainerd Sash & Door factory, the concern employs 22 men drawing an average pay of $3.25 per day. This is not a full crew and six additional could easily be employed.
The concern is receiving the backing of Brainerd citizens and should be very successful. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 04 August 1914, p. 2, c. 3)


Corporation Financed in Part by
Local Capital is Proving Suc-
cessful from Start


Factory and Power House, Dry Kiln
and Store Sheds Occupy Three-
Quarters of Block

The Brainerd Sash & Door Factory, financed in part by local capital, has been successful from the start.
The corporation now employs 30 men and the payroll aggregates $3,000 a month. They are now working on five large contracts and innumerable small jobs, including door and window frames, inside finish, etc.
The factory and power house, dry kiln and store sheds occupy three-quarters of a block. Northern Pacific railway trackage is at the doors of the company. The factory building is three stories high and measures 50 by 100 feet.
John Zeta is the manager and under his direction the company has proven very successful. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 02 September 1914, p. 5, c. 2)


Petition in Involuntary Bankruptcy
Filed by Creditors in United
States District Court


Brainerd Company had Capital Stock
of $32,000. First Mortgage
Bonds of $10,000 Issued

A petition in involuntary bankruptcy of the Brainerd Sash & Door Co. has been filed with the clerk of the United States district court at Duluth by certain creditors, the Brainerd State Bank, Kelley Electric Machinery Co. and the Warner Hardware Co.
The first meeting of the creditors will be held about August 20 in the Palladio building, Duluth, when a trustee will be elected.
The corporation was capitalized at $32,000 and the first mortgage bonds total $10,000. On the appointment of a trustee an effort will be made to resume operations. All business carried has been completed with the exception of some small ones.
Brainerd people and others in the vicinity are interested in the company, having bought stock or bonds. The project started out with flying colors and the Chamber of Commerce reported on it and in a way endorsed it.
E. W. Thomas sold considerable stock in the plant. A farmer near Merrifield is said to have bought $5,000 stock in the factory. Several widows invested their savings.
At the meeting of creditors it is expected a statement as to the actual condition of the company will be given out. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 23 July 1915, p. 5, c. 3)


Movement on Foot to Have Three
Trustees Engage Good Mana-
ger to Operate Same

Bondholders of the Brainerd Sash & Door Co. are considering the plan of having the three trustees, W. H. Cleary, R. B. Withington and Henri Ribbel, take over the affairs of the plant, engage a competent man to supervise the manufacturing and business end and to operate the plant.
Its operation, even in a small way, will benefit the city. Standing idle it is no good advertisement for a city which is bustling with business and in which other enterprises are up and doing. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 25 April 1916, p. 5, c. 2)


W. H. Cleary Is a Trustee in Bank-
ruptcy and Not a Trustee of
the Bondholders

In mentioning affairs of the Brainerd Sash & Door Co., the trustees of the bondholders are H. E. Kundert, R. B. Withington and Dr. Henri Ribbel. The trustee in bankruptcy is W. H. Cleary, who, by mistake in Tuesday’s Dispatch was mentioned being a trustee of the bondholders. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 26 April 1916, p. 5, c. 2)


Under the Firm Name of George H.
Kampmann & Son Property is Tak-
en Over—Operations Resumed

Radical Changes in Various Departments—Are
Experienced Factory and Contracting
Men—Success Assured

News of utmost interest to Brainerd people and showing the trend to greater development and more business is the fact that the Brainerd Sash & Door plant has been taken over by George H. Kampmann and son, George A. Kampmann, of Dubuque, Iowa, to be operated under the firm name of George H. Kampmann & Son.
The senior member of the firm has been in the sash and door business nearly all his life, having been employed by the Carr, Ryder & Adams Co., of Dubuque, Iowa, for 26 years. He started work as a bench hand in the spring of 1887 and after a period of five years became foreman of the special cabinet department, having had charge of all cabinet work. Later he was called into the office to fill the position of special order clerk and draftsman, which position he held up to three years when he ventured into business at Calmar, Iowa, taking over a half interest. He did not find conditions to his liking and disposed of his interests at Calmar the first of this year.
About fifteen months ago Mr. Kampmann noticed a card in the American Lumberman that the Brainerd Sash & Door Co. was for sale by the trustee, W. H. Cleary, and entered into correspondence with Mr. Cleary regarding the same. Mr. Kampmann was not in a position at that time to take on the deal. When he had sold out at Calmar, Mr. Kampmann again took up the proposition with Mr. Cleary, but learned that R. B. Withington, cashier of the First National bank, had assumed control for the disposal of the same. After some correspondence and a visit to Brainerd several weeks ago, Mr. Kampmann became interested and finally closed the deal.
The new firm intends to make some radical changes in various departments and hope to get things lined up quickly in order to commence operations soon. There is considerable repairing to be done, rearrangement of machinery, addition and changing of wiring, switch boxes, etc. An office will be opened soon. Employment can be given several machine hands.
Mr. Kampmann being a practical sash and door man and his son having been in the contracting and building business for the past 6 years, are coming to Brainerd to build up a sash and door industry that is going to be a credit to the town. They figure it may take some little time to do it, but with the goodwill and cooperation of the people of Brainerd and vicinity, they feel confident of success.
They intend to manufacture sash and doors, general millwork, stairway work, colonnades, book cases, bank and store fixtures, etc., and expect to be in operation within thirty days.
Mr. Kampmann and his son both intend to move their families here as soon as suitable homes can be found. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 10 March 1917, p. 1, c. 1)



One of the growing industries of Brainerd is the Kampmann & Son Sash & Door Factory. This industry was established here under the present management in 1917 when Mr. George H. Kampmann & Son took over the plant. The development and growth of the business of this plant has been very satisfactory since that time and much greater expansion is looked for in the future.
This firm is one that greatly aids in the maintaining of the reputation that Brainerd holds as a builder’s center for this part of the state and while the plant is not so large as some in other sections it is experiencing a steady growth and is an institution worthy of the town wherein it is located.
The mill is a complete and modern planing mill in every respect. It is located at 709-11 South Tenth street. The buildings comprising the plant are laid out and arranged according to plans calculated to facilitate the movement of the finished product and the receipt of raw material as well as furnishing a healthful and pleasant working quarters for the employees. The mill proper is a two-story building with basement, 48x84 feet. Next to the mill proper is a one story store house for the lumber used by the mill of nearly an equal length of the mill. A spur from the Northern Pacific main line runs along the length of this building. A feature that eliminates a great deal of hauling is a runway from the second floor of the main building across the top of the store shed. By means of this a direct haul is obtained for all finished products to be shipped. At one end of the store shed and forming a partial second story is a store room for standard sizes of doors, window frames, etc., of which the mill makes up and keeps a permanent stock.
The basement and the first floor are the machine rooms for the plant and they are equipped with the latest and most approved types of power machinery for this class of work. The mill produces such articles as sash, doors, cabinet work, stair work, interior finishing and general mill work of all kinds, including moulding, frames, etc. Each machine is equipped with the blower system which prevents saw dust or shavings from accumulating about the machine or being scattered about the plant. These shavings and the saw dust are taken directly to a shavings room outside the main building by means of blower system. There they are stored for use as fuel in heating the plant. This feature renders the plant much cleaner and healthier than it would otherwise be.
On the second floor all the cabinet work and making of frames is done. The mill has a force of expert workmen along these lines and there is no mill which turns out work more conscientiously done than the Kampmann & Son plant.
There is also a kiln located near the main building where such lumber that comes in, as needs it, is kiln dried. The mill secures its soft lumber such as pine, fir, spruce and the like from the western coast. The hardwoods used come from the southern forests. Very high standards are maintained by this mill in the selection of lumber and in the most particular types of work the lumber used goes through a strict inspection before being used. The customer may be sure when securing some product of this mill that both material and workmanship are of a high quality and that it will return full value for the money expended.
The machinery is all driven by electricity and the mill has a steam heating plant which provides the important element in a planing mill of a moderate and uniform heat.
Mr. Kampmann and his son are among the progressive men of the city, the senior member having had 33 years practical experience in his line and was connected for 26 years with one of the largest concerns of its kind in this country at Dubuque, Iowa, before coming to Brainerd. Since establishing themselves in business here they have formed valuable parts of the commercial life here. They have always stood ready to back any worthwhile movement designed to further the interests of this city and county. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 18 June 1923, p. 6, c. 2)


Construction Work on a Two-Story
Building With Basement Let to
Contractor W. T. Carlson


New Office to Be Constructed in Building; Old Factory to Be Used
as Warehouse

Construction work was underway today on the new $18,000 factory building for Kampmann & Son, sash and door manufacturers, at 709-711 South 10th Street.
The contract has been let to W. T. Carlson, who has eight men at work for the present. Completion is expected after the new year.
Increased business necessitated the construction of the new building which will be two stories with a concrete basement. The building will be glazed faced tile, with a new office building in connection.
With completion of the new building the old factory will be used as the warehouse. New and additional machinery will be installed at that time, it was announced today.
Owners of the factory are George H. Kampmann and George A. Kampmann. Sixteen men are employed in the mill. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 15 October 1929, p. 7, c. 1)


Our County Finances—School Matters, Etc.


Are we to have a public school this summer? No one seems to know whether we have any school funds or not. It is about time we should hear from those having charge of such matters. We do not know who the school board are, but suppose, of course, they are public spirited citizens. “Let us have light.”

REMARKS—In regard to our school interests, we are a little rusty on the subject. A few weeks ago we endeavored to arouse an interest on behalf of school matters, and if we succeeded, it merely resulted in a “flash in the pan.” Like Alexander we wept because there was nothing more to say on the subject, and subsided—feeling that we had done and said enough, for a boy, we settled back to see what the men would do, and they promptly went into committee of the whole and did nothing. Seriously, however, we feel a deep interest in the matter of establishing a thoroughly valuable and permanent common school in Brainerd, and do hope that the School Board—if there exists any such body—and our citizens generally, will take immediately hold of this important matter, as it is high time in the season that a school be started and kept up for at least six straight months during the present year. (Brainerd Tribune, 13 April 1872, p. 4, c. 1)

A Call.

EVERY CITIZEN OF BRAINERD IS requested to meet at the Baptist Chapel on Monday Evening next, Oct. 28th, at seven and a half o’clock to take into consideration the subject of establishing public schools in our midst, and examine into the action of the School Board, past, present and future. Come one, come all!
(Brainerd Tribune, 26 October 1872, p. 1, c. 5)


We direct attention to the call elsewhere for a meeting of our citizens, on Monday evening next, at the Baptist Chapel, to take into consideration the establishment of a lawful series of public schools in our midst, and for the purpose of investigating the condition of our school fund, past, present and future. We imagine the whole school matter has been shamefully neglected, and now with our 300 scholars, we have nothing in the shape of a school-house, and we believe, no funds, to pay teachers, if we had. This is a splendid picture of the intelligence of a town of 3,000 inhabitants, is it not? It is to be hoped that the meeting in question will be fully attended, and that our school interests will be taken earnestly in hand. (Brainerd Tribune, 26 October 1872, p. 1, c. 6)

Minutes of a Meeting held by the Citizens of Brainerd, at the Baptist Chapel, Oct. 28, 1872, for the purpose of discussing School matters.
Mr. Perry called the house to order by nominating J. S. Campbell, President of the meeting, and J. G. Todd, as Secretary.
The president then called upon Mr. Perry to state the object of the meeting.
Mr. Perry stated the object was to consult with the School Board as to what has been, and what is being done in regard to the Public Schools of Brainerd.
Mr. L. P. White responded by reading the records of the School Board, which stated that they supported a School last winter, but owing to a mistake in the figuring by the County Auditor [Wilder W. Hartley], there is less than one hundred dollars, public money, when there should be six hundred; and, furthermore, the time for their legal meeting and reports passed without the notice of the Board, therefore, losing the apportionment made by the State for each person between the ages of five and twenty-one years in the District.
Mr. Knappen states that he has not been able to make a settlement with Mr. Hartley [Wilder W. Hartley.] that he (Mr. Knappen) does not know how much money there is in the hands of the County Auditor [Wilder W. Hartley] belonging to the School Fund.
Mr. E. U. Russell then gave a history of the schools of Brainerd while he was a member of the Board. Stated that there never had been a District tax levied for school purposes.
Mr. Sleeper then spoke in favor of organizing an Independent School District, and explained the legal way to proceed, during his remarks, by making a motion that a committee of three be appointed to confer with the County Auditor [Wilder W. Hartley], and ascertain the amount of funds now in his possession, or on hand, belonging to school purposes. The motion prevailed, and Messrs. Sleeper, E. U. Russell, and Perry, were the committee appointed by the President. The committee was instructed to report at the next meeting.
On motion of Mr. Sleeper, which was seconded and carried, a committee of six were appointed for the purpose of considering the propriety of organizing an Independent District, and report one week from to-night. The President appointed on this committee Messrs. Sleeper, Pettybone, L. P. White, J. G. Todd, M. C. Russell, and the Rev. Mr. Crist.
Mr. Bridges moved that the Trustees be instructed to confer with Mr. Canfield, at the earliest moment, and ascertain from him the most liberal proposition the Lake Superior and Puget Sound Company have for Brainerd, for building two School Houses, one on each side of the Railroad, which was stated to be as follows: At a cost of $2,000, to be paid for by the School District, in payments annually of $200, for each building, (or to be paid for in ten years,) with an interest not to exceed eight per cent per annum. The motion prevailed, and the Trustees were so instructed, and to report at the next meeting.
On motion the meeting adjourned to meet at the Baptist Chapel, on Monday evening, Nov. 4, 1872. (Brainerd Tribune, 02 November 1872, p. 1, c. 4)

GOOD.—A movement in the right direction has been consummated by an action on the part of the citizens in the establishment of an Independent School Board. Now we expect to see active work on the part of the committee appointed, and know these gentlemen will be diligent in the establishment of such schools as the population of the town demands. Such schools as the citizens may feel proud, and where the young can receive education equal to that of any part of the State. When that time arrives, men with young, growing families will not hesitate to locate in our midst. Read the proceedings of the meeting referred to.
Meeting called to order by J. S. Campbell, Chairman.
The action of meeting determined the organization of an Independent School District. The following named gentlemen were appointed to take the matter in charge and create the organization as soon as possible: Messrs. C. B. Sleeper, L. B. Perry, M. C. Russell, L. P. White, Rev. S. Ingham, and J. S. Campbell. (Brainerd Tribune, 09 November 1872, p. 1, c. 5)

Nov. 30, 1872.

Whereas, at an Election of the qualified Electors of the City of Brainerd, County and State aforesaid, held at the Court House in said City Nov. 30, 1872, for the purpose of establishing an Independent School District, including the territory of said City, the said Independent School District was duly established—by a unanimous vote of the qualified Electors—voting at such Election.
We hereby give notice that the Electors of said School District are required to meet at the Court House in said City of Brainerd, on the 20th day of December, A. D. 1872, to then and there choose by ballot six Directors of the Public Schools of said District: to serve—two for one year, two for two years, and two for three years. Polls to open at 2 o’clock P. M., and remain open until 5 o’clock P. M. on that day.
Chairman of Election.
Clerk of Election.
(Brainerd Tribune, 07 December 1872, p. 4, c. 1)

SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD.—In accordance with lawful notice, an election was held yesterday at the Court House, for the purposed of electing six directors, (two from each ward) for the independent School district recently erected, and composed of the City of Brainerd, which resulted as follows:
First Ward—Warren Leland and E. B. Lynde.
Second Ward—C. B. Sleeper and M. C. Russell.
Third Ward—L. P. White and L. B. Perry.
The Directors-elect are the same as were nominated at the District caucus, held at the Baptist Chapel on Monday evening last. The Board are required by law to meet within ten days after elected, for the purpose of organizing, and putting themselves into shape for business. (Brainerd Tribune, 21 December 1872, p. 1, c. 3)


Among a few of the citizens of this place, it is being realized that our beautiful and healthful little city is, by nature and its central location, intended to be the grand school center of not only the extent of country east and west along the line of the Northern Pacific Railroad, but of the whole northern portion of Minnesota. Because of the sheltered, high and dry, healthful and withal most delightful and picturesque location here on the romantic Upper Mississippi among the beautiful groves of evergreens, Brainerd is certainly indicated by nature to be the place above all others in this great field for a high order of educational institutions. A location, to be a desirable center for young people to come and apply themselves to learning should first of all be a healthful place; next important, pupils should have the advantage, if possible of protection from the heat of summer and the cold blasts of winter; next, it should be a cheerful location, where nature has adorned the surroundings and made the view a pleasant one both to the eye and the mind; and lastly the location should be a central one, and one easy of access. In each and every one of these particulars Brainerd stands head and shoulders, and pre-eminently above any point in Northern Minnesota, and we do not fear contradiction from any quarter when we assert that as a desirable location for a grand educational center, it stands without a superior in any of the Western States. Its health, and beauty of location is the subject of comment by all visitors. Although this country is yet new—only in its infancy—there is already a demand for a school somewhere on the Northern Pacific where the higher branches are taught as well as music, drawing, painting, the languages, etc. And did we now have at Brainerd an institute where all these advantages and accomplishments were attainable, there would this winter be a hundred pupils early flock hither to finish their education—male and female. Brainerd has this matter in her own hands now, to secure and commence what in less than five years, if commenced soon, would grow of itself into a female seminary and a college; which would directly and indirectly benefit Brainerd to the extent of tens of thousands of dollars, and give us a reputation, far and near, that would be truly enviable. A school here would (because of the reasons already given) draw patronage from all the towns and country west, and from Duluth, St. Cloud, and even from St. Paul and Minneapolis; parents in the crowded cities would jump at a chance to send their children to such a delightful and healthful retreat as Brainerd to finish their education, while the great number of young people in the frontier districts would be overjoyed that such advantages had been placed within their reach.


With the end spoken of, in view, and because more school room is already required for our own local accommodation it has been proposed: That Brainerd, or its citizens, authorize the building of another school house, say north of the track on some eligible site, ten feet wider and twenty feel longer than the one south of the track, now in operation. Let the lower room of the new building be used—in connections with the two departments of the present school house—as a public school, which would just about accommodate the public school scholars of the city with comfortable room, and more. Then let the upper room of the new structure be divided into two rooms; one of these to be used for all the higher branches of learning under charge of a gentleman Principal, and the other room to be devoted to the teaching of French, music, drawing and painting, in charge of an accomplished lady Principal; these two departments to receive pupils from at home and abroad at usual tuition rates. And this, would form the nucleus around which in five years would gather an institution of learning that would be an object of pride not only to our beautiful city but to this whole section of country. It must be remembered that another building must be built very soon anyway. It would have to be built at once, had not the Board of Education been able to secure the use of the Parish School building for this winter, but which they may have to give up at any time; and as another building must be had anyway, it would seem to be wise policy for us to build a little larger while at it, and thereby start in to taking advantage of the great things within our grasp in this direction. The fine building we already have is well so far as it goes; it is already paid for, and although our tax last year was a little higher on account of it, who is it that scarcely noticed the additional tax? and where is the man, who feels any interest in the welfare of Brainerd, his own advantage in the end, or the good of the rising generation, that would have grumbled had it been twice as much? A building of some such dimensions as we indicated above, can be paid for by levying only a trifling additional tax, say for three years; and no one would scarcely feel the burden. Then, as we say, the groundwork would be successfully laid for a grand institution of learning, or a group of institutions that would build themselves up, after getting at our hands this timely start, or send-off.
In order to get so valuable a thing as this would be to Brainerd, started, and that, too, just in the nick of time to allow her to occupy the grand field just now opening out to her in this respect, we, for one, are anxious to get a chance to pay our full proportion of the tax, subscribe a hundred dollars if necessary, and be subject to the regular tuition rates for any use we may have for the accomplishments and advantages that such a school would bring to our city; and if all citizens will do proportionately well—or will only consent to pay the slight additional tax necessary for two years or so, our fine little city will not be permitted to go to the bone yard on account of a lack of enterprise and public spirit on the part of its citizens. What say you all, fellow citizens? (Brainerd Tribune, 17 October 1874, p. 1, c. 3)

NOTICE.—At a meeting of the Board of Education, Nov. 17th, 1874, a resolution was passed that all children attending school in this District, and not residing in or belonging to the District, should pay two dollars each to the District for each term, commencing with January, 1875.
Clerk of Board of Education.
BRAINERD, MINN., Feb. 4th, 1875.
(Brainerd Tribune, 06 February 1875, p. 1, c. 6)


BRAINERD, Jan. 12, 1876.

Editor Tribune:—Through your paper we wish to reach the people of Brainerd with a few words touching our public schools. It is generally believed, that to the larger part of this community, there is no interest of greater importance than that involved in the healthy development of the public schools. That ignorance, idleness, and vice are closely allied the one to the other; and that the individual having to contend with the former must be carefully guarded, by favorable circumstances and influences, or fall a victim to the others, are statements that none will call in question. Another statement may be taken as equally true, viz: that if a community existing under such circumstances as surround this community, allows its children and youth to grow up to manhood and woman hood without such intellectual culture as will, so far as it may, protect them against the cunningly devised methods by which the unlearned, are made subject to poverty and led into crime, such community must be ever held responsible for whatever of evil results from such neglect. Still another fact: No valuable interest of any individual, corporation or community will prosper for a considerable length of time without careful supervision. Accepting these as safe conclusions, and making of them an elevation from which to take observations—what is our situation? Certainly, not a situation in which a thoughtful people may take pride. Such, in fact, as should render us apprehensive of the future. With three hundred and thirty-eight persons between the ages of five and twenty-one, of whom at least two hundred and fifty should be in school, but partial accommodation has been provided for about one hundred. The number who, have made any pretense to the use of these provisions does not exceed one hundred and twenty, while not more than half these have made anything like a proper attempt to profit by them.
With an adult population of at least average intelligence and more than average culture, and of whom at least a score should have visited the schools each week, such visits have been less than twenty during the entire year; and some even declare that they will have nothing to do with this item of public interest. The annual meeting for election of members of the board of education, at which should have been present every voter in the district, was honored by the presence of less than six. The board of education, each member of which is by law required to see the schools quite frequently, favored our schools during the last four months, with visits from four of its members. Aggregate number of visits, eight; aggregate time devoted to such visits, possibly twelve hours.
We do not claim that all the causes, the combination of which have rendered our schools really inefficient, during the past year, are herein named; but do claim that the removal of other difficulties is dependent upon the energy with which we apply remedies for the removal of the causes named.
Hoping that these words, written under the impulse of a single thought—that impelling to a discharge of duty—may induce investigation and energetic action, and that these may result in good to all, we pledge our assistance, in any worthy effort made with a view to improvement. T. HARRIS WARD.
(Brainerd Tribune, 15 January 1876, p. 1, c. 6)

WE attended a meeting of the Board of Education the other evening, at which were several citizens. They met for mutual conference upon the all-important question of how to make the young ideas shoot in a philosophical and desirable manner; it was brotherly and fraternal, as well as paternal, in its tone and character, and so completely did all become enchanted with the pleasant topic for discussion, that the whole affair nearly resolved itself into an old-fashioned love-feast, or new-fashioned admiration society. Rhetoric and wit flew about the chamber until the “graned paper” on the walls became fairly brilliant with the glow of eloquence and the warmth of fraternity. It seemed good to be there, and was a season long to be remembered for its éclat and sociality. Two members of the Board resigned, and at a late hour both citizens and officials retired, feeling that all was well whether it ended well or not. We, in our dreams, for the balance of the night were entertained by scenes of street riots and the clash of arms, and occupied most of our time in sitting on a hitching post reading the riot act and Declaration of Independence to the disturbed masses in the streets. Finally, we imagined ourself transformed into an infernal machine; and finding our reading had no effect on the disturbance, we simply exploded, killing and wounding several thousand people. The terrible event awoke us to our waking senses, when we found it was eight o’clock, in the morning; we rushed into our breeches, lighted a fire, put on the tea-kettle, and sat down to warm our toes, and think. Our schools will open February first, as usual. No cards. (Brainerd Tribune, Morris C. Russell, 22 January 1876, p. 1, c. 7)

RULES to be observed by teachers and pupils of the Independent School District City of Brainerd.


1. Any pupil cutting, marking, defacing, or writing upon, any of the school buildings or furniture, will be immediately reported to the Board, and subject to be expelled.
2. Any pupil using profane or vulgar language, or writing the same, shall be punished by his or her teacher, and, if he or she continues thus to act, reported to the Board, and liable to be expelled.
3. Any pupil making any noise, or causing another pupil to make any noise, and thereby disturbing the school, shall be punished by his or her teacher, and, if he or she continue thus to act, reported and expelled, as above.
4. Pupils shall enter the school-room and retire from it orderly and quietly, and shall maintain order and quietness, in the school-room, during recess and at noon.
5. Pupils are to be at their seats within three minutes after the bell rings.
6. Pupils shall obey any command or wish of their teacher immediately.
7. Pupils are to be polite at all times; and are to come to school clean and tidy.
8. Pupils shall neither quarrel nor fight.
9. No pupil shall leave his or her seat without permission.
10. Pupils shall study while in their seats, and shall not speak to each other in the class.


1. Whenever a pupil is tardy twice in one week, or voluntarily leaves school, the teacher shall immediately inform the President of the Board, and report the same to the parents of such pupil.
2. One of the teachers is required to be present at all intermissions, and especially during the noon hour, and prevent any unnecessary noise or disturbance at such times.
3. No changes in school books shall be made during any term, and only in the commencement thereof.
4. Pupils attending school shall procure the books necessary to continue them in their respective grades; and upon failure so to do, teachers shall notify the parents, and call their attention to rule six.
5. In all cases of complaints, parents are required to present same to President of the Board, and the Board will inquire into and redress grievances.
6. Teachers are required, upon the willful and continued disobedience of these rules, or any of them, to immediately inform the President of the Board, and the Board will expel.
7. In all cases of expulsion, the Board will notify parents of pupils of such expulsion and the cause thereof; and expelled pupils will only be permitted to return to school by an apology for violating rules, and upon promise of strict obedience of the rules during his or her attendance.
(Brainerd Tribune, 05 February 1876, p. 4, c. 1)

WE are requested by a patron of our schools to ask the School Board if the rule expelling pupils for tardiness is not quite unreasonable—both as regards the pupils and teachers—in view of the facts that there is no time-piece in either of the school rooms, and no bell to call pupils to school.
Since writing the above, we learn that the teachers have a time-piece, and reference to the rules published last week shows that expulsion is not a penalty for tardiness—unless it is willful. We give, however, as our opinion in this connection, that the belfry on the school house should properly be adorned with a bell that should regulate the attendance of the pupils.
LATER.—With reference to this matter I have this to say, both the teachers have first-class watches that keep first-class time. LYMAN P. WHITE.
(Brainerd Tribune, 12 February 1876, p. 1, c. 7)


Owing to the prevalence of small pox on either side of us—in Wisconsin and Manitoba—our State board of health has issued a circular through its secretary urging upon physicians, local authorities, school boards, and especially parents, the necessity for using every effort in their power to secure a thorough vaccination of our population throughout the States. In pursuance of this Dr. Rosser has procured a supply of pure, fresh virus, and is prepared to vaccinate all who may come to him. To those who cannot reach a physician the State board will forward at cost price, 10 ivory points for $1, or a single ivory point for 25 cents, charged with animal virus direct from the heifer. These may be obtained by addressing the secretary, C. N. always best to have vaccination done under the care of a physician. (Brainerd Tribune, 06 January 1877, p. 1, c. 5)

The Village School “Boss.”

A parody on Longfellow’s poem, The Village Blacksmith.

Under the green and stately pines
The village schoolhouse stands;
The ”Boss,” a trusty man is he,
With active brain and hand;
And teaching Brainerd’s young ideas,
He fully understands.

His efforts, it must be allowed,
Since teaching he began,
Have successfully been based upon
A systematic plan.
He looks the whole world in the face,
And does the best he can.

Week in, week out, from morn ‘til night,
You can hear the murmur low,
Of the scholars at their studies, as
With measured beat and slow:
Like convicts working the cheerful mill,
To their tasks they merrily go.

And girls and boys with eager zest,
And ever increasing store;
They love to meet at Learning’s shrine,
And its mysteries explore;
To catch the solid grain, and not
The chaff from the schoolroom floor.

With “Farnsworth” guiding at the helm,
We cannot but rejoice;
Our schools are in a prosperous state,
He is the people’s choice;
May we long see his genial face,
And hear his pleasant voice.

Teaching, describing, defining,
Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begun,
Each evening sees it close,
Somebody bettered something won;
Good healthy seed he sows.

Thanks, thanks to thee, my trusty friend,
For the teaching thou has wrought;
Thus, in the common public school,
Is education sought:
Thus, at its public bar of life,
Are first ideas taught.


(Brainerd Tribune, 04 May 1878, p. 1, c. 6)

We are in receipt of a communication from “A friend” taking us to task for refusing to publish in these columns a piece of poetry rejected by us some weeks since and informing us that certain aid to the progress and advancement of our public schools upon the part of certain individuals, named in the communication, is withheld in consequence.
“A friend” is advised that the poetry referred to by him was rejected, for the reason that it is of too personal a character for our columns. This, of course, should have been stated at the time the verses were received and examined, but the fact was that sickness in our family and a multitude of things demanding our attention caused us to forget it entirely in making up the paper the issue following though we intended so to do. We were not aware, however, and do regret that upon our disposition of that depended the friendship or interest of any person in behalf of our public schools, but as we do not understand that the TRIBUNE is responsible for or under any obligations to the schools, (though indeed friendly to them as it is towards all mankind) we must inform “A friend,” and those whose friendship to such a worthy institution hang on such a slender cord, that it could not have changed our decision “one jot or one tickle” in the premises if we had been. The TRIBUNE, as before intimated, is friendly towards and extremely anxious for the advancement of our public schools, as all good citizens should be, but our friends are assured that neither our interest and anxiety in the direction named, or in any other direction, would for a moment induce us to admit to our columns a matter not considered proper by the editor. In aiding our schools, or doing anything in their behalf none must imagine for a moment that they are specially befriending the board of education or bringing any member of it under any personal obligations to themselves, for they are not. Upon the board rests a heavy and burdensome duty in the care of our schools and the maintenance of its present high standing, the members one and all feel a deep interest in their progress and advancement, and much of their time and labor is bestowed to that end, all without any reward whatever or the promise or hope thereof beyond a knowledge of the success of their efforts and the hope of a generous appreciation by the public. This much is done, not for themselves alone but for the general public who patronize our schools and reap the benefits, and is done cheerfully—but, so far as the writer is concerned at least, (we speak for ourself, in this) if it was supposed for a moment that in addition to this we were personally brought by our gratuitous labors under obligations to and subject to the dictatorship of those who should have the same interest in and are under the same obligations to our schools as the members of the board of education, we should most emphatically rebel. We are indeed thankful to “A friend,” since this impression exists, that we are informed of it and enabled to correct it, and we hope our friends will see the matter in its true light and manifest as much interest in their own behalf as the board does for them. (Brainerd Tribune, 04 January 1879, p. 1, c. 1)

The school board have been talking of offering a reward for the capture of the evil-minded youths who entered the school house on the north side and cut up all sorts of tricks. These boys should be found out and given a taste of the law, as the city has to put in the glass and fix up things that these lads despoil. (Brainerd Dispatch, Thursday, 20 September 1883, p. 3, c. 3)

School Matters.

James A. Wilson, principal of the Washington High School, later Crow Wing County Superintendent of Schools, ca. Unknown
Source: Oldtimers II: Stories of Our Pioneers in the Cass and Crow Wing Lake Region, Volume II, Carl A. Zapffe, Jr., Echo Publishing and Printing, Incorporated, Pequot Lakes, Minnesota: 1988
At the school meeting which was on Monday night, Prof. J. A. Wilson of Lexington, Ohio, was elected to the principalship of the Brainerd high schools. Mr. Wilson is very highly recommended as an educator, and is an old acquaintance of A. W. Frater, and parties who are in a position to know, say that the school board are very fortunate in securing his services. The other new teachers engaged are Miss Lizzie Hawley, daughter of Rev. Dr. Hawley, of this city, and Miss Dobner of Lake City, and Miss Loraine Yonker, of Corry, Penn.—The teachers retained, are Miss Louise Smith, Miss Minnie Merritt, Miss Inez Pember and Miss Jennie Partridge.—School will begin September 1st. (Brainerd Dispatch, 17 July 1884, p. 3, c. 3)

Prof. Wilson, of Lexington, Ohio, who has been engaged as principal of the city schools arrived to-day. (Brainerd Dispatch, 22 August 1884, p. 3, c. 3)

High School Commencement.

The first commencement of the Brainerd High School will be held at Sleeper’s opera house, Thursday, June 16th, at 8 o’clock p.m.


Anthem, He that Dwelleth in the Secret Place.
Solo, Mr. Alderman, assisted by Mr. Bellhouse and chorus.
Solo Obiligato, Miss Campbell, assisted by Mr. Bellhouse and chorus.
Salutatory with Essay—Sue B. Mulrine.
Class History—Jennie Welch ‘88.
Music, When Love is Young—Louise Campbell.
Essay, What’s in a Word—Emily Walters ‘88.
Telephone Talk—Genevieve Paine, Emily Murphy ‘88.
Recitation, Rock of Ages—May Gleason ‘88.
Prophecy—Amy Lowey ‘88.
Oratica with Valedictory—Henry White.
Class Song.
Presentation of Diplomas.
Music, Yes the Lord is Mindful of His Own.
Solo, Sue B. Mulrine, assisted by Messrs. Bellhouse and Alderman, and High School Chorus.
The friends and patrons of the school are cordially invited to be present. Admission free. (Brainerd Dispatch, 10 June 1887, p. 1, c. 5)

The School Matter.

At the adjourned meeting of the board of education held last night the matter of hiring a principal was the only important business attended to, and as far as accomplishing any results the meeting did not do much. The members who are opposed to the retention of Prof. Wilson another year in his present position are John Willis, A. Mahlum, N. W. Wheatley and F. W. Mallott, and their objections are based upon what they claim is incompetence, “red tape,” too much discipline, etc. These objections were plainly stated to the board by these different members, Mr. Wilson being present. He explained matter at considerable length but it seems without any visible effect; a number of petitions signed by about one hundred patrons of the schools in favor of retaining Mr. Wilson were read, after which a motion was made to reject his application, four voting in favor of and four against the motion and it was declared lost, and there the matter stands.
It is truly to be regretted that such a state of affairs exist. A talk with Mr. Lagerquist this morning reveals the fact that four of the best teachers in the school with whom he has talked are willing to come before the board and testify to Mr. Wilson’s fitness and capability, and they are teachers of long experience. A large majority of the patrons of the schools are entirely satisfied with the progress their children are making and desire to see the gentleman remain. What the outcome will be is uncertain as the other four members, Mr. Hartley, Mr. Lagerquist, Mr. Keough and Mr. Cullen, are as fully determined that the present principal shall remain. (Brainerd Dispatch, 10 June 1887, p. 4, c. 6)

Commencement Exercises.

The opera house was quite well filled last evening with an appreciative audience, the attraction being the commencement exercises of the Brainerd high school. The rain in the early part kept a large number of people indoors who would otherwise have been present. The stage decorations were very tasty and everything connected with the arrangements were in keeping with the occasion. The class has been under the instruction of Prof. Wilson during their course, having entered the high school under him; during the past year Miss Cooley and Miss Klampe have been in charge. The graduating class consisted of Miss Sue Mulrine and Henry White, the latter not taking part in the exercises on account of not having finished his essay in time, thus leaving Miss Mulrine as the only one to receive a diploma. Mr. White is said to be a bright scholar, and has passed all his examinations. The vocal music and the music furnished by the orchestra was exceedingly pleasing to the ear. Miss Sue Mulrine delivered the following salutation, being first on the programme:
Friends and citizens of Brainerd assembled here for the closing exercises of our school year, we bid you a cordial welcome. We meet tonight, many as strangers, but hope that as the months roll by and the merry June time in all its splendor is here again, another class may greet as friends one and all. In behalf of the school, let me again extend you a hearty welcome.
This was followed by an essay on the “Growth of Fiction,” as follows:
In the material world, the to-days and yesterdays are ever varying; where we once saw the leaf and the bud we now behold the flower, and the tomorrows bring as ripe, golden fruit. Viewing the perfect whole, we are in a maze from which the limited understanding is unable to extricate us. But it tells us not to attempt the whole; with a part we may be more successful. Taking the seed, we ask, what makes it grow? Is it sunlight, warmth and moisture? The scientist tells us it is the, germ or protoplasm, and that sunlight, warmth and moisture are only necessary conditions. We are not a little surprised when we are informed that from this bit of protoplasm, through a series of changes which took place when time was not measured by the rise and fall of nations, was developed the most perfect and complicated work in nature—Man. But that which makes man superior to his surroundings must proceed from some higher source. In every soul are found germs of beauty and perfection only awaiting culture for development. In medieval man as in a child, imagination rules the mind; for he delights in fanciful and unreal because his religious faith has taught him not to reason but to revel in that mystery whose only end is superstition. He hears of strange adventures approaching his ideal of heroism and fancied perfection. He would fain know more of the world beyond the confines of his own horizon. Knowledge through experience being denied him, he must content himself with those accounts which, through the natural laws of development, culminate in prose fiction. Soil and climate exert a universal influence from which even fiction is not exempt, as told by the “Moorish Romances, the Adventures of the Cid,” which partake of a highly imaginative nature when compared with the “Legend of Arthur” in which every line tells of strength and bravery so indicative of the cold compared with sunny climes. In both the characters are real, mingled with the supernatural. As man attained a higher development, he arose above the simple narration of the supernatural, giving the world real men and women. The characters were taken from every station of life, that we might have common interests, serving as a means of studying abstract qualities in the guise of everyday life. The reader finds himself drawn along without resistance by that golden thread of love, to see conditions just as the author intended. Of modern fiction, or the novel, woman constitutes the soul, and not until she assumed her position in society do we find this class of writings. The novel is defined as a large diffused picture, comprehending the characters of life, disposed in groups and exhibited in various attitudes, for the purpose of a uniform plan and general occurrence to which every individual is subservient. For the purpose of instructing as well as pleasing, we are getting real representations—not of individuals, but types in which a proportion good and evil is portrayed, for it is by contrast that the greatest influence is exerted. Those active pictures of social life in which we are something new or unforeseen as a means of interesting us, may pass for a time under the halo of a novel, but they are as short-lived as butterflies, and, like them, when stripped of their beautiful coloring by the rude hand of time, nothing remains. They may possess charms, for those who indulge in imagination, change and excitement as affording pleasure, but for whom reason and reflection are depths untried. The true novel is a philosophy of human nature, in which the joys, sorrows and caprices are not peculiar to individuals; for our natures are not capable of sympathizing where no common bond exists. It requires more than a well conceived plot or pleasing narration to interest through ages. The novelist who gives us more than a pleasing picture, who skillfully interweaves his philosophy in the forms of sentiments, it is he who endures the test of time. What is it that makes the works of a George Elliot so attractive? Is it the plot? The style? No, it is the reflections embodied in heroes and heroines, constituting gems of ethics and aesthetics. The novel has taken the place of the theater in educating the people, the drama being better adapted to an intellect in its infancy than the novel, because in the former the actor interprets the thought, and in the latter it must be gained unaided. From the lowest depths of immorality it has risen to a state almost perfect, becoming one of the strong measures of social reform. Many of our greatest social lessons have been taught in the form of novels. Treatises and editorial, though strong in their way, fail to reach the masses as novel. We can ask for no stranger example than “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” whose influence was felt alike at home and abroad. Who can read the suffering of a “Little Joe” and not be kinder to the poor and distressed, or the villainy and hypocrisy of an “Uriah Heap” without detesting them? What has the irony and sarcasm of a Thackery done for society? The influence of the novel on the side of the good is beginning to be realized, and we hope that the time is not far distant when it will find a cherished place in every library.
Miss Mulrine was the recipient of several elegant presents as mementoes of the occasion and many congratulations on the preparation and delivery of her essay and salutatory were received.
Our space will not permit of lengthy comment on the productions of the class of ‘88. Miss Jennie Welsh [sic], Miss May Gleason, Miss Amy Lowey, and Miss Emily Walters, each did splendidly and may well be proud of their success. Miss Genevieve Paine and Miss Emily Murphy in their telephone conversation pleased the audience very much, and the local application of the “hits” were well studied.
Prof. Wilson presented diplomas and closed the exercises with remarks to the class which were very appropriate. (Brainerd Dispatch, 17 June 1887, p. 1, c. 5)

Will Make a Disclosure.

John Willis, president of the board of education, informs the writer that if they, meaning the gentlemen who are opposed to Prof. Wilson’s retention in the city schools, are “crowded too much” they would make certain disclosures that would startle the citizens. The Dispatch does not wish to see any teacher connected with the city schools who would not be advantageous to their interests, and consequently if Mr. Willis, or any other members of the board for that matter, is in possession of any information that would lead the public to believe and understand that the Professor is not the man they want he certainly should not wait until he is “crowded” before he makes the facts public. If the gentlemen who are opposed to Mr. Wilson will show that he is not the man, regardless of any personalities, the public, who elected them to the office they hold, will be very grateful and they will have performed their duty. Don’t be backward, gentlemen, about the matter but furnish the public with the facts if you have any. (Brainerd Dispatch, 17 June 1887, p. 4, c. 6)

The Dead-Lock Continues.

The board of education held a meeting last evening for the purpose of finishing up the business of hiring teachers for the coming year. Four of the teachers, Misses Foster, Merritt, Camp and Summers passed good and satisfactory examinations and were reported so by the board. The matter of hiring a principal is still a dead-lock. A score of applications were read and some were nominated but without avail. The teachers who have been retained are as follows: Miss Loraine Yonker, Miss Florence Foster, Miss Lillie [sic] Klampe, Miss Irma Camp, Mrs. I. H. Davenport, Miss Laura Walker, Miss Rosa Fasching and Miss Minnie Merritt. Miss Cooley was engaged as principal of the East Brainerd schools at $50 per month, and Miss Katie Whitely as teacher in West Brainerd schools at $45 per month. The old janitor was re-engaged for the year at $40 per month. On account of the increased labor and duties the clerk’s salary was increased to $100 and the treasurer’s to $50 per year. After allowing a few bills the meeting adjourned. (Brainerd Dispatch, 08 July 1887, p. 4, c. 4)

A pleasant surprise party called on Prof. Wilson at his residence last Saturday evening. The occasion was to show the gentleman that a good majority of the people of the city appreciated the services he had rendered in bringing the schools to their present high standing. During the evening Mrs. Wilson was presented with a gold watch, Justice Smith doing the honors. (Brainerd Dispatch, 22 July 1887, p. 4, c. 5)

Prof. Wilson is Retained.

The board of education met in regular session on Monday evening, the hiring of a principal being the most important business transacted. W. W. Hartley, who has been a staunch advocate and admirer of Prof. Wilson, moved that he be elected to the position, which was seconded by P. M. Lagerquist. This again opened a discussion on the merits of different applicants, but it was plain to be seen that unless Mr. Wilson was elected the school would go a begging for a principal, for the present at least. A vote was taken which resulted in six votes for and two against, John Willis and N. W. Wheatley voting in the negative, although they stated that their attitude in the matter would in no way interfere with their endeavors to assist the professor in making the school a success, but they could not conscientiously vote for his retention. The outcome of the dead-lock is to be commended, and that Prof. Wilson will satisfy the patrons of the school is beyond doubt.
Miss Gertrude Cooley and Miss Lula [sic] Klampe handed in their resignations, which were accepted by the board. R. M. McKenzie, of Minneapolis, was elected assistant principal at a salary of $75 per month. Miss Sue Mulrine was hired for a primary department at a salary of $45 per month. (Brainerd Dispatch, 12 August 1887, p. 4, c. 5)


And Other Doings of the School

The school board met on Wednesday evening at the high school building. The clerk being absent, A. Mahlum was appointed pro tem. The first business to come up before the meeting was the report of a committee that had been appointed to look up a place to hold school in West Brainerd. The committee reported that they could get the old courthouse free for one year provided they would get it insured for $1,000 and pay for repairing the rooms they were to occupy, also, there was another building they could rent for $6 per month by advancing money to fix it up. The board very promptly rejected both proposals, and the president and clerk were authorized to purchase two lots that had been previously reported on, and which were offered at $50 each, on which to erect a new building. A building committee composed of W. W. Hartley, O. H. Hubbard, F. G. Sundberg was appointed to draft plans and get bids on a building to be 20x28, two stories high, the lower story only to be finished up at present, and report Saturday evening when the contract will be let. The house is to be built within thirty days of date of contract. A proposition was also received from the N. P. Ref. Car Co. to sell to the board the two lots adjoining the north side school property on 7th street for $100 each, and the clerk and president were instructed to buy the same. L. P. White was awarded the contract for building a fence around the entire north side school property for $150, the contract specifying the fence to be like the one surrounding the Gleason property on sixth street south. A. Frederickson was awarded the contract to calcimine and paint the school house in East Brainerd. A list of necessary supplies for the use of the school was presented by Prof. Wilson and and after considerable debate the order was authorized to be purchased. Miss McWilliams was hired as instructor in the primary department on the north side. The board then adjourned to meet Saturday evening. (Brainerd Dispatch, 14 August 1885, p. 3, c. 5)

Let the Contract.

The school board met on Monday night for the purpose of awarding the contract of building the West Brainerd school house. Bids were received from White & White, George Harmon, L. P. White, L. R. Munson and Everett & Miller, the latter gentlemen were awarded the contract. The building is to be 22x32 with 22 foot posts, and is to have a stone foundation, finished down stairs and painted two coats. The building will be commenced as soon as the deeds arrive for the lots.... (Brainerd Dispatch, 28 August 1885, p. 3, c. 4)

A Daily Report.

The school board at its meeting on Saturday night passed the following resolution:
RESOLVED, That any parent dissatisfied with the progress of their pupils, shall, upon written application to the principal, be granted a DAILY report from the teacher of such pupil, stating the pupil’s standing, provided that such parent shall visit the school once a week, during the time such report is required.
Moved and carried that the above resolution be published in all the local papers of the city. (Brainerd Dispatch, 09 October 1885, p. 3, c. 5)

We are authorized to state to the public that hereafter the school books will be purchased by the board of education and furnished to the pupils as needed at wholesale prices. The board has taken pains to obtain the lowest possible figures for the most approved standard books, thus giving the pupils the benefit of the difference between the wholesale and retail prices, as well as a uniform system of standard books.
The pupil will be required to deposit the price of the book with the principal of the schools, and when books are returned or exchanged, the amount of damage or wear is retained, and the difference refunded to the pupil, either in cash or applied on the price of another book. Thus, while the first cost of the book is taken out of the general fund, the amount is ultimately refunded. The plan of furnishing the books to the pupils free of charge was not thought advisable to adopt as it would have a tendency to invite more carelessness on the part of the pupils than if required to deposit the price of the book, and pay only for the actual wear or other damage the books may have sustained. The old books now in use will be continued so until the pupil advances to a higher grade, when a conformity with the new system will be required. Parents need not keep the children out of school on account of the expense of providing books as the cost will be so low that almost every one can afford to purchase the books required. In case of parents not being able to make the required deposit, the principal will furnish books without such deposit. (Brainerd Dispatch, 16 April 1886, p. 3, c. 4)

Special Meeting of Brainerd School

Notice is hereby given, that pursuant to the order of the board of trustees of Brainerd school district, a special meeting in and for said district is called to be held at Sleeper opera house in said district in the City of Brainerd, Minn., on Wednesday June 6th, 1888, at 8 o’clock p.m., for the purpose of voting upon the following resolution:
RESOLVED, That Brainerd school district in the county of Crow Wing, State of Minnesota, hereby makes application to the state for a loan of $35,000 to be used in paying for the erection of school houses in said district, and that the bond of said district, in the sum of $35,000 be issued therefor.
By order of board of trustees.
President. Clerk.
(Brainerd Dispatch, 25 May 1888, p. 1, c. 4)

Commencement Exercises.

The second commencement exercises of the Brainerd high school will take place at Sleeper opera house on Friday evening, June 1st, and more than usual interest is being taken in the occasion. There are seven in the graduating class, six of whom have been given positions in the schools of the city, to begin with the commencement of the fall term. The programme which we are able to present to our readers this week is as follows:

Prayer—Rev. Bergstrom
Chorus—Song of Welcome
Salutatory and Essay—The House that Jack Built, Emily Walters.
Essay—Alpha and Omega, Genevieve L. Paine.
Essay—Influence, Geneva M. Welch.
Oration—Not for Revenue Only, E. Weed Steel.
Duet—Alderman and Wilson
Essay—The Emerald Isle, Emily A. Murphy.
Class Song
Valedictory—Amy Louise Lowey.
Presentation of Diplomas—Prof. Wilson.
(Brainerd Dispatch, 25 May 1888, p. 4, c. 6)

New and elegant school buildings will be erected in the Second and Third Wards. (Brainerd Dispatch, 08 June 1888, p. 4, c. 3)

The Bond Election.

The meeting held at the opera house Wednesday evening to decide the question of issuing bonds in the sum of $35,000, for the purpose of advancing the interests of education in this city, was not largely attended but the sentiment was in favor of the bonds, the vote when taken standing 37 for to 13 against. The bonds will accordingly be issued and the funds will be used for erecting new buildings in the Second and Third Wards, and otherwise assisting in advancing the general school interests. (Brainerd Dispatch, 08 June 1888, p. 4, c. 7)


Of the Brainerd Public School for the
Year Ending June 1, 1888.

No. of different pupils enrolled—1012
No. of pupils entitled to apportionment (30 days attendance required)—936
Total attendance in days by all pupils—109708
No. of days school was in session:
Fall term—80
Winter term—60
Spring term—40
Average daily attendance:
Fall term—685
Winter term—609
Spring term—617
Total for the year—627
Average monthly enrollment by buildings:
High School Building—353
First Ward—162
Second Ward—112
Third Ward—129
West Side—25
No. teachers enrolled:
High School Building—7
First Ward—3
Second Ward—2
Third Ward—3
West Side—1
Average No. of pupils per teacher:
High School Building—50
First Ward—52
Second Ward—57
Third Ward—43
West Side—27
Average daily attendance by building:
High School Building—308
First Ward—136
Second Ward—81
Third Ward—102
West Side—19
Per cent of attendance estimated on average monthly enrollment—85
Per cent estimated on total enrollment—61
No. cases tardiness of pupils:
High School Building—1005
First Ward—331
Second Ward—534
Third Ward—753
West Side—199
Total 2822
No. cases of truancy—67
No. cases corporal punishment—105
No. volumes in school library—200
Cash value of library—$250
Am’t expended for books past year—$160
Am’t expended for apparatus—$210
Cash value of all apparatus—$300
No. of graduates from High School, males 1, females 6, total—7
Total No. graduates since organization of High School, males 1, females 7, total—8
No. of years High School has been in operation—2
It may be of interest to compare the report of this year with previous reports. In 1885 nine teachers were employed with 927 different names appearing on the roll of pupils while the average daily attendance was 360. In 1886, the report shows an enrollment of 13 teachers with 891 different pupils enrolled, and an average daily attendance of 436. This report shows that 16 teachers have been employed, 1012 pupils enrolled, with average attendance of 627. While the increase in the number of pupils has been gratifying, the increase of zeal and enthusiasm among the pupils has not been less gratifying.


Four years ago there was nothing which might be called a high school. This year finds a high school thoroughly supplied with a library of excellent books, and equipped with fine physical and chemical apparatus. This year there were several graduates from the high school, six ladies and one gentleman. The question may arise why the girls outnumber the boys in the higher classes of the high school. Much might be written in reply to this question. I shall only stop to say that I think the main reason is a want of energy and ambition on the part of the boys, and a lack of authority on the part of the parents. The board of education has made it possible for every boy and girl in the city of Brainerd to obtain not only a common school but also a high school education, and to graduate if they will. It is for parents to make imperative what the board has with great liberality made possible.


Much has been done during the past year in reducing the school to a uniform grade and I feel indebted to the teachers in this work for their hearty co-operation and excellent advice. It is hoped that the coming year will see the work of grading brought to a much higher state of perfection.


An examination of this report shows an unpleasantly large number of cases of tardiness. Duluth last year, with an average daily attendance of 820 only, reports 917 cases of tardiness, while Brainerd with an average daily attendance of 627 reports 2822 cases. This largely results from two causes, first, carelessness on the part of parents, second, a slack enforcement of the regulations on the part of some teachers. A few teachers energetically took hold of the difficulty and effectually checked it. The monthly reports of these teachers showed frequently only 4 or 5 cases, while others for the same month reported 50 and 60 cases. For the number enrolled the second and third wards show the greatest number of cases. It is hoped that a strong effort will be made by parents and teachers to correct this evil. Suitable blanks have been furnished each teacher, by means of which they will be able to communicate with parents to secure their co-operation.


Owing to the crowded condition of the schools, it was found necessary to employ an addition teacher in the third ward and first ward. An additional teacher will be required the coming year in the second ward. In view of the fact that the buildings in the second and third wards are inadequate for the accommodation of the pupils, and that they are poorly ventilated, and that it is impossible to properly warm them in the winter, I have recommended to the board the erection of new buildings in those wards.


For the last two years the text books have been furnished to the pupils on the following plans: The superintendent makes requisition on the board for the books required. The board purchases the books from the publishers at wholesale rates and delivers them to the superintendent charging him with them. The superintendent then sells them to the pupils at cost plus freight or expressage. When a pupil has completed a book, he returns it to the superintendent who pays him whatever the book is worth. The plan has proved successful. The pupils obtain their books for less than they could be furnished by a dealer. The children have learned to take care of their books, as the amount received for a book when returned, depends on the care which it has had.


Examination and report cards can at best only give a meager understanding of the work being done in the schools. I therefore invite the parents to visit the schools as often as practicable, not in a fault finding spirit, but with the desire to see how and what the children are taught. The teachers will give you a hearty welcome and your presence will encourage them in their important work.

Superintendent City Schools

(Brainerd Dispatch, 10 August 1888, p. 1, c.’s 5 & 6)

The graduating class this year is small, being composed at present of only three scholars. (Brainerd Dispatch, 21 September 1888, p. 4, c. 5)

“Sweet Girl Graduates.”

On Friday evening of last week the third annual commencement exercises of the Brainerd High School took place at Sleeper Opera House, and very entertaining they were. Rev. Father Watry opened with prayer, which was followed by the Glee Club in song. Prof. Gould, principal of the high school, delivered an interesting and able address and his remarks were followed very closely by the audience. At the close of his remarks Miss Katie Canan, a graduate, delivered her commencement essay, the topic being “The Mission of the Public School,” and which reflected credit to herself and satisfaction to her many friends. After a song, “An Old Letter” by Miss Mamie Smith the other graduate Miss Grace Clark read her essay on “The Student and the State,” which was an excellent effort. The young ladies were then presented their diplomas by Prof. Wilson with fitting remarks, and the exercises closed with a song by the Glee Club. (Brainerd Dispatch, 14 June 1889, p. 4, c. 5)

The High School Graduates.

The high school graduating exercises will be held at the Congregational church tomorrow (Saturday) evening, at which time Miss Hattie Gibson and Miss Daisy Badeaux will receive diplomas. The following is the programme:


(Brainerd Dispatch, 30 May 1890, p. 4, c. 4)

The new superintendent of the city schools, Prof. Cheadle, arrived from Cannon Falls on Tuesday. (Brainerd Dispatch, 08 August 1890, p. 4, c. 3)

“If Jesus Christ himself asked me to change my opinion I would not do so,” is the sacrilegious and disgusting remark a Third ward member of the board is reported to have made, in speaking of the recent school controversy. This is a good indication of the mental calibre of nearly every member of the board who voted for the unjust treatment of the Second ward teachers. We do not believe, with a single exception, of the members above referred to, there is one who can construct a complete sentence, much less hold a fourth grade certificate, or serve intelligently on a board of education. This, indeed, is a most disgraceful state of affairs. (Brainerd Dispatch, 13 March 1891, p. 4, c. 3)


Unjust Treatment of Teachers Because
of Personal Spite and Ignorance
of Some Board Members.

Brainerd teachers, both grade and high school, in June 1891. From left, rear: E. K. Cheadle, Superintendent of Schools and Principal of High School, Elizabeth Clark (m. James M. Hayes), Amy Lowey, Gertrude Morser, "Minnie" Merritt, Anna Murphy (m. M. T. Dunn, Sr.), and Bess Mulrine (in hat). Center: Kathleen Canan (m. Joseph Early), Katherine Whiteley, Jennie Welch (m. James F. Hawkins), Jennie Crow, Evelyn Cahoon, and Elizabeth "Bessie" Small (m. Joseph Westfall). Front: Maggie Somers, Emily Murphy (m. Henry Linnemann), Mary L. Small, Caroline Rich, Avis Winchell, and Miss McCleary
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society
On Thursday evening last, at its regular meeting, the board of education adopted a resolution calling for the resignation of the two teachers in the 2nd ward school, to take effect March 27th, and elected Misses Lizzie Miller and Toot Clark to take their places. As neither of the young ladies referred to have ever received an intimation from the superintendent or any one else but what they were giving the best of satisfaction, they were greatly surprised, and the people of the city, especially of the 2nd ward, were justly indignant when the facts became known by formal notice to the discharged teachers on Saturday. The matter was freely discussed on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and the president of the board was prevailed upon to call a special meeting for Monday night to reconsider the matter. Meanwhile a petition was circulated in the 2nd ward and 120 signatures secured, asking that the resolution be reconsidered and the teachers reinstated. The board met in Hagberg’s store as per call, the meeting being attended by a large number of indignant citizens, and the petition was presented. Remarks were made by Messrs. Treglawny, Frizzell, Congdon, Swartz and other 2nd ward citizens, all declaring that they were more than satisfied with the present teachers, and asked that they be reinstated. But all to no effect. The petition and the motion to reconsider was laid on the table by a vote of 6 to 3, Messrs. Towers, Titze, Erickson, Doran, Winters and Pennell voting yea, and Messrs. Hagberg, Willis and McKay voting no. Mr. Lagerquist was absent. Mr. Pennell explained his vote by saying that while he would like to see the teachers reinstated, he would vote against reconsidering because other teachers had been hired, which would cause embarrassment. McKay’s vote was a complete flop from the position he has occupied heretofore, and he explained his vote by saying he thought the board did right, but he would vote to reconsider because his constituents demanded it. This action of the board in thus ignoring the wishes of the people of the 2nd ward in a matter of such vital importance to them and their families has aroused great indignation, and the members who are responsible are being denounced in unmeasured terms as they richly deserve.
This unjust action of the board makes interesting the publication of the true inwardness of a state of affairs which is anything but advantageous to our schools, and shows how far some men will go to gratify their personal spite. About two years ago and some time previous to his election, a 4th ward member of the board said to the writer of this article that he proposed to be a candidate for the school board, and if elected he would see who was running the schools, the board or Prof. Wilson; and further that he would see to it that the Prof. and his friends would be fired without ceremony. This motive has governed the action of the member ever since, and for no other reason than that the board refused to engage his daughter as teacher because she could not pass the necessary examination, for which Prof. Wilson was in no wise to blame. By laboring quietly with members of the board, he succeeded in getting a sufficient number of the board, members equally as ignorant and incapable as himself, to do his bidding, and Prof. Wilson’s application was rejected as a consequence, notwithstanding the fact that fully three-fourths of our citizens desired to see him re-elected. He and his friends now seek to vent their spite upon all the old teachers who served under Prof. Wilson, and who liked him because of his ability as a teacher and his gentlemanly conduct towards them. They tried to prevent these teachers from being re-elected at the beginning of the year. But not satisfied with simply trying to prevent their re-election, they have, at nearly every meeting since, tried to injure their standing as teachers by discharging them, alleging incompetency as the cause. They have succeeded so far as two of the teachers are concerned, but the force of their action, however, we are pleased to state, has been completely overcome, and the charge of incompetency most effectually refuted, by the actions of the parents of the children taught by these teachers, in protesting against their removal, and declaring themselves as more than satisfied with the progress the children were making. But there is no basis for the charge of incompetency whatever. It is true, that Miss Hall, the state inspector, did report several of the teachers a little lax in discipline, but especially advised that they be retained and corrected, and they would be all right. Concerning their educational qualifications her report was favorable.
But supposing these teachers were not giving the best of satisfaction, the attempt of these members to brand them as incompetent, after re-engaging them for two years in succession, would still be most contemptible in the eyes of all fair-minded persons. Had they waited only two months longer, and then simply refused to employ them again, no harm would have resulted except the loss of good teachers in the school, but to publicly declare them incompetent by dismissing them, without cause, or previous complaint having been made to them, is not only unjust but dishonorable, and we greatly mistake the people of all parts of the city, if these members are not rebuked in no uncertain tones when the proper time arrives.
Prof. Cheadle’s action in this matter, and in fact ever since his connection with the schools here, has been far from commendable. In order to make himself “solid,” he has lent himself a willing tool to this faction of the board, and has embraced every opportunity, as near as we can learn, to magnify little short comings on the part of these old teachers in reporting them to the board, but has never had the fairness to call the attention of the teachers themselves to these faults that they could correct them, which certainly was a duty he owed to them and his position. His great fault lay in his desire, by his actions, to make himself popular with what he conceived to be the controlling element of the board, no matter what injury resulted to the school, or what injustice was done to others. This toadying policy will not work long in an intelligent community like this, and he will have to change his methods, or the people will see that a better man succeeds him.
LATER.—It now transpires that according to the contract the teachers had, the board could not discharge these teachers without paying them their salary for the balance of the year if they refused to resign, unless for good and sufficient causes. Accordingly a special meeting was called last night to consider this new phase of the question, which resulted in the matter being reconsidered and the teachers reinstated, which is virtually an admission that there was no cause for their dismissal. The very member who has been the prime mover in in the whole business, tried to escape the responsibility and shift it entirely on the superintendent's shoulders, by saying the board had nothing to re-consider, that the board had not officially notified these teachers, but it was the superintendent who did so, and he was to blame. This is in keeping with his former actions, and shows the calibre of the man. Thus ends this disgraceful farce. (Brainerd Dispatch, 13 March 1891, p. 4, c.’s 5 & 6)

In another column we publish a lengthy communication from Prof. Cheadle, the greater portion of which he devotes to finding fault with the DISPATCH for criticizing his conduct as superintendent of the schools. Now every citizen of this city, the DISPATCH editors included, have a perfect right to criticize the official acts of any member of the board, or the superintendent, and we propose to exercise that right, whenever we feel disposed, without fear or favor of anyone. And when we do so, it will not be as the mouthpiece of either the board, the teachers or the superintendent, but as citizens and individuals conducting a public journal.
Concerning the professor’s claim that we were unjust in charging him with “toadying” because we were not personally acquainted with him, we must say we do not see how a personal acquaintance could have any bearing on the matter, as a conclusion could be arrived at only by considering his official actions, and we are yet of the opinion that these justified our conclusions. (Brainerd Dispatch, 20 March 1891, p. 1, c. 4)

Prof. Cheadle Talks.

EDITORS DISPATCH:—My attention having been called to an article in this week’s issue of the DISPATCH, in which I am assailed, unjustly, as I think, I beg leave to offer the following reply, with the request that it be given as prominent a place in the DISPATCH as the article referred to had.
I do not feel called upon to champion the cause of the Board of Education or of any member of it. I am comparatively a stranger in Brainerd, and know nothing of a part of the assertions in the article in question, except through hearsay, which is a proverbially unreliable source of information. Neither should I feel it my duty to attempt explanation or refutation of these statements, even were I fully acquainted with the facts of the case. Doubtless the members of the Board can defend themselves, if they think it worth their while.
I do not believe there is any basis for a candid assertion that I have “toadied” to the members of the Board, either individually or collectively. When my judgment has differed from theirs, I have not hesitated to express it just as freely as if it had been in accord. It has occurred more than once that I have advocated a different course from the one which I believed to be approved by a majority of the Board. This has occurred even in regard to the very teachers, the tardy request for whose resignations has aroused so great a “tempest in a teapot.”
If I had been in Brainerd long enough to become acquainted with any considerable number of the people, your charge of “toadyism” would be of no effect; but for the reason that I do not personally know many people here, I think it appropriate to say that it seems to me ungenerous, at least, for you to apply the epithet of “toady” to a man whom you do not know. However, “many men of many minds” even in matters of courtesy, and much more so, as regards the ethics and manners of controversy, and it is probably not worth my while to dwell longer on this point.
Next, you charge, if I remember aright, that the petty failures of the teachers under my charge have been magnified by me in the eyes of the Board, and that I have failed to correct the faults of these teachers, and thus enable them to do better. Let it suffice, so far as I am concerned, to deny the first part of the charge IN TOTO. I have never willingly and voluntarily called the attention of the Board to the errors of any of my teachers. Sometimes it has been my unpleasant duty to speak of such matters, but it has never been done in the manner or for the purpose alleged by you. What your authority for this statement is, or whether you have any except unfriendly rumor, you best know.
As regards my failure properly to instruct my teachers, which you allege, or at least imply. I can say honestly that I think there is no foundation for it, although judgments may vary as to what are the proper methods of imparting such instruction I have carefully and definitely arranged the course of study for eight grades below the High School in a such a form as to show exactly the work of each grade, and this enables each teacher to know precisely what is expected of her; and at my request the Board ordered a sufficient number of copies of this course of study printed to permit a copy being placed in each family in the city sending children to school. Furthermore, I have endeavored, in frequent teachers’ meetings, to explain what was to be taught and how it ought to be taught. Both these means of imparting to the teachers a reasonably complete knowledge of what is expected of them, have been supplemented by personal assistance, which I have, at least, attempted to give them in their respective school rooms. My visits to the schools have been frequent, averaging at least one per week to each room, and the longest interval that has elapsed in any instance is, I think, three weeks, and for this there were good and especial reasons. Since the visits are necessarily made during school hours, it is, of course, not my custom to express open disapprobation, at the time of the visit, of anything of which I do not approve. Often, by asking the teacher’s permission to take her class, I attempt to show by personal instruction what I think the proper way of teaching the subject under consideration, and thus indirectly correct an improper method. I am in the habit of using various other indirect methods of correction, and have by no means failed to tell my teachers their faults directly, when I have thought it necessary, or that it would do them any good. This is all that can be expected of a supervisor. If a presentation of correct principles and methods of education, and reasonable assistance in applying them will not enable a teacher to do good work, she is not properly a subject for instruction, but for dismissal.
I wish to say also that you have incorrectly reported the judgment which the state inspector passed on certain of our teachers. I, for one, would not willingly make the opinion of the inspector known, although it would more than justify my own I shall not give it further publicity unless I am forced to so so by the unwise course of their friends.
I did not ask, suggest, or in any way bring about the request for the resignations of these teachers at the present time, nor did I approve of the withdrawal of the request when once it had been made, but as the Board did not ask my advice on this point, I did not give it.
The loss of my position, with which you menace me, would not have enough weight, even were it certain, to induce me to violate my conscience or prostitute my judgment by giving any other than an honest opinion when it is required of me by any man or body of men in whom is vested the right to ask it of me. I shall not allow my conduct to be controlled, or even modified by the contingency of a re-election. I shall stand for what is right in itself and just to all, so far as it is given to me to know it, taking no thought for the fear or the favor of any man. If I cannot retain my present position without debasing my manhood by the expression of opinions framed to meet the wishes of persons who have some private interest in view, I do not wish to retain it.
Do not misunderstand on this point, I am not to be controlled or even swayed by frantic clamors, or revengeful threats. If I cannot serve the people of Brainerd honestly, I will not serve them at all.
Yours truly,
Supt. City Schools.
(Brainerd Dispatch, 20 March 1891, p. 4, c. 5)

A kindergarden [sic] school has been opened at the corner of Kingwood and Seventh streets. (Brainerd Dispatch, 10 April 1891, p. 4, c. 3)

The Class of ‘91.

On Saturday evening the commencement exercises of the Brainerd High School will occur at the opera house. The class consists of Miss Nellie Merritt, Miss Etta McPherson, Miss Daisy Bane, Miss Elizabeth Somers, J. Matthew Smith, Clifton A. Allbright and Frank A. Bell. The programme is as follows:
Prayer—Father Lawlor
Song, Land of Freedom
High School Oration and Salutatory, American House of Lords—J. Matthew Smith
Essay, The Modern Girl—Elizabeth M. Somers
Oration, America for Europeans—Frank A. Bell
Essay, Success—Etta M. McPherson
Oration, Political Corruption—Clifton A. Allbright
Essay, Prospicium in Futuram—Daisy S. Bane
Valedictory—Nellie K. Merritt
Address—Rev. J. A. Jenkins
Presentation of Diplomas
(Brainerd Dispatch, 29 May 1891, p. 4, c. 6)

Received Their Diplomas.

The commencement exercises of the Brainerd high school took place on Saturday evening last at the opera house, ending another school year and with it seven students received their diplomas which bear testimony that these graduates have reached that point of perfection in their studies which is required of them on such occasions. The graduates were Misses Elizabeth Somers, Etta McPherson, Daisy Bane and Millie [sic] [Nellie] Merritt, and Messrs. C. A. Allbright, J. M. Smith and F. A. Bell, and while the road to success has been a hard one and lined with many discouraging obstacles it is over and those who have attained the summit are entitled to credit and congratulation, and these they received. The opera house was well filled with interested spectators who had assembled to listen to the exercises which were carried out according to the programme published last week, and in a manner highly creditable to those who participated, and did space permit we should be pleased to produce the essays and orations. At the close of the programme Rev. Jenkins addressed the graduates in a very able manner at some length. The diplomas were then presented after which the orchestra rendered some excellent music and the commencement exercises for the class of ‘91 were over. (Brainerd Dispatch, 05 June 1891, p. 1, c. 3)

A special meeting of the board of education was held last evening at which it was decided to establish a school in Southeast Brainerd, and the room over Angel’s grocery store will be secured for that purpose. Miss Florence Miller was engaged as teacher for this room. (Brainerd Dispatch, 23 September 1892, p. 4, c. 3)

New School Houses.

The board of education at its meeting last night decided to submit a proposition at the coming election to bond the district for money to build new school houses, provided public sentiment in the city seemed to be in favor of such a proposition. School meetings will be held in each ward in a few days, and if public sentiment as there expressed seems favorable, the proposition will be submitted. This proposition, if submitted ought to have the support of every citizen of this city. Brainerd’s school buildings, exclusive of the high school, would be a disgrace to a village like Aitkin. They are old, poorly ventilated, cold, barn-like structures, totally unfit for the purposes they are used for. But such as they are, they are not large enough to accommodate the pupils enrolled by at least 200. The board now rents four rooms outside of the regular school buildings, and all the other rooms are so crowded, that in order to do the scholars justice other rooms ought to be secured and these crowded rooms relieved. Brainerd now has 1,076 scholars enrolled, which, counting 40 scholars to a room, would call for 27 rooms. Instead of this number these scholars are crowded into 21 rooms, and four of these are kept in old store rooms outside of the regular school buildings. This is a disgraceful condition of affairs and should be remedied by voting the bonds and building new buildings. Nothing hurts the population of a city so much as the knowledge that school facilities are inadequate, and if we expect people to move here and help build up our city, we must secure facilities to decently educate their children without endangering their health while at school. (Brainerd Dispatch, 07 October 1892, p. 1, c. 3)

School Houses Needed.

Circulars have been issued by the board of education directing the attention of the citizens and taxpayers to the need of more school buildings to accommodate the educational interests of the city, and asking that from $40,000 to $50,000 be expended in that direction, giving one new building in each ward, with the exception of the Fifth, which already has the high school building. Meetings have been called in the various wards for the purpose of considering the question of voting bonds for this purpose on Tuesday evening, Oct. 18th, at 8 o’clock, at the following places:
1st ward—Municipal court room.
2nd ward—Court House.
3rd ward—Hose house.
4th ward—Hose house.
5th ward—6th street school house.
It is earnestly urged that the voters turn out to these meetings and express their views on the matter, as it is a subject of vital importance. (Brainerd Dispatch, 14 October 1892, p. 4, c. 4)

The School Bonds.

The meetings called in the different wards to discuss the matter of the proposed issue of bonds for school purposes, while not largely attended, showed the sentiment of the people to be largely in favor of such action, and the board of education will therefore ask the people to vote on the question. The board will hold a meeting tomorrow evening, and decide on the date for calling a mass meeting, as the law provides that this is the manner in which the bonds must be voted, two-thirds of those present and voting being necessary to carry the question, and ten days’ notice must be given before the meeting can be held. (Brainerd Dispatch, 21 October 1892, p. 4, c. 3)

School District Meeting.

Notice is hereby given that a special meeting of the Brainerd School District will be held at the High School Building, in the city of Brainerd, on Monday, November 7th, 1892, at seven (7) o’clock P.M.
The object for which said meeting is called is to have the legal voters of said Brainerd School District, then and there present, vote upon the question, as provided by law, of directing the issue, by the proper authority, of the bonds of said Brainerd School District in the aggregate sum of Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000), the proceeds thereof to be used and appropriated for the purpose of purchasing sites for, and in the erection, completing and furnishing of four (4) school houses in and for said School District; said bonds, if so directed to be issued, to be in sums of One Thousand Dollars ($1,000), each, with interest coupons attached, and bearing interest at the rate of not more than six (6) per centum per annum, payable semi-annually, and be payable fifteen (15) years after their date and executed by the president of the Board of Education of said Brainerd School District and the clerk of said Board of Education, as provided by law.
Dated, Brainerd this 26th day of October, 1892.

Clerk of the Board of Education
of Brainerd School District.

(Brainerd Dispatch, 28 October 1892, p. 4, c. 4 and 04 November 1892, p. 4, c. 6)

The meeting called by the board of education at the high school building on Monday evening was quite well attended although not as largely as was expected. The object was for the purpose of discussing the desirability of issuing $50,000 bonds, the proceeds to be used in erecting public school buildings in the various wards where they are so badly needed. The meeting was addressed by several people and the matter was placed before the audience in as plain a manner as possible, Prof. Cheadle’s remarks in regard to the crowded condition of the schools, the steady increase in numbers and the inability of the teachers to do justice to the large number of pupils which they were required to care for, carrying much weight. A vote was finally taken, the result being 124 for and five against the issuance. The result is very gratifying as the sum indicated will place the means in the hands of the board with which to furnish adequate school facilities in each ward. (Brainerd Dispatch, 11 November 1892, p. 4, c. 3)

Sale of Brainerd School District

Office of the Board of Education of the Brainerd School District,

Sealed bids will be received by the Board of Education of the Brainerd School District, at its office in the city of Brainerd, Crow Wing County, Minnesota, until 12 o’clock, noon, on the 5th day of January, A. D. 1893, for the purchase of the bonds of said Brainerd School District, in the aggregate sum of $50,000. Further description of said bonds, and of the conditions attending their sale, may be had upon application to the Clerk of said Board of Education.
The said Board reserves the right to reject any and all bids.
J. C. CONGDON, President.
A. E. PENNELL, Clerk.
(Brainerd Dispatch, 18 November 1892, p. 1, c. 5 and 25 November 1892, p. 1, c. 3)

Board of Education.

A regular monthly meeting of the Board of Education was held at the high school building last evening, at which bids were opened for the $50,000 in bonds the board intends issuing with which to build new school houses. There were ten bids, the highest being by Farson, Leach & Co., of New York, through Mr. G. M. Parnell, agent. The amount bid was $4,155 premium with accrued interest to date. If money is not all wanted, he will allow 3 per cent interest for all left in his hands.
Arrangements were ordered made to condemn property in first ward for school property. The property referred to is the Huntington, Riggs and Duchane property on 6th street between Oak and Pine.
The decision of City Attorney McClenahan relative to the time of electing officers of the board was accepted, it being decided that November instead of May being the proper time. A. E. Pennell was elected secretary for the ensuing year. (Brainerd Dispatch, 06 January 1893, p. 4, c. 5)

Board of Education Meeting.

A special meeting of the Board of Education was held at the High School building on Wednesday evening to hear the report of the special committee on heating and ventilation which has recently returned from a trip to Milwaukee, and St. Paul and Minneapolis. The committee consisted of Messrs. Congdon, Winters and Titze [Titus]. Two reports were made the majority report by Messrs. Titze [Titus] and Winters, and the minority report by Mr. Congdon. The majority report recommended the Fuller and Warren hot air heater for all four new buildings, and the minority report favored the putting in of a steam heating plant in one of the eight room buildings. The majority report was accepted and the Fuller & Warren Heater was adopted for all the buildings at a cost of $6,500.
The special committee on the selection of a site for the East Brainerd Building reported in favor of purchasing block 26 in Farrar and Forsyth's addition at a cost of $3,000 which report was accepted. Block 26 is on third avenue just across the street from the old [horse drawn] street car barn.
The committee on site for the fourth ward did not report, the chairman of the committee being absent, but there was a delegation of fourth ward citizens present to protest against the proposed recommendation of the committee.
On the matter of the first ward site the board authorized proceedings for condemning the property on the corner of Sixth and Oak streets, the gentleman owning the three corner lots refusing to sell for less than $400 a lot, which is almost twice as much as they are worth. The next three lots are owned by Mr. A. P. Riggs who will sell them with a small house for $1,000 which is not unreasonable.
Bids for furnishing wood were opened and contracts awarded as follows: John Cameron, 200 cords of green pine at $2.00 a cord, Louis Nelson 50 cords at $1.90 a cord, and J. W. Jones 200 cords at $2.00 a cord.
The session of the board was a warm one and lasted until 1 o’clock. There was quite a contest on the matter of heating and considerable feeling was displayed, but the result was the adoption of the majority report. (Brainerd Dispatch, 27 January 1893, p. 4, c. 4)

Board of Education Meeting.


The secretary was on motion instructed to write to W. S. Pardee, of Minneapolis, requesting him to rush the plans and specifications of the new school houses. (Brainerd Dispatch, 03 February 1893, p. 4, c. 6)

Board of Education Meeting.

A special meeting of the board of education was held on Tuesday evening to take final action on the purchase of a site for the new school building in the fourth ward, and to complete the negotiations with the Fuller & Warren Heating company for the putting in of their system of heating in all the new buildings. The full committee on sites reported unanimously in favor of purchasing ten lots of block 17 in Sleeper’s addition, which report was accepted by the board, and purchase ordered, for a consideration of not to exceed $1,500. The committee attended a mass meeting of the citizens of the ward the previous evening, and discussed the matter, after which a vote was taken by the citizens, which was two to one in favor of the site selected. The committee recommended accordingly.


The contract with the Fuller & Warren Heating Co., was also signed at this meeting, Mr. F. Van Vechten, a representative of the company being present. The cost of the system for the four buildings will be $6500, and the company pays the expenses of the committee of the board which went to Milwaukee to investigate the merits of the system. This the company agreed to do whether their system was adopted or not.
The members of the board are satisfied that they have a splendid system of heating and ventilating for the new buildings. In speaking of this matter a prominent member of the board says: “After a thorough consideration of the proposals and the terms offered by Mr. Van Vechten, the members present voted unanimously in favor of the proposals, and the contracts were signed accordingly. This system has been adopted by the board after a thorough investigation of the systems at present in use, a committee of the board having visited St. Paul, Minneapolis and Milwaukee to inspect the systems in use in those cities. At the latter city they had an opportunity of seeing and comparing all the systems of hot air and steam heating, and also of inspecting the dry closet system, which seems to be the most perfect of its kind, it being impossible for any odors to escape into the school rooms. As a result of their investigations the committee recommended the Fuller & Warren system as being the best hot air system they had seen, and far more economical than heating by steam, which requires an additional expense, as it is necessary to introduce the single and double fan system to ventilate the rooms, and an additional cost for the dry closets. The hot air system of Fuller & Warren company does all this, and does it for all four buildings nearly as cheap as it would cost to put in steam and the dry closets in one of the eight room buildings. It is provided, also, in the contract, that on any signs of failure in the system, it shall be removed by the Fuller & Warren company at their expense, and all money paid shall be returned to the board; also a trial of one winter is given before the final payment shall be made to the company.” (Brainerd Dispatch, 10 February 1893, p. 4, c. 6)

Judge Holland has appointed H. J. Spencer, Thos. Holiday [sic] [Halladay] and Geo. A. Keene as appraisers to determine the value of the lots in block 161 which the board of education have condemned for school [Lincoln] purpose. (Brainerd Dispatch, 24 February 1893, p. 4, c. 3)

Bids For Stone.

BRAINERD, March 3, 1893.

Sealed bids will be received at the office of the undersigned for 100 cords of stone, or less, for foundation purposes. Said stone to be delivered on the proposed sites of the new school houses. Full particulars can be obtained for the next 10 days from

16-2 Sec. Board of Education.

(Brainerd Dispatch, 03 March 1893, p. 4, c. 5)

Board of Education.

The regular monthly meeting of the board of education was held at the high school last evening, all the members being present.
The text book committee reported favorably on the matter of purchasing a complete set of new maps for the different buildings, and the report was adopted. The same committee reported against the matter of purchasing an encyclopedia of political economy which was also accepted.
A communication from Mr. Lum, the attorney of the board, was read notifying them that judgment had been entered against the board in the condemnation proceedings for the first ward site, and recommending that the proper committee be authorized to satisfy the same, and also complete the purchase of the Riggs and Huntington property for the first ward site. Mr. Lum also stated that he though a quit claim deed for the old Sixth street property could be obtained soon, so that the board could sell it. The board by a unanimous vote authorized the purchasing committee to complete the purchase as recommended above.
The contractors of the city appeared before the board and protested against the form of bid for the new school houses adopted at the last meeting. They objected to the sub-contractor clause. After an hour spent in wrangling concerning the merits of the two systems, the board reconsidered its action of the previous week, and adopted the form desired by the local contractors.
The secretary was instructed to authorize Mr. Lum to correspond with Rollins & Co. concerning the bonds. It seems that the school bonds after being sold, were transferred by the purchasers to another firm, from whom nothing has been heard, although several letters have been sent to them by the secretary, and the board is getting anxious to know when they are going to get the money to pay for all their purchases and proposed buildings.
The secretary was instructed to notify Messrs. Gray & Wheatly of the return of the proposition for the old Sixth street school building.
On motion the board authorized the renting of the opera house for graduating exercises. (Brainerd Dispatch, 07 April 1893, p. 1, c. 2)

A mass meeting of the citizens of the city was held at the high school building on Wednesday evening for the purpose of voting on the proposition of allowing the board of education to dispose of the old school house sites. Although it was a mass meeting it was not very massive, as only fourteen people were present including the members of the board. The proposition carried, however, by a vote of 13 to 1. (Brainerd Dispatch, 07 April 1893, p. 4, c. 3)

A Contract Let.

The school board held a meeting on Tuesday evening for the purpose of opening bids for building the four new school houses and awarding the contract. The bids were as follows:
Emil Bruce, Minneapolis—$39,955
Leck & McLeod, Minneapolis—$39,894
Kilroe Bros., Minneapolis—$43,985
Leck & Leck, Minneapolis—$46,344
Erick Lund, Minneapolis—$43,800
A. Tollefson, Minneapolis—$39,672
Minn. Stone Co., Minneapolis—$45,987
G. M. Deeks, St. Paul—$47,987
The bid of L. Rassmuson for the First and Second ward buildings was $22,200.
Everett & Peterson bid for $22,200 on the Third and Fourth ward buildings.
Robinson & Rowley made a bid of $24,446.41 on an eight and four room building to be doubled in case they got the contract as there are two four room and two eight room buildings to construct.
The contract was awarded to Mr. Tollefson, of Minneapolis, his bid being the lowest. It was hoped that the contract would be awarded to a Brainerd man, but the board could not do otherwise as the bid of Mr. Tollefson was over $4,000 less than that of the lowest local bidder. (Brainerd Dispatch, 28 April 1893, p. 4, c. 5)

Change in School Officers.

On Tuesday evening the board of education held a meeting to perfect arrangements in regard to the hiring of a new superintendent, Superintendent Cheadle having resigned to go to Helena, Mont. Prof. B. T. Hathaway, of Owatonna, was engaged. As principal of the high school Prof. Pierce, of Minoka, Ill., was chosen. H. T. Skinner will be principal of the Lowell school and J. C. Hart of the Whittier school. The only other business transacted was the election of W. H. Bondy to superintend the construction of the four new school houses. (Brainerd Dispatch, 19 May 1893, p. 4, c. 4)

The commencement exercises of the Brainerd High School, the Class of ‘93, will take place at the Opera house on Tuesday evening, June 13th. The members are: Misses Lizzie L. Atkinson, Bertie L [sic]. Cunningham, Jennie F. Paine, Louise M. White, and Jennie B. Small. Messrs. John E. Bailey, Fred U. Davis, John H. Kirk and Herbert C. Maughan. (Brainerd Dispatch, 02 June 1893, p. 4, c. 4)

To Execute the Bonds.

The board of education held a meeting Saturday evening for the purpose of considering the bond question and other financial matters. After a full discussion the secretary was instructed, in conjunction with the president of the board, to execute fifty of the $1,000 bonds now in his hands, and he was instructed to send twenty-five of the same to Rollins & Son and draw on them for the amount with premium. The secretary was authorized to purchase a seal and to notify the county auditor under seal who the legal officers of the board were. The repair committee was authorized to remove all school furniture from rented buildings and take charge of the same the Journal was designated as the board’s official organ and the body adjourned.


Another meeting of the school board was held last night at which time Contractor Tollefson’s bond of $5,000 was approved. Ambrose Tighe was present and agreed to extend the water mains to the Third Ward school building and possibly to the Fourth ward. Secretary Pennell was instructed to draw an order for 80 per cent of the estimated amount of the material furnished and the labor done on new school houses amounting to $7,293.43.
The salary of the superintendent of schools was fixed at $1,400 per year. Additional teachers were engaged as follows: Miss Norrish, Miss Fuller, Miss Cahoon, Miss Lizzie Somers and Miss Nellie Merritt. (Brainerd Dispatch, 02 June 1893, p. 4, c. 5)

Honors of Class Day.

Brainerd High School Class of 1893. Left to right: Louise White, Beatrice Cunningham. (Seated, rear) Jennie Small, Jennie Paine. (Standing) John Bailey, Fred Davis, Herbert Maughan, Elizabeth Atkinson. (Note: John Kirk, missing.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society
Tuesday was class day of the Brainerd high school and another company of young men and women, learned and competent, were graduated. The exercises were held in the opera house and were well arranged and performed in a very creditable manner both to teachers and pupils. The graduates were nine in number and consisted of the following: Misses Lizzie Atkinson, Beatrice Cunningham, Jennie Paine, Jennie Small and Louise White; Messrs. J. H. Kirk, J. E. Bailey, H. C. Maughan and F. U. Davis. The following programme was carried out.
Invocation—Rev. J. C. Huntington
Music—Male Quartette
Opening Remarks—Supt. E. K. Cheadle
Salutatorian—“The Star of Empires,” John H. Kirk
Class President’s Address—“Majesty of Loyalty,” Fred U. Davis
Class History—Beatrice T [sic]. Cunningham
Duet—Messrs. Helme and Webb
Unveiling of class Motto—Louise M. White
Oration—”Liberty the Outgrowth of Tyranny,” John E. Bailey
Class Declaimer—”Briar Rose,” Jennie Paine
Solo—S. F. Alderman
Class Prophecy—Jennie Small
Valedictory—“The Gates of the Future,” Lizzie L. Atkinson
Music—Quartette of Girls
Remarks—Principal W. C. Cobb
Presentation of Diplomas—Supt. E. K. Cheadle
Benediction—Rev. E. G. Sanderson
(Brainerd Dispatch, 16 June 1893, p. 1, c. 4)

Board of Education Meeting.

The board of education held its regular monthly meeting last evening, all the members being present.
Mrs. Cahoon’s resignation as teacher was read and referred to committee on teachers.
Communication from Leon E. Lum in reference to title of lot 3, block 17, Sleeper’s addition was referred to the committee on grounds.
Bill of Architect Pardee for $200 for additional plans was referred to the building committee.
Report of building committee approving of Kasota cut stone was accepted.
The secretary was instructed to draw an order for 80 per cent of the bill of Contractor Tomlinson [sic] for work finished as per report of the Supt. of construction. Amount of bill $12,000.
The secretary was instructed to advertise for bids for the sale and removal of old buildings on the new school site in the first ward; also the building in the Fourth ward. And also for the sale of the building and six lots, either as a whole or separately, in Haines addition.
Finance committee was granted further time on Prof. Cheadle’s financial report.
On motion the matter of purchasing seats was left in the hands of the purchasing committee to report at the next meeting.
Repair committee was instructed to look over the sites and report what cleaning of ground is necessary.
The secretary was instructed to make drafts on E. H. Rollins & Sons purchaser of the bonds, for $15,000 with premium and interest to date.
Committee on janitors was requested to make a report at the next regular meeting as to the salaries to be paid for janitor services for new school house.
Board adjourned. (Brainerd Dispatch, 07 July 1893, p. 4, c. 4)

The school board finds itself in a position where it is necessary to ask the state for a loan of $35,000 in order to complete the four new school houses in course of construction. The reason of this is that the eastern parties who bought the bonds issued for that purpose will not take the last twenty-five bonds leaving an amount something like $27,000. The vote upon this matter will probably be unanimous in its favor, as in case they were voted down work on all the school houses would stop at once. The meeting is called for Friday evening, Aug. 4, at 8 o’clock, in the Washington school building. (Brainerd Dispatch, 28 July 1893, p. 1, c. 3)

The newly elected principal of the High school, W. H. Pierce, arrived in Brainerd Thursday morning. (Brainerd Dispatch, 28 July 1893, p. 4, c. 3)

Want a Loan.

The board of education held a meeting on Tuesday evening at the Washington school building, a full board being present. The stated object of the meeting was for the purpose of considering the application to the state for a loan of $35,000 for the construction of school houses and purchase of furniture, on account of the refusal of Messrs. Rollins & Sons to take the bonds which they purchased some time ago. It was therefore resolved to call a meeting of the voters of the school district for the purpose of voting on the question on Friday evening, Aug. 4, 1893. In the meantime the school board will cause circulars to be printed fully explaining the situation so that the public may be intelligently informed before they are asked to act. (Brainerd Dispatch, 28 July 1893, p. 4, c. 5)

School Meeting.

The Board of Education held a meeting last evening, at which time considerable business was transacted. Contractor Tollefson was allowed $2,000 on the July estimate, the same to be taken from the operating fund for the time being. There is still $7,000 due him on the estimate for the same month.
A bill for an addition $200 was presented by W. S. Pardee, the architect, but as he had already received $500 the board disallowed the bill.
Bids for furnishing 600 school seats were opened and contracts awarded to D. M. Clark & Co., of Brainerd and School Seat Co., of Marshall, Mich.
Secretary was instructed to demand payment on the $25,000 bonds of Farson, Leach & Co., in order to be in position to commence suit for damages.
In case the bond question to be voted on tonight carries the $25,000 in bonds will be destroyed and a resolution to that effect was passed.
It was also arranged that J. C. Congdon go to St. Paul and close up the deal with the state at once in regard to the loan if the vote is favorable. This action was taken to save time. (Brainerd Dispatch, 04 August 1893, p. 4, c. 6)

The school board held a meeting Wednesday evening for the purpose of authorizing the president and secretary to execute and sign state bonds for the $35,000 loan. After transacting that business the board adjourned. (Brainerd Dispatch, 11 August 1893, p. 4, c. 3)

School Board Meeting.

A special meeting of the board of education was held at the high school for the purpose of electing janitors of the new school houses, and other important business.
On motion the salary of the janitors of the eight room buildings was fixed at $40 a month, and of the four room buildings at $25.
Bills of H. I. Cohen for $2, and New and Towers for $184.28 were allowed.
The election of janitors was then taken up with the following result:
B. P. Nelson, janitor Lincoln school; H. J. Hagadorn, janitor Whittier school; Wm. Powers, janitor Lowell school; Theo. Kerr, janitor Harrison school.
J. C. Congdon, who was delegated to negotiate with the state for a loan of $35,000, reported that he had been successful, and the report was accepted.
On motion the treasurer was instructed to furnish $35,000 additional bonds to cover that amount be held for building purposes.
On motion the secretary was instructed to order 600 seats, 300 from Marshall Furniture Co., and 300 from Minneapolis Co., as per bids accepted at the last meeting.
J. C. Congdon on motion was allowed $65.40 for expenses incurred in securing the loan.
Board adjourned. (Brainerd Dispatch, 18 August 1893, p. 4, c. 6)

The fall term of school in this city will not open until Sept. 18th, on account of the new school houses not being completed. The high school will open Sept. 4th. (Brainerd Dispatch, 25 August 1893, p. 4, c. 4)

Special School Board Meeting.

A special meeting of the school board was held on Monday evening for the purpose of electing teachers and transacting business in relation to the new buildings. The committee on teachers made a report which was accepted and the follower new teachers were elected by ballot:
Miss Sarah E. Lewis, assistant of the high school; Miss Lizzie Atkinson, intermediate, Miss Caroline Rich, intermediate; Miss Constance Gillman, intermediate; Miss Georgia Congdon, substitute.
The report of committee on teachers recommending that Mrs. Cahoon’s resignation be not accepted was adopted.
The secretary was instructed to place insurance to the amount of $40,000 on the new school buildings.
The report of the building committee was accepted and the repair committee was instructed to advertise for bids for repairing and varnishing the old seats.
A motion to the effect that contractor Tollefson forfeit $50 a day for every day that the school houses remain unfinished after September 16, was unanimously carried.
The report of the superintendent of construction was received and the secretary instructed to draw an order of 80 per cent of the estimate, amounting to $6,891.01, in favor of Contractor Tollefson after he has signed the agreement relative to the completion of buildings.
The building on the Fourth ward school site was sold to Chas. Mylund for $41.50. (Brainerd Dispatch, 25 August 1893, p. 4, c. 5)

Board of Education Notes.

At the special meeting of the board of education on Friday night of last week the bids of N. E. Paine and James New for plumbing the four school houses were opened, and John Hurley moved to reject both bids. This not meeting with a second the same gentleman moved to second Mr. New’s bid on the ground that it was the lowest. This was objected to by Mr. Britton as the bid was not received in the specified time, and the chairman ruled that the objection was well taken. Mr. Hurley then retired from the meeting, and the contract was let to N. E. Paine, bonds satisfactory to the board to be presented, Messrs. Congdon, Hagberg and Britton voting in the affirmative, and Mr. Preston in the negative, Mr. Winters being excused.
At the special meeting on Saturday evening the contract for cleaning, repairing and varnishing the school seats was awarded to C. G. McDonald and S. J. Kelly. The bonds of N. E. Paine were presented, but no action was taken.
On Tuesday evening a third special meeting was held at the request of the building committee for the purpose of adjusting differences between the board and Contractor Tollefson. The bond of C. G. McDonald with A. Everett as surety was accepted, the work of said McDonald to be completed by September 16.
Six seats were sold to H. Patterson for the Deerwood district at $1 each.
The differences between the board and Mr. Tollefson in regard to certain wood work to be done on heating plant, was referred to the building committee.
The regular monthly meeting of the board was held last evening. The reading of the minutes of previous meetings and adopting of committee reports consumed some time. The payment of $750 interest on 25 bonds due July 1st was ordered.
The claim of the board against Farson, Leech & Co., was referred to finance committee.
The report of the text book committee on inventory of high school library was read and accepted, and the key to the library was ordered turned over to the principal of the high school.
Bill of W. H. Bondy for salary was ordered paid.
The matter of carpenter work connected with the plumbing on the new buildings was left in the hands of the superintendent of buildings with power to act.
Bill of Olmstead & Co., $161.50, was allowed and ordered paid, the same being for maps, etc.
Communication from the Marshal School Furniture Co. was read, and the secretary was instructed to write them declining to purchase desks as they cannot fulfill their part of the contract entered into by their authorized agent, all members voting yes on the motion except Mr. Congdon.
The bond of N. E. Paine was read and considered and a motion made that it be approved. This was amended by a motion to lie on the table until the next regular meeting, which was carried.
A motion was made and carried that the purchasing committee at once procure from the Minneapolis School Furniture Co. 354 school desks and 46 rears. The price to be paid to conform to the bid of that company.
A committee of one from each ward, together with the superintendent, was appointed to decide what rooms in each new building shall be opened up and made ready to occupy. (Brainerd Dispatch, 08 September 1893, p. 4, c. 5)

J. C. Congdon, as president of the board of education, has notified the teachers of the city schools through the official paper that on account of the impossibility to complete the school houses the regular session of all grades below the high school will not begin until further notice. It was expected to begin all the schools on the 18th, but it will be the 25th if not later before the new buildings will be in condition to occupy. (Brainerd Dispatch, 15 September 1893, p. 4, c. 3)

President Congdon, of the board of education, informs the DISPATCH that the city schools will begin either on Monday or Tuesday morning. A meeting of the board will be held this evening. (Brainerd Dispatch, 29 September 1893, p. 4, c. 3)

School Board Doings.

On Friday evening last a meeting of the school board was held at which C. L. Young was engaged as assistant high school principal at a salary of $60 per month.
The matter of claims against contractor Tollefson was referred to a committee.
On Saturday evening a meeting was held at which time the new school buildings were accepted. The proposition of Contractor Tollefson to settle his own bills and to grant school orders to those who preferred them was accepted.
On Tuesday evening the board again assembled to settle matters with the contractor. The old buildings on the First ward site were sold to Mrs. Frank Osborn for $15, she to remove them at once. A bill of $44 for extra work was allowed. A. Tollefson, and the secretary was instructed to draw orders in favor of all parties to whom Contractor Tollefson had given orders on the board for labor and material, and the secretary was instructed to give the contractor an order for balance due him.
Last evening a further meeting was held at which time part of the pupils from the Washington school were ordered sent to the Lincoln school to relieve the primary grades.
Miss Bessie Small was made principal of the Lincoln school.
The finance committee submitted its report and recommended that a tax levy of 10 mills for the year be made. On motion the levy was raised to 12 mills. (Brainerd Dispatch, 06 October 1893, p. 4, c. 6)

The board of education held a special meeting on Wednesday evening, nothing but routine business being transacted. Another room in the Harrison school was ordered opened and additional seats purchased for the new rooms recently opened. A new oak side walk was also ordered laid in front of the Lincoln school on Sixth street. (Brainerd Dispatch, 13 October 1893, p. 4, c. 3)

Special School Meeting.

At a special school board meeting held on Thursday evening at the high school building the bid of D. M. Clark & Co., for furnishing storm sash for the Washington school was accepted, the price being $142.46.
The petition from the third ward citizens asking the board not to transfer the grammar grade from the third ward to the second ward, and signed by 51 citizens, was read. The petition was referred to the committee on teachers, asking them to report at the next regular meeting.
The repair committee was authorized to put up the storm sash. (Brainerd Dispatch, 17 November 1893, p. 4, c. 5)

President Congdon’s Protest.

J. C. Congdon, president of the board of education entered the following protest to the proceedings of the board at a special meeting held last Saturday evening, and the business was practically re-transacted last evening in business form:
To the Board of Education, Brainerd School District:
As a member of the board, nor as president of the board, can I approve of the attempt to hold a special meeting of this board and transact business, that without a compliance with the by-laws adopted by this board as to notice of special meetings. I also desire to protest against the unbusiness like method of doing business, in usurping the rights of the repair committee by taking the business from them, and contracting the same before the said committee reported their work and recommendation to the board. I further desire to say that I absolutely disapprove of doing business or making contracts as pursued by one of said committee, in accepting the bid for storm sash for the Washington building with no specifications by the board. Such a method of doing business would not be adopted by us in doing our own private business, and it would seem to be the duty of this board to take the same care of the interests of the district that they would take for their own interest. For the reasons above set forth, I cannot approve, as president of the board, of any action taken at the meeting of Nov. 11, 1893.
President Board of Education.
Dated Nov. 14th, 1893.
(Brainerd Dispatch, 17 November 1893, p. 4, c. 6)

School Board Meeting.

A special meeting of the board of education was held on Monday evening to consider bids for wood, and hear the report of the special committee appointed for the purpose of looking up Mr. Tollefson’s bond. The contract for 300 cords of green jack pine wood was let to J. W. Jones at $1.75 per cord, and also to Larson & Walters for 150 cords at $1.78 per cord. the special committee reported that a decision from the attorney general had been given stating that Mr. Tollefson’s bond was legal. The committee recommended that if the Tollefson creditors assign their claims to the board, as trustee, and assume all expenses of a suit, and save the board free from all claims and costs whatsoever, then and in that case the board in behalf of the creditors, will sue the bondsmen for the sum of $5,000, but otherwise not. The motion to adopt the report was carried, and the board adjourned. (Brainerd Dispatch, 22 December 1893, p. 4, c. 6)

Bring a Good Premium.

The board of education met on Friday evening of last week and disposed of the $40,000 worth of school bonds. The bids on the same were as follows:
Farson, Leach & Co.—$42,883.50
N. W. Harris & Co.—$42,627.00
W. J. Hayes & Sons—$42,526.00
Lamprecht Bros.—$42,400
Minn. Loan & Trust Co.—$41,400.00
Geo. A. Lewis & Co.—$41,157.00
By a unanimous vote of the board the bid of N. W. Harris & Co. was accepted. (Brainerd Dispatch, 27 April 1894, p. 4, c. 4)

Opening of the Kindergarten.

Miss Lucy Sterns will open a kindergarten school at the Guild rooms on Monday morning, May 6th, and will be assisted in the work by Mrs. J. C. Atherton. Miss Stearns has just returned from Minneapolis where she has been fitting herself for the work for some months past and has undergone a thorough training in all the branches, having also the advantage of practice as she was actively engaged in teaching while there. The age of pupils who will be received at the kindergarten to be opened next Monday will be from 3 to 7 years and the tuition fee will be $1.00 per week, except where there are two pupils from the same family in which case the price will be 75 cents. The hours will be from 9 to 12 o'clock each day except Saturdays and in cases where the children live too far from the school a conveyance will be furnished. (Brainerd Dispatch, 03 May 1895, p. 4, c. 5)

Price Reduced.

Being desirous of reaching more children and interesting more parents in the kindergarten, I have reduced my price to 50 cents per week for one and 75 cents for two in the same family, and until further notice the kindergarten will be conducted at the residence of Mrs. J. C. Atherton, corner of Main and Second Streets.
(Brainerd Dispatch, 17 May 1895, p. 4, c. 5)

Commencement Notes.

On Friday evening of next week, June 14th, the commencement exercises of the graduating class will be held at the opera house. The public is invited to attend.
The Baccalaureate exercises of the graduating class will be held in the Congregational church next Sunday evening. Rev. Edmands will deliver the sermon.
The senior class had a picnic Wednesday at Gilbert Lake, the young ladies of the party preparing an excellent lunch, and an excellent time was enjoyed. (Brainerd Dispatch, 07 June 1895, p. 4, c. 4)

Commencement Exercises.

Brainerd High School Class of 1895. (Front row, left to right) Olive M. Knevett, George H. Smith, Flora L. Halsted. (Second row) Fred W. McKay, B. T. Hathaway, Superintendent, Professor Young, Earl P. Mallory. (Back row) Ethel M. Fulton, Ben. J. Smith, Jessie I. McKay, William A. Spencer.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society
The commencement exercises of the graduating class of the high school takes place this evening at the opera house, and the occasion will be a very interesting one, especially to the intimate friends of the graduates.
The programme is as follows:
Address by Class President—Wm. A. Spencer.
Oration and Salutatory, “The Destiny of America,” Geo. H. Smith.
“Class Chronicles”—Olive M. Knevett.
Address by Class Orator—”The Progress of Civil Liberty,” Earl P. Mallory.
Oration—”Pen Pictures of Bismarck,” Benj. J. Smith.
Class Prophecy—”Painted Pictures,” Flo. L. Halsted.
Oration—”The Nicaragua Canal,” Fred W. McKay.
Address to Juniors—Ethel May Fulton.
Valedictory—”The Class Motto,” Jessie I. McKay.
(Brainerd Dispatch, 14 June 1895, p. 4, c. 4)

Closed the West Brainerd School.

The board of education held their regular session on Monday evening. Regular business was transacted and a contract was entered into with T. L. Miller to saw all school wood at 30 cents per cord. A contract was also entered into with H. J. Spencer to supply all school houses with spring water at $10 per quarter.
The purchasing committee was empowered to procure a supply of laboratory apparatus from W. A. Olmsted, of Chicago. The matter of purchasing new textbooks, chairs and other supplies was left in the hands of committee.
The repair committee was instructed to prepare a room in the old Sixth street building for school purposes, the West Brainerd school having been closed by a unanimous vote of the members present. The reason given for the action is that there were but twelve resident scholars in attendance, and the total enrollment was 20. As the schools in other parts of the city are crowded it was deemed advisable to open a room in the Sixth street building, and place the West Brainerd teacher in charge, where 45 children could receive the benefit that was being given to twelve. The change was made as a matter of economy. (Brainerd Dispatch, 11 October 1895, p. 4, c. 6)

West Brainerd School Matter.

The board of education held a special meeting on Monday evening for the purpose of hearing the report of the committee appointed to examine the matter of opening the West Brainerd school. The report showed that there were eleven children eligible to attend said school, and a motion was made and carried that the school not be re-opened, but that a committee, consisting of Messrs. Pennell, Preston and Hurley, be appointed to confer with the county superintendent and request him to lay the matter before the county commissioners and request them to open a district school in that section. (Brainerd Dispatch, 24 January 1896, p. 4, c. 6)

Senior Class News.

The long looked for certificates arrived last Friday, and gladdened the hearts of many.
The Senior Class organized and elected the following officers:
President—Daisy E. Millspaugh
Secretary—Nell B. Nelson
Treasurer—Elizabeth Prince
Also the honors for commencement exercises have been elected as follows:
Valedictorian—Lena Mix
Salutatorian—Harry McKay
Orator—Wm. L. Bean
Class President—Daisy E. Millspaugh
Class Prophet—Florene G. Merritt
Class Historian—Elizabeth D. Prince
Class Motto—Alice G. Hurley
Class Essayist—Millicent V. Mahlum
Class Declaimer—Nell B. Nelson
Address to Juniors—Inez C. Eastman.
The class have chosen for colors: pale blue and gold. They have selected for their motto those simple but expressive words: “Toil, Trial, Victory.”
We understand that the Juniors organized last Friday, and we suppose Whitely and Burns were there. They no doubt made it a very interesting meeting.
We regret to say that those noble Juniors have not yet learned the use of the cloak room, but decorate the walls and ceiling of the high school room with their caps and overshoes, much to the displeasure of the rest of the school.


(Brainerd Dispatch, 03 April 1896, p. 4, c. 5)

Senior High School Class.

The article which appears below was ordered printed by the board of education at its meeting on Monday evening, in order that any misunderstanding which might have arisen from the items published in our last issue by “The Class Editors,” which were handed us for publication, may be righted:
The communication which appeared in the last issue of the Dispatch over the signature of “The Class Editors.” was to some extent misleading in the information which it conveyed to the public. The Board of Education decided at its last meeting to have this statement fully corrected by publishing the names of all the members of the Senior class in the High School. The following names of all the members of the present Senior class appear in the order of their standing and scholarship, as the same has been recorded in the High School register.
Jay S. Patek,
Lena Mix,
Millicent V. Mahlum,
Florene G. Merritt,
Daisy Millspaugh,
Wm. L. Bean,
Henry S. McKay,
Elizabeth Prince,
Inez Eastman,
Nellie B. Nelson,
Alice G. Hurley.
The above order of scholarship and standings of each individual member of the Senior class may or may not be changed as a result of the next state examination in June. The Board of Education understand from the Superintendent’s report rendered at the last meeting that there is a grave doubt in his mind whether all of the above named members will obtain credits enough to warrant him in recommending all of said class for the honors of graduation. All of said class may participate in the commencement exercises.


(Brainerd Dispatch, 10 April 1896, p. 1, c. 3)

Miss Lucy Stearns will re-open her kindergarten on Monday May 4th, in the north room of the Baptist church. Prices the same as last term. School hours from 9:30 until noon. (Brainerd Dispatch, 24 April 1896, p. 4, c. 5)

These Graduated.

On Friday evening last at the Sleeper opera house the commencement exercises of the Brainerd High School occurred at which time Henry S. McKay, Daisy E. Millspaugh, Elizabeth D. Prince, Alice G. Hurley, Inez C. Eastman, Jay S. Patek, William L. Bean, Millicent V. Mahlum, Florene F [sic] [G]. Merritt and Lena N. Mix received their diplomas. The exercises were exceedingly fine, but space will not admit of an individual mention of each member of the class. The audience assembled to listen to the oratory and essay filled the spacious building and many were unable to gain admission, the aisles and every available inch of space being occupied. (Brainerd Dispatch, 19 June 1896, p. 4, c. 4)

Greeting from the Class of ‘97.

The Senior Class of the High School held a meeting February 24th, with the following members enrolled: Belle Wilson, Mabel Early, Geo. F. Murphy, Keivin Burns and Eugene Whiteley. At this meeting officers were elected as follows:
President—Mabel Early,
Secretary—Belle Wilson,
Treasurer—Geo. F. Murphy.
Class adjourned until the next regular meeting, March 5th, at which time committees on motto, yell, color, flower, invitation, pins. etc., were appointed. The Class Extends a greeting to the public.
(Brainerd Dispatch, 12 March 1897, p. 4, c. 5)

The Class of ‘97.

Commencement exercises of the graduating class of the High School will be held at the opera house on Friday evening, June 11th, 1897. The class this year is very small, consisting of but four scholars, two misses, Mabel Marie Early and Anna Belle Wilson, and two young gentlemen, Geo. F. Murphy and Keiven Burns. The class motto is “Constantia Successum Promittit.” The following is the programme of exercises:
Salutatory and President’s Address—Mabel Marie Early
Class oration, “The Democracy of the Future”—George F. Murphy
Essay, “The Latin Race”—Anna Belle Wilson
Oration and Valedictory, “Constantia Successum Promittit”—Keiven Burns
(Brainerd Dispatch, 28 May 1897, p. 4, c. 5)

Juniors Elect Officers.

The Juniors of the Brainerd High School on Tuesday evening organized by the election of the following officers:
President, Fritz M. Hagberg; vice president, Gertrude F. Caughie; secretary, Lenora L. Peabody; treasurers, Rose F. Lillig; class editor, David B. Rosenblatt. (Brainerd Dispatch, 01 October 1897, p. 8, c. 2)

Commencement Exercises.

The graduating exercises of the Brainerd High school will occur this Friday evening at Gardner Hall, and a very interesting program has been arranged as follows:

Invocation—Rev. Father Lynch
Selection—Aeolian Quartette
Salutatory and Essay—Common Sense, Genius and Learning, Jessie P. Gibb
Song—Fly Away Birdling, Misses Marie Edwards, Gertrude Wilson and Dollie Stratton
Essay—Nature’s Voices, Mary A. Doran
Solo—Mr. Joseph Murphy
Class Oration—The Cuban Question, James J. Nolan
Duet—Mrs. Atherton and Miss Mitchell
Class Prophecy and Address to Juniors—Edith V. Fulton
Solo—Mr. S. F. Alderman
Valedictory—Class Motto, “Not Finished, But Begun,” Mabel R. Patterson
Selection—Star Quartette
Presentation of Diplomas
The graduates are Miss Mabel R. Patterson, Miss Edith V. Fulton, Miss Mary A. Doran, Miss Jessie P. Gibb, and James J. Nolan. (Brainerd Dispatch, 10 June 1898, p. 8, c. 4)

Miss Bertha M. Rhodes will open a kindergarten in the Guild room of the Episcopal church on Monday morning, July 11th, at 9 o’clock. Miss Rhodes has taken a two- year’s course with Miss Gean [sic] McCarthy of Froebel Normal Kindergarten College of Minneapolis and also conducted a successful kindergarten school at Little Falls during the past year. (Brainerd Dispatch, 08 July 1898, p. 8, c. 1)

The DISPATCH inadvertently failed to mention last week that Henry I. Cohen, the Front street dry goods merchant, had made a present to the board of education of five fine flags, one for each of the school buildings in the city. The old flags on the various buildings had become faded and worn, and Mr. Cohen in his intense patriotism determined that in these stirring war times bright new flags would be more appropriate, and with characteristic generosity made the board a present of a flag for each building. The board at its meeting on Monday night accepted the flags and gave Mr. Cohen a vote of thanks. (Brainerd Dispatch, 05 August 1898, p. 8, c. 1)

The Class of ‘96.

On Friday the Class of ‘96 met with their president, Miss Daisy Milspaugh, where they spent a most enjoyable evening.
Father time was cheated by the reminiscences of former days, and once more they were happy-hearted school children.
After refreshments had been served a business meeting was held.
The records of the organization were entrusted to the care of Miss Nellie B. Nelson.
Committees were appointed for the entertainment next year, and for the purpose of organizing an Alumni Association.
The work of these committees will be published later for the benefit of all graduates of B. H. S.
The class parted with the class yell ringing in their ears and echoed in their hearts. CLASS EDITORS. (Brainerd Dispatch, 23 September 1898, p. 8, c. 3)


Commencement Exercises of the Brain-
erd High School to be Held
Tuesday, June 5th.

The commencement exercises of the graduating class of the Brainerd High School will be held at Gardner Hall on Tuesday evening, June 5th. The class of 1900 will not be large consisting of only four young ladies as follows: Miss Mabel McKay, Miss Florence Shepherd, Miss Mamie Bolin and Mis Georgia Martin. They all graduate from the Latin-Scientific course, which admits them without further examination to the State University.
The exercises will consist of the reading of an essay by each member of the class and music and addresses appropriate to the occasion. The programme has not yet been fully prepared, hence we are unable to give it to our readers this week, but will give it in full in our next issue.
Following the commencement exercises the graduates will be given a banquet at the Arlington Hotel probably, by the Alumni association of the school, for which a fine program of entertainment is being arranged in addition to the feast.
The state examinations for the members of the 8th grade and the high school will be held all next week except Memorial Day. (Brainerd Dispatch, 25 May 1900, p. 1, c. 5)


Of the Brainerd High School at
Gardner Hall on Tuesday

Four Young Ladies Composed the
Class—a Large Audience in

The commencement exercises of the graduating class of the Brainerd High school were held at Gardner Hall on Tuesday evening, before an audience that filled every foot of space of the spacious hall. It was composed of the best and most representative people of the city, who were present not only to enjoy the exercises, but by their presence attest their interest in the welfare of the schools.
The stage decorations were not elaborate, but very beautiful in their simplicity. An immense flag, the starry banner, was draped in the rear of the stage, forming an artistic background. A pyramid of potted plants occupied the center of the rear of the stage, and on either side extending to the wings were seats for the graduates and teachers of the high school. The front of the stage was also decorated with potted plants and flowers and the class colors, pink and green, were draped from the stage to the chandelier. The class motto “Altior et Altior,” appeared in large letters over the stage. The stage was occupied by Prof. Hartley, Prof. Hanft, and Misses Newman and Fox, Fred Swanson, who delivered the opening address, and the four graduates.
An overture by the Kelsey orchestra at 8:30 opened the exercises. Fred Swanson, of the sophomore class of the high school, made the opening address, in a very creditable manner.
Miss Marian A. Bolin was the first member of the class to greet the audience, and presented an essay on “My Observations on School Life.” She was perfectly at ease and spoke in clear and distinct tones that could be plainly heard in every portion of the large hall. Her gestures were easy and graceful, and her manner was so earnest and forceful as to carry conviction. She was generously applauded at the close, and was the recipient of several bouquets of fragrant flowers from admiring friends in the audience.
Miss Bolin was followed by a baritone solo by S. F. Alderman. Mr. Alderman was given an encore and he responded with “Davey Jones,” which greatly delighted the audience.
“Visible Air” was the subject of an essay by Miss Florence May Shepherd. Miss Shepherd treated the subject in an exceedingly interesting and able manner, and showed how the future progress of the world was dependent on visible or liquid air, as it undoubtedly would be the only motive power of the future which would be as boundless as the air itself. Her tones were so low that many in the audience could not hear her, but all who did greatly enjoyed her essay.
“The Uses of Photography” were explained by Miss Georgia May Martin in a very able and interesting essay, which she delivered in a very creditable manner. She also spoke too low to give the entire audience the benefit of her very able production.
The Aeolian Quartette next favored the audience with a selection. This quartette is a great favorite with Brainerd audiences, and did not fail to please. They sang a comical song for an encore that was exceedingly pleasing.
Miss Mabel Sarah McKay was the last of the class to greet the audience. Her essay on “Secrets of the Deep” was very able and instructive, and Miss McKay presented it with such force and expression as to hold the close attention of the large audience during its delivery. She was distinctly heard in all parts of the audience. She delivered the class farewell to the teachers and scholars and to the board of education with an earnestness and touch of feeling that affected all present.
A song by the Misses Mayme Mitchell, Bertie Robinson and Lucy Stearns followed, after which Prof. Hartley presented the diplomas to the class in a short but appropriate address, which concluded the exercises. (Brainerd Dispatch, 08 June 1900, p. 1, c.’s 3 & 4)

Special Board Meeting.

A special meeting of the board of education was held Tuesday evening. A resolution was adopted by the board requiring all scholars attending school to be vaccinated, the rule to go into effect Jan. 1st. A resolution was also adopted that the board pay for the material for vaccinating all scholars unable to pay, the doctors to perform the work gratis.
A communication from the city clerk with reference to the city using the West Brainerd school house as a pest house was received and the board fixed the price at which the city could buy it at $250.
Another special meeting of the board will be held tonight to consider bids for furnishing wood. (Brainerd Dispatch, 21 December 1900, p. 1, c. 6)

Must be Vaccinated.

Superintendent Torrens on Tuesday, by direction of the board, issued the following order:
1. Teachers and pupils who have not been vaccinated must be vaccinated today, or excluded from school tomorrow.
2. All teachers and pupils who have not been vaccinated within a month must present a certificate of successful vaccination within seven years, or supposed immunity from small pox, not later than next Monday morning.
3. Those vaccinated within a month will be accepted on presentation of a certificate stating that they have been vaccinated, and the necessary time will be given them for obtaining a certificate of successful vaccination.
4. Those successfully vaccinated within 7 years, who have not received a certificate of vaccination, or who have lost the certificate, may obtain one from any physician free of charge.
5. Those persons who are unable to pay for vaccination for their children may have them vaccinated free of charge by applying to any physician of the city, and stating the facts. (Brainerd Dispatch, 11 January 1901, p. 5, c. 2)

Special Board Meeting.


A large delegation of citizens, mostly from the Third ward, were present to protest against the rule of the board concerning vaccination. One man suggested that he and others left the old country because he objected to being ruled by a king, and came to this country because he expected he would be free, but found he was tyrannized by the school board and the doctors. This sentiment met with the approval of the delegation, as it was heartily applauded. The board, however, stood pat.


(Brainerd Dispatch, 25 January 1901, p. 4, c. 4)

Judge Lewis, of the Ramsey county district court, has decided that the board of education had the right to exclude unvaccinated children from the schools, thus sustaining Judge McClenahan. (Brainerd Dispatch, 29 March 1901, p. 4, c. 1)

The high school girls have organized a basketball team and expect to give an exhibition game in a short time. (Brainerd Dispatch, 22 February 1901, p. 16, c. 2)

A game of basketball will be played tomorrow evening at Gardner Hall between two teams of high school girls, after which the boys team will give and exhibition game. An admission fee of 25 cents will be charged. (Brainerd Dispatch, 01 March 1901, p. 8, c. 1)

A match game of basketball was played at Gardner Hall on Friday evening between two teams of high school girls. The girls composing the teams were Edna Clouston, Vera Nevers, Edith Smith, Anna Gorenflo and Alberta Bean in one team and Carrie Mahlum, Genevieve Bush, Carrie Tyler, Mabel Brown and Christie Pierce the other. Miss Clouston and Miss Mahlum were captains, and Miss Mahlum’s team won by a score of 9 to 5. Guy Bean refereed the game and Edna Boyle was umpire. A large and enthusiastic crowd of spectators witnessed the game. After the game by the young ladies, an exhibition game was played between the boys’ high school team and the Juniors of the Y. M. C. A., the latter winning by a score of 21 to 10. (Brainerd Dispatch, 08 March 1901, p. 8, c. 1)

Another basketball team known as the Defenders, has been organized by Brainerd high school girls, and will give their first game at Gardner Hall on Saturday evening, March 23, at 8 o’clock. Admission will be 25 cents. This team is said to be the best in the city. (Brainerd Dispatch, 15 March 1901, p. 8, c. 2)

The Girls’ High School basketball team of this city is composed of the following young ladies, who will probably all go to St. Cloud chaperoned by Mrs. Geo. Whitney: Edna Clouston, Vera Nevers, Edith Smith, Anna Gorenflo, Alberta Bean, Carrie Mahlum, Genevieve Bush, Carrie Tyler, Mabel Brown and Christie Pierce. (Brainerd Dispatch, 22 March 1901, p. $, c. 4)


by the Board of Education to Provide
Funds to Build New School


The Meeting will be Held at Gardner
Hall—A Full Attendance

A special meeting of the board of education was held on Saturday evening to consider the matter of providing room to accommodate the school children of the city the coming year. The schools are now crowded to overflowing, notwithstanding four new rooms were added to the Lincoln school the first of this school year, and the attendance is increasing rapidly. With the influx of new residents during the coming summer, it is morally certain more than 200 scholars will be unable to find school room next September unless additional room is provided. It was to consider this situation that the special meeting was called. After discussion the situation the board thought it best to lay the entire matter before the citizens of the city and let them decide what it is best to do, and a motion to appoint a committee to call a mass meeting was carried. Messrs. Johnson, Groves, Dickinson, Storm and Preston were appointed.
The committee met on Tuesday evening and decided to call the mass meeting at Gardner Hall on Wednesday evening, March 27th.
The meeting will be called on to consider not only the matter of providing room, but to provide funds to do so. The indebtedness of the district is now so large that money cannot be loaned from the state school fund unless the legislature passes the law raising the percent of indebtedness allowed from 7 to 15 per cent of the valuation. Bonds will have to be issued to the amount necessary to make the improvement, as the board has no funds on hand.
The board has considered two plans, first, to enlarge the Harrison school into an eight room building, giving four additional rooms, or second, make an addition to the high school, which will give six new rooms. The first can be done for about $10,000, while the second will cost about $25,000. (Brainerd Dispatch, 22 March 1901, p. 1, c. 3)

A meeting of the Brainerd Alumni Association was held at the Arlington Hotel parlors on Monday night. It was decided to give a banquet to the graduating class of 1901 some time during the first week of June, the place of holding the banquet, the price per plate and the program to be decided at a meeting next Monday night at the Arlington parlors. (Brainerd Dispatch, 10 May 1901, p. 10, c. 1)

Commencement Exercises.

The commencement exercises of the Class of 1901, of the Brainerd High School, will be held at Gardner Hall, Tuesday or Wednesday evening, June 4th or 5th, the date not being definitely determined. The programme has not been arranged as yet, but will be ready for publication next week. The graduating class this year is composed of ten, three boys and seven girls, and with one exception is the largest class in the history of the school. The members are: Lottie White, Katie Pierce, Dottie Sorenson, Eloise Smith, Muriel Burrell, Ella Mitchell, Katherine Cosgrove, Edgar Parks, Walter Hinman and Frank McGivern. (Brainerd Dispatch, 17 May 1901, p. 4, c. 3)

The banquet of the Brainerd High School Alumni Association in honor of the class of 1901, will be held at Walker Hall. The date not having been decided as yet. It will be prepared by the Ladies’ Aid Society of the Congregational church, which insures its superior quality. (Brainerd Dispatch, 24 May 1901, p. 8, c. 4)


at Gardner Hall, Wednesday Evening,
June 5th—An Elaborate Pro-
gram Arranged.

The commencement exercises of the graduating class of 1901 of the Brainerd High School will be held at Gardner Hall on Wednesday evening June 5th, the invitations being issued yesterday. The class colors are old rose and cream, and the motto is Non scholae sed vitae discimus. The class organization is officered as follows; Lottie Elizabeth White, president, Eloise Smith vice president, Dottie Sorenson secretary, Francis Chas. McGivern, treasurer. The following is the programme:
Music—Graham’s Orchestra
Invocation—Rev. D. W. Lynch
Address of Welcome—Lottie Elizabeth White
Essay, Patriotism—Muriel Burrell
Instrumental Solo, selected—Jennie Mysen
Essay, The Future of Brainerd—Edgar Kay Parks
Essay, Habit—Ella Mitchell
Essay, Athletics—Walter Clifford Hinman
Duet selected—Frank and Gene McCarthy
Essay, Who is Brave?—Dottie Sorenson
Essay, Each and All—Katie May Paine
Essay, Triumphant Democracy—Francis Charles McGivern
Sextet, “Gently Evening Bendeth”—Misses Genevieve Bush, Edna Clouston, Emma Edwards, Carrie Mahlum, Vera Nevers, Nellie Reilly
Essay, Success in Life—Katherine Anna Cosgrove
Essay, The Comedy of Life—Eloise Smith
Presentation of Diplomas—Supt. J. L. Torrens
Benediction—Rev. A. H. Carver


A banquet in honor of the graduating class will be given by the Alumni Association of the Brainerd High School at Walker Hall on Thursday evening June 6th. The following is a program of the exercises:
Welcome—President, Association
Reply—President, Class
High School—Prof. Hanft
Our Banquet—Mrs. Early
The Alumni—Harry McKay


Address—Rev. D. W. Lynch
High School Association—Nellie Merritt
Minnesota—Mabel Patterson
Address—W. S. Cox


Early Days—J. A. Wilson
Brainerd—Flo. Halsted
Educational Advancement—Rev. Carver
Advice to Graduates—Prof. Torrens


Wandering Reminiscences—C. D. Johnson
Our Country—Mabel Early
Address—C. A. Allbright
Election of Officers—by Association
Good Night—George Smith
Toast Master, J. J. Nolan.
(Brainerd Dispatch, 31 May 1901, p. 1, c. 5)


Schools of the City Open Tues-
day and Supt. Torrens
Is a Busy Man.


Held Tuesday Evening at the Wash-
ington School Building—Bu-
siness of Importance.

The regular monthly meeting of the board of education was held last Tuesday at the Washington school building and the following members of the board were present: Messrs. Hagberg, Dickenson, Storm, Erickson, Preston, Johnson and Mahlum.
There were several parents of children of school age present and asked for information regarding the regulation of the free text book system. The matter was discussed at length and it was finally decided that those who wished the use of free text books must make application to the member of the board of the ward wherein they reside. It is presumed that the member of the board will then bring the matter before the meeting and the question as to whether or not the pupil is entitled to the free use of text books will be decided upon.
The building committee reported that the Harrison and the Mill schools were not ready for occupancy but thought they would be by next Monday.
The same committee reported that the contract for the installing of new water closets in the Lincoln building had been let to F. J. Murphy for $585.
Three bids were received for the purchase of the old Sixth street school building, but the highest bidder got the old shack. A. F. Sorenson’s bid was the favorable one and he pays $275 for the building.
Treasurer George A. Keene submitted the following report for the quarter ending August 31, which was approved and filed:


The following teachers have been assigned in the different schools of the city:


Frank W. Hanft, principal of high school and mathematics; J. T. Keppel, assistant principal of high school and science; Ruth S. Hutchinson, assistant principal of high school and languages; Mary J. Burke, eighth grade, advanced; Nettie C. Sayles, eighth grade, elementary; DeEtte A. Erkel, A second and B third grades; Bess A. Mulrine, A first and B second grades; Margaret F. Somers, C first and B first grades.


T. Randolphia Moulton, principal and seventh grade; Claribel Watson, sixth grade; Mary M. McCarthy, fifth grade; Myrtle E. Clarke, fourth grade; Frances S. Everett, third grade; Flora L. Halsted, second grade; Florence G. Merritt, A first and B first grades; Ida M. Stanton, B first and C first grades.


Elsie M. Goldsworthy, principal and seventh grade; Manda Martin, sixth grade; Irene C. Lowey, fifth grade; Grace E. Sherwood, fourth grade; Clara E. Early, third grade; Elizabeth M. Somers, second grade; Catherine A. Gallagher, A first and B first grades; Mina M. Adams, B first and C first grades.


Lowell Teachers, Front Row, left to right: Miss Miller, Mary Louise White, Miss Somers, Rose Arnold, Back Row, left to right: Jennie Paine, Lena Mix (?), Belle McKay, Nellie Merritt, ca. 1898
Source: Oldtimers II: Stories of Our Pioneers in the Cass and Crow Wing Lake Region, Volume II, Carl A. Zapffe, Jr., Echo Publishing and Printing, Incorporated, Pequot Lakes, Minnesota: 1988
Nellie K. Merritt, principal and B first and C first grades; Rose M. Arnold, A sixth, B seventh and A seventh grades; Marie K. Burmeister, A fifth, B sixth grades; Anna T. Michael, A fourth, B fifth grades; M. Louise White, B fourth grade; Emily A. Lutz, A third, B third grades; Belle Wilson, A second, B second grades; Annie Kingsford, A first, B first grades.


Olive M. Knevett, principal and B first and C first grades; Olilla Dahlgren, A sixth and B sixth grades; Mary Monson, A fifth, B fifth grades; Katherine S. McLeod, A fourth, B fourth grades; Rose F. Lillig, A third, B third; Daisy A. Millspaugh, A second, B second grades; Mabel R. Patterson, A first, B first grades.


Jessie P. Gibb, principal and second grade; Nellie B. Wright, first grade. (Brainerd Dispatch, 06 September 1901, p. 1, c.’s 5 & 6)

May 1913. Brainerd high school will graduate a class of 49 this year, which is one of the largest ever graduated and one of the largest in the state outside Duluth and the Twin Cities. The enrollment of the high school stands at 248. The school is now on the accredited list. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 26 May 2013)


Pres. George Vincent, of University of
Minnesota, to Deliver Com-
mencement Address


To be Preached May 31 by Rev. Sher-
idan at the First Congre-
gational Church

1914 Graduates of Brainerd
High School

Lillian Croswell
Ruth C. Dahlstedt
Ingolf Dillan
Stanley Durham
E. Mildred Farwell
Alma M. Fenske
Ester N. Fogelstrom
Jeanette Clark Gibson
Lily Pauline Gilbertson
Mabel Regina Graham
Leslie L. Halladay
Christine L. Ilse
Howard G. Kronberg
Laura Alice McKay
Beatrice V. Noble
Hildegarde Olson
Burton W. Orne
Eunice J. Parker
John W. Pendergast
Thelma Margaret Reis
George H. Ribbel
Agnes A. Swanson
Mary K. Toohey
Maude S. Williams
Leigh B. Slipp
Robert A. Stickney
Judith Erickson
Marie Elliot
Marie Archibald
Mamie F. Funk
Eula Michael
Sadie E. Peterson
Sadie A. Welliver
M. Julia Wilson

The commencement exercises of the Brainerd high school will be held on Monday evening, June 1, and the commencement address will be delivered by George Vincent, president of the University of Minnesota.
On May 29 the class day exercises of the class of 1914 will be held in the assembly room of the high school, the seniors giving the comedy, “A Case of Suspension.”
At this time the class memorial, a beautiful large panel picture, the equal of any of the fine pictures of the high school, will be unveiled to the school. This picture, a fine Copley print from the original paintings by Abbey, would be a credit to any school. It represents scenes from the “Holy Grail” and was secured through D. E. Whitney of this city, who will frame it and place it in the high school, where it will be a fitting companion piece to the picture presented by the class of 1912.
The present senior class will also have a special edition of the Spectator, the last number of the year, for sale at 15c per copy.
On Memorial Day, which occurs on Saturday this year, the schools will participate as usual and will furnish the wreaths and flowers with which to decorate the graves.
The class officers of the class of 1914 are President George Ribbel, vice president Mildred Farwell, secretary Leslie Halladay, treasurer Alice McKay, sergeant-at-arms Maude S. Williams. The class colors are cadet blue and gold, the class flower the peony. The class motto is “To Be Rather Than to Seem.”
The baccalaureate sermon will be preached by Rev. G. P. Sheridan at the First Congregational church on Sunday evening, May 31. On Saturday the juniors gave an excursion up the river for the seniors and members of the faculty. A picnic was given at Riverton. (Brainerd Dispatch, 29 May 1914, p. 7, c. 6)


Board Takes up Proposition Broached
by the Park Commissioners
at Last Meeting


Ventilating System to be Installed—
Washington School to be

From Wednesday’s Daily:—
At the regular school board meeting all members were present except Messrs. Wise and Moilanen and Rev. Elof Carlson. Vice President Geo. D. LaBar presided.
Members of the park board, Messrs. Adair, Strickler and Linnemann, appeared before the school board and asked that some plan be carried out in conjunction with the city council and city attorney to use the Sixth street school lots and grounds in Southeast and Northeast Brainerd for park purposes. The school board appointed a committee of one member from each of the first, third, fourth and fifth wards, being Messrs. Purdy, Hohman, Barron and McCloskey, to act with the city council and city attorney.
The Northern Plumbing & Heating Co. of Eveleth was authorized to draw plans and specifications for a ventilating system in the Lincoln school
The special committee appointed in the past to report on the advisability of plastering the auditorium in the Washington school said it should not be done owning to the lack of funds.
The building committee made a verbal report on repairs underway. These included the new domestic science kitchen, plastering the manual training rooms, fixing the steps at the entrance of the Washington building, fixing boilers, etc. The committee further reported that outside of these repairs there was nothing else demanding attention except the painting of the exteriors of the school buildings. The board could not paint all buildings this year. The building committee was authorized to have the Washington building painted and to receive bids for the work.
Bids were opened on supplying coal for the coming year, and the Mahlum Lumber Co. being the lowest bidder it was awarded the contract.
The teachers’ committee reported the present janitors for re-election at their present salaries. At the Lincoln building the board increased the salary of Andrew Anderson, the janitor, $10 a month and owing to the fact that more space is needed for the school, Anderson is to leave his present quarters after September 1 and reside outside the school ground.
The building committee was authorized to advertise for bids for the installation of the plumbing system at the Harrison building as soon as the city officials demonstrated that the sewers would be put in. The payrolls were allowed and the meeting adjourned. (Brainerd Dispatch, 10 July 1914, p. 1, c. 7)

BHS Class of 1929. A 1308x1330 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Marlys Fox Fisher
Brainerd High School Class of 1929

BHS Class of 1933. A 2000x1528 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Marlys Fox Fisher
Brainerd High School Class of 1933

New Year, New Schools

There are certain historical milestones in the growth of the Brainerd School District that remain etched into the memory of every former student and teacher.
Many area residents still remember what grade they were in when the current Brainerd High School opened in 1968; when 22 Brainerd area country schools were closed and the buildings auctioned off within a three-day period in 1960; when during a 10-year span the district acquired school buildings in Baxter, Nisswa, Garrison and Pine Center, then closed the Garrison and Pine Center schools, as well as Edison Elementary in south Brainerd; and most recently, when Mississippi Horizons opened in 1997 in the former Brainerd Technical College building.
The school year this fall will once again make history as a year of sweeping changes within the Brainerd School District that will affect every student, parent and staff member.
If all goes as planned, there will be a smooth transition during the coming year as Forestview Middle School opens in January, emptying Washington Middle School and Mississippi Horizons of sixth- through ninth-grade students after they complete their winter holiday vacation. They'll return to the new school for second semester. Fifth-graders will move to the school in the fall of 2005.
Forestview Middle School will have four self-contained areas, including separate entrances for each grade level from fifth- through eighth-grades. For safety reasons, the school was designed to have separate bus loading zones and parent pickup areas for students.
Construction already began this summer at Washington Middle School and will continue in January to remodel the school into a district administrative center expected to open in March. Once administrators and Brainerd Community Education vacate their district offices, then work will begin in earnest to renovate Mississippi Horizons into the Brainerd High School South Campus, primarily housing all ninth-graders but also including a new world languages wing for ninth- through 12th-graders. The high school automotive program and Apple Cafe will remain in the BHS South Campus.
Franklin Junior High School students and staff will bid farewell to their 73-year-old school, which will be closed at the end of the school year. The building may become an arts center. Several events are planned throughout the year to pay homage to the enduring school.
Brainerd High School also is undergoing major renovations through summer of 2005.
Brainerd school officials are optimistic that their extensive planning during the past year and a half will ensure a smooth transition.
Still, BHS Principal Steve Razidlo compared the school district's interdependent construction projects to that of remodeling an airplane while it remains in flight.
"Every level is impacted, and we believe it will increase the quality of education for kids," said Superintendent Jerry Walseth.
"Adjustments may need to be made but once we get the kinks worked out we know it will be a better educational environment for the kids and the community."
The first piece in this large educational puzzle is Forestview Middle School. Construction on the 339,000-square-foot building began on May 7, 2003, and is expected to be completed by Nov. 1. Walseth said the building construction is on time and within budget. Community tours of the facility are expected to be offered in November. The building, which includes 5-1/2-acres of roof, is built on 181 acres of district-owned property between County Road 48, Mountain Ash Drive and Mapleton Road in Baxter. Of the 57 developed acres, the middle school has 35 acres available for activities. The facility will host about 550 students per grade.
Todd Lyscio, junior high athletic director, said all fall sports will continue at their current sites. Sports activities and events will start taking place at Forestview beginning second semester after students have moved to the building in January. The playing surface on the tennis courts and track has yet to be laid but it will be ready this fall, said Lyscio. The grass planted a year ago will have two growing seasons before middle school students start spring sports, like baseball and softball.
"The grass is very healthy and that's good because it's going to be used," said Lyscio.
Forestview's facilities will be available for use not only by students, but by community education and senior citizens programs. It will feature four full-size gyms surrounded by a four-lane running track, a wrestling room and a fitness/strength area. Swimmers will be bused to the high school.
Outdoors the middle school will offer two regulation-size soccer fields, a regulation baseball field and one smaller baseball field that will overlap onto an adjacent football field, three football fields, with one main stadium surrounded by an eight-lane track, three softball fields, and eight tennis courts.
A key component in this move to Forestview is transportation. Kala Henkensiefken, district transportation coordinator, said there will be minor bus route changes this year but the shuttle locations will change once Forestview opens in January. Since many Brainerd students walk to Washington and Mississippi Horizons, the district anticipates that these students will need to ride the bus to Forestview, adding to the complexity of the school change. Construction on Oak Street, Riverside Drive and other areas in the school district has further complicated the district's busing situation. The district transports 4,900 students each morning and 5,400 students in the afternoon.
Henkensiefken said the district has been working on the new bus routes for the past 18 months. They have sent letters to parents who may need transportation to Forestview for their children who walk to school and plan to send another letter to all parents in the district in November asking again if they need transportation.
The move from Washington and Mississippi Horizons to Forestview will begin in late October with about 80 percent of school equipment and other items moved in by Dec. 20, said Assistant Superintendent Gary Phillips. The final 20 percent will be moved to the new school during the winter holiday break. Students will move personal items from their lockers and desks before Dec. 20. (Brainerd Dispatch, 17 August 2004)


Private School.

OWING to the absence of a public school in Brainerd, a handful of our citizens have clubbed together and formed a private school, hiring an accomplished and experienced teacher, in the person of Miss Fitzgerald. Father Keller kindly donated to the use of this school the Catholic chapel, and those who undertook and have so nobly carried out the enterprise have made regulations which will be sure to accrue to the greatest benefit to the pupils. The school is emphatically a private one, supported by individual subscriptions, and no public funds are asked for or expected. The number of scholars will be limited to thirty, as those getting it up preferred to bear a double expense rather than to have more scholars than could possible received full attention in their studies. Miss Fitzgerald is one of the most accomplished lady teachers in the State, and can conduct her pupils through all the intricacies of a fine education, with ease, bringing to her assistance all the original ideas in training her pupils that great experience in some of the best schools of the West can suggest. She rules with kindness and persuasive influences, and scholars that will not come into perfect deportment under kindness will not for a moment be tolerated in the school. The terms are two dollars per month for each scholar, to be paid invariably in advance, and we are requested to state that perfect behavior on the part of every scholar, while in the school or on the school ground, or on their way to or from school must be strictly observed, and any scholar found guilty of unbecoming language or actions while with his or her school mates will be promptly discharged from the school. THIS IS SOUND DOCTRINE, and we hope it may be followed, to the letter, no matter who it hits. (Brainerd Tribune, 18 May 1872, p. 1, c. 3)


This school, which has had a most successful period of three months, closed for vacation on Friday of last week, until the first Monday in next month—September. Miss Fitzgerald, the accomplished teacher, has, during her stay in Brainerd, greatly endeared herself among the patrons of the school, and particularly among her scholars, who grew to love her as a patient, faithful teacher and kind friend. It was with the greatest feelings of regret that they bade her adieu, even for the short vacation which she took to visit her home in Faribault, and they long for her return. Our citizens were fortunate to secure the services of so accomplished a teacher, and it is to be hoped they will, by their liberal patronage, on her return, induce her to keep a six month’s term, as with her for a teacher our little ones can progress as fast as they wish in education, and the higher they go the better she will be pleased. Miss Fitzgerald is a natural teacher, and loves the little ones, and is never so happy as when she is engaged in teaching them the things most essential to them in their future life. We very much hope our citizens who have children will be alive to their interests, and when she opens school again on the first Monday of September will send their children in, and give them the rare advantages offered them while the opportunity is at hand. She has agreed to teach three or six months, as the committee desires, and as the scholars are limited to a certain number, those desiring to engage schooling should do so early. The committee are M. C. Russell, N. R. Brown, and E. U. Russell.
Terms, $2.00 per month, strictly in advance. All applications for admittance must be made to N. R. Brown, who only will receive pay and give certificates of admission.
The total attendance for the last term has been 22 males and 23 females. Average attendance, 30 [grades] 1-6. There have been no cases of corporeal punishment during the term. Their studies have been: 8 Alphabet, 37 Reading, 24 Penmanship, 35 Spelling, 26 Arithmetic, 2 Grammar, 17 Geography, and 5 History. (Brainerd Tribune, 17 August 1872, p. 1, c. 4)


Miss Ladd, a graduate of Ingham University, N. Y., [This was the first women’s college in New York and the first chartered women’s university in the United States.] is soon to open a school in the Baptist chapel. Miss L. teaches drawing, painting, and music, as well as all common branches. We warmly welcome all such refined and educated people to our town, and are sure Miss Ladd’s school must become very popular in this community. (Brainerd Tribune, 24 August 1872, p. 1, c. 5)

OUR SCHOOLS.—The private school in the Catholic chapel, taught by Miss Julia Fitzgerald, opened its second term on Monday last under favorable auspices, and the number of scholars is daily increasing. Miss Fitzgerald is an accomplished teacher, and pupils advance rapidly under her faithful guidance.
MISS LADD’S SCHOOL, held in the Baptist chapel, opened last Monday morning with a good attendance, and has steadily increased in numbers. We bespeak her a large and successful school. There is room for more, and the opportunity to secure the service of so skilled a teacher should not be let to pass. (Brainerd Tribune, 07 September 1872, p. 1, c. 7)

A private and select school for children will be opened out at the Baptist church next Monday by Miss Florence LaFrance, an experienced teacher. The low price of one dollar per month will be charged for tuition. (Brainerd Tribune, 14 May 1881, p. 1, c. 2)

The select school taught by Miss Reymond will be held after Feb. 5th. at the Baptist Chapel. Terms $1.50 a month. School hours from 9 a. m. to 1 p. m. (Brainerd Tribune, 11 February 1882, p. 5, c. 1)

SEE: Brainerd Schools Miscellaneous Information
SEE: Sixth Street School

This bank was originally incorporated 11 April 1908 as the Security State Bank of Brainerd.

The work on the vault of the Security State Bank commenced this morning. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 20 April 1908, p. 2, c. 1)


Security State Bank Will Change
Front of Koop Building to Make
Rooms More Convenient

Messrs. Storck and Guerin have decided to change the front of the room in the Koop building so as to make it more up-to-date and more convenient for their use. The door will be changed to the north side of the room so as to give an inside lobby, which is the most popular in new bank buildings. This arrangement is such that it gives the men working in the bank the benefit of having the light from the side and rear instead of in their faces, as is the case the old style of arrangement. The contract for the work has been let to C. B. Rowley, who will commence work on it in a very short time.
J. W Koop is also receiving bids for the new front to be put into the south side of his building. When this is completed he will have a very pleasant store room. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 27 April 1907, p. 3, c. 2)

C. B. Rowley has the contract for changing the front of the Koop building for the Security State bank and also for putting a store front into the south side of the building for Mr. Koop. He has men at work in his shop constructing the frames, etc., for the work. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 01 May 1908, p. 2, c. 3)


Brainerd’s third bank, the Security State bank, for which quarters are in preparation in the Koop building at the corner of Seventh and Laurel streets, has been organized by J. H. Guerin, formerly with the German American National bank of Little Falls and E. A. Storck, formerly with the Citizens State bank, of this city and also with the First National bank, of Little Falls, as well as with lending banks in DesMoines and other Iowa cities. Associated with these gentlemen are several wealthy capitalists, both of Iowa and Minnesota. P. F. Hosch, of Little Falls, J. H. Guerin and E. A. Storck will be the first board of directors. Geo. Storck, of Earlham, Iowa, a heavy farmer and stock man, the father of E. A. Storck, is the heaviest individual stock holder. The capital stock is divided into 250 shares of $100 each. The officers of the bank will be as follows:
President—J. H. Guerin.
Cashier—E. A. Storck.
Messrs. Guerin and Storck are quite widely acquainted in this city and the surrounding country and will doubtless build up a fine business. They are having their banking room fitted up with all the accessories and equipments of the best and most up-to-date banks in the country and will use every effort to gain the good will and confidence of the people of Brainerd. they hope, if there is no miscarriage in their plans, to be able to open for business about the 10th day of June. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 26 May 1908, p. 3, c. 3)


Beautiful Marble Counters Being Put
in Place in Room of the Secur-
ity State Bank

The marble counters are being put in place for the new Security State bank in the Koop building at the corner of Seventh and Laurel streets. Enough has been done to show that the fixtures will be among the handsomest in the state. The date of the opening of the bank has now been provisionally set at June 15th. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 05 June 1908, p. 3, c. 3)

The handsome mission oak fixtures for the Security State bank are being put in place and are certainly swell. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 19 June 1908, p. 2, c. 3)


Fine New Safe for the Security State
Bank Arrived Yesterday and Was
Put in Place

The fine new spherical steel safe for the Security State bank arrived yesterday and was put in place in the vault. The safe is a beauty and as near burglar proof as human ingenuity can devise, though it is said there was never a safe made that could not be burglarized if enough time was given. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 23 June 1908, p. 3, c. 4)


Voluntarily Closed by Its Officers
Who Asked Public Examiner
to Investigate


President Guerin States That
Depositors Will Get Dollar
For Dollar

The Security State Bank closed its doors this morning and the officers of the bank wired the public examiner at St. Paul asking him to make an examination of its condition. J. H. Guerin, president, was seen by a reporter and stated the closing was entirely voluntary on the part of the officers and that the depositors would get dollar for dollar. He would make no detailed statement as to condition of the institution, but said that the public may expect a statement from the public examiner in the near future.
The bank, which opened for business on the 1st day of August, 1907, occupied handsome quarters fitted up for them in the Koop building and were apparently doing a flourishing business. J. H. Guerin was president and E. A. Storck was cashier. the articles of incorporation showed the incorporators to be J. H. Guerin, E. A. Storck, of this city, P. F. Hosch, of Little Falls, H. C. Robertson, of Stillwater, and George Storck, of Earlham, Iowa. The president and cashier were well liked and popular and the closing of the bank’s doors came like a thunderbolt from a clear sky. When asked as to whether or not the bank would reopen Mr. Guerin said that this and similar questions would have to be asked of the public examiner.
The last statement of the bank, dated November 27th, 1908, showed total liabilities of $60,850.38, of which $25,000 was capital stock, $21,316.61 deposits subject to check, $868.75 was cashier’s checks and $13,665.02 was time deposits. the same statement showed loans and discounts of $32,512.49 and overdrafts of $87.96. Cash assets. $19,519.08, banking house, furniture and fixtures, $7,228.81, other resources $1,502.04. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 07 January 1909, p. 3, c. 1)


D. D. Divine, of the Public Exam-
iner’s Office at Security State
Bank Today


No Statement of the Conditions
Can be Made Before Monday
Next at the Earliest

D. D. Divine, one of the field men of the public examiner’s office arrived in this city on the early train this morning and took charge of the affairs of the bank. When seen by a DISPATCH representative this noon he stated that because of the fact that Mr. Storck who returned this morning from the Cities, having been absent a couple of days, the posting was somewhat behind and the forenoon had been spent in getting ready to make a balance sheet, and that as yet he had made no investigation into the condition of affairs. He also said that he would not be able to make any statement before Monday at the earliest. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 08 January 1909, p. 3, c. 1)


A. Schaefer, public examiner, arrived from St. Paul this afternoon and is holding a meeting with the officers of the bank and D. D. Divine, the examiner in charge of the bank. A statement of the affairs of the bank will be made in the DISPATCH tomorrow. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 11 January 1909, p. 3, c. 2)


This is the Opinion of Public Ex-
aminer Schaefer as Given
to the Dispatch


An Assessment of 100 Per Cent
has Been Ordered on the
Capital Stock of Bank

A. E. Schaefer, public examiner, left for his home in St. Paul this morning after attending a meeting of the officers and interested stockholders of the Security State Bank, which closed its doors on Thursday last. Before leaving Mr. Schaefer made a statement to the BRAINERD DISPATCH, for publication, as to the causes of the failure and the condition of the bank. He stated that the officers of the bank were simply the victims of a rascal. In company with many older bankers they were victims of the swindling operations of Andy Jones, the absconding cashier of the First National Bank of Rugby, N. D., the failure of which caused the closing of the Brainerd bank. The officers of the bank, Mr. Schaefer stated, were of course anxious to get their capital stock to earning and when what appeared to be good securities guaranteed by officers of a National bank, were offered them, bearing 10 per cent interest they purchased them, fully believing them to be all right. Their first inkling to the contrary came with the failure of the Rugby bank. Knowing that this failure endangered their securities Mr. Guerin at once closed the bank.
Mr. Schaefer on Monday afternoon held a meeting at which the majority of the stock of the bank was represented and levied an assessment of 100 per cent, or $25,000. This he said he had assurance would be paid in full. He had received assurance that George Storck, the father of the cashier, and a wealthy stock raiser of Earlham, Iowa, had expressed his willingness to pay the assessments upon any stock which the owners do not pay the assessment upon. The stockholders, under the law, have 70 days in which to pay the assessments. If they are not paid then the stock is sold to pay the assessment.
Mr. Schaefer stated that there was no evidence of dishonesty or crookedness and that the books were perfectly straight. But for this unfortunate investment in the securities of the Dakota bank the Brainerd institution would have been in first-class shape. He stated that he believed that the assessment would be paid in full, and as soon as it was he would authorize the bank to re-open its doors and continue business. He further stated that he had charged every dollar of the Rugby securities off as worthless, though there might be some good paper among it. If there was any value, of course, the stockholders would get the benefit of it. There was none he said of the paper signed by Jones, the absconding Dakota banker, in the lot bought by the Security State Bank, but that it was all covered by his blanket endorsement.
Mr. Schaefer asked the DISPATCH to urge the people of Brainerd to have confidence in the bank and its officials. The latter he said, might have been somewhat indiscreet, but that they had been square and deserved the confidence of the people as they certainly would not make the same mistake again and would be deserving of continued patronage.
There will be another meeting of the stockholders of the bank on Friday of this week, at which time Mr. Schaefer will be present and will, perhaps, be able to set the date for the re-opening of the bank. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 12 January 1909, p. 3, c. 1)


Stockholders of the Security
State Bank Adjourn Until
That Date


George Storck of Earlham, Iowa
Pledges Himself to Take
Care of Them All

A meeting of the stockholders of the Security State bank was held in this city Friday afternoon. At the close of the meeting it was given out by D. D. Divine, of the public examiner's office, who has charge of the bank, that the meeting adjourned until Friday, Feb. 17th, at which time the bank would reorganize and reopen. Every dollar of the assessments on the capital stock will be paid. This was personally pledged by George Storck, father of E. A. Storck, the cashier of the bank. Just the nature of the reorganization is not yet made public, but private assurances are given that it will be such as to give every confidence in the institution. Mr. Divine repeated his assurance that there was nothing reflecting on the integrity of the present officers, or showing any crookedness. They were the dupes of Mr. Jones, there being $20,500 of notes endorsed by him among the assets of the bank.
Mr. Storck stated, when asked as to the future of the bank, that the first thing which would be done would be to put in on a par basis, then the matter of reorganization would be taken up. It was a matter with them, he said, of putting it past the suspicion of any wrong doing on their part.
On February 17th all stock on which the assessment has not been paid will be advertised for sale at auction and will be taken care of by Mr. Storck. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 16 January 1909, p. 3, c. 1)


Thirty Days More Given in Which
to Pay Assessments on Se-
curity Bank Stock


Officers of the Security State
Bank Have Received Letter
to That Effect

The officers of the Security State bank have received the following communication from A. Schaefer, public examiner:

Office of Public Examiner,
St. Paul.
Feb. 15, 1909.

Security State Bank of
Brainerd, Minn.
Gentlemen:—You are hereby instructed to extend the time for payment of assessment on the capital stock of your bank for another thirty days, pursuant to Section 3001 of Revised Laws 1905, which allows the stockholders sixty days in which to pay such assessment.
Yours very Truly,
Public Examiner.

This will delay the re-opening of the bank for that length of time, but will not effect the final result as parties stand ready to pay the assessment and take any stock on which the owners do not do so, just as soon as the laws will permit such action. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 17 February 1909, p. 3, c. 3)


This department begs to advise you that the Security State bank of Brainerd has made good by assessment all losses sustained through its transactions with North Dakota banks.
It has been prepared from the start to replace all doubtful paper with cash, but had to comply with all legal provisions required in such cases by this department. It is now fully authorized to re-open for business on April 6, 1909, and deserves the confidence and patronage of your community.
Yours very truly,
(Signed) A. SCHAEFER,
Public Examiner.
(Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 05 April 1909, p. 3, c. 2)


Stockholders Held Meeting Yes-
terday and Elected George
Storck President


H. J. Hage, Popular Deerwood
Businessman and Banker
Becomes Vice President

The Security State Bank, which was closed about 60 days ago because of losses through Andrew Jones, the notorious Dakota swindler re-opened for business. An assessment of 100 cents on the dollar of the bank stock was paid in full, largely by George Storck, of Earlham, Iowa, father of E. A. Storck, cashier of the bank. The stockholders met Monday afternoon and elected George Storck, of Earlham, Iowa, E. A. Storck, of Brainerd and H. J. Hage, Deerwood as directors. The directors immediately met and elected the following officers.
Pres.—George Storck.
V. P.—H. J. Hage, Deerwood.
Cashier—E. A. Storck.
The bank opened up for business this morning as usual and there was no sign of anxiety on the part of depositors to withdraw their deposits. The majority of the stock is now owned by Messrs. George and E. A. Storck. When the bank closed Mr. Storck, Sr., stated that he would see that no one lost a dollar through the bank and he has eminently made good. He is a well-to-do Iowa farmer and will only give an oversight to the business, the active management being in the hands of the vice president and cashier.
The advent of H. J. Hage, of Deerwood, as vice president, will add materially to the confidence which the public will have in the bank. Mr. Hage is one of Crow Wing county’s best known businessmen and financiers. He has had experience in the banking business and holds the confidence of the people of the county.
Messrs Storck and Guerin have carried themselves during the trying times they have passed through in connection with the bank troubles in a manner which has won them the sympathy and admiration of all and all will rejoice with them that the bank is again on its feet.
D. D. Divine, bank examiner, states that the assessment more than covered the impairment of capital and that the bank is now in excellent condition. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 06 April 1909, p. 3, c. 3)


John P. Ernster and Frank S. Gra-
ham, of Callaway, Buy Large
Block of Stock of G. Storck


Directors Increased From 3 to 5—
Brainerd State Bank Name of
New Organization

A reorganization of the Security State Bank of Brainerd was effected this morning. John P. Ernster former cashier of the First State Bank of Callaway, and Frank S. Graham, cashier of the Citizens State Bank of Callaway, acquiring a large block of stock in the bank and will assume active management.
Geo. Storck whose large business interests in Iowa demand his entire attention has resigned as president but still retains an interest in the new bank remaining on the board of directors. E. A. Storck, who has been the efficient and capable cashier of the old bank for many years, retains his interest in the bank, acting in the capacity of vice president.
At this morning’s meeting of the stockholders the board of directors was reorganized and increased from three to five members. Under the new organization the new institution will be known as the “Brainerd State Bank.”
John P. Ernster was elected president and Frank S. Graham was elected cashier. H. J. Hage, chairman of the board of directors of the First National bank of Deerwood, still retains his interest in the new organization J. P. Ernster is a brother of H. J. Ernster, cashier of the First National bank of Deerwood.
The home paper of Messrs. Ernster and Graham, the Callaway Post, has the following to say of these gentlemen:
“John P. Ernster, former cashier of the First State bank of this place and Frank S. Graham, the popular and efficient cashier of the Citizens State bank, have purchased the controlling interest in a bank at Brainerd, Minn., and expect to leave here in the near future to assume charge of the institution in the capacity of president and cashier respectively. We understand the change in the officers will take place Sept. 10th. Mr. Graham has disposed of his bank stock in the local bank and also his residence property to Frank Murphy, who will succeed him in the capacity of cashier here. The Messrs. Ernster and Graham are well experienced in the banking business, full of energy and push. While we regret very much to see these two public spirited and hustling businessmen and their estimable families remove from our midst we hope it will prove to their advantage and we join their many friends here in a unanimous expression of good will, best wishes and prosperity in abundance in their new field of labor.” (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 19 September 1910, p. 3, c. 3)


Brainerd State Bank Elects New
Director and Cashier, and First
Vice President

At the recent elections of officers held by the Brainerd State bank, V. E. Hanson, formerly of Drayton, N. D., and now a resident of Brainerd was elected a director and cashier of the bank.
L. M. DePue, formerly cashier, was elected first vice president and manager.
Friends extend their congratulations to the new official who now makes Brainerd his home and to Mr. DePue on his deserved promotion. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 09 August 1912, p. 2, c. 4)


Brainerd State Bank Elects Carl
Zapffe it President, Succeed
-ing L. M. DePue


At the annual election held at the Brainerd State bank, these officers were elected: President, Carl Zapffe; vice president, O. H. Scott; cashier; H. E. Kundert; assistant cashier; T. R. Dwyer. The four are directors.
The change of officers was necessitated because of the withdrawal of Mr. DePue. The later will remove to the Cities because of the sickness of his wife. He will engage in the land business. Mr. DePue made a host of friends in Brainerd as head of the bank. A skilled linguist, good businessman and patient and capable, he speedily increased the list of depositors at the bank.
Carl Zapffe is one of the public-spirited men of the city, interested in many industries and working constantly for the upbuilding and betterment of Brainerd. He has backed his faith in Brainerd by investments.
O. H. Scott, of Wadena, is vice president. He is a well-known traveling man of Jenny Semple Hill Co. and is a prominenten member of Brainerd Council of the Brainerd Commercial Travelers. He makes Brainerd territory regularly and has an especially wide acquaintance on the range. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 05 January 1916, p. 3, c.’s 1 & 2)


Increases Its Capital Stock at Board
Meeting and Add to Its Sur-
plus Funds


Located on Corner Diagonally Oppo-
site Present Location, to Build
Within Few Years

At the meeting Tuesday of stockholders of the Brainerd State Bank, the officers of the bank were instructed to take steps to increase the capital stock from the present amount of $25,000 to $50,000 and the charter will be amended to take effect at once.
The new stock will be subscribed for by the present stockholders, most of whom are Brainerd people.
It was decided to transfer now $1,500 from the undivided profit account to surplus and the bank now boasts of a surplus amounting to $10,000.
During the last twelve months the resources of the bank have increased nearly $200,000, over one-half of the increase having been acquired during the last four months. In anticipation of this development and in order to offer better banking facilities to its customers, the bank has purchased the corner fifty feet of the Walker block and in a few years time will erect there a modern bank building. The present quarters in the Koop block are occupied under a lease.
The officers of the bank are President, Carl Zapffe; Vice President, O. H. Scott; Cashier, H. E. Kundert; Assistant Cashier, A. L. Koop; Teller, Hazel Rardin; Bookkeeper, Vivian Rardin. Other local stockholders are A. A. Arnold, Mons Mahlum and J. W. Koop. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 12 May 1920, p. 5, c. 2)


Novel Clock Installed by the Brainerd
State Bank in Its Seventh St.


No Clockwork. No Electricity. No
Magnets. No Air Control to Make
It Keep Time

“What makes it go?’
That’s the first question one thinks of when viewing the new clock in the window of the Brainerd State bank. It has a glass face, substantial hands, and that’s about all. In spite of the entire absence of clock works, of electric connections, or magnets or air control, the clock moves and keeps accurate time.
The answer to what makes the clock go was given out in this statement by Art Koop, an assistant cashier of the Brainerd State Bank. The explanation is very simple and reads like this:
The revolution of the earth on its axis every twenty-four hours possesses both a rotary and centrifugal force. The rotary force is neutralized by the magnetic attraction which causes articles to fall instead of fly out into space when dropped.
By supplanting this neutralization of the rotary motion of the earth in its daily revolution by a counter-balancing influence secured by means of a bisecting spheroid to which a magnetic compass is attached and by astronomically calculating the proper reduction in size so that the circumference of the clock’s dial bears the same relationship to its axis as the circumference of the earth bears to the axis of the earth and also utilizing the attraction of the moon to the earth, which is found to be felt upon the hour hand of the clock when this neutralization is removed by the above mentioned scientific discovery, then the hands are allowed to rotate in accord with the revolution of the earth, the same as the earth rotates on its axis, except that the calculation is is such that the hands of the clock makes two revolutions to the earth’s one. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 31 August 1920, p. 5, c. 2)


Style of Bank Structure is Colonial
and One of Most Beautiful in
Northern Part of State


Bank Now Has Capital of $50,000
Surplus $20,000 and Deposits
Near $600,000

Brainerd State Bank, ca. 1923
Source: Brainerd’s Half Century, Ingolf Dillan
On Tuesday, the second day of January, the Brainerd State Bank will open its new building on the corner of Seventh and Laurel. Brainerd has watched the construction of his building for nearly a year and people have been given some new ideas in style of architecture. Undoubtedly it is one of the most beautiful buildings in the northern part of the state. The style is colonial and the building has that dignified and strong appearance which people like to associate with a bank.
Interior of the new Brainerd State Bank, 30 December 1922
Source: Brainerd Daily Dispatch
The interior also presents some new departures in structure and appearance, and the arrangement is such that will offer untold conveniences to the many customers. A new set of safety deposit boxes has been placed in the vault and separate booths have been provided for the depositors. The vault is very large and is fitted with a very heavy steel door and a most comprehensive burglar alarm system.
Above the bank vault is a mezzanine floor to be used for committee meetings by the patrons of the bank for purposes in which they may be interested and it offers complete seclusion.
On the second floor are four suites of offices arranged in a most commodious manner.
The Brainerd State Bank is a young bank, having started in 1908, but it has grown at an unusually fast rate, which has made larger and more commodious quarters a necessity. The capital stock is $50,000 and the surplus is $20,000. Deposits are near $600,000. The range of business is over a wide territory, and its patrons are from all classes, trades and professions. The bank pays 5 per cent interest on its deposits.
The following are the officers of the bank: Carl Zapffe, President; O. H. Scott, Vice President; H. E. Kundert Cashier; and A. L. Koop, Assistant Cashier. Miss Hazel Rardin is teller and the Misses Vivian Rardin and Edna Kamrath are bookkeepers. The first four named and A. A. Arnold constitute the Board of Directors. These people are well known locally and have been associated with the bank for many years which has given it stability. They have been identified with many local activities of a divers character and understand the needs of the community.
The erection of this building is a distinct credit to Brainerd. It is desired that all citizens should visit it and observe its features, to which end the bank will have an open house all day Tuesday including the evening, and invites everybody to step in and walk around into all departments and receive the greeting of the officials and the employees.
The Dispatch takes pleasure in reproducing two prints showing the exterior and the interior views, and also extends its greetings and good wishes to the Brainerd State Bank and hopes for its unbounded success. The institution and the building are a credit to Brainerd and we are proud of it. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 30 December 1922, p. 5, c.’s 1 & 2)


The Brainerd State Bank is today holding an open house for its many friends and giving as favors, cigars and cut flowers. It is interesting to note that the first patron to make a deposit in the new building was Edgar Olson, plumber at the Gruenhagen Co. John Graber, of Oak Lawn, was the first to make application for the new 1923 automobile licenses. The bank was crowded all day with visitors and the officers showed them the new quarters in detail. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 02 January 1923, p. 2, c. 4)

Financially strong banks conservatively conducted are an unfailing index to the commercial importance and prosperity of any community, and one of the first things into which prospective investors look. Brainerd, Minnesota has a number of banks that measure up to the highest financial standards in their resources and management, and takes special pride in the Brainerd State Bank, in which Henry E. Kundert is the cashier and managing genius. The bank's growth since Mr. Kundert became connected with it has been of a phenomenal character and is still increasing. Mr. Kundert was born on February 15, 1880, at Beresford, South Dakota, the son of Henry and Katharine (Schmid) Kundert, the father being a native of Switzerland and the mother of Wisconsin. Mr. Kundert, Sr. came to the United States in 1853 with his mother, and their first location was Wisconsin. He walked from Wisconsin to Lincoln, Nebraska, and a little later from Lincoln to Beresford, South Dakota, where he took up a homestead claim, which he improved and farmed until 1898. He then sold the property and, with the proceeds, bought land in the central part of South Dakota. He operated an entire section of land and made a specialty of breeding Poland China hogs, and being very successful in both his breeding and farming operations, he became a very wealthy man. He is now 73 years old, and he and his wife are living in Yankton, South Dakota, Mrs. Kundert being sixty-nine years of age.
Henry E. Kundert was reared in South Dakota, received his early education in the public schools of Lincoln County, South Dakota, and then took a commercial course in a school in Fremont, Nebraska. He remained on the farm with his parents until he was twenty-two years of age, after which he worked in a grocery store at Yankton for a time, and then in one of the city's banks. From Yankton, Mr. Kundert went to Marcus, South Dakota, established the Security Bank there and conducted it successfully for three years. In May, 1913, he became a resident of Brainerd and bought an interest in the Brainerd State Bank. Mr. Kundert is now the principal stockholder in the institution and has served as its cashier since he became connected with it. The bank was organized in 1908 with a capital of twenty-five thousand dollars. It's capital today is fifty thousand dollars. It has a surplus of twenty thousand dollars, and its average line of deposits is six hundred and fifty thousand dollars. When Mr. Kundert took charge of the bank, its deposits were one hundred and nineteen thousand dollars. In the ten years that Mr. Kundert has been connected with the bank, its deposits have increased nearly six hundred per cent, a notable achievement in a city so well supplied with strong banks, as Brainerd is. The bank now occupies its own structure, a handsome modern bank and office building, which it erected in 1922 [sic] at a cost of forty thousand dollars, and which is one of the most attractive buildings of Brainerd, or in the state.
Mr. Kundert was married on August 16, 1911 to Mazie Johnston, daughter of Henry and Margaret Johnston, both natives of Wisconsin, who went to Mason City, Iowa in the early days, where Mr. Johnston was a railroad man all his life. Both Mr. and Mrs. Johnston have passed away. Mr. Kundert and his wife are parents of three children: Margaret Jane, John William, and Henry Edwin. Mr. Kundert owns some farming interests in Minnesota and is a member of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, the Brainerd Civic and Commercial Association, and the Brainerd Business Men's Association. Politically, he is a member of the Republican party, and in religious matters, he and his wife are members of the Congregational church. His residence is at No. 93 Bluff Avenue. (Minnesota and Its People, Volume IV, pp. 101 & 102, 1924)

While the men were being helped back to jobs, the nation was creeping out of a year of depression that led to a widespread epidemic of farm failures and bankruptcies. In that net was caught the Brainerd State Bank which, in April of 1924, ended its career. It had erected a beautiful bank building, opened 02 January 1923 [sic], situated on the southwest corner of Laurel and South Seventh Streets. It is now [1946] occupied by the Citizens State Bank. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946; pp. 130 & 131)

NOTE: Does not appear to be true.

...and the present writer can certainly supply the first name of Harry [sic] [Henry] E. Kundert.
For this was the Cashier of the Brainerd State Bank who—about a decade later [April 1924]—committed suicide by asphyxiation in the garage at his home on North Bluff Avenue at North Third. That bank had originally been incorporated 11 April 1908 as the Security State Bank of Brainerd—a strangely precognitive name of sarcastic sort. On 10 September 1910 the name was changed to the Brainerd State Bank. On 11 May 1920, its Articles of Incorporation were amended to raise the limits on both capital stock and admissible debt; and my father then took over the Presidency—as though to replace the “security” in the original name.
Then on that terrible morning of the Kundert suicide, Brainerd experienced its first bank rush with virtually instantaeous bankruptcy. Feeling obliged to protect his investors, Dad used his own funds to pay them off; and when the rush was over, he was not only a broken man from financial standpoints, but also physically. For some years he suffered from what was in those days simply called a “nervous breakdown.” (Oldtimers . . . Stories of Our Pioneers; Zapffe, Jr., Carl A., p. 29; Echo Publishing Company, Pequot Lakes, Minnesota: 1987)

NOTE: The above story by Zapffe, Jr. is simply astonishing; there is neither an obituary relating to the “suicide” in the Brainerd Dispatch, nor is there a death record in Minnesota for Henry E./Harry Kundert. In the 1930 and 1940 Federal Censuses, Henry E. Kundert, parking garage attendant, was living in Minneapolis with his family. Henry [Harry] E. Kundert died in Los Angeles, California on 06 September 1958. Apparently Zapffe, Sr. didn’t pay off the approximately $475,000 owed to the bank’s depositors.


H. E. Kundert Narrowly Escaped
Death When Starting Car at
His Home


Throws Open Doors and Fresh Air
Partly Revived the Banker

H. E. Kundert, cashier of the Brainerd State Bank, narrowly escaped death by asphyxiation early this morning, while starting his automobile in the closed garage at his home, 93 Bluff avenue, North, being overcome by the deadly carbon monoxide gas from the exhaust of the car.
According to reports, Mr. Kundert had only recently had his automobile overhauled and this morning told his wife that he intended to drive it down town. She heard him start the car, and in a few minutes heard him feebly call to her.
The garage is in the basement of the home, and Mrs. Kundert hurried down immediately. All that her husband could say was “Door,” which he repeated several times. She opened the outside doors immediately and as she did so, Mr. Kundert collapsed.
Dr. Thabes was called and administered first aid before taking the stricken man to the hospital, where he was finally brought back to consciousness, after a great deal of hard work on the part of the attending physicians. According to hospital authorities, he is resting quite well, but is still in a serious condition.
Carbon monoxide gas from the exhaust of automobiles that are confined to small quarters, has taken a big toll of life. It is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas, which asphyxiates its victim without any warning according to physicians, taking effect almost instantly. (Brainerd Dispatch, 11 April 1924, p. 2, c. 4)


Heavy Run on Institution This
Morning Causes Doors to be


Bank Now in Communication With
State Banking Department

The Brainerd State Bank closed its doors at about two o’clock this afternoon. A. L. Koop, assistant cashier, makes the following statement:
“Owing to H. E. Kundert’s accident this morning, a heavy run was made on the bank, forcing it to close its doors. We are in communication with the state banking department and will be in a position to make a definite announcement in the course of a day or two.”
Mr. Kundert, cashier of the bank, narrowly escaped death by asphyxiation while starting his automobile this morning, and is in a serious condition at St. Joseph’s hospital, so that no statement could be had from him, or from Carl Zapffe, president of the bank, who is recovering from an illness of several week’s duration.
The Brainerd State Bank has been considered one of the city’s foremost institutions. Only last year it moved into its new quarters, a home of its own at the corner of South Seventh and Laurel streets. It is hoped that the situation will be remedied and that the bank will be able to resume business in the very near future. (Brainerd Dispatch, 11 April 1924, p. 2, c. 2)


State Bank Examiner Frank V. Artig, who has taken charge of the affairs of the Brainerd State Bank, whose doors were closed on Monday afternoon, had no statement to make regarding progress that he is making with the bank’s accounts.
The task of listing the institution’s liabilities and assets will require a week or ten days, said Mr. Artig, who is working under difficulties, since his assistant is detained at Deer River.
A. J. Viegel, state superintendent of banks, made the following announcement: “The Brainerd State Bank, with deposits totaling approximately $500,000 and a capital of $50,000, was closed Monday following a run on the institution, when more than $21,000 was paid out to depositors.” (Brainerd Dispatch, 11 April 1924, p. 2, c. 2)


J. H. Kinney, of the state banking department, has arrived in the city and has taken charge of the receivership of the Brainerd State bank, which closed a week ago.
It is understood that Mr. Kinney will proceed with the liquidation of the bank’s assets unless some arrangements are made to reopen the institution.
Frank T. Artig, state bank examiner, is still in the city, going over the affairs of the bank, and checking up its accounts.
H. E. Kundert, cashier, who has been confined to his home since his accident of last Monday morning, is able to be down town, and was at the bank today. He has no statement prepared for publication at this time. (Brainerd Dispatch, 18 April 1924, p. 2, c. 5)

SEE: Citizens State Bank
SEE: Northern Pacific Bank
SEE: Parker Block


Schwartz Brickyard, ca. Unknown.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society
Between 1878 and 1890 making brick constitutes a major industry in Brainerd. It reaches its peak between 1882 and 1886. The premier brick-maker is William Schwartz, a German who comes to Brainerd about 1875 [He comes to Brainerd in 1872 as a merchant.] and in 1878 purchases a piece of land about a mile up-river from Main [Washington] Street. (Now bordered on the east by Mill Avenue.) The land contains a bed of clay thirty feet thick; when fired, the clay turns to an attractive cream or buff color, Schwartz calls his business the Brainerd Steam Brickyards. His process makes an exceptionally tough and durable brick which quickly becomes famous and is called “Milwaukee cream brick” for the city which is known for such brick. He ships to Duluth and the Twin Cities and places in between. The business becomes so big that it warrants the Northern Pacific building in May of 1881 a mile and a half long railroad spur, north from its shop yards to serve this infant industry brickyard. [The spur currently runs down the avenue adjacent to Evergreen Cemetery to the paper mill in northeast Brainerd.] Among the local buildings of note built with Schwartz’s steam brick: the Hartley Block, burned; the McFadden-Westfall Building, burned; the First National Bank Building (Hartley’s) Sixth and Front; former courthouse [apartment building on the southeast corner of Fourth and Kingwood]; the Sheriff’s home, [demolished]; the old city jail, once a part of Meyers Cleaners and Laundry, [demolished]; the Northern Pacific shop buildings; the old high school building, burned in 1928 or 1929 [burned in 1928]; all the grade school buildings, demolished in 1936; C. N. Parker’s street car power-house, [demolished ?]; Park Opera House [not built with Schwartz bricks, built with Duclos bricks from Little Falls], north side of Front Street at Fifth, [demolished in April 1994]; and several dozen north side residences erected by C. B. Sleeper, W. D. McKay, and others. In 1884 Schwartz is divorced and he quits making bricks; in 1884 he leaves Brainerd and in 1890 all brick-making stops. [Brick making does not stop in 1890.] (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946, pp. 37 & 38)

NOTE: Carl Zapffe claims, in Brainerd 1871-1946, p. 38, that the Park Opera House was built of Schwartz cream brick, this appears not to have been the case.

SEE: Park Opera House / Paramount Theatre

Mr. Wm. Schwartz, of this place, made a very valuable discovery a few weeks since, about two miles north of town, of an inexhaustible bed of brick clay. He immediately made a thorough test of the quality of the clay, which was entirely satisfactory in its results, and then proceeded to hunt up the owner of the land, which proved to be G. W. Holland, Esq., of this city, and purchase it. He soon struck a bargain with Mr. Holland at $250 for the eighty acres containing the clay, and now considers his fortune is made. He has already cleared the ground for a brickyard on an extensive scale, and is negotiating for the machinery, including a steam engine, all of which he proposes to have on the ground ready for brisk operations in early spring. This is a fortunate discovery for Brainerd, as well as for Mr. Schwartz, as it will give us brick at a reasonable figure and undoubtedly result in a number of brick blocks in our city, adding much to its appearance and substantiability [sic]—in fact, we understand more than one brick range is already projected the coming summer. (Brainerd Tribune, 26 October 1878, p. 4, c. 2)

Don’t forget, kind reader, that Brainerd will have a sawmill and a brickyard in full blast in the spring, and will have lumber and brick for sale thereafter to all comers, as heretofore. (Brainerd Tribune, 11 January 1879, p. 1, c. 1)

Mr. Schwartz has received his machinery, and his men have arrived for commencing operations at his brickyard north of town. He expects to have a kiln up in about three weeks and will have first-class brick in the market inside of sixty days. He calculates upon over a million this season. (Brainerd Tribune, 19 April 1879, p. 4, c. 1)

Evergreen Cemetery is reported in a shocking condition and should, in the name of decency if not of humanity, receive some attention from the citizens if not from the trustees. A large portion of the fence has been torn away and destroyed; a road to the brickyard has been located through it over graves and against palings in the most heartless sacrilegious manner imaginable, defacing and obliterating lines, marks and mounds with a brutal indifference. Why in the name of all reason is a public thoroughfare permitted to be opened through the resting place of the dead? We will venture the assertion that these despoilers would not thus deface the burying place of their own children; parents or friends, and why should they be permitted to intrude upon others? (Brainerd Tribune, Saturday, 19 April 1879)

Mr. Wm. Schwartz gave us a call this week to say, with reference to the article appearing in the Tribune last week, that his teams in crossing the cemetery grounds do not pass over any graves or against any palings, but keep the avenue the entire distance, which he claims they have a right to do, though he says other teams do travel promiscuously over the grounds defacing and mutilating the graves, palings, etc., as stated by the Tribune last week. The Tribune did not state, because it did not know, what teams were doing the damage, nor did it care. It was enough that it was being done, and that a public road was being located across the grounds, which we insist should be stopped short. We also insist that Mr. Schwartz is in error when he claims the right to use the cemetery avenue as a public thoroughfare, which will be made apparent if an organization is ever perfected. Mr. Schwartz also informed us that the fire which raged with such destructive fury in that vicinity on Sunday last destroying the fence, palings, headstones, etc., was set by a lot of boys who were seen in the act by Mrs. Weist, his partner's wife, and we are informed that an effort will be made to identify the young villains and mete out to them the punishment they so richly deserve. The fire referred to, in addition to the destruction of the cemetery property, came very near consuming the buildings, machinery, wood and outfit of Mr. Schwartz's brickyard, and did burn two or three cords of wood. A clean sweep of everything was only prevented by the most arduous efforts of Mr. Schwartz and his entire crew who fought fire continually from Sunday night until Tuesday morning without sleep, rest or cessation. The Tribune article of last week is, however, we are pleased to observe, having the wholesome effect to awaken an interest in this sadly neglected subject—our cemetery—which has resulted in the call for a public meeting appearing elsewhere in this issue, the object of which is to elect a board of trustees and otherwise perfect an organization which can sell and give title to lots, and thus create a fund for the improvement and protection of the grounds. We hope the attendance will be large and that the effort will not meet the fate of its several predecessors, that of a fizzle. (Brainerd Tribune, 26 April 1879)

The first load of brick from the yard of Schwartz & Weist was hauled to town this week, and lies on exhibition in front of the store of Mr. Schwartz, where it has been freely and frequently examined by our citizens, who one and all pronounce its quality first-class in every particular. It is a cream-colored brick, quite similar to the Milwaukee brick, and will make a very handsome wall. Mr. C. F. Kindred is the first purchaser of the new brick. (Brainerd Tribune, 28 June 1879, p. 1, c. 2)

The firm of Schwartz & Weist, proprietors of the brick yard at this place has been dissolved by mutual consent, Mr. Schwartz continuing the brick business alone. (Brainerd Tribune, 26 July 1879, p. 5, c. 1)

Mr. Schwartz is negotiating with the Railroad company for a branch track to his brick yard. If it is built it will be extended to Rice Lake where several new saw mills will be erected. (Brainerd Tribune, 31 January 1880, p. 1, c. 1)

Mr. Wm. Schwartz leaves the first of the week for Chicago, to procure new and improved machinery for his extensive brickyard. He expects to make 1,500,000 brick this season, and the best brick west of Milwaukee. (Brainerd Tribune, 14 February 1880, p. 4, c. 1)

Mr. Markell, of Markell & Munger of Duluth, was in Brainerd this week making a contract with Mr. Schwartz for 300,000 brick required for their new elevator to be erected at the Zenith in the spring. (Brainerd Tribune, 28 February 1880, p. 4, c. 1)

The plans are being drawn and the location platted for the proposed extension of the N. P. railroad shops at this place. The company has contracted with Wm. Schwartz for 1,000,000 brick for the purpose of their construction, and a track will be laid from a point near the present shops to Mr. Schwartz’s brick yard. This track should be extended at the same time to Rice Lake, where a number of saw mills would undoubtedly be erected the coming season. (Brainerd Tribune, 13 March 1880, p. 1, c. 1)

Mr. Schwartz has purchased an engine this week for his brick yard. (Brainerd Tribune, 20 March 1880, p. 4, c. 1)

Ye whistle of ye brick yard engine makes lively music now-a-days, and our old friend Schwartz is correspondingly happy. (Brainerd Tribune, 24 April 1880, p. 4, c. 1)

Mr. Schwartz will have his first 100,000 of new brick ready for the market in about ten days and then we expect to see the brick blocks, brick houses, brick vaults, brick chimneys, brick cellars, brick walks, brick foundations, brick wells, brick walls and all kinds of brick structures including brick tops, brick dust and bricks take a decided boom. (Brainerd Tribune, 29 May 1880, p. 1, c.’s 4 & 5)


The Accounts Concerning Its
Ravages at Other Points.

Latest Information from all the
Deluged or Threatened Districts.

Condition of Affairs in the
Upper Mississippi and
Its Tributaries.

No Additional Damage Re-
ported—The Worst
Probably Over.

Rum River Rapidly Receding—
The Mississippi Slowly



BRAINERD, Minn., June 11.—The heavy rains of last week did considerable damage in this vicinity. The Buffalo creek and Fort Ripley railroad bridges were carried away. The mill branch track is badly washed, hanging in mid air in several places. The ferry boat was carried away. Schwartz’s brickyard is inundated and the river is still on the rise, raising one foot yesterday. Minneapolis lumbermen have boomed the river at Aitkin to stop the logs. Farms near Brainerd are all under water, and farmers considerably alarmed for their crops.


(Minneapolis Tribune, 15 June 1880, p. 2)

The clay bank at Schwartz’s brick yard fell on one of the workmen, named Alfred Wester, yesterday morning, completely burying him out of sight, and it was fully ten minutes before his co-laborers succeeded in unearthing him from the ponderous mass when he was taken out senseless and remained unconscious until this morning, when he came to his senses. Dr. Howes was called promptly and says his principal injuries being internal it is difficult to ascertain how badly he is hurt though his hemorrhages indicate considerable internal rupture and it is not known yet whether he will survive or not, though his returning consciousness this morning give hope of life. (Brainerd Tribune, 03 July 1880, p. 1, c. 3)

Mr. Alfred Wester, the young man injured at Schwartz's brick yard, as reported by the TRIBUNE last week, baffled all human skill and was relieved from his sufferings by death on yesterday morning. His funeral took place yesterday afternoon. (Brainerd Tribune, 10 July 1880, p. 1, c. 3)

Hay Contract Wanted.

I want to let the contract for 30 tons of good blue-joint hay to be delivered at my brick yard.
Brainerd July 17, 1880.
(Brainerd Tribune, 17 July 1880, p. 4, c. 2)


Schwartz’s brickyard is running at full blast. They employ forty men and turn out about 21,000 bricks per day. The brick is shipped to all parts of the state and Dakota. (Minneapolis Tribune, 19 July 1880, p. 8)


The Enterprise of Wm. Schwartz.

Two Millions to be Turned Out This

Accepting, yesterday, a long-standing invitation from Mr. William Schwartz, the editors of the TRIBUNE, accompanied by Hon. Lyman P. White and daughters, Misses Josephine and Jennie and Misses Davis and Chapman, drove out to the Brainerd Brick Yard, a mile northeast of town, to inspect and report, for the benefit of the thousands of TRIBUNE readers, the numerous and elaborate improvements Mr. Schwartz has there made and what is there being done in this line in the way of local enterprise. We expected to find a brick yard looking as all brick yards, generally do, with its mills and moulds, kilns and brick piles, the former operated by a long sweep pulled around by a horse and the latter covered with temporary sheds or more commonly a lot of loose boards. But here we found several new and extensive buildings, in fact quite a village in itself. Entering the clearing which covers about fifty acres the first building on the right is a fine large two-story residence for the use of the proprietor and his family, which with its white paint and curtained windows bears a picturesque contrast to the forest wilds we are just emerging from and gives the locality a homelike air of neatness quite pleasing and attractive. Opposite, on the left, are the stables and wagon-house and a little farther on an extensive boarding house, lodging rooms, kitchen, bakery, etc., with capacity to accommodate some sixty employees. East of these buildings several acres have been graded for the brick yard, in the centre of which is located the engine house covering a forty-horse power engine, boilers and machinery, and from either end of which runs a shaft with drums, belts and cogs attached, connecting with the clay mills and brick machines of which there are four, two on each shaft, with a capacity of 22,000 daily. From the north side of this engine house leading down the embankment into the clay mine some sixty feet below the level, is a railway track or tram-way up which the car loads of raw clay are pulled by the engine, and, connecting with the Mississippi river, some twenty or thirty rods north, is a pipe through which is pumped water to supply the boilers, brick machines, dwelling, stables, boarding house and all the requirements of the grounds. On the south border of the yard are the kiln sheds, a permanent structure, three hundred feet in length with a capacity for holding 1,000,000 brick at once. The roof is in sections and set on trucks, enabling its removal from kiln to kiln as may be required and everything, buildings, sheds and all, are of a permanent and convenient character, indicating the character of the enterprise and the determination of the proprietor to have everything requisite to facilitate the manufacture of a first-class article of brick at the least possible cost.
He has already burned 800,000 brick this season, nearly all of which have been sold or contracted for, 400,000 more are in kiln, ready to burn, and he expects to burn about 800,000 more or 2,000,000 in all for the season of 1880. The brick manufactured here are of excellent quality, and fully equal to the celebrated Milwaukee brick. They keep their shape perfectly in burning; are hard, and clink together with a clear ringing sound, indicative of excellent quality. In color they are light cream, making a beautiful wall. He proposes next season to also burn facing brick, which will be pressed in oiled moulds, and handled with the utmost care. These brick will be hard and perfectly smooth for building fronts, and will make a beautiful wall surface.
We examined the bed of clay from which these brick are made and found it about forty feet in thickness, and as it underlies several hundred acres contiguous to this yard, there is not even a probability that the bed will be exhausted in the next century. This clay underlies a large portion of Crow Wing county, and having plenty of timber and fuel, and excellent facilities for shipment, there is no doubt but that we have a mine of wealth that only needs the inspiration of enterprise such as Mr. Schwartz has manifested to open it up to the world. No other clay of so valuable quality has as yet been discovered in this State, and we are satisfied that none better can be found anywhere.
When Mr. Schwartz started out to develop this clay bank people were generally incredulous and “poohed” at what they conceived to be a fool-hardy undertaking. He found few indeed, to encourage him. But with a brave heart that knows no quaking, he persisted in his efforts, expending large sums of money in buildings and improvements; purchased extensive areas of tillable and timber lands, advertised his clay, forwarded his brick to distant localities to be examined and tested, and with a faith born of certain knowledge of his business, and the materials he had to use, he went boldly on with his enterprise, and today enjoys the gratification of having entered upon a prosperous business, realizing substantial and well-merited rewards for his zeal. In this undertaking he has been ably assisted by his wife, a woman of rare business talent and persistency, who with him, looks after the details of much of the business of manufacturing, and in addition has the general superintending of a large mercantile business.
Such ability, coupled with great tenacity of purpose, applied in an extensive business, must necessarily bring success, and that of the most substantial character. They have been and are doing this extensive business on a cash basis, or pay as you go. That Mr. S. is a first-class businessman there is no longer any doubt. He is a liberal-minded, “whole-souled” man and likes his friends and hates his enemies, and is bound to grow rapidly rich. The genius he displays can but bring one result, and that is success.
The people of Brainerd can well be proud of their businessmen. They are far-seeing, active energetic citizens for the most part, and will surely thrive. And while we have many of them, there is room for many more. We want more steam saw and gristmills, a greater variety of manufactures and we will will welcome with the right hand of fellowship those who come to cast their lot with us and make up the sum of our general prosperity. (Brainerd Tribune, 31 July 1880, p. 4, c.’s 2 & 3)

SEE: 1880 Brainerd-2 in the Early Accounts of Brainerd page.

Capt. French, one of the owners of the addition to the town site, will open his brick yard the coming spring. (Brainerd Tribune, 29 January 1881, p. 1, c. 3)

NOTE: I think this is Ed French, proprietor of Le Bon Ton Saloon; as far as I know this brick yard was never opened.

SEE: Le Bon Ton Saloon

Minneapolis parties are negotiating for land in the immediate vicinity of Brainerd for a location for a brick yard. Another party from Glencoe proposes to open up a brick yard at Brainerd the coming spring. (Brainerd Tribune, 29 January 1881, p. 1, c. 3)

NOTE: I don’t believe these alleged brick yards were ever opened.

Brick making will soon be an important industry in this section. (Brainerd Tribune, 29 January 1881, p. 1, c. 3)

BRAINERD, Jan. 25.—Wm. Schwartz, proprietor of the Brainerd brick yards, has closed a contract with the Northern Pacific Railway company for 3,000,000 brick, to be used for the extension and completion of the Brainerd shops. This settles the question as to the permanency and future welfare of this town. (Brainerd Tribune, 29 January 1881, p. 1, c. 3)

Mr. Wm. Schwartz’s yard turned out over 2,000,000 bricks last year, and the demand is for more. Brainerd clay turns out a beautiful cream-colored brick, not excelled by the celebrated Milwaukee brick. (Brainerd Tribune, 29 January 1881, p. 1, c. 3)



BRAINERD, Feb. 12.—Wm. Schwartz is burning a large kiln of brick preparatory for the spring rush. It is feared he will experience some difficulty in burning his brick the coming summer. The extreme depth of the snow makes it impossible to cut and haul the 1,500 cords of wood that he says he must have, and he cannot get it out of the marshes when the spring opens. (Minneapolis Tribune, 14 February 1881, p. 5)



BRAINERD, Feb. 17.—Wm. Schwartz is paying $1.10 per cord for chopping wood. It is the extreme depth of the snow that brings the price up so. The weather is fine; cold nights, but pleasant during the day. (Minneapolis Tribune, 19 February 1881, p. 5)

A branch of track is to be built from the main line to the brick yard of W. Schwartz. This is to be utilized in transporting brick for the new car shops, and loading for general shipments. (Brainerd Tribune, 19 March 1881, p. 1, c. 1)

Last Monday work was commenced on the Northern Pacific and brickyard railway. That looks like business. (Brainerd Tribune, 30 April 1881, p. 1, c. 1)

Parties desiring brick should call at the store of Mr. Schwartz and procure an order for the same before going to the yard. (Brainerd Tribune, 30 April 1881, p. 1, c. 1)

The railroad spur to the Brainerd brick yard was completed yesterday. The site of the new railroad shops to be built there has been staked out, and work will be commenced on them at once.—[Little Falls Transcript, 3d. (Brainerd Tribune, 07 May 1881, p. 1, c. 1)



BRAINERD, May 16—General Manager Sargent, of the Northern Pacific Railroad, has signed a contract with Wm. Schwartz for three million brick with which to build the new round-house and enlarge the present machine shops in this city. The new buildings to be constructed of brick are to be located on the south side of the track, east of the paint shop, and the general repair shop on the north side of the track. (Minneapolis Tribune, 18 May 1881, p. 2)

W. Schwartz’s brick-makers struck the other day, but new men were soon supplied to fill their places. (Brainerd Tribune, 02 July 1881, p. 5, c. 1)


Millions of Brick Wanted at

A Magnificent Harvest Awaiting
the Reapers’ Sickle, and One
that Demands Immediate

It may not be generally known, but it is a significant fact, that at the Schwartz brick yard, north of town, is the only large bed of brick-clay deposit in this part of the Northwest. This tract comprises nearly three hundred acres of soil which cannot be equaled for the use to which it is designed. but the most portentous fact to be considered is that not one-eighth of the demand can be supplied by the present facilities, which consist of eight machines in constant operation. Mr. Schwartz informs us that he has orders in for millions of brick which he cannot even think of giving a passing consideration. To give the reader an idea of this fact it might be stated that he cannot in any way meet the wants of even home patronage, besides filling such orders as 3,000,000 for St. Paul, 2,600,000 for Minneapolis, 75,000 for Verndale, 200,000 for Fargo, 50,000 for Wadena, 60,000 for Aitkin, 50,000 for Bismarck, 75,000 for Mandan, 50,000 for Aldrich, 50,000 for White Earth, 75,000 for Perham, 500,000 for Duluth, 200,000 for Little Falls, 100,000 for Moorhead, and numerous other similar orders. Now, this is somewhat discouraging in one light; when we consider that a joint stock company formed here with sufficient capital to carry on the requisite business that would in a measure meet the demands of our neighbors and ourselves, could reap a rich and golden harvest in a short time, it does look as though enough enterprise and ambition should be located in some spirit to investigate and act upon this matter. Here we are suffering a sort of temporary stagnation in business, for the want of material to carry on the building that is so badly needed, and apparently no relief. Besides this our milling advantages are limited, although in most sections would be considered enormous, and even lumber cannot be procured in any reasonable time. Let some capitalist or capitalists take hold of this matter with a vim, and then reap the magnificent harvest that lies in glittering maturity waiting to be garnered into the bins. (Brainerd Tribune, 02 July 1881, p. 5, c. 4)

We made our first trip out to the brick yard of Wm. Schwartz last Wednesday, and were very much surprised to observe the extent to which this industry is carried there. (Brainerd Tribune, 30 July 1881, p. 5, c. 2)

“Brainerd brick” are advertised for sale in Little Falls. (Brainerd Tribune, 20 August 1881, p. 5, c. 1)

Brainerd Brick Building Boom.

The brick building boom has set in, and has evidently come to stay a while, at least. This is exactly what we need. It tends to give the city a metropolitan air as it already deserves. B. F. Hartley led the van, with the N. P. Shops about the same time. Then C. B. Sleeper follows immediately after with a fine two-story brick, which is now under course of construction. L. J. Cale is immediately on hand with another large brick store building. J. D. Cheney falls in line, and has just commenced the erection of a large two-story business block of solid brick, to be 47 by 50 feet in proportions. Mr. Cheney has just disposed of his former building on Front street to Mr. Barton a wealthy gentleman recently doing business at Long Prairie. Mr. Barton, as soon as spring opens up, will move the frame building off of its present site, and put up a first-class brick building in its place. There are rumors of several more fine brick buildings that will very probably soon be put in course of construction. Thus the good work goes on, and ere long there will be very few towns in the growing northwest that can rank with Brainerd. (Brainerd Tribune, 27 August 1881, p. 5, c. 5)

SEE: Cale Block
SEE: Hartley Block
SEE: Sleeper Block

Wm. Schwartz has engaged twenty-six first-class brick-makers for his extensive brick manufactory. (Brainerd Tribune, 11 February 1882, p. 5, c. 2)

Wm. Schwartz says he has 1,600 cords of wood in one pile at his brick yard, to be used in burning kilns this summer. (Brainerd Tribune, 04 March 1882, p. 5, c. 3)

Seven car loads of Brainerd brick were shipped to Duluth last Thursday. (Brainerd Dispatch, 25 October 1883, p. 2, c. 1)

The Brickyard Dissolution.

Wm. Schwartz and wife have finally come to the conclusion that they cannot pull together in the matrimonial traces as man and wife should and have separated and divided up the property of which there is considerable. Mrs. Schwartz retains the brickyard and the addition to Brainerd, while it is understood that Mr. S. gets some equally as valuable property and half the cash on hand. Madam Rumor sayeth that there is a fair young Adonis mixed up in the business and he it is that has caused all the trouble that has been public talk for some time past, but whether this is true or otherwise deponent sayeth not. Mr. Schwartz left on Thursday morning with his son for Hanover, Germany, where he will put the boy in school to finish his education. He will return to Brainerd in the spring to settle up his business. The lady pays all bills. (Brainerd Dispatch, Friday, 22 August 1884, p. 3, c. 3)

Wm. Schwartz, who left this city for Germany last fall, returned to Brainerd on Friday. Mr. Schwartz left his son in school in that country. (Brainerd Dispatch, 06 March 1885, p. 3, c. 2)


A special to the St. Paul papers from this city says:
“A social upheaving on quite as huge a scale as the new railroad excitement, was the arrest by the police at an early hour this morning, of Mrs. Swartz [sic], proprietress of the large brick works here, and her bookkeeper, John Keifer, both charged with living in improper relations. Last spring, on account of alleged misconduct with the bookkeeper, Mr. Swartz [sic] settled all his business affairs with her amicably, leaving her the whole business and quite a fortune. Swartz [sic] subsequently got a divorce, and has since been in Europe, where he took his son to be educated. A few weeks ago Swartz [sic] returned, and, it is said, found matters as bad as ever, but regarded the matter as no concern of his. The indignant people of the vicinity, however, took the matter in hand, and last evening armed and equipped a tar and feathering party, but were anticipated by the police, who went to the Swartz [sic] residence and pulled the alleged unholy pair. Keifer was lodged in jail, and Mrs. Swartz [sic] permitted to return home under promise to report in the municipal court tomorrow forenoon.”
The correspondent evidently sent the above telegram on the impulse of the moment and got the young man’s name, which is Adolph Thies [sic], wrong, and also the statement in regard to the tar and feathers is entirely untrue, the balance of the article having some foundation. Theis [sic] and Mrs. Swartz [sic] were arrested, and subsequently Theis [sic] agreed to leave town if proceedings would be stopped, but the next day he took legal advice on the subject, and concluded to tarry a while longer. Rumors of a suit for damages are reported but nothing certain can be learned in regard to it. (Brainerd Dispatch, 20 March 1885, p. 3, c. 6)

Work at the Brickyard.

Mrs. M. Schwartz informed a Dispatch representative on Tuesday that work in the brickyard would be started up on Friday of the this week and active preparations are being made for a busy season’s work. The season has been a little backward and in consequence the clay has not thoroughly dried out or work would have been begun previous to this. The capacity of the yard is about 4,500,000 brick during the season and if run at its full capacity would require about 125 men. Already 2,000,000 brick have been contracted for by Duluth parties and it is expected that there will be other orders for brick which will increase the number to the full capacity of the works. At the start there will be about fifty men employed, wages ranging from $1.40 to $1.60 per day to laborers. Mrs. Schwartz has made quite a number of noticeable improvements at her place during the past six months, among which has been the erection of a $2,000 brick barn, it being one of the finest in this section. (Brainerd Dispatch, 01 May 1885, p. 3, c. 4)

Brainerd Brick Abroad.

Mrs. Schwartz, proprietor of the celebrated brick yards at Brainerd, was in the city yesterday and closed contracts for furnishing bricks for the new board of trade and Fargusson buildings.—Duluth Tribune. (Brainerd Dispatch, 12 June 1885, p. 3, c. 6)

It may not be known to some what causes the different colors in bricks. The red color of bricks is due to the iron contained in the clay. In the process of burning, the iron compounds are changed thus developing the color. Certain clays—like those in the vicinity of Brainerd for instance—contain little or no iron, and the bricks made from them are light or cream colored. (Brainerd Dispatch, 14 January 1887, p. 1, c. 3)

Mrs. Schwartz has sold 300,000 brick to Warner Bros., of Minneapolis. (Brainerd Dispatch, 01 April 1887, p. 4, c. 3)

A. Gordon has leased Mrs. Schwartz’ brickyard at the dam for a term of years and commenced on Monday to put things in shape for the season’s work. He expects to manufacture nearly three million brick this season and will employ a large force of men. (Brainerd Dispatch, 20 April 1888, p. 4, c. 4)

Work at the brickyard is being pushed with all possible rapidity. The lessees expect to get out three million brick before the season closes but the weather has materially interfered. The first of the week the wind blew the covering off and 75,000 brick were washed down by the rain. (Brainerd Dispatch, 15 June 1888, p. 4, c. 4)

The mayor was instructed to close a contract with Mrs. Magdalena Robinson for right of way across her land for erection of electric light poles. The price to be paid is $72 per year. (Brainerd Dispatch, 07 December 1888, p. 4, c. 5)


A Monster Mass Meeting at the Opera
House to Consider a Pro-

Capitalists With Unlimited Means Want
the Electric Light Plant.

In Consideration They Will Build a Mil-
lion Dollar Manufacturing Establishment.

The meeting at the opera house last night was one of the most harmonious, for a mass meeting, that it has ever been our pleasure to attend. Nearly every man, woman and child in the city knows by this time what the meeting was for. A syndicate of eastern capitalists having secured an option on nearly all the available property at the dam, including the Swartz [sic] property, the Rice lake property, the water power property, the city water works and valuable pine land, desire the city of Brainerd to turn over to them the electric light plant and franchise and pay all claims against it, they in return to give to the city fifty arc lights free for twenty years. This was what the people were called together to consider, and as the company do not ask the city to turn over a dollar’s worth of property to them until they have fulfilled their part of the contract by erecting manufacturing establishments on the power to cost in the neighborhood of a million of dollars and to employ from 300 to 500 men the year round, the matter is looked on with favor by nearly every man in the city:
The opera house was filled to its utmost capacity and C. L. Spaulding was chosen chairman. In order that the people might know that there was sufficient evidence of good faith telegrams were read as follows:


(Brainerd Dispatch, 24 May 1889, p. 1, c. 2)

Satisfactorily Settled.

The deal will undoubtedly be completed in a short time whereby the syndicate will become the owners of the dam property and the entire Swartz [sic] interests in that neighborhood. Mrs. Robinson [Magdalena Schwartz married Andrew Robinson on November 28, 1887.] has received $5,000 of the $30,000 that she is to have, and there is probably nothing that can now happen to stop the improvements at the water power, although it is not expected that immediate work will be commenced, as Mr. H. C. Davis [Northern Pacific] was in Brainerd last night and in consultation with Leon E. Lum told him that they were not quite ready to close the deal, and that he was on his way to the coast to see Mr. Oakes in regard to the matter that concerned the railroad interests probably in regard to the N. P. pine. However, he left word for Mrs. Robinson that everything was all right and that she would get her money, but for her not to stop operations at her brickyard. That is exactly the way the matter stands at present, and although we may not see any active operations for some weeks, there is no doubt but that these things will all come. A good healthy growth will be worth more to Brainerd for time to come than a wild cat boom. The Weyerhauser Lumber Co., a firm with unlimited means and probably one of the largest institutions in the United States of its kind, are interested in this deal, and their mill which is to be located here will employ from 400 to 500 men. Large bodies move slowly, and in a business transaction of this magnitude it takes time to complete all the details and get things in shape. Our people can congratulate themselves on the bright prospect for future prosperity. (Brainerd Dispatch, 14 June 1889, p. 4, c. 4)

NOTE: According to Zapffe, Sr.: In 1884 Schwartz is divorced and he quits making bricks; in 1884 he leaves Brainerd and in 1890 all brick-making stops. [Brick making does not stop in 1890, see below and Ebinger Brickyard.] (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946, pp. 37 & 38)

Mrs. Magdalena Robinson, for many years proprietor of what is known as “Swartz’s [sic] brickyard,” in this city, has sold out all her property interests here, and is going out west with her husband and try farming for awhile. Her interest in the brickyard has been purchased by J. W. Koop, we understand. (Brainerd Dispatch, 30 October 1891, p. 4, c. 4)

SEE: Schwartz Block

A Thriving Industry.

The Brainerd brickyard, as conducted the present season by Messrs. Kelehan & Brosson, has undoubtedly been one of the most thriving and profitable industries in Brainerd this season. Over three million brick have been manufactured and a ready market has been found for the entire output at high prices. The bricks produced are pronounced of even better quality than those manufactured in former years, and brick from this year have always been considered of excellent quality. It is undoubtedly the quality of the article produced that makes them in such demand. Mr. Kelehan informed a DISPATCH scribe that the output this year is the largest ever produced, not excepting 1881-82, the years of the boom in this city. Mr. Kelehan also said that they could have sold more than twice as many as they could produce, and another season will probably see at least five million brick produced by this yard. (Brainerd Dispatch, 07 October 1892, p. 4, c. 4)

The brickyard will be started up next week for the season. Mr. Kelehan expects to run a crew of 50 men and says he will be able to dispose of all the brick he can manufacture. (Brainerd Dispatch, 05 May 1893, p. 4, c. 3)

Mrs. Magdalena Robinson, formerly owner of what is known as the Swartz [sic] brickyard near the dam, died at Salem, Oregon, Feb. 25. She was suffering from gangrene of the leg, and the limb was amputated twice, her death being the result of the second operation. Peter Swindemann [sic] is a brother of the deceased. (Brainerd Dispatch, 13 March 1896, p. 4, c. 3)

Reward Offered.

Ten dollars reward will be paid for the apprehension and conviction of any person or persons destroying fences, breaking into buildings or stealing any kind of property from lot 2, section 19, town 45, range 30, better known as the Schwartz Brickyard property.
Will also pay a reward of Fifty Dollars for the apprehension and conviction of any person or persons who set fire to the building located on the same property that was burned on the night of September 12th.


(Brainerd Dispatch, 02 October 1896, p. 4, c. 5)

Struck by Lightning.

During the violent thunder storm that occurred on Tuesday noon, the old Swartz [sic] residence property at the brickyard was struck by lightning, and almost instantly the whole top of the building was in flames, and it spite of the heavy rain falling, was burned to the ground. The building was occupied by J. J. Hunt and family, who conducted a private boarding house, and the family had just sat down to dinner when the lightning came. So quickly was the building in flames that the boarders were unable to save their clothing and personal effects in the rooms above. Most of the household goods were saved. The loss on the building was $1,000, with $600 insurance in the Keene & McFadden agency. The building was the property of C. N. Parker. (Brainerd Dispatch, 25 June 1897, p. 4, c. 4)


Brainerd Brick Co. Will Develop
Angel Clay Tract on M. & I.
Near Pulp Mill


Reported Also That There Will
be Another Store in the Mill District

The old mill district is looking up. In fact prospects for that portion of the city are becoming decidedly rosy. While there is no one big concern taking the place of the mill there is a number of new enterprises of lesser magnitude settling there. In addition to the Polk & Wood lath mill and the McKinley cedar yard and mill there will be a second brick yard opened up this spring. Swan Peterson and A. Angel have associated themselves together as the Brainerd Brick company and now have a car load of brick making machinery on the way from Lancaster, Penn. They will get to work as soon as possible. They are starting in on a small scale, and will only employ eight or ten men, but hope to be able to increase the force as the demand for the output grows. The plant will be located between the M. & I. tracks and the river on Mr. Angel’s land.
It is also reported that the old brick barn, which has stood as a monument to past glories for several years will be remodeled and a store opened therein. Including the pulp mill the indications are that from 150 to 200 men will be employed in that quarter of the city hereafter and it should regain its old time prosperity. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 12 April 1907, p. 7, c. 1)


The Old Schwartz Brickyard Near
the Dam is Again in


As of Old the Brick is of Super-
ior Quality—$7000 Already

It will be news to many people of this city to learn that Brainerd has a brickyard in active operation near the old Schwartz yard in the northern part of town.
While the Brainerd Commercial Club of this city has been laboring for the past six months in considering propositions from outside parties who which to establish industries of various kinds in this city, a company has been formed by Brainerd men who have quietly proceeded to work and without a request for a bonus, or aid of any kind from the citizens of the city, have established a business that is furnishing work to a considerable number of men and is turning out a product that at one time in years gone by bore a reputation for superior excellence. The Brainerd Brick Company instituted by Albert Angel and Swan Peterson, both citizens of this city, have established and are working a brickyard in Northeast Brainerd, on which an investment of $7,000 has been made, $3,000 of which has been expended by them since May 1st. The company is greatly in need of a side track, which could be laid on the very level land immediately above the yard at a nominal expense and it might be well for the Commercial Club of this city to use their efforts in assisting the company to secure one.
The drying yard of the company is at the foot of the hill and extends to the bank of the river with an elevation above the water of about six feet. At a little greater elevation, is the “Martin” brick machine, which is capable of turning out 20,000 perfectly moulded brick per day when run to its fullest capacity. Most of the clay, of which an unlimited quantity is in sight, is moist enough for grinding and moulding, owing to the percolation through the clay bed of numerous small veins of water, but should the clay become too dry at any time water can be turned into the machine from a tank built in the bank above. A. G. Anderson is manager of the works and is a brick maker of ability. He is now burning a kiln of about 175,000, which will be ready to market next week.
The company intend to turn out the same high grade of brick which have stood the test of years in the walls of the first-built portion of the Northern Pacific shops, the First National Bank building and oldest built part of the Brainerd high school. These buildings are a monument to the excellence of brick manufactured here and the industry established by the company should receive the support of building contractors of the city. The product of the Brainerd brickyard will be an advertisement for the city as one sixth of the bricks will be stamped “Brainerd Brick Company,” the company evidently believing that their product will be of such quality that the widest publicity of the name of the place where they are made is warranted.
The DISPATCH tenders its congratulations to Messrs. Peterson & Angel with the wish that the fullest measure of success may be theirs. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 17 August 1907, p. 3, c. 1)

The Old Schwartz Brick Yard for Sale

Which comprises about 17 acres, situated on the Mississippi river, this side of the Pulp Mill. The owner wishes to make a quick sale and wishes bids submitted.
First Nat. Bank Bldg.,
Brainerd, Minn.
(Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 29 April 1909, p. 3, c. 6)

NOTE: It is INCORRECT to say, as stated by Zapffe, Sr., “in 1890 all brick-making stops.” It does NOT.

The business is first known as Brainerd Wholesale Grocery Company, organized by three [W. H. Cleary, J. F. McGinnis, Werner Hemstead] local men in 1901. In the late 1920’s it is sold to the Nash-Finch Company. [The building is located at 401 Front Street and is currently (2004) a printing business called First Impression Printing.] (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946, p. 83)


will be Established in this City at
once by Dr. Hemstead and
J. F. McGinnis

Building will be Built on Ground
Leased from the N. P. at the
Corner of 4th and Front

William H. Cleary, businessman, ca. Unknown.
Source: Brainerd’s Half Century, Ingolf Dillan
Hon. Werner Hemstead and J. F. McGinnis, of this city, in company with W. H. Cleary, of St. Paul, have for several weeks contemplated the establishment of a wholesale grocery house in this city to supply the local trade and furnish the towns in this section of the state. These gentlemen desired to secure an advantageous site on the right of way of the N. P. for the location of their business, and have been negotiating with the company for several weeks with this end in view, but not until Friday last was the deal closed
They have secured a ten year lease of ground 125 by 100 feet at the corner of 4th and Front streets, opposite Hessel’s implement office, on which they will immediately begin the erection of a solid brick block 100x75 feet, two stories high and an eight foot basement, making practically a three story structure. The building will be surrounded on two sides and rear with a ten foot platform, which will be covered to protect goods brought out ready to be shipped or delivered. The building will be equipped with a steam elevator and every modern appliance for the quick and economical handling of goods, and it is hoped will be ready to commence business by July 1st.
A stock of goods of the value of between forty and fifty thousand dollars will be necessary to supply the trade. Mr. W. H. Cleary will be general manager of the business, while Mr. McGinnis will be treasurer and financial agent. Both of these gentlemen will give their personal attention to the business. The style of the firm will be Cleary, McGinnis & Hemstead.
That the business will succeed and be a credit to the city there is not the slightest doubt. Dr. Hemstead and Mr. McGinnis are too well known by all the people of the city to need any words of commendation. They are both bright, intelligent, solid and conservative businessmen, with the necessary push and enterprise to succeed in anything they undertake. Mr. Cleary has, for the past 15 years, been on the road for McCormick & Boeknke, the wholesale coffee and tea house, of St. Paul, and his extensive acquaintance with all the businessmen of the northern part of the state will be a valuable aid to the new business.
It is expected the new house will be ready for business by July 1st, and they expect to cover all the territory in the upper part of the state. Three men will be put on the road to begin with, but additions will be made as fast as necessary.
This is the second wholesale business established here within the past few weeks, and it is evident that Brainerd will be the jobbing center of the northern part of the state before many years, as it is centrally located, and has transportation facilities in every direction. (Brainerd Dispatch, 19 April 1901, p. 1, c.’s 1 & 2)

NOTE: Dr. Werner Hemstead moved to Brainerd with the NP Hospital in 1882 and practiced medicine before becoming a City Alderman and later Brainerd Mayor. He also served in the House of Representatives from 1891-1892 and 1901-1902. He was a Northern Pacific Bank director and an organizer of the Brainerd Grocery Company.

The work of excavating for the new Cleary, McGinnis & Hemstead wholesale house at the corner of Front and Fourth street was commenced on Wednesday morning. (Brainerd Dispatch, 26 April 1901, p. 8, c. 2)

The contract to build the new wholesale house of Cleary, Hemstead and McGinnis will not be let until the first of the week, the plans having arrived only yesterday. The work of excavating for the basement has been completed. (Brainerd Dispatch, 03 May 1901, p. 1, c. 4)

The contract for the new wholesale house has not yet been let. (Brainerd Dispatch, 10 May 1901, p. 10, p. c. 3)

Rowley has the Contract.

C. B. Rowley was yesterday awarded the contract to construct the three story solid brick wholesale house for Cleary, McGinnis & Hemstead, at the corner of 4th and Front streets. Bids were offered by several local parties and by four outside bidders. All were rejected by Mr. McGinnis on Tuesday, but new proposals were submitted and yesterday Mr. Rowley was given the contract, the price not being made public. The building is to be constructed and ready for occupancy in from 40 to 50 days. (Brainerd Dispatch, 17 May 1901, p. 1, c. 4)

The crew of men at work on the new wholesale grocery building have one side of the brick wall nearly three feet up above the basement. The contractor expects to have the building enclosed in about fifteen days. (Brainerd Dispatch, 14 June 1901, p. 8, c. 6)

Contractor Ring and his crew of men returned this morning to their homes in Little Falls to spend Sunday. They will return Monday to resume work on the new Cleary, McGinnis & Hemstead building. (Brainerd Dispatch, 21 June 1901, p. 8, c. 1)

A brick mason tender working on the new Cleary, McGinnis & Hemstead building narrowly escaped being killed this afternoon about 3 o’clock. The pulley which is used to haul brick to the top broke and a lot of brick and a large chain fell from the third story, hitting him squarely on the head. His head was badly hurt, but it is not known whether the skull is fractured. His name is Levy King. (Brainerd Dispatch, 21 July 1901, p. 1, c. 6)

The brick work on the new Cleary, McGinnis & Hemstead building has been about completed. The bricklayers will be nearly through tonight. (Brainerd Dispatch, 19 July 1901, p. 8, c. 5)


Something About the New Gro-
cery Firm of Cleary, Mc-
Ginnis & Hemstead.


Will Carry Great Stock and Will
Have Four Men on
the Road.

There is a marked contrast between the growth of a city in boom times and the growth in a time when business assumes the even tenor of its way and the progress along commercial lines are sure and steady. When a city presses on under the weight of commercial prosperity here and there evidences of thrift and enterprise loom up and these little improvements continue from year to year until finally someone rises to remark, “There is a mighty good town.”
The accompanying cut of the wholesale grocery house of Cleary, McGinnis & Hemstead shows what thrift and enterprise has been imbued into commercial channels in this city. Just seventy days from the day that the first shovel of dirt was turned this enterprising firm were moving groceries into their new building on the corner of Front and Fourth streets. The building is one of the most modern exclusive houses in the northwest. It is a solid brick, two story and full basement building, and no pains or money has been spared in making it convenient and up-to-date. The building is 75x100 feet with an addition of sixteen feet of platform between the track and the rear of the building.
The basement is a model one for the purpose. It has a solid concrete and cement floor, is well ventilated and lighted and the sanitary conditions are such that it is better than the average ground floor. The vinegars, syrups, canned goods, etc., are stored in the basement, of which staple goods there is already a good supply in stock.
The first floor is occupied by the heavy goods, such as barrels of sugar, flour, etc. The second floor is fully equipped for keeping teas, coffees, spices and the other light staple provisions usually carried by a firm of this kind.
The building is equipped with elevators and chutes which make it very convenient throughout. The firm has, in fact, all the facilities at hand so that their expense is reduced considerably. In the first place the building is erected on the N. P. right of way and the railroad company has put in a house track for them so that cars can be unloaded into the house without the extra drayage. Then the platforms are so erected that there is very little hard work connected with the large volume of business.
The offices which are located in the southeast corner of the building on the first floor are commodious and well lighted. W. H. Cleary is manager for the firm and his long experience in the mercantile business has given him a standing in the northwest which is an enviable one. He hails from St. Paul and for 10 years was with the firm of McCormick, Behnke & Co.
J. F. McGinnis, who will act in the capacity of credit man, is well known in the city, having lived here since 1880. He was at one time an engineer on the road, but in 1887 took charge of the dry goods and clothing department of the Brainerd Co-operative Co.’s. store. Later he was made general manager of the store. In 1892 he went into business for himself and from that time till last March he was at the head of the firm of J. F. McGinnis & Co. He sold out in March. In April he and Dr. W. Hemstead bought the Northern Pacific bank. Mr. McGinnis is a man of ability in business circles and has always been considered reliable and trustworthy.
Dr. W. Hemstead, the other member of the firm, while not actively engaged in the business, on account of his close attention to matters in the bank, came to Brainerd in 1882 from Omaha and for a time before starting to practice in this city was employed at the N. P. Sanitarium. He had built up a big practice in this city before buying into the bank. He is a man of unquestionable ability as well as in the practice of his profession.
The firm is now ready for business and if they receive the patronage of Brainerd people, as they should, they promise to keep apace with the times and just a little ahead. They will start three or four men on the road the first of the month, two of them, whose names the firm wish to withhold for the time being, having already been engaged.
E. J. Donohue, long bookkeeper with J. H. Koop, has charge of the books of the office and Miss Delia Reilly has the position of stenographer. (Brainerd Dispatch, 30 August 1901, p. 2, c.’s 3 & 4)


The Firm of Cleary, McGinnis & Hemstead
Will Put in a Full Stock in Their
Large Warehouse.

The firm of Cleary, McGinnis & Hemstead, ever up-to-date, have decided already to branch out some and arrangements have been completed whereby they will handle fruit at wholesale as well as groceries. They have already received several carloads of fruit and are moving it in today.
This will be an especially convenient thing for the merchants of the city. Heretofore when ordering fruit from the Twin Cities sometimes conditions have alternated in a such a manner as to cause considerable loss. Under the present arrangement with fruit at hand at any time there will be very little loss to merchants. The firm will necessarily employ more help and next season it is probable that two more men will be put on the road to sell fruit exclusively. (Brainerd Dispatch, 20 September 1901, p. 4, c. 1)

Cleary, McGinnis & Hemstead have had placed on their building a fine sign advertising the “Robert Burns” cigar, for which they have been made distributors for northern Minnesota. (Brainerd Dispatch, 25 October 1901, p. 8, c. 1)

01 July 1908. W. H. Cleary closed a deal by which the Brainerd Grocery Company passes into the possession of J. J. Reilly, of this city and E. N. Ebert of Little Falls. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, Tuesday, 01 July 2008)


Brainerd wholesale grocery building built in 1901 by C. B. Rowley on the southeast corner of Front and South 4th, ca. 1910.
Source: Special Publication, 02 September 1910, p. 10, Brainerd Tribune, A. J. Halsted, Editor and Publisher
This wholesale grocery house, established in 1901, is one of the largest and most progressive institutions of the city and the one most representative of Brainerd’s commercial life.
Since its beginning it has always enjoyed the support of all the people of the city and the territory tributary, and that this has been warranted is evidenced by the present extent of the business done and the fact that this is rapidly increasing and the territory covered constantly being enlarged. The firm now do a business of over a quarter of a million dollars annually and this should reach the half million mark before very long.
The territory covered includes that along the line of the Minnesota and International, the Northern Pacific east and west, and on the Sauk Centre branch of the Northern Pacific railroad to the south.
Of the stock carried it is only necessary to state that everything can be supplied to fill every demand of the dealers in the section and delivered in the shortest time and at lowest cost possible.
Brainerd wholesale grocery office, ca. 1910.
Source: Special Publication, 02 September 1910, p. 10, Brainerd Tribune, A. J. Halsted, Editor and Publisher
The accompanying illustrations of the building will demonstrate the efficiency of the plant maintained by the firm. The building is one of the most modern wholesale grocery houses in the state. It is a solid brick, two story and full basement building giving a total floor area to exceed 27,000 square feet and no pains or expense were spared in its construction to make it convenient and especially suitable for the wholesale grocery business.
The basement is a model for the purpose. It has solid concrete floors and walls, it is well ventilated and lighted and sanitary conditions have been provided that make it better than the average first floor of buildings used for similar purposes.
The vinegars, syrups, canned goods, etc., are stored in this basement and a great stock is always on hand.
The first floor is occupied by the heavy goods such as flour, sugar and package goods of many kinds, and the second floor is fully equipped for keeping teas, coffees, spices and other light staple provisions.
The building is equipped with chutes and electric elevators, is electric lighted and affords all the conveniences that will minimize the expense of conducting the business. The trackage facilities are ample on the line of the Northern Pacific road, that company having installed a three car house track to the building which saves extra drayage expense, another item of considerable size in a business of this kind.
Brainerd wholesale grocery warehouse, ca. 1910.
Source: Special Publication, 02 September 1910, p. 10, Brainerd Tribune, A. J. Halsted, Editor and Publisher
These features of the plant, together with the excellent shipping facilities to all points tributary to Brainerd have placed this company in an exceptionally advantageous position to handle the wholesale grocery business of this section at an operating expense that gives them a substantial advantage and these advantages together with the mineral, industrial, and agricultural development which is coming to this section, are an absolute assurance of the continued growth of this Brainerd institution. By its fair business policy, a business conducted at a minimum of operating expense and a stock always on hand to supply every want in its line of the territory, form a combination that is hard to equal and impossible to surpass.
The officers of the firm are all closely identified with the affairs of Brainerd and are in close touch with all development work in the section and the new territory that is being opened up.
Being as it is a home institution interested in all affairs of this city and section of Minnesota it is justly entitled to the liberal patronage of every merchant in the territory.
Mr. W. H. Cleary is president, K. A. Cleary, Vice President, and K. C. Johnson, Secretary and Treasurer. (Special Publication, 02 September 1910, p. 10, Brainerd Tribune, A. J. Halsted, Editor and Publisher)

1901 - Brainerd Flour & Feed Company [?]
1905 [sic] [04 October 1904] - Brainerd Wholesale Grocery Company
1927 [sic] [01 September 1924] - Nash Finch Company
1985 - Country Foods & Produce, Incorporated
1986 - vacant
1996 - printing shop. Just removing the 6 walk-in coolers took more than a month helping to ready it for a printing press, weighing 18,000 pounds. The building was set along the railroad track with a spur to accept groceries on a covered dock. The area from here west to the river was the commercial dockage location for non-railway company freight, including a host of brewers, petroleum products and gaseous bottled fuel. (Brainerd Dispatch, 04 October 1996)


Brainerd Institution is Purchased by
Nash Finch Shareholders Co.
of Minneapolis


Brainerd Grocery Co. Was Organized
Oct. 4, 1904, Under Direction
of W. H. Cleary

Nash Finch Company employees, early 1930’s. A 1978x1444 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society
Formal announcement was made today by W. H. Cleary, president and manager of the Brainerd Wholesale Grocery Co., that this business has been sold to the Nash Finch Shareholders Company, of Minneapolis, and will take over the active management of the concern on September 1st, under the name of the Nash Finch Co.
Rumors that such a transaction was pending have been prevalent for several days, but it was only on Tuesday that the deal was finally consummated, representatives of the Nash Finch Shareholders Company being in the city at that time to take care of details in connection with the transfer.
They included W. K. Nash, Fred Nash, W. E. Deit and C. E. Carlyle.
The Brainerd Grocery Company was organized October 4th, 1904, and for the past twenty years has been serving this territory well, under the direction of W. H. Cleary. It is conceded to be one of the most successful business firms in the Northwest, enjoying a large trade in both city and country districts covering Cass, Morrison, Aitkin and Crow Wing counties, with its salesmen.
The Nash Finch Shareholders Co., control one hundred and ten wholesale grocery and fruit companies, covering Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Montana and other Western states. They are said to be the largest shippers and handlers of California fruits in these states, owning their own packing plants in California, and packing oranges, peaches, pears and in Washing packing their own box apples.
This company ships its products to its many houses in carload lots. They handle all nationally advertised lines of groceries and are large importers of coffees and teas, maintaining their own coffee roasting plant in Minneapolis which supplies their wholesale groceries and places them in a position to give their customers in this territory a wonderful service in quality merchandise.
While the Nash Finch Company is new in the Brainerd district, it is not a stranger in this territory. It purchased the Northern Grocery Co., at Bemidji four years ago, and have branches at Crookston, Grand Forks, and Fargo, N. D.
W. H. Cleary, sold his interest in the Brainerd Grocery Co., in Tuesday’s transaction, but W. Ray Cleary and J. E. Cleary will retain their interests and remain with the new firm. Walter Cleary who was also associated with his father, leaves shortly for the East, where he will resume his business education.
Mr. Cleary, Sr., states that he has made no definite plans for the future, but does intend to remain in Brainerd. He is considered one of the city’s efficient and progressive businessmen and his many friends will regret to learn that he is retiring as active head of the local grocery with which he has been so closely connected for many years, and which by his untiring efforts he has brought up to its present successful position.
The management of the Nash Finch Company will no doubt have an announcement to make of their plans for the Brainerd house when they take over its active management the first of next month. (Brainerd Dispatch, 15 August 1924, p. 8, c. 5)

First opened in April 1907 in the rented L. J. Cale [Mrs. L. J. Cale arrives in Brainerd in 1880, according to Brainerd’s Half Century, Ingolf Dillan, General Printing Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1923, p. 123] store building located on Front Street, formerly occupied by John Carlson. It was called the Model Clothing Company. In 1931 John M. Bye Clothing Company was located at 609-11 Laurel Street [Elks Building], John M. Bye was the President, Hannah Bye was the Vice President and Henry A. Cunningham was the Secretary-Treasurer. [In 1949 Bye’s Clothing was located at 718 Laurel Street.] (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 27 April 2007)


The John M. Bye and Olaf A. Peterson store in the Cullen Block at the corner of Front and 7th, ca 1910.
Source: Special Publication, 02 September 1910, p. 12, Brainerd Tribune, A. J. Halsted, Editor and Publisher
This, the youngest clothing, men’s furnishing and shoe store in Brainerd, justly deserves the support and encouragement of Brainerd people. Few there are who are more willing to support and “boost” for a Greater Brainerd, and the fact that both members of the firm have grown up since boyhood in this city especially commends their business. They both have been Brainerd boys and are Brainerd men in every sense of the word.
If thorough knowledge of the business, energy and progressiveness are essential to business success in Brainerd, this firm are happily equipped to make theirs one of the busiest in the city.
The stock carried comprises the best quality makes in all lines represented and union made goods are carried in all departments. The special lines are: Sincerity clothing for men and Viking clothing for boys and youths: McKibbin hats; Crawford shoes for men and Buster Brown shoes for boys, and Bye & Peterson highest quality shirts. This line of shirts should be especially mentioned as they are made according to special orders of the firm and being sold under their own name demands that they be of best quality always.
The store of this firm at the corner of Front and Seventh streets is modern in every way, and the equipment complete.
The energy and enterprise shown since the opening of the business in 1908, the size of the stock and completeness of the lines represented indicate a spirit of progressiveness, and these, with the wide acquaintance of both members of the firm, are attracting a good share of the Brainerd trade in their lines.
Mr. J. M. Bye and Mr. O. A. Peterson are men of wide experience in their chosen business, having been in the line fourteen and eighteen years respectively. (Special Publication, 02 September 1910, p. 12, Brainerd Tribune, A. J. Halsted, Editor and Publisher)

SEE: Cullen Block


Well Known Clothing Merchants Lo-
cated in Attractive Quarters in
Walverman Block


Windows are Finished in Golden Oak
With Paneled Ceiling, Walls in
Tiffany Blend

John M. Bye’s men’s clothing store located in the Walverman Block, ca. 1922.
Source: Brainerd’s Half Century, Ingolf Dillan
Bye & Peterson, well known clothing men, are located in their new and commodious quarters in the Walverman block, to which they removed from their former location in the Cullen block.
       Business had so increased that greater room was required to carry larger stocks. The new place gives them more floor space and better opportunity to display their goods.
       Many new fixtures were installed, together with display cases, etc., thus making it one of the most modern and convenient stores for shopping in the city.
       A modern front was built by White Brothers which offers every advantage for continuous display of goods. The windows are finished in golden oak with paneled ceiling and the walls are finished in a leather effect with a Tiffany blend. The lighting is a Brasco light, semi-indirect.
       A mirror 30 by 60 in size, was installed by D. E. Whitney and is one of the features of this metropolitan store. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 06 February 1917, p. 5, c. 3)

SEE: Walverman Block
SEE: Pearce Block
SEE: Elks Building

Located at 620 Front Street in 1905.

The foundation for the Hartley Block is going up rapidly; also, L. J. Cale’s new block. (Brainerd Tribune, 25 June 1881, p. 5, c. 1)

SEE: Hartley Block

L. J. Cale is evidently a man not to be baffled by difficulties, not being able to obtain brick to complete his new block next to Linneman & Koop’s, he has erected a frame building immediately next to it, which he will use until a sufficient amount of material can be procured to finish both buildings. (Brainerd Tribune, 23 July 1881, p. 5, c. 2)

L. J. Cale is rushing his brick building up rapidly. (Brainerd Tribune, 27 August 1881, p. 5, c. 1)

L. J. Cale’s new building on Front street is being hurried along with all possible speed. (Brainerd Dispatch, Thursday, 16 August 1883, p. 3, c. 1)

Among the more important buildings going up in Brainerd at the present time is the new flouring mill, the opera house, Witt & Leland’s brick hotel [Villard], L. J. Cale’s three-story store on Front street, the new Catholic church and the N. P. Hospital. The actual valuation of the above six structures amounts to $200,000. Not bad. (Brainerd Dispatch, Thursday, 20 September 1883, p. 3, c. 3)

The Cale building at the corner of Front and 7th streets is being underpinned and repaired. (Brainerd Dispatch, 12 October 1888, p. 4, c. 3)

The “Owls” is the name of a new organization which has been lately instituted in this city. Their first dance occurred at Cale’s hall on Tuesday and was a very enjoyable affair. Their next party will take place on the 28th inst. at Gardner. (Brainerd Dispatch, 18 February 1891, p. 4, c. 4)

L. J. Cale will begin the erection of a new brick building on 7th street just south and adjoining the structure built last year, just as soon as the weather will permit. The new portion will be of the same dimensions as the block built last year, and will be finished in the same manner. (Brainerd Dispatch, 08 March 1901, p. 8, c. 1)

L. J. Cale has removed the barn and wooden structures beside his grocery department on 7th street to make room for the new store building, which he will begin to construct at once. (Brainerd Dispatch, 12 April 1901, p. 8, c. 1)

The basement for the new Cale block on 7th street is about completed. The building must be ready for occupancy July 1st. (Brainerd Dispatch, 03 May 1901, p. 10, c. 3)

Fire animation On January 26, 1904, the Koop Block located on Front Street was wiped out by a spectacular fire along with the Linneman Brothers clothing store, Caroline Grandelmyer’s millinery store and Louis Hohman’s confectionary store. The total damages were about $100,000.

SEE: 1904 Koop Block Fire in the Brainerd: City of Fire page.
SEE: Post Office
SEE: Gardner Block


First Meeting of Creditors of L. J.
Cale Held in the City of Duluth
Monday, June 29

The first meeting of the creditors of L. J. Cale, in bankruptcy, was held yesterday, Mr. Cale, W. W. Bane, his attorney, M. T. Dunn and Judge Fleming, of this city were in attendance. The examination of Mr. Cale was postponed until July 13. J. L. Bristol, the receiver in bankruptcy was appointed trustee in bankruptcy, and Mr. Fosberg, the gentleman who has had charge of the stock for Mr. Bristol, together with Con O’Brien will appraise the property. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 30 June 1908, p. 3, c. 4)

Fire animation On 24 Janaury 1918 a $50,000 fire starting at 2:30 o’clock in the morning in the basement of the James Tampelis pool room, 622 Front street, burned down the frame Ideal Hotel, and left but the walls of the brick L. J. Cale block, the pool hall building and Empress theatre.

SEE: 1922 Ideal Hotel Fire in the Brainerd: City of Fire page.
SEE: Ideal Hotel

Miss Mattie Caley’s restaurant stood on stilts where the First National Bank is now. It was the first building in that block. (Brainerd Dispatch, 01 June 1922) (Brainerd's Half Century, Ingolf Dillan, General Printing Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1923, p. 42)

The building on the corner of Front and Sixth streets occupied by Miss Caley’s restaurant is being removed two lots east to make room for the new brick building, 50x75 feet and two stories high that is to go up on the corner. (Brainerd Tribune, 31 July 1880, p. 4, c. 1)

SEE: 1880 Brainerd-2 in the Early Accounts of Brainerd page.
SEE: Bank of Brainerd

If you desire a good dish of delicious Ice Cream, go to Miss Caley's popular restaurant on Front Street. (Brainerd Tribune, 14 May 1881, p. 1, c. 1)

Ice Cream.

Tomorrow (Sunday), and after, Ice Cream can be furnished in any quantities, at Miss Mattie Caley's restaurant. (Brainerd Tribune, 21 May 1881, p. 1, c. 6)

Next Sunday Miss Caley will serve strawberries and ice cream to her customers at her popular restaurant on Front St. (Brainerd Tribune, 04 June 1881, p. 4, c. 1)

The Place to Go.

Ad for Mattie Caley’s restaurant, 1881.
Source: Brainerd Tribune, 14 May 1881
Last Sunday afternoon the TRIBUNE, in company with two or three young friends was invited to the popular restaurant and dining hall of Miss Mattie Caley, to eat strawberries and other good things of the season. To say that we were satisfied, wouldn't half express it; we are glad we didn't keep count to know just how much we did eat. The heaps of mammoth, delicious berries that were set before the hungry party, and that so rapidly disappeared, would have been a caution not to have invited the same crowd again. The berries were some of the largest and most delicious we have ever seen, and if Miss Caley intends setting such a toothsome dish before her customers as this we fear the supply will in no wise equal the demand. Miss Caley has fitted up a cozy and home-like dining hall in connection with her well-known restaurant, and it is decidedly a fact that the good things one gets to eat at this place require no comment to satisfy a test as to their general merit. While the party invited felt under obligations for the kind invitation, and the splendid repast, we can also add that the place requires no advertising to herald its well-known qualities for excellence, to the people of the town, but is able to stand upon its own reputation for popularity and worth among its patrons, and we could not advise anyone desiring a square meal, a dish of ice cream, strawberries, or anything else that would tempt the sweet tooth to do otherwise than honor Miss Caley with a call, and if she can't satisfy you with what she keeps at her restaurant you had probably better not look any farther. (Brainerd Tribune, 11 June 1881, p. 1, c. 1)


Every morning hereafter, during the season, fresh Strawberries will be received at Miss Mattie Caley’s restaurant. (Brainerd Tribune, 16 July 1881, p. 5, c. 3)

Ice Cream.

Tomorrow, (Sunday) and after, Ice Cream can be furnished, in any quantities, at Miss Mattie Caley’s restaurant. (Brainerd Tribune, 16 July 1881, p. 5, c. 3)

The TRIBUNE, Thursday, was regaled by a watermelon from Miss Caley’s restaurant, a present from Mrs. Birch. It was par excellence. (Brainerd Tribune, 03 September 1881, p. 5, c. 3)

Fresh oysters by the dish or can at Mattie Caley’s popular restaurant, on Front street. (Brainerd Tribune, 10 September 1881, p. 5, c. 1)

Miss Mattie Caley has the thanks of ye editor and his wife for a fine Thanksgiving present. Miss Caley always knows just how and where benevolence should be bestowed, and when she struck the poor printer it was like relief to grasshopper sufferers. (Brainerd Tribune, 26 November 1881, p. 5, c. 4)

Miss Mattie Caley, of Brainerd, must be popular with the Tribune folks, judging from the frequent flattering notices which she receives in that paper for her generosity to the printers. Liberality is a conspicuous trait of the family.—[Princeton Union.—A more popular restaurateur could not be found in the country than Miss Caley, and we have to thank the lady for many favors. (Brainerd Tribune, 10 December 1881, p. 7, 3)

Miss Caley has been visiting Miss Stillings, two miles south of the city, but the wolves were too numerous for her, and their howls gave her a longing for our quiet city. (Brainerd Tribune, 14 January 1882, p. 1, c. 6)

Miss Caley is selling out her stock of cigars, candies, nuts, etc. at cost. She also has some household goods, which she will sell very cheap. Call and see them at the restaurant. (Brainerd Tribune, 28 January 1882, p. 4, c. 3)

...Mr. C. B. Sleeper has purchased the restaurant stand and lots formerly owned by Miss Mattie Caley, and as soon as practicable he will erect a two-story brick building 25x150 feet.... (Brainerd Tribune, 04 February 1882, p. 1, c. 6)

Miss Mattie Caley will soon take up her residence in Minneapolis. (Brainerd Tribune, 18 February 1882, p. 5, c. 2)

Located in the L. J Cale store building on Front Street sometime prior to April 1907. In 1931 the store is located at 608 Front Street and Harry J. Carlson is also shown as an owner. In 1949 the store is listed at 624 Front Street and Harry J. Carlson is listed as the sole owner.

John Carlson's mercantile experience began as a clerk for Westfall Brothers. Eight years later (1901) H. W. Linneman and he formed a partnership, purchasing the J. F. McGinnis & Company stock of merchandise. In 1904 he bought his partner's interest and on January 1, 1914, associated with Harry Carlson, his son. John Carlson and Son carry a complete and reliable line of shoes, luggage, men's clothing and furnishings. (Brainerd's Half Century, Ingolf Dillan, General Printing Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1923, p. 112).


J. F. McGinnis & Co. Sell Their Big
Clothing Stock to Henry Linne-
man and John Carlson.

A very important business change has been made in this city this week. H. W. Linneman, city treasurer for the past two years and teller in the N. P. bank, in company with John Carlson, Westfall & Georgeson's genial clerk, have bought the mammoth clothing stock and business of J. F. McGinnis & Co., and will conduct the business in the future under the firm name of Linneman & Carlson.
The new proprietors are popular and enterprising young men, both have a long experience in the clothing trade. They are also both men of the strictest integrity, courteous and obliging, and will undoubtedly add to the generous patronage heretofore enjoyed by their predecessors.
Mr. McGinnis, as is well known, has other interests of importance here, and he will remain in the city and continue to be identified with Brainerd's business interests both public and private. (Brainerd Dispatch, 15 March 1901, p. 4, c. 2)

26 March 1904. It will be surprising news to many Brainerd people to learn that the firm of Linneman and Carlson, one of the leading clothing firms of the city today dissolved partnership. H. W. Linneman has sold out to John Carlson. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 26 March 2004)

SEE: Sleeper Block

Carnegie Public Library at the northeast corner of 7th and Washington, ca. 1910, notice the Barn in the background.
Source: Postcard
On 02 [sic] [22] June 1872 a meeting was called by Dr. S. [sic] W. [sic] Thayer [Dr. C. P. Thayer] and Reverend J. A. Gilfillan of the Episcopal Church, to speed up the promoting of starting a public library. This was an ambitious enterprise. They had collected $160 as a contribution toward a fund. Let it be noted here that an association did not come into existence until 1882, when other new comers were fired with the same zeal. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946, p. 8)

NOTE: Zapffe’s above date and the doctor’s name are incorrect.

At a meeting held in Bly’s Hall on 22 June 1872, with Dr. C. P. Thayer chairman, Reverend Gilfillan reported that $160 had been raised for library purposes. (Brainerd’s Half Century, Ingolf Dillan, General Printing Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1923, p. 34)


A number of citizens, interested in the foundation of a free library, met at the store of E. H. Bly, Esq. on Saturday evening last.
Dr. C. P. Thayer elected chairman.
Rev. William [sic] [Joseph A.] Gilfillan reported that $160 was already subscribed to the enterprise, although the largest part of the community were not informed as yet concerning the project, and Mr. Holden stated that mechanics were pledged to put up the building necessary free of cost, if the material were furnished.
It was also stated that Mr. L. P. White, agt. of the L. S. and P. S. Co. had offered a lot for the purpose.
After remarks by several present upon the general objects of the association and the great need of a library and reading room, a committee of three was appointed, Rev. Mr. Gilfillan, Lyman Bridges and L. H. Bunnell, to confer with property owners and others interested with reference to the selection of a site for the necessary building, to report at the next meeting.
Adjourned to meet over the store of E. H. Bly, Saturday, June 29th, at 8 P.M. (Brainerd Tribune, 29 June 1872, p. 1, c. 3)


At a meeting on Saturday evening last, composed of many of our best citizens, a library association was formed, and officers elected. The design is to build a building expressly for the purpose of a free public library, where the hundreds of young men and others may spend their evenings and other leisure hours in reading from a well stocked library, and in a fine suite of rooms. There will be a second meeting, this Saturday evening at Bly’s new hall, to complete the arrangements and hear the reports of committees that have been to work the past week. This is an enterprise eminently commendable in character, and one that we know will meet with prompt and substantial assistance from all. Let the matter be put forward with all energy by all means. (Brainerd Tribune, 29 June 1872, p. 1, c. 5)

The present Library Association was organized in 1882 with Henry I. Cohen president. A room upstairs in the old depot was fitted up as a library, interested friends furnishing free all the paper, paint, lumber and labor necessary. Lectures and entertainments netted large sums for the purchase of books. (Brainerd’s Half Century, Ingolf Dillan, General Printing Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1923, p. 34)

Henry I. Cohen, a brother-in-law of the Pateks, arrived in 1880. In 1882 he led in organizing a “Library Association.” He adopted what Thayer and Gilfillan had begun in June of 1872. However, Cohen started a library in fact when years later he procured permission to use a room in the top story of the old railway depot building. It was a starter. Little is known about its career. It was a voluntary organization and depended on donations of books and services. Twenty years later Cohen became identified again with a permanent public library. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946; pp. 21 & 22)

Mrs. C. M. Patek, a natural leader in cultural pursuits, arrived in Brainerd in 1882 and for forty years was very active in literary circles. The public library was one of her principal activities. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946, p. 21)

An excursion to Walker in 1892 [1899] added $500 more for books, for O. O. Winter, superintendent of the Brainerd and Northern Railroad and a member of the library board, returned one-half of the ticket money to the library. (Brainerd’s Half Century, Ingolf Dillan, General Printing Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1923, p. 34)

NOTE: Zapffe says the above excursion to Walker took place in 1895, which is also incorrect.

O. O. Winter arrives in Brainerd to serve as the manager of the Brainerd & Northern Minnesota Railway Company. Being a strong advocate of libraries he soon allied himself with H. I. Cohen who had ever been persistent about getting a library started in Brainerd. It was a personal undertaking. The Common Council took no definite steps to establish a public library. From Winter this private movement got its first boost when he offered to run an excursion trip and take Brainerd people to Walker for a day of picnicking and share the passenger receipts with the Library Association. A picnic was held, and as a result of the sale of tickets the library emerged with $500 in its treasury. This struggle to have a public library and maintain it at public expense culminated ten or twelve years later in the next century. We would like to be able to relate more about what a library board may have been in those years, but there is no record of any sort about it. By all the fragmentary signs it was only a group of people who were enthusiastic and persistent. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946, p. 76)

The Brainerd Public Library Association is the latest organization in the city and is one which instantly commends itself to public favor. The city of Brainerd is perhaps the only one of its size in the state without a public library, and the promoters of this organization feel that such a distinction is not in the least complimentary. The association is composed of some of our leading business and professional men, and it is their determination with the co-operation of the general public to secure for our townspeople one of the best circulating libraries in Minnesota. To this end the association has already arranged for ten high class entertainments to be given in the city this winter under its direction, the first being the famous Carrington Co., on Nov. 28th and 29th, in a series of three performances embodying history, music, science and novelty, allegoric and pyrotechnic displays, etc. It is hoped that our people will duly appreciate the efforts of her citizens in this matter and give these entertainments their cordial patronage. (Brainerd Dispatch, 18 November 1898, p. 8, c. 2)

In Fine Shape.

The Brainerd Public Library Association, through its committee in charge, is pleased to announce that as a result of the generous patronage accorded its first entertainment and the liberal purchase of season tickets it now has sufficient funds in hand to pay its guarantee and hall rent for the entire course and from now on all monies received will go directly toward the library fund. This statement is made in order that the friends of the enterprise may know the condition the association has attained and to encourage them to further efforts for its successful consummation.
P. S. WARE, Sec. and Man.
(Brainerd Dispatch, 02 December 1898, p. 8, c. 2)


For the Benefit of the Brainerd
Public Library As-


Splendid Program of Entertain-
ment at Bemidji—The Chance
of a Lifetime.

On Tuesday next, July 25th, the people of this city will practically move en masse to Bemidji to spend the day. On that date there will be an excursion from Brainerd to that thriving town for the benefit of the Brainerd Public Library Association, and although the distance is nearly 200 miles there and back, the fare will only be $1.00 for the round trip, scarcely a half cent a mile. And as the proceeds of the excursion, except the bare cost of operating the train, will go to establish a free library here, the one thing this city needs above another, it will be readily seen that every citizen who has a particle of pride in the place will purchase tickets for himself and family and go and have a good time. This splendid opportunity to raise money for the association is due to the public spirited generosity of General Manager Winter, of the B. & N. M., who, although a resident of this city only a few months, is very active in every undertaking to advance the city’s interests. The idea originated with Mr. Winter and Henry I. Cohen, the president of the association, and with them, to think is to act, hence with H. D. Treglawny, treasurer of the association, they went to Bemidji on Monday and perfected the arrangements, and got the citizens of that enterprising little burg to hustling to make the excursion a most enjoyable occasion.

William Dresskell, city band leader, orchestra leader, jeweler and electrician, ca. Unknown
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society
Bemidji is one of the most attractive spots in Northern Minnesota. It is situated right upon the shores of beautiful Lake Bemidji with its splendid beaches and beautiful hard wood groves. It has unusually good accommodations to entertain a large crowd. Over 60 fine row boats are available besides six or eight gas and naphtha launches, and a large steamboat capable of carrying 150 people. A fine grove on the lake shore adjoins the depot grounds, and here a large dancing pavilion will be erected, and dancing can be indulged in free. Dresskell’s orchestra of this city will furnish the music. Bath houses will be erected to accommodate bathers, so take along your bathing suit. Over $400 has been raised by citizens of Bemidji to provide suitable entertainment, which insures ample amusement for all.
These gentlemen returned on Tuesday delighted with their success, and a special meeting of the association was called on Tuesday evening to hear their report. Mr. Cohen presided, and Dr. Frederick was elected temporary secretary. Mr. Cohen stated what had been done and the association endorsed their action. Mr. Winter, on motion, was elected an honorary member. The chair was authorized to appoint an executive committee of five, the president to be an ex-officio member, the committee to have power to appoint sub-committees. The following gentlemen have been appointed: H. Treglawny, Dr. Frederick, Dr. Groves, R. F. Walters and Geo. D. LaBar. Mr. LaBar was given charge of the distribution and sale of all tickets.
The committee got to work immediately and tickets have been issued and put on sale in every business house in town. Bills announcing the excursion have been issued, and under the energetic and skillful management and direction of President Henry I. Cohen nothing has bee left undone to make the excursion a great success. All business houses have agreed to close and the shops will probably be shut down. Dresskell’s City Band has been engaged for the occasion, and a grand balloon ascension and parachute leap has been arranged for.
The train will leave this city at 6:30 sharp on Tuesday morning, and returning will leave Bemidji about 7 p. m., arriving here about 11 p. m. The committee desires to say there will be no delay in starting, hence be promptly on hand to go at 6:30 o’clock sharp.
This excursion will undoubtedly be one of the most enjoyable occasions of the season. The ride through the pine forests past the beautiful lakes will be delightful, and at Bemidji, when one considers the elaborate preparations being made there by the citizens, it is safe to say it will be more enjoyable still. Everyone will have a delightful time, and at the absurdly cheap price of $1.00. The opportunity will not be offered again, and besides you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you assisted in establishing a free public library.
Take your lunch baskets along and enjoy a picnic dinner. They will be checked on the train. (Brainerd Dispatch, 21 July 1899, p. 1, c.’s 3 & 4)

If there is one thing more than another that this city needs it is a public library. On Tuesday next an excursion for the benefit of the public library will be run to Bemidji, one of the most delightful and attractive spots in Northern Minnesota. Contribute your mite towards procuring a library, and at the same time enjoy a pleasant outing, by purchasing tickets for yourself and family. The fare is almost nothing, only $1 a ticket for a railroad ride of nearly 200 miles, on one of the most delightful excursions it will be your privilege to enjoy. Let every citizen attend. Not less than one thousand citizens should participate in this most commendable enterprise to start a library in our city. (Brainerd Dispatch, 21 July 1899, p. 4, c. 1)

A Card.

The executive committee of the Brainerd Library Association wish to express their sincere thanks to the generous public who patronized the excursion under their auspices, the editors who assisted in advertising the undertaking, Dresskell’s City Band and the N. P. band who tendered their services, as well as the citizens who assisted directly in various ways to its final success. We tender our particular thanks to Mr. O. O. Winter for his share which cannot be repaid. Mr. Winter is satisfied with the self-consciousness of a worthy deed—well done. We extend to the citizens of Bemidji the hand of fellowship for their hospitality, headed and aided by the energy and ability of Mr. Street and Mayor Smith, who were on hand from first to last. The result of this excursion places the Library Association in working shape for a practical start. (Brainerd Dispatch, 28 July 1899, p. 1, c. 2)


Brainerd People Enjoy a Days’ Outing
at Bemidji and are Royally

The excursion to Bemidji on Tuesday for the benefit of the Brainerd Public Library Association was successful beyond all expectations, and everyone of the large multitude of people who attended declared it one of the most enjoyable outings of the season. The day was an ideal one for the occasion, the weather being cool and delightfully refreshing in the morning before the excursion started, and the rain of Sunday evening had laid the dust so that the ride to Bemidji was not hot and dusty as anticipated, but cool and pleasant.
The excursion train was run in two sections, the first section containing 12 coaches completely filled, but all found seats. The start was made at 6:30 sharp as advertised, and the second section, which contained five coaches and three cabooses, left just ten minutes later. The second section was not as thoroughly filled as the first. Both bands accompanied the excursion, Dresskell’s City Band being with the first section, and the Northern Pacific band with the second. Something over 1,100 people went on the trains, and the city was as quiet as the grave all day, all business houses being closed. The run to Bemidji was made in four hours and a half, the first train arriving at 10:55 and the second at 11 o’clock. A reception committee headed by Mayor Smith, of Bemidji, and County Attorney Street, welcomed the excursionists on alighting at the depot, and figuratively speaking, gave them the town. A large banner bearing the words “Welcome Brainerd,” was suspended across the street at the depot, and an arch containing the same words spanned one of the business streets. The crowd at once repaired to the picnic grounds near the depot on the lake shore, and all were delighted at the thoughtful preparations made for their entertainment by the good people of Bemidji. Tables and chairs innumerable, enough for all to use for luncheon, were found, and barrels of ice water were placed every few feet throughout the grounds. All were hungry and enjoyed a delightful picnic dinner. After dinner the City Band discoursed delightful concert music on the grounds, while the N. P. band went on board the steamer which made numerous trips out on the lake, taking a large crowd each trip, and the band entertained the people on the boat with music.
After dinner, too, dancing was indulged in without cost at the pavilion erected for this purpose, Dresskell’s superb orchestra of this city furnishing the music. And while large numbers danced many others went boat riding on the electric and naphtha launches, and the sixty available row boats were constantly in use. Many had their bathing suits, and the magnificent beaches were alive with the merry bathers. Indeed, it seemed as if all were enjoying themselves to the utmost, and the time for departure passed all too rapidly.
At 3 o’clock the Brainerd and Bemidji ball teams, led by the N. P. band, repaired to the base ball grounds adjacent to the splendid $12,000 school building of which Bemidji is so justly proud, and an interesting and entertaining, if somewhat one-sided game, was enjoyed by a large crowd. The score was 19 to 3 in favor of the Brainerd club, Frank Howe, of this city, officiating as umpire.
One of the attractions was a shooting tournament by the Bemidji Gun Club, in which several Brainerd boys participated. Jas. R. Smith, of this city, won first money, and I. U. White, W. S. McClenahan and H. L. Casey got a share of other purses.
Exactly at 7 o’clock as previously arranged, the first section left Bemidji on the homeward trip, and the second section left five minutes later. Both arrived here about 12 o’clock. The ride home, unlike most excursions of this kind, was not tiresome, but pleasant and enjoyed by all. There was no dust and it was cool and refreshing, and the delightful stay at Bemidji was so short that the ride home was enjoyed as part of the days’ pleasures.
It was indeed a delightful excursion, and those having the arrangements in charge are deserving of great praise for their efforts. Everything went off as planned without a hitch. The trains were managed in a perfect manner, thanks to the untiring efforts and forethought of General Manager Winter, who gave them his personal attention. The executive committee, led by President Henry I. Cohen, are deserving of great praise, also for their foresight in providing ample accommodations for all. The crowd was on its good behavior and no disorderly or boisterous conduct whatever marred the occasion The crowd was made up of the best people of Brainerd and nothing else could be expected.
But to the enterprising citizens of Bemidji the thanks of every excursionist should be extended for the perfect and thoughtful manner in which they provided everything that would add to the comfort or pleasure of the party.
The association realized over $500 above all expenses from the excursion. (Brainerd Dispatch, 28 July 1899, p. 1, c.’s 4 & 5)

Library Meeting.

The Brainerd Public Library Association held a business meeting on Friday evening at which time Dr. J. L. Frederick was elected secretary to succeed P. S. Ware who has removed from the city. A committee on constitution consisting of W. S. McClenahan, P. J. Murphy, J. L. Frederick, and H. I. Cohen was elected, and they will at once commence securing data for the purpose of drafting by-laws and constitution for the governing of the association.
The library committee, appointed under resolution, consists of O. O. Winter, Rev. G. W. Gallagher, Howard Isham, Dr. A. F. Groves and Henry I. Cohen.
It was decided to place a book for the reception of new members in Dresskell’s jewelry store where the names may be enrolled, and which will be published from week to week in the local newspapers, the following being elected active members at the last meeting: Dr. Hemstead, Rev. G. W. Gallagher, Rev. C. F. Kite, Mr. and Mrs. O. O. Winter, A. F. Ferris and Howard Isham. The membership fee is $2.
The executive committee was given authority to select permanent quarters for the library, and a committee consisting of Rev. Fr. Lynch, Rev. G. W. Gallagher and Rev. C. F. Kite, were appointed to select two ladies from each of the five wards of the city to solicit membership. (Brainerd Dispatch, 11 August 1899, p. 1, c. 6)

The Public Library.

While the number of people who turned out to the mass meeting at Gardner hall on Monday evening was not as large as had been hoped for there was a good attendance and of the kind of people necessary to the support of a public enterprise such as the Brainerd public library is to be. Henry I. Cohen, president of the association opened the meeting by explaining to the audience the position that the association is in and gave a history of the movement since it was started some time ago. The sum of $500 was realized from the business men’s excursion over the B. & N. M. to Bemidji last summer and in addition to the above sum about $100 was in the hands of the treasurer. With this amount 1000 volumes of literature have been selected and purchased which will be placed upon the shelves as soon as the room is placed in shape for their reception. Some valuable additions to the library have been made in the way of gifts from Mr. and Mrs. E. B. McCullough, Dr. McPherson and John Hurley. Ambrose Tighe, of St. Paul, has also made a voluntary contribution of $25 to the fund. The association is also indebted to Mr. Kendrick, of the Northern Pacific for a present of a five years lease of rooms in the depot building, and added to that is the gift of the material for shelving from Geo. H. Cook, of the Brainerd Lumber Co., and the building of the shelves free of charge by White & White. Following Mr. Cohen were remarks by Rev. Gallagher, Prof. Hartley, O. O. Winter and Dr. Groves. A short programme, musical and literary, was listened to with interest by the audience, Mrs. J. C. Atherton, Mrs. Dr. W. Courtney, Misses Davis, Mitchell, Gallagher and Mr. Jay Patek, furnishing the talent. The association adopted by-laws and a constitution for their government and following this a board of directors was elected consisting of Rev. G. W. Gallagher, Harry Treglawny, W. S. McClenahan, E. O. Parks, R. F. Walters, C. M. Patek, O. O. Winter, A. J. Halsted, Henry I. Cohen, Dr. G. S. McPherson, Rev. D. W. Lynch, Prof. Hartley, Mesdames Henry I. Cohen, J. N. Nevers, Fannie E. Smith, C. M. Patek, O. O. Winter, E. B. McCullough, Geo. Forsyth, J. P. Early, E. M. Westfall, G. W. Gallagher, Dr. W. Courtney, Dr. W. Hemstead and Miss Amy Lowey.
Fifty-five persons enrolled their names as members on Monday evening and twenty have joined since which with those who had previously taken a membership makes the number of members now nearly 100. Those who wish to become members and those who have already joined and wish to pay their fee can do so by calling on H. D. Treglawny, H. I. Cohen or Wm. M. Dresskell. (Brainerd Dispatch, 20 October 1899, p. 1, c. 3)


An Effort Being Made to Consolidate
the N. P. Library with the
Public Library.

A special meeting of the members of the Public Library association was held at the Y. M. C. A. parlors on Monday evening to elect directors to succeed Mrs. H. I. Cohen and Mrs. C. M. Patek, resigned.

Minnie Cohen, an ardent and early supporter of creating a public library for Brainerd, 15 December 1937.
Source: Brainerd Dispatch
On motion the resignations were accepted and three nominations were made to fill the vacancies as follows: Miss Katherine Gallagher, P. J. Murphy and Howard Isham. Messrs. Murphy and Isham were elected. The meeting then adjourned.
A meeting of the newly elected board of directors was held, and the following officers of the association for the ensuing year were elected:
H. I. Cohen, president.
O. O. Winter, 1st vice president.
Mrs. E. B. McCullough, 2nd vice president.
Miss Amy Lowey, secretary.
H. D. Treglawny, treasurer.
The following committees were appointed:
Ways and Means—Mrs. J. N. Nevers, Mrs. Dr. Courtney, Mrs. Geo. Forsyth, Mrs. H. I. Cohen and Mr. A. J. Halsted.
Library Committee—Mr. Howard Isham, Mrs. O. O. Winter, Mr. P. J. Murphy, Mrs. J. P. Early, Prof. T. B. Hartley, Mrs. C. M. Patek and Mrs. E. O. Parks.
The board discussed the matter of making an effort to consolidate the N. P. library with the Public library all expressing the belief that it was a consummation to be desired, and on motion Rev. Geo. W. Gallagher, Mrs. J. N. Nevers and President Henry I. Cohen were appointed a committee to confer with the N. P. library directors concerning the matter.
We understand a meeting of the directors of the N. P. library will be held at the shops tomorrow afternoon after closing hours to confer with the above committee. It is earnestly hoped that the matter can be satisfactorily arranged, as it would give this city a public library that would be a credit to it, and at the same time better serve all classes of citizens. (Brainerd Dispatch, 27 October 1899, p. 1, c. 3)

Public Library Ball.

The ways and means committee of the Public Library association has decided to give a grand ball at Gardner hall on Friday evening, Nov. 10, to raise funds to furnish the library rooms. The executive committee has decided that funds now on hand contributed for library purposes cannot rightfully be used for furnishing the rooms, hence the newly appointed committee on ways and means held a meeting on Wednesday evening, and after discussing the matter of raising funds with which to furnish the rooms, decided to give a grand ball at the Gardner Opera House on Friday evening, November 10th. The Kelsey orchestra has been secured for the occasion, and the ladies of the association will do everything possible, by their presence and personal assistance to make the occasion a grand social success. Tickets will be $1.00.


Will Not Consolidate.

The consolidation of the N. P. Library and new Public Library cannot take place, because of an insurmountable obstacle in the way. The constitution of the N. P. library reserves the use of the library for the use of the employees of the railroad only, which makes it impossible to consolidate although it would be beneficial to both. A meeting of the N. P. Library association was held last Saturday as announced, and the committee from the Public Library was present and explained the object of their visit, but a discussion revealed the above state of affairs, which settles the matter. (Brainerd Dispatch, 03 November 1899, p. 1, c. 4)

Elected a Librarian.

The executive committee of the Public Library Association held a meeting on Saturday evening, and elected Mrs. Irma Hartley as librarian. It was also decided to keep the library rooms open at present two evenings and one afternoon each week. The time has not yet been definitely decided, but it will probably be Wednesday evening, and Saturday afternoon and evening.
During the past week the library rooms have been put into shape for use. The shelving has been completed and nicely painted, and the walls of the rooms papered and decorated, and the books purchased are now being unpacked and placed on the shelves ready for use in a few days, probably tomorrow afternoon. (Brainerd Dispatch, 10 November 1899, p. 10, c. 2)

Library Matters.

The grand ball given at Gardner Hall on Friday evening last by the Public Library Association to raise funds to furnish the library rooms, was a splendid success socially and financially. A large crowd composed of the best people of the city was in attendance, and a very pleasant evening was enjoyed by all. The association realized $102 net from the ball.
The library committee has had several meetings during the past week to classify and arrange the books, which is being done rapidly. The rooms have been furnished and look very pleasant and cozy with the spic and span new furniture and new wall decorations. The library room will be open from 7 to 9 Wednesday evenings and from 1 to 5 Saturday afternoons, and from 7 to 9 Saturday evenings. (Brainerd Dispatch, 17 November 1899, p. 1, c. 3)

Official Announcement of the Opening
of the Public Library.

The rooms of the Public Library are open to the public now at stated times as follows:
Every Saturday afternoon and evening, and every Wednesday evening from 8 to 9 o’clock.
The rooms of the library are situated on the second floor of the N. P. depot in the northwest corner of the building.
Citizens wishing to borrow books can procure a card from the librarian when the rooms are open. The public is cordially invited to inspect the library.
By order of the executive committee. (Brainerd Dispatch, 24 November 1899, p. 8, c. 4)

Public Library a Free Library.

The officers of the public library, having been asked repeatedly the question, “What is the charge for drawing books?”, wish to state emphatically that the public library is free, and that there is absolutely no charge for drawing books.
The library is open to the public Wednesday and Saturday evenings and Saturday afternoon.
Sec. Library Com.
(Brainerd Dispatch, 15 December 1899, p. 10, c. 3)

The Brainerd Library Association held their first quarterly meeting on Friday evening last, and the report of the librarian showed that 372 cards had been issued and 1297 books had been taken out. There are now about 745 volumes on hand and in a short time 300 more will be added. (Brainerd Dispatch, 12 January 1900, p. 8, c. 2)

Library Board Meeting.

The regular quarterly meeting of the public library board was held on Tuesday evening. Considerable business of a routine character was transacted. R. F. Walters was elected vice-president vice O. O. Winter, resigned, and Rev. Gallagher was elected to fill a vacancy on the library committee. Mrs. C. M. Patek was elected chairman of the library committee. An animated discussion relative to the raising of funds for library purposes was held, but no method was adopted. It was decided that hereafter children under 14 years could have the privilege of drawing books only on Saturdays.
On Saturday the library received 63 volumes of government reports of various kinds, and they will be catalogued and placed on the shelves. Henry I. Cohen, the president, while in Washington recently, arranged for the sending of these reports free. (Brainerd Dispatch, 13 April 1900, p. 10, c. 6)


Splendid Social Function to Raise Funds
for the Public Library.

A meeting of the ways and means committee of the Library Association was held on Tuesday evening, and it was decided to give a grand ball at Gardner Hall, on Friday evening, May 11th, to raise funds for the Library Association. The committee also determined to make the ball one of the most pleasant social events of the season, and to that end decided to introduce a new and pleasing feature for the amusement and entertainment of the guests, which consists of the dancing of the German by about thirty young couples. This is undoubtedly the most beautiful and imposing of dances, and it will be a great treat to witness it. Dr. and Mrs. A. F. Groves have been chosen to lead the dance. Rehearsals are now being held and it will no doubt be perfectly mastered and splendidly executed on the occasion of the ball. Kelsey’s full orchestra will furnish the music. The floor managers have been selected and are as follows: Henry Linneman, R. J. Hartley, Geo. LaBar, Geo. H. Speer, Dr. Hemstead, C. C. Kyle, Dr. Batcheller, C. A. Allbright, Dr. Fredericks, W. A. M. Johnstone, P. J. Murphy and S. R. Adair.
While the ball will be, probably, one of the most pleasant social occasions of the season, and those attending will be repaid many times the cost of the ticket, yet every citizen, whether able to attend or not should purchase a ticket and help maintain the library, which is doing a magnificent work in brightening the minds of the people of this community. Tickets are $1.00 a couple, and 50c for extra ladies. If you don’t dance it will pay you to purchase a ticket and see the beautiful and imposing German. (Brainerd Dispatch, 04 May 1900, p. 1, c. 3)

The library ball at Gardner Hall last Friday night was brilliant success socially and financially. It was one of the most delightful social occasions of the season, and a snug sum of money was realized for the benefit of the library. The feature of the evening was the dancing of the German by about thirty couples, led by Dr. and Mrs. Groves. The many beautiful and artistic figures were much enjoyed and liberally applauded by the spectators. The net receipts were $125. (Brainerd Dispatch, 18 May 1900, p. 10, c. 2)

Annual Meeting.

The regular annual meeting of the members of the Brainerd Public Library Association will be held at the Y. M. C. A. building on Friday evening, Oct. 5th. A new board of directors will be elected and other business transacted. All members are urgently requested to be present. (Brainerd Dispatch, 05 October 1900, p. 1, c. 2)

Annual Meeting.

The annual meeting of the Public Library Association was held at the Y. M. C. A. Saturday evening.
Annual reports of the secretary and treasurer were read. The treasurer’s report showed $1137.18 receipts, $964.88 disbursements and $172.30 balance on hand.
The library committee reported 1296 volumes in the library.
Directors were elected as follows:
M. McFadden,
A. J. Halsted,
W. H. Gemmell,
W. A. Fleming,
J. L. Torrens,
H. I. Cohen,
Dr. Hemstead,
Rev. Gallagher,
R. F. Walters,
H. D. Treglawny,
Howard Isham,
J. T. Frater,
P. J. Murphy,
C. J. Merritt,
Julia McFadden,
J. P. Early,
E. M. Westfall,
E. B. McCullough,
C. M. Patek,
Emma Forsyth,
A. V. Snyder,
Walter Courtney,
J. N. Nevers,
B. A. Ferris, and Miss Bess Mulrine.
A meeting of the directors was held after the association adjourned. H. I. Cohen was elected president, R. F. Walters and Mrs. E. B. McCullough, vice presidents, P. J. Murphy, secretary ahd H. D. Treglawny, treasurer.
Committees were appointed as follows:
Ways and Means Committee—Dr. Hemstead, chairman, W. H. Gemmell, Mrs. E. B. McCullough, H. G. Isham, Mrs. E. M. Westfall
Library Committee—Prof. J. L. Torrens, Mrs. J. P. Early, Mrs. C. M. Patek, Rev Gallagher, P. J. Murphy, H. G. Isham, Mrs. Dr. Courtney. (Brainerd Dispatch, 12 October 1900, p. 2, c. 4)

A meeting of the Public Library Association was held on Monday evening and it was decided to hold the Second annual ball of the association in Gardner Hall in the near future. During the past year, the library reached the enormous circulation of 15,000 volumes, and the proceeds of this ball will be used for the purchase of new books, of which they stand greatly in need. Such figures, which, considering the size of the library, cannot be duplicated in the State of Minnesota, show the library to be a public institution worthy of the support of every reader in the city. Go, and help the library along. Tickets $1. (Brainerd Dispatch, 18 January 1901, p. 8, c. 1)

Library Ball.

The annual ball of the Library Association will be held on Thursday evening, Jan. 31st, and not Feb. 1st, as published. As is well understood this ball is held for the purpose of raising funds for the association, hence every citizen should purchase a ticket and be present, and thus help maintain the library, undoubtedly one of the greatest factors in raising the standard of citizenship in the community. The floor managers will be J. P. Early, R. J. Hartley, F. B. Johnson, W. A. M. Johnstone, P. J. Murphy, H. W. Isham, H. Linneman and W. S. Cox. The very best people of the city will be present. (Brainerd Dispatch, 25 January 1901, p. 4, c. 4)

SEVERAL towns in the state with public libraries have been able to “hold-up” Andrew Carnegie for a neat sum for the benefit of their libraries, and St. Cloud is now going after the distinguished philanthropist. What’s the matter with the Brainerd Public Library? Get a hustle on you after Andrew, you can’t do worse than lose. (Brainerd Dispatch, 15 February 1901, p. 1, c. 3)


for a Donation for a Public Library
and Building for this

Henry I. Cohen Writes the Great Phi-
lanthropist the Following

Steel magnate, robber baron and philanthropist who contributed funds for the building of public libraries throughout the United States as well as Brainerd, ca. 1913.
Source: Unknown
Andrew Carnegie, the millionaire philanthropist, has promised St. Cloud $25,000 to build a public library building, providing the city donates a suitable site and binds itself to raise $2,500 revenue a year to support it. This the city will do and will soon be provided with a splendid public library.
Brainerd is a place nearly as large and of as much importance as St. Cloud, and has a much greater need of a public library than the latter place for several reasons. There is not as much wealth here to provide suitable reading in the homes of citizens and we have a much larger population of mill men and shop men than the latter city, men generally without homes, who would be spending their time in acquiring useful information, if we had a good public library and reading room, instead of wasting it in public resorts. This large class of men make a public library and reading room a necessity, and if these conditions were properly placed before Mr. Carnegie, there is no doubt he would be as generous to Brainerd as St. Cloud.
Hence we are pleased to state Mr. Henry I. Cohen, president of the present Public Library Association, and to whose enterprise the present library owes much, has written a letter to Mr. Carnegie, endorsed by practically every citizen in the city asking for Brainerd as generous treatment as he has accorded St. Cloud. Mr. Cohen’s letter is as follows:
BRAINERD, Minn., Feb. 17, 1901.
Pittsburgh, Pa.
As the executive head of the Brainerd Free Public Library, I wish to call your attention to our needs. Knowing your world wide reputation as a philanthropist, more especially in respect to the material assistance towards the establishment of libraries in communities not able to do so for themselves, I was asked by the representative citizens of Brainerd to call your generous attention to our city.
Knowing that you must be deluged by requests of a similar nature, I feel loath to encroach on your valuable time.
The following is a history of our library:
Henry I. Cohen, 1855-1934, was instrumental in the building of the Carnegie Public Library in Brainerd, ca. 1923.
Source: Brainerd’s Half Century, Ingolf Dillan
The association, or charter members, started with a capital of one hundred dollars ($100.00) to which was added by subscription, entertainments and donations, in the neighborhood of one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) total.
We have in our rooms, which are small, about eleven hundred (1100) carefully selected books. Of these about nine hundred (900) are suitable for circulation. In one year fifteen hundred (1500) books were drawn from the shelves. This item significantly shows the voracious desire from the book reading public, for free reading of a good class of works. Will you kindly assist us?
Brainerd has a population of about seventy-five hundred (7500) and is a very prominent railroad town, on the Northern Pacific system. I can assure you that I have the promise of our best citizens, that they will endeavor to meet your suggestions to the best of their ability.
Trusting that this letter may meet with favor in your eyes, I anxiously await your reply.
I beg leave to remain,
Most respectfully yours,
President Brainerd Public Library.
Mr. Cohen has also written to Congressman Page Morris and Senators Nelson and Clapp asking their co-operation to induce the great philanthropist to favor this city, and they will undoubtedly do the best they can.
If Mr. Carnegie complies with the request he will probably require that the library become a public institution; that is, supported by public revenue raised by taxation. To do this the matter would have to be submitted to a vote of the people and if carried, a levy made by the council, which is limited to one mill. But this rate would raise $2,000 a year, an amount ample to run the library and provide new books every year, and probably would be all required by Mr. Carnegie. It is hoped that gentleman will see his way clear to make a donation to this city, and there is no doubt the city will gladly do as much as he requires of St. Cloud. (Brainerd Dispatch, 22 February 1901, p. 1, c.’s 3 & 4)


Annual Meeting of the Brainerd
Library Association Held
Monday Night.


Important Business Transacted
and All Officers Elected and
Committees Named.

During the past year the members and directors of the Brainerd Library Association have been in a quandary over the holding of meetings, it having been almost impossible at any time to get a quorum at the quarterly meetings. It has been discussed in various ways by the members of the association and there have been many propositions made but no action was ever taken until last evening. The constitution was amended Monday night so that it is thought that all difficulties will be removed in the future.
The annual meeting of the Library Association was held Monday night and there were about twenty-five members present.
The constitution was amended so as to reduce the number of directors from twenty-five to nine; also reducing the number of members required to constitute a quorum at an annual meeting from thirty to twelve.
A motion prevailed to constitute a majority of all committees and board of directors a quorum for the transaction of all business.
The following were elected as the board of directors: H. I. Cohen, Mrs. E. B. McCullough, G. W. Holland, Prof. J. L. Torrens, H. W. Isham, P. J. Murphy, Mrs. J. P. Early, Mrs. R. F. Walters and Mrs. C. M. Patek.
The board of directors met immediately after the meeting and elected their officers as follows:
President—Henry I. Cohen.
Vice President—H. W. Isham
Secretary—P. J. Murphy.
Treasurer—J. L. Torrens.
The following committees were named:
Ways and Means—Mrs. C. M. Patek, chairman, John T. Frater, Mrs. E. E. Forsythe, Mrs. A. V. Snyder, and A. F. Ferris.
Library—H. W. Isham, chairman, Mrs. R. F. Walters, J. L. Torrens, Mrs. J. P. Early and Mrs. W. H. Gemmell.
The report of Treasurer Treglawney was read and accepted, as were also the reports of Librarian Burgoyne and Secretary P. J. Murphy.
The ways and means committee asked that the association take steps at once to raise funds. Petitions will be circulated in the different wards of the city and among the business and professional men and money will be raised in this fashion to supply the library. (Brainerd Dispatch, 04 October 1901, p. 2, c. 5)


A Move on Foot to Collect Funds for the
Maintenance of the Brainerd
Public Library.

At a recent meeting of the ways and means committee of the Brainerd Library Association plans were discussed for raising funds for the maintenance of the library in this city and the purchasing of new books.
Mrs. George Forsythe and Mrs. C. M. Patek as a committee have decided upon a novel plan and the people of Brainerd will be called upon by districts it being deemed a good idea to go at this work by direct solicitation at their homes.
The following have been designated in the different districts to take up the work:
First ward—Mrs. James Gardner, Mrs. F. C. Bolin, Mrs. J. H. Dickenson, Mrs. Louis Hohman, Mrs. H. Theviot and Mrs. William Erb.
Second ward—Mrs. E. B. McCullough, Mrs. R. Hartley, Mrs. Milton McFadden, Mrs. A. F. Groves, Mrs. James F. McGinnis, Mrs. J. P. Early and Mrs. William Entriken.
Third ward—Mrs. W. I. Storm, Mrs. W. Benjamin, Mrs. John Anderson, Mrs. Dan Halladay, Mrs. Boyce, Mrs. J. A. Arnold, Mrs. J. N. Biever, Mrs. John Olson, Mrs. Al. Forsythe, Mrs. H. T. Skinner and Mrs. G. O. Whitney.
Fourth ward—Mrs. A. Mahlum, Mrs. E. E. French, Miss Guldstrand and Mrs. C. A. Beck.
Fifth ward—Mrs. T. W. Crawford, Mrs. T. J. Jackson, Mrs. H. McGinn, Mrs. A. Purdy, Mrs. W. Hemstead and Mrs. L. J. Cale.
Mill district—E. B. McCullough, H. W. Isham and A. L. Mattes. (Brainerd Dispatch, 15 November 1901, p. 6, c. 2)

It was a time when Andrew Carnegie, the steel maker, was displaying magnanimity toward small cities in donating libraries. Carnegie’s offer, made in January 1902 to Brainerd, was that he would pay $12,000 toward a building provided the city contribute the site and arrange to raise not less than $1,200 annually for maintenance. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946, p. 85)

At long last, in June of 1902 to be precise, the Common Council began to consider building and operating a public library. The records regarding a library in Brainerd are very few. One thing is certain; it was ever entirely a voluntary function and always led by Henry I. Cohen. He continuously saw such a need, never recognized defeat, and was patient with delay. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946, p. 85)

On 15 September 1902, the council accepted Carnegie’s offer and in November the people voted a one-half mill levy for the maintenance of the library. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946, p. 85)

$1,000 was raised through public subscription and with it a deed was procured, on 25 May 1903, which conveyed the site to the city. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946, p. 85)

In June 1903 the Common Council accepted this deed, and Mayor Halsted thereupon appointed a Library Board consisting of nine members. H. I. Cohen was one of the nine and acted as convener for a meeting held on 28 July 1903 for the purpose of organizing. He was elected president of that new Board. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946, p. 85)

On 28 August 1903 the Library Board engaged R. D. Church, a Minneapolis architect, to design a building. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946, p. 85)


So Decides the Library Board at
Its Meeting Held Last Night
In Library Rooms


And is Said to Have Refused to
Accept the Opinion of Any-
one In the Matter.

There was an important meeting of the Brainerd Public Library board last night in the rooms in the N. P. building which had to do with the settlement of the question as to whether or not the foundation and walls thus far constructed in the new Carnegie Library building are to stand. A meeting was held the night before and the building committee was authorized to investigate the walls and foundation with Architect Church and report at the meeting last night. This committee did make its report and they also conveyed the opinion of Architect Church on the matter to the full board.
It seems that some members of the committee, after the report of one of two expert masons, decided that the wall was all right but the opinion of Architect Church was quite the reverse.
After the matter was laid before the full board, a vote was taken and it was decided that the walls would all have to come down and be constructed over again.
Contractor Rowley will therefore make the necessary arrangements and the work will doubtless be pushed to completion as rapidly as possible from now on. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 05 May 1904, p. 3, c. 4)

The present library was built in 1905 [sic] at a cost of $12,000. Andrew Carnegie donated the building; the city pays for its maintenance. The library is a valuable adjunct to the public school work in the city. (Brainerd’s Half Century, Ingolf Dillan, General Printing Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1923, p. 34)

Late in the fall of 1908 a new City Charter was adopted and a Library Board was prescribed. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946, p. 85)

On 04 May 1908 Mayor Ousdahl appointed six men and three women to the new Library Board. Cohen was not one of them, but his sister-in-law Mrs. C. M. Patek, a highly cultured woman and a leader in many literary activities, was one of the three women. She continued as secretary for a long time and performed with the same enthusiasm and diligence that Cohen had always displayed. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946, p. 85)


Monthly Report of Public Library
Shows Increasing Interest
in its Use

The monthly report of the Brainerd Public library shows 64 new borrowers, a gratifying increase. There were a total of 1451 books and 112 magazines loaned during February, and 401 visited the reading rooms. The following is the report:
No. vol. fiction loaned adults—725
No. vol. non-fiction loaned adults—357
No. vol. fiction loaned to children—85
No. vol. non-fiction loaned to children—284
Total books loaned for home use—1451
No. cards issued to new borrowers, adults—21
No. cards issued to new borrowers, children—43
Readers in reading room, adults—163
Readers in reading room, children—238
Total No. of readers—401
(Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 01 March 1910, p. 3, c. 3)


Regular Monthly Meeting of the
Board Held Last Monday

The Library Board held its regular meeting, Monday evening, April 25. After allowing bills to the amount of $108.18, the matter of allowing the Children’s story hour, and the Ladies’ Musical Club to plant trees, was reconsidered and carried that two undesirable trees be taken from the boulevard and they be allowed to plant two trees in their place.
Applications for librarian were read and balloted on. Mrs. Lillian [sic] [Lilla] Follett receiving the majority of the votes was declared elected. A report from the ladies who have charge of the Children’s story hour every Saturday afternoon at the library, was read and placed on file.
Mr. Peters, of the Kimball Piano Co., very kindly offered the ladies the use of a piano which the board allowed to be placed in the assembly room, and will be of great assistance to the ladies in entertaining the children. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 27 April 1910, p. 3, c. 3)

Library Notes

In order to economize on lights the library board has instructed the librarian to lock the door promptly at nine o’clock. Those inside will be waited on but no one will be admitted after nine o’clock.
The ladies and children of the story hour, will observe Arbor day this afternoon at 2:30 on the library grounds. The program consists of recitations by the children, a talk from Prof. Cobb, and planting of a tree.
The Musical Club also planted a tree on the library grounds in honor of Arbor day. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 30 April 1910, p. 2, c. 4)


Friends of Thomas R. Congdon. Not-
ed Artist and Former Citizen
of Brainerd


List of Donors Who Gave Same to
City to be Hung in the Public
Library Rooms

Friends of Thomas R. Congdon, former citizen of Brainerd and now a noted artist, have purchased one of his etchings entitled “The Pont Nuef” and have presented the same suitably framed, to the city of Brainerd to be hung on the walls of the public library.
The list of donors includes these names:
Geo. D. LaBar.
F. A. Farrar.
C. D. Johnson.
Henry I. Cohen.
Geo. Phil. Sheridan.
Walter Courtney.
R. J. Hartley.
A. J. Halsted.
W. H. Manor.
N. H. Ingersoll.
F. W. Wieland.
D. M. Clark.
Alderman & Clark.
A. G. Trommald.
W. H. Gemmell.
Fred S. Parker.
J. M. Elder.
E. O. Webb.
Mrs. C. D. Johnson.
J. A. Thabes.
W. A. Spencer.
J. A. McColl.
W. A. Fleming.
W. A. M. Johnstone.
A. Mahlum.
A. L. Hoffman.
Mons Mahlum.
H. W. Congdon.
C. H. Paine.
J. W. Koop.
W. S. McClenahan.
J. T. Sanborn.
S. R. Adair.
D. E. Whitney.
(Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 October 1915, p. 5, c. 3)

The city acting as a whole could well afford to establish a new public library as a memorial to the Brainerd men who participated in the Bataan Death March during World War II. A library has the advantage that it is already provided for by charter and taxation. One need only expand on this. The present library has now 17,000 volumes, which is a credit to Brainerd, but is too large a stock of books for so small a building. The ever-increasing demand for superior books is so high, particularly during the vacation season when summer visitors abound, that a larger and more commodious building should be provided. It is bound to come some day; but it would be a marvelous memorial of high intellectual value. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946, p. 174)

NOTE: National Register of Historic Places, added 1980; classical revival style of granite and brick. The front of the building features a portico with four columns supporting a pedimented gable.

03 April 1984. The first major step to replace Brainerd’s 80-year-old library was taken at the city council meeting where aldermen approved an option to buy adjoining lots at 5th and Norwood Streets. Alderman Don O’Brien thought the acquisition cost of the land was too high. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 03 April 2014)

19 June 1984. Brainerd citizens will get a chance to vote on plans for a new $1.7 million library after action taken by the Brainerd City Council. Approval of the referendum will put the matter on the Sept. 11 ballot. A new building would replace the 1904 [sic] Carnegie library. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 19 June 2014)

01 September 1984. The election coming up on Sept. 11 has a “candidate” that can’t speak for itself—the library. Voters will decide whether to bond $1.7 million for a new building. Library board member John Erickson says, “The building we’re in right now is from the horse and buggy era.” (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 01 September 2014)

17 June 1985. (Photo) John Erickson and Janet Moran, members of the Brainerd Public Library Board, participated in ground-breaking ceremonies at the site of Brainerd’s new $1.7 million library. The facility is scheduled to be completed by next summer. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 17 June 2015)

Cass County Courthouse located in West Brainerd, 1875.
Source: Engraving, Halsted Map 1875


Cass County was created by an act of the Legislature on May 1, 1851. It originally included the portion of modern-day Crow Wing County west of the Mississippi (including the city of West Brainerd consisting of 35 residents in the 1880 census). It was first organized in 1872, with the county seat located in West Brainerd in a building that was used as a courthouse. It remained attached to Crow Wing County for administrative purposes. The organization was abandoned in 1876 and Cass County was not reorganized until 1897, with Walker as the county seat. The portion of Crow Wing County west of the river was annexed from Cass County by an act of the Legislature on February 18, 1887, nearly doubling the size of Crow Wing County.


On Wednesday, July 3d Geo. A. Morrison, Geo. N. Bardwell, and Chas. Ahrens, in pursuance of instructions from Governor Austin and commissioned in due form from the State department, proceeded to organize a new county on the west bank of the Mississippi opposite Brainerd. The name of the county is Cass; its metes and bounds we do not know, but presume it takes in about 50 miles square, and we know that it embraces our favorite fishing ground, Gilbert Lake. The only knowledge we have is of a record character. Dr. A. Barnard was appointed Register of Deeds; Chas. A. Ruffy [sic], Auditor; Richard Ahrens, Treasurer; Frank F. Keating, Coroner; C. T. Moore, Sheriff. The county is now fully fledged and officered so as to do any business which the settlers may need, and make such records as the forms of law require to be made for the security of land holders. To make matters “more binding” the commissioners appointed our talented townsman, Mr. T. F. Knappen, County Attorney, and all matters of question relative to Cass county and its inhabitants must be brought to his office. He is in every way competent and trustworthy, and the new county, in depending on him for legal guidance “cannot materially err.” (Brainerd Tribune, 06 July 1872, p. 4, c. 1)

THAT COURT HOUSE.—We called on our Cass county neighbors the other day, and for the first time had the pleasure of looking through the Cass county Court House, that came so near (?) being the Crow Wing county capitol. The building is a much more imposing, substantial and commodious structure than we expected to see. It is 38x40 besides a good basement for a jail—and two stories high. The lower story has a hall running from front to rear, and upon either side thereof are the office rooms for the various county officers—Auditor, Clerk, Sheriff, Treasurer, etc. These rooms are very commodious, lighted by large, cheerful windows, and everything seems to have been built with a view to being not only uncommonly convenient, but substantial. The building is all enclosed, the floors all laid, and two of the offices plastered and are occupied by Mr. Stauff, Auditor of the county, and Mr. Fernold, Deputy Auditor—who, by the way, have a pleasant cottage home a short distance off, in a romantic little grove of pines. Reaching the rear end of the hall-way, you ascend an easy flight of stairs to the large court room above, which when finished will almost exactly correspond with the St. Cloud court room hall, only the Cass county court room will be provided with two jury rooms in addition. There are no posts or supports of any kind in the room, the ceiling being supported by immense bents and iron rods from from the ceiling to the frame above. There is on hand in the building all, or nearly all, the material necessary to complete the structure; such as glass, hardware, paints, lime, hair, finishing lumber, mouldings, banisters, etc., so that very little more expense will complete the building, when it will be an ornament to West Brainerd, and an honor to the county. Although surprised at finding so fine appearing and well built structure, (and we also indulged in a few jealous feelings, but on behalf of Crow Wing county as it was and is) we were still more surprised at learning the cost of the building thus far, (including the material on hand for its completion) which has been only $4,008.00. This, if we can judge at all, is the best building, in proportion to the cost, that has ever been put up on the Northern Pacific. And so far from deserving censure from any source for extravagance, the Cass county officials merit the greatest praise for their economy and good management, so far as the court house item is concerned, at least. For they have certainly managed to get up a splendid court house at a VERY REASONABLE COST, which is quite contrary to the rules that govern the construction of public buildings generally. (Brainerd Tribune, 21 March 1874, p. 1, c. 3)

A gentleman by the name of Wright [sic] from Toronto, Canada, has rented Chas. Ahrens' building, formerly the Cass county court house, and will immediately put in a plant for the manufactory of lumbermen’s implements of all descriptions. (Brainerd Dispatch, 05 May 1893, p. 4, c. 4)

The work of putting the Ahrens' building, on the west side, in shape for the reception of the machinery to be used by P. & E. Waite in their new factory is being rapidly pushed. The gentlemen expect to open for business June first. (Brainerd Dispatch, 19 May 1893, p. 4, c. 4)

A meeting will be held this evening at Keene & McFadden’s office to discuss matters in relation to getting the manufacturing concern of P. & E. Waite moved to this side of the river. The institution manufactures all kinds of lumbermen’s implements, sleds, etc. Snow plows for logging firms are also made. It is hoped a large attendance will respond. (Brainerd Dispatch, 16 February 1894, p. 4, c. 3)

On Friday evening last a meeting of the business men was held at Keene & McFadden’s office for the purpose of considering the project of removing the manufacturing concern of P. and E. Waite to this side of the river, and to take under advisement the formation of a stock company. The company manufactures logging sleds and all kinds of tools and implements used by lumbermen, besides snow plows, the patentee of the latter machine, Mr. Brazil, of Sheboygan, being present at the meeting. While no final conclusions were arrived at, it is understood that an effort will be made to secure subscribers sufficient to put in a plant of from $5,000 to $10,000, the gentlemen already interested signifying their willingness to take a majority of the stock. (Brainerd Dispatch, 23 February 1894, p. 4, c. 4)

Fire animation On November 26, 1894, the old Cass County Courthouse burned. At the time, it was owned by Charles Ahrens and was occupied by a company that manufactured lumbermen’s supplies such as logging sleds, tote sleds, snow plows, cant hooks, etc.

SEE: 1894 Cass County Courthouse Fire in the Brainerd: City of Fire page.

Three of these houses are located on the east side of North Sixth Street in the first block north of Gregory Park. The fourth house is located on the southwest side of Grove Street between North Sixth and North Seventh Streets.

These four duplex residences were built in 1912 by the Ritari Brothers for William Graham, ca. 1916.
Source: Postcard
Ritari Brothers ad touting the virtues of cement block houses, 08 April 1912.
Source: Brainerd Daily Dispatch
Ritari Brothers have secured the contract to build a cement block residence for William Graham on North Sixth street near the park. It will be two stories in height measuring 26x30 feet and work will be commenced at once. A full basement will give ample room for the heating plant and many other conveniences. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 22 December 1911, p. 2, c. 5)

Ritari Bros. are making cement blocks for the Wm. Graham residence which they contracted to build this spring on North Sixth street. In addition to this they have taken contracts to build three more cement block houses for Mr. Graham. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 09 February 1912, p. 2, c. 3)

Ritari Brothers have about completed a cement block residence built for William Graham on North Sixth street near Gregory park. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 21 March 1912, p. 4, c. 1)

Ritari Brothers are erecting four cement block residences, double-houses, for William Graham on Sixth street near Ivy [sic] [on Grove]. The houses are two and one-half stories in height and measure 32x34 feet. One fronts on Grove street and three on Sixth street, and they offer homes for eight families. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 30 March 1912, p. 2, c. 3)

The Ritari Brothers are furnishing cement blocks for the construction of eight garages at the four duplex houses erected by William Graham north of Gregory park. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 10 July 1912, p. 2, c. 5)

Dr. C. G. Nordin has removed from the Phillips block to 622 North Sixth Street, one of the new houses recently erected by Wm. Graham. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 03 October 1912, p. 2, c. 3)

On account of some unfinished work in the construction of the four double cement houses on north 6th street, I have decided to reduce the rent from $25 to $20 per month. Wm. Graham.—Advt. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 26 October 1912, p. 2, c. 3)

FOR RENT—The last two cement houses are now ready on North 6th street. Strictly modern. $20.00 per month. Wm. Graham. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 26 November 1912, p. 2, c. 5)

In April 1905 the Christian Scientists of this city are to erect a new church on the lots which they bought recently of Mrs. C. Grandelmyer on the corner of Eighth and Kingwood Streets North. It will be one of the prettiest churches in the city. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 11 April 2005)


Beautiful Structure to be Erected at
Church Site on Corner of Broad-
way and Kingwood


Church Will Measure 44 by 48 and
Size of Lot is 50 by 140 Feet—
Impressive Design

The Christian Science congregation of Brainerd has asked for bids to construct their church. The site, secured some time ago, is on the southeast corner of Broadway and Kingwood and measures 50 by 140 feet.
The church structure will measure according to the plans drawn by H. E. Dingman of Little Falls, 44 by 48 feet and will be 23 feet high. Using auditorium, reading room, etc., the total seating capacity will be 250. The church is so designed that an extra story or other additions may be added without destroying the symmetry of the structure.
The auditorium will measure 24 by 37 feet with a seating capacity of 140. The visiting room will measure 14 by 44 feet. The gallery reading room over the visiting room will measure 14 by 44 feet. Doric columns of beautiful design run between visiting room and auditorium.
The north elevation facing Kingwood street reveals a columned entrance flanked by two large art glass windows. Two columns are based on the main floor and five on the second floor.
The walls will be cased with metal lath on which will be applied “Kellastone,” a patented imperishable stucco. The grounds will be terraced at the front entrance and flower beds will add to the beauty of the grounds.


Notice to Building Contractors

Bids asked for the construction and completion of Christian Science church in the City of Brainerd.
Tenders to be received on or before Wednesday, 2:00 P. M., June 23.
Plans and specifications may be had from Mrs. Carl Adams, 304 Kingwood street, Brainerd. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 09 June 1921, p. 5, c. 2)

This church is currently located on the northeast corner of Fifth and Kingwood Streets; the lot was purchased in 1923.

Woman Convicted of Embezzlement of Church Funds

Former Christian Science Church at the corner of Fifth and Kingwood Streets, 2014.
Source: Brainerd Dispatch, 21 December 2014, Kelly Humphrey
A woman who was a third-generation member of the Christian Science Church in Brainerd is in jail for embezzling money from the congregation.
Theresa Marie Barrett, 48, is serving a 15-day sentence in the Crow Wing County Jail and was ordered to pay $79,966.92 in restitution and court costs after pleading guilty to theft-divert corporate property, a felony offense. Barrett's known address was listed as a Brainerd Post Office box in the court documents. The criminal complaint said she diverted corporate property other than in accordance with general business purposes or for purposes other than those specified in the church's articles of incorporation with intent to defraud. According to the documents, the felony crime took place on or about May 15, 2011, and continuing through Nov. 14, 2013.
The embezzlement, according to Joan Hallada of Crosby, the church board president, forced the congregation to sell the Kingwood Street church it had called home for 80 years.
"We thought we were in OK financial shape," she said in a phone interview Tuesday. "We had investments set aside from people who had passed on and left this money and it was to keep the church going many years."
At one point church officials learned of church checks that had bounced, Hallada said.
"We were kind of flabbergasted," Hallada said.
A church meeting was called to conduct a financial report and Barrett, who was a paid clerk, removed the computer from the church, said Hallada. Thinking the church was not receiving enough funds, Hallada said she and other members increased the amount they were donating. In 2013, church members decided they could no longer afford to keep the building and sold it to Truth Lutheran Church—still not realizing their money was being misused. When they moved out of the Kingwood Street church, Hallada said Barrett removed the financial files. Other members, she said, discovered a document that indicated the church had had about $250,000 with an investment company five years earlier.
Barrett had been a third generation member of the church, a paid clerk for the church and had served as second reader, helping to conduct services.
"We had no reason not to trust her," Hallada said. "We were small but we had a huge bank account."
Six other counts of theft-take/use/transfer movable property without consent that had been in the criminal complaint were dismissed.
The Christian Science Church in Brainerd has somewhere between four and six members, according to the church board president. In past years the church has shut down in the winter months because some members move to locations in the southern United States. Although the church no longer has a building of its own, Hallada said the plan is for the congregation to meet in the Crosby area by summer time.
The payment schedule calls for Barrett to repay the church $300 per month.
Barrett's attorney, George Wetzel said he felt bad for everyone involved in the case, but noted his responsibility was to provide the best defense he could for his client.
"I think there's no winners in any of these types of things," Wetzel said.
He said the church lost money and his defendant is in jail.
"She (Barrett) took ownership of the crime," he said. "She pled guilty. She expressed remorse. She'll probably spend the rest of her life paying it back."
Assistant Crow Wing County Attorney Candace Prigge prosecuted the case.
Asked for comment on the case Crow Wing County Attorney Don Ryan said "I think the assistant county attorney who handled this case did a very good job."
The terms of the sentencing were pronounced Dec. 18. (Brainerd Dispatch, 31 December 2014, p. 1)

Fire animation On January 27, 1907, a fire wiped out the Reilly block containing the Reilly drygoods and hardware store, M. J. Reis drygoods store, Brockway & Parker, grocers and the Citizens State Bank building. Losses amounted to about $80,000.

SEE: 1907 Reilly Block Fire in the Brainerd: City of Fire page.


L. M. DePue, Cashier, Citizens State Bank, 26 May 1908.
Source: Brainerd Daily Dispatch
Martin T. Dunn, President, Citizens State Bank, 16 June 1908.
Source: Brainerd Daily Dispatch
Henry Ousdahl, Bookkeeper, Citizens State Bank, 26 May 1907.
Source: Brainerd Daily Dispatch
The Citizens State bank commenced business under this name October 10, 1906, being a reorganization of the Northern Pacific bank, of this city and taking over the building, business, etc., of that institution. Its capital stock is $25,000 and in a little over two years it has accumulated undivided earnings of $7,731.48 according to its last statement, notwithstanding it had the misfortune to lose its home by fire in January 1907. It is at present located in the Fitger building at the corner of Broadway and Laurel streets, but will shortly commence the construction of a fine business home of its own at the corner of Seventh and Laurel streets, just a block from its present location and a block from the site of the burned structure.
The president of this institution is M. T. Dunn. Mr. Dunn began his banking experience in the Citizens State bank of Kenyon, Minn., of which he is still a stockholder. From there he went to the LeRoy State bank, from which he was called to Brainerd in 1905 to take charge of the affairs of the Northern Pacific, in the hands of the state bank examiner. By his energy, foresight and hard work he put that bank on its feet in good shape and then reorganized it as the Citizens State bank, since which time it has had a very profitable career, barring the loss of its building by fire. Mr. Dunn is also interested in the First National bank of McClusky, N. D., and the Denhoff State bank, of Denhoff, N. D.
L. M. DePue, cashier, came to the bank from the International Harvester company, and is a first-class businessman in every respect.
Henry Ousdahl, a Brainerd young man of promise, is bookkeeper. The board of directors is a strong one, comprising some of Brainerd’s most able and conservative businessmen. One of the heaviest stockholders is C. N. Parker, senior member of the firm of Parker & Topping, proprietors of the Northern Pacific foundry in this city, a capitalist of large means and a keen businessman. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 26 May 1908, p. 3, c.’s 2 & 3)

SEE: Brainerd State Bank / Security State Bank


Citizens State Bank in the Parker Building, ca. 1910.
Source: Special Publication, 02 September 1910, p. 3, A. J. Halsted, Editor and Publisher, Brainerd Tribune
Banks are recognized everywhere as one of the most potent factors in the upbuilding of a city. Brainerd has been greatly benefited by the progressive management of the Citizens State Bank, one of the financially strong institutions of its kind serving the interest of this city and contiguous territory, the management of the Citizens State Bank of Brainerd has always maintained a liberal position, yet painstakingly protecting the interests of the depositors in all instances and the unquestioned stability of the bank being ever kept in mind, and excellent judgement used in the management of its affairs. This being the case, it is not then surprising that the deposits should increase from $60,000 to over $350,000 in a little less than three and one-half years.
Every facility offered by the largest banks in the leading cities of this country are furnished, and all having dealings with this institution are assured of courteous treatment and attention under all circumstances.
Citizens State Banks, both of the buildings shown here were, at one time, the home of the Citizens State Bank. The building on the left was known as the Brainerd State Bank when it was built in 1923, the building on the right is the Parker Block, the two buildings are at the southwest and northwest corners of 7th and Laurel, ca. 1923.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society
The bank statement on June 30th, 1910, shows the capital stock amounts to $25,000; surplus, $1,000; undivided profits, net, $11,062.06; total deposits, $239,738.48; resources, total, $366,800.54.
The officers and directors are as follows: M. T. Dunn, president; C. N. Parker, vice president; L. M. DePue, cashier, and C. N. Parker, H. Ribbel, J. A. Thabes, J. W. Koop, M. T. Dunn, L. M. DePue, directors.
The Citizens State Bank was organized in 1906, taking over the charter fixtures and business of the old N. P. Bank of this city.
M. T. Dunn, the president and active head of the Citizens State Bank, came to Brainerd in 1905 from Le Roy, Minn., where he was in the banking business for five years. The above illustration will give an idea of the modern fixtures, equipment and conveniences of the bank. They now occupy quarters in the Citizens State Bank building on the corner of Laurel and Seventh streets, built by the Parker-Dunn corporation. (Special Publication, 02 September 1910, p. 5, Brainerd Tribune, A. J. Halsted, Editor and Publisher)

Fire animation On December 16, 1914 a fire believed to have started from a defective furnace completely destroyed the E. C. Bane block and damaged the C. M. Patek building and the Citizens State Bank buildings. The Journal Press newspaper lost everything.

SEE: 1914 Bane Block Fire in the Brainerd: City of Fire page.


F. H. Simpson Sells His Stock in Cit-
izens State Bank to Mrs.
M. T. Dunn

F. H. Simpson has disposed of his interest in the Citizens State bank, having resold his stock to Mrs. M. T. Dunn, and has resigned as vice-president of the bank, the resignation being effective on June 2nd.
Mr. Simpson has made friends innumerable during his residence in the city, all of whom hope he will continue in business here. As a bank executive he has been public spirited and energetic, in him the farmer found a true friend, the bank having gained a large number of farmer clients during his term. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 03 June 1920, p. 5, c. 2)

Asle G. Trommald, President, Citizens State Bank, ca. 1920.
Source: Brainerd’s Half Century, Ingolf Dillan
After the death of M. T. Dunn in 1915, the vice president, A. G. Trommald is elected president of the Citizens State bank and in November 1920 he purchases the Dunn holdings in association with Mons Mahlum, Edgar P. Slipp, Theodore H. Schaefer, M. E. Ryan and R. J. Tinkelpaugh. (Brainerd’s Half Century, Ingolf Dillan, General Printing Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1923, p. 103 and Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946, p. 56)


Influential Banker and Capitalist is
Vice President of Citizens
State Bank


Explains Why He Has Invested in a
Large Number of Carefully
Selected Banks

Otto Bremer, of St. Paul, one of the most influential bankers and capitalists of the Northwest, was in the city today and was quite pleased with the statement of the Citizens State bank of Brainerd, in which bank he is a vice president and director.
The local bank statement, as published in the Brainerd Dispatch last evening showed total assets of $991,655.91. The amount of cash reserve carried is three times that required by law, the exact figures being amount of reserve on hand $214,428.76 and amount of reserve required by law, $71,690.03, while the total liquid reserve is $650,160.41.


(Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 18 November 1926, p. 3, c.’s 1 & 2)


Commercial State Bank Sells Its
Assets to Citizens
State Bank


Statements Made by A. S. Peterson
and A. G. Trom-

The Citizens Sate bank of Brainerd has purchased the assets of the Commercial State bank of Brainerd, negotiations to that effect having been completed late Saturday. The Commercial State bank safely deposit boxes have also been transferred to the Citizens State bank, where such patrons can have access during banking hours.
A. S. Peterson, president of the commercial State bank, when interviewed by a representative of the Dispatch this morning, said:
“The Commercial State bank of Brainerd has sold its assets to the Citizens State bank, the transaction having been closed Saturday. Our institution was sound in every way and we are grateful to the people of Brainerd and the surrounding territory for the confidence they have reposed in us.
“The opportunity presented itself where we could dispose of our assets to the advantage of our customers and we accepted it. We are greatly pleased to be able to turn the business over to an institution with the large resources the Citizens State bank has and we trust our friends will continue business with that bank.”
A. G. Trommald, chairman of the board of Citizens State bank, when called up by a Dispatch representative, said:
“There is but little for me to say. We simply saw an opportunity to enlarge our business and took it. The Commercial State bank was strictly sound and enjoyed the confidence of its customers, whom we hope will continue business with us and who will receive our every consideration and effort to advance their interests.
“The public, as well as the banking interests of Brainerd, regret to lose A. S. Peterson and C. V. Hedeen, president and cashier respectively of the Commercial State bank, who so efficiently managed that institution.” (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 02 May 1927, p. 3, c. 1)


Acquires the Brainerd State Bank
Structure, Takes Pos-
session June 1


Citizens State Bank Last Statement
Showed $1,000,000

J. H. Kinney, Special Deputy Examiner of the Brainerd State bank, announced today the Citizens State bank has purchased the Brainerd State bank building. No statement was made as to the purchase price, but it is believed the Citizens State bank acquired the handsome and modern bank building at a very reasonable figure. Possession will be taken June 1.
In the meantime alterations will be made, and decorating done to have the new bank quarters in shape for occupancy next month.
The acquisition of the new building on the part of the Citizens State bank comes closely upon their purchase of the Commercial State bank assets. The last statement of the Citizens State bank, as of April 25, shows a $1,000,000 business.
The increase in business as generally noted by the Citizens State bank has made it absolutely necessary to secure larger business quarters. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 10 May 1927, p. 7, c. 1)


Citizens State Bank Celebrate Re-
moval to Spacious Quarters


Large Banking Room Presented
Galaxy of Color; Many Send

The house warming at the Citizens State bank today in extensive and remodeled quarters in the building recently purchased was attended by hundreds of friends and depositors of the bank.
Otto Bremer, of St. Paul, vice president of the institution motored from St. Paul and arrived late last evening in order to be present at the house warming.
The large banking room was redolent with beautiful flowers, gladioli, daisies, carnations, American Beauty Roses, flamed from lovely baskets. The First National Bank of Brainerd sent a huge bouquet of American Beauty Roses and congratulations. The American National Bank of St. Paul and other banks sent greetings.
Lady visitors were given carnations and gentlemen, cigars.
The new banking room offers double the floor space and vault conveniences as well as four times as much room for safety deposits as in the former building. Banking fixtures and accommodations are of the latest model. The directors’ room which will also be used for the various farmer organizations is a very convenient addition and one appreciated by the friends of the bank. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 11 June, p. 7, c. 5)

SEE: Brainerd State Bank / Security State Bank
SEE: Northern Pacific Bank
SEE: Parker Block

City Hall at the northeast corner of 5th and Laurel, ca. 1950.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society
The city is looking around for a site for a new city hall which is a very wise move. (Brainerd Dispatch, 19 May 1893, p. 1, c. 3)


That is the Salary the Chief of Police
Will Draw From the City.

...On motion the chair appointed a special committee consisting of Aldermen Sanborn, McMurtry and Ferris for the purpose of looking up a suitable location for a new city hall. (Brainerd Dispatch, 19 May 1893, p. 1, c. 4)

The City Council.

The city council met in regular session Monday evening.
The report of special committee on city hall location recommending that no further action be taken at present was read and accepted. (Brainerd Dispatch, 25 August 1893, p. 4, c. 5)


The Council Considers the Matter of
Building a New City Building.


The matter of building a new city hall was discussed, the general sentiment of the aldermen being that a new city hall is a necessity. On motion of Alderman Fogelstrom a committee of five aldermen, one from each ward was appointed to look up a location and consider the matter. The chair appointed: 1st ward, Geo. Gardner, 2nd ward, F. A. Farrar, 3rd ward, Geo. Halladay, 4th ward, F. G. Fogelstrom, 5th ward, S. R. Adair.


(Brainerd Dispatch, 09 February 1900, p. 1, c. 2)


W. D. McKay Would Sell the City the
Columbian Block.

A Proposition to that Effect to be
Made to the Council Monday
Night—a Statement by
Mr. McKay.

W. D. McKay will submit a proposition to the city council at its next meeting on Monday night to sell to the city for a city hall the Columbian block on 6th street. His scheme is to have the city issue 4 per cent bonds to the amount of $40,000 to pay for the same, and in the following statement he figures the city could buy the property, and with the rentals from that portion not necessary for city purposes, could pay for the building and all the expense of maintaining it, including interest on the bonds, and not cost the tax payer a cent. His statement is as follows:
It has been the ambition of a great many citizens for some time past to build a city hall, and yet, though all admit it is a crying necessity, the matter has not received the enthusiastic support it otherwise would, owing to the rate of taxation now existing. It occurred to me that the city could own a much better building than they could consistently build at this time without the necessity of ever taxing the property of the citizens to pay for it, and with this end in view I submit the following statement in explanation:
Revenue now collected from portion of building not required for use of city, per annum—$3,862
Less cost of heating—$300
Repairs and incidental expenses—$150
Total Expenses—$770
Total Revenue—$3,092
Purchase price—$40,000
at 4 per cent per annum—$1,600
This leaves a balance of $1,492 after paying interest on bonds, which, when placed into a sinking fund for twenty years at 4 per cent simple interest would equal $41,776, sufficient to pay bonds in full.
In figuring the available space for rent by the city I had set aside the following space for city purposes: A large fire hall 100 feet, court room, electric light room, two electric light storerooms, four offices for use of city officials, and two rooms for firemen, in addition to a front and rear basement, to be put to such use as the city might direct. Statement provides that bonds be placed at four per cent, and it seems to be the prevailing opinion that they can be placed at or below this figure. Sinking fund is also placed at this figure and I believe can be placed safely at a higher rate. Thus it can be seen that the city can own the Columbian block simply for financing the purchase, and when bonds are paid have over three thousand dollars per annum for all time to meet part of city expenses and thus reduce the rate of taxation permanently. I may further add that the proposition has been presented to a number of citizens and met with hearty approval. The location is unquestioned by all.
W. D. McKAY.
(Brainerd Dispatch, 01 March 1901, p. 4, c. 3)


W. D. McKay Submits His Proposition
for a City Hall—a Committee
to Call a Mass Meeting

Liquor License of Rofidal & Cushaw
Refused on Recommendation
of the Mayor.


W. D. McKay appeared before the council and submitted his proposition to sell the city the Columbian block as a city hall, and had the statement published last week read by the city clerk. He also said he could substantiate the figures given in the statement published by actual leases, and suggested the calling of a mass meeting of citizens to consider the matter. Alderman Fogelstrom did not see what the council had to do with calling a mass meeting and suggested that Mr. McKay do so himself if he desired one. Alderman Wright thought on the surface the plan had merit, and moved a committee of one be appointed to confer with the mayor in regard to calling a meeting of citizens. Alderman Rowley moved an amendment to make the committee three, and Alderman Fogelstrom moved it be five, one from each ward. Mr. Wright accepted the amendment of Mr. Fogelstrom, and the motion carried, and the chair appointed the following gentlemen as members of said committee: Aldermen Rowley, Wright, Halladay, Fogelstrom and Doran.


(Brainerd Dispatch, 08 March 1901, p. 1, c.’s 3 & 4)


Will be Called to Consider W. D. Mc-
Kay’s Proposition for a
City Hall

A meeting of the special committee of the city council to consider the matter of calling a mass meeting of citizens to discus W. D. McKay’s proposition to sell the Columbian block to the city for a city hall was held on Monday night, Mayor Halsted being present. It soon developed that the committee was unanimous against taking such action, and a motion to that effect was carried without a dissenting vote. All present, however, deemed the building of a city hall at once a necessity, and the committee decided to recommend to the council that necessary legislation be secured at this session of the legislature to authorize the city council to provide funds by selling bonds for that purpose. No recommendation was made as to the amount needed. The mayor and city attorney were requested to draft a bill covering the point, to be presented at the next meeting of the council. (Brainerd Dispatch, 15 March 1901, p. 4, c. 4)


In the Sum of $20,000, Authorized by
the City Council.

Mayor Halsted Appoints Mose Derocher
on the Police Force—Appoint-
ment Confirmed.

The city council held a regular meeting on Monday evening, all the aldermen being present, as was also his honor the mayor. At the request of the latter an executive session was held to consider an important matter not yet ready for publication.
When the doors were opened the council proceeded to transact routine business.


The special committee appointed to confer with the mayor in regard to calling a mass meeting to consider W. D. McKay’s proposition for a city hall reported as published last week, and the report was accepted.
Alderman Wright then offered a motion that the mayor and city attorney be instructed to secure legislation to authorize the city to issue $20,000 in bonds to build a new city hall. The motion was passed without a dissenting vote.


A communication from the mayor appointing Mose Derocher as a police officer was read and the appointment confirmed, after which the council adjourned. (Brainerd Dispatch, 22 March 1901, p. 2, c.’s 1 & 2)

...On motion of Alderman Fogelstrom, the bid of Murphy & Sherwood for putting in the hot air furnace in the city part of the new Park Opera House building, for $145 was accepted and the city attorney was instructed to draw up a contract. (Brainerd Dispatch, 08 November 1901, p. 2, c. 2)

SEE: Columbian Block


City Council Thinks It Has Solved
the Lighting Question
at Last.


The Tax Levy for the Ensuing
Year is Fixed by Council
at $18,200.

The city council met in regular session Monday night for the first time in the new quarters of the Park Opera House building, with President Crust in the chair. The following Aldermen were present: Koop, Halladay, Gardner, Purdy, Rowley, Erickson, Fogelstrom, Doran and Wright.
The rooms which will be used in the new building as council chambers have not been completed so that the meeting Monday had to be held in the clerk’s office and with all the aldermen present and several others the room was rather crowded but this inconvenience will be remedied by the next meeting, as the new rooms will then be ready.


The committee to which was referred the matter of getting furnishing for the new city hall, presented a communication from L. Pauile [sic] & Co.,Minneapolis, offering to put in the judge’s desk and railing for $88. The proposition was accepted.


(Brainerd Dispatch, 22 November 1901, p. 3, c. 2)


Lon Everett Awarded the Con-
tract for Repairing the
Old Hose House.


Special Committee Monday De-
cides on Furnishings for
New City Quarters.


The other gentlemen who met Monday was the special committee, consisting of Aldermen Rowley, Wright and Purdy, appointed to take action on the matter of procuring furniture for the new city hall in the new opera house building. It was decided at the meeting last night to put in some elaborate furnishings. The north room will be used for the judge’s chambers. An elevated platform will be erected the full width of the room. A fine desk will be bought for the municipal judge and also for the clerk in this room. Provision will be made for a jury and there will be a seating capacity for quite a large number who wish to attend court sessions. The kind of furniture for the council as well as the court and clerk’s office was decided upon and when the rooms are finished and the new furniture is installed the quarters will be as elaborate as anything of the kind in the northern part of the state.
City Clerk Low will probably move into the new quarters Friday or Saturday. (Brainerd Dispatch, 15 November 1901, p. 2, c. 3)

Some of the new furniture for the city council chambers has arrived an it will be installed [in the Park Opera House] in time for the meeting of that body on Saturday evening. (Brainerd Dispatch, 06 December 1901, p. 8, c. 2)

The fixtures for the new municipal court rooms in the opera house building are expected to arrive this afternoon from the east. (Brainerd Dispatch, 13 December 1901, p. 8, c. 1)

The new fixtures for the city hall and municipal court room have arrived and have been placed in position [in the Park Opera House]. The fixtures were ordered from the Frost’s Veneer Seating Co., of Minneapolis, and they are beauties. (Brainerd Dispatch, 13 December 1901, p. 8, c. 3)

SEE: Park Opera House / Paramount Theatre

04 March 1913. The most important business transacted at the regular council session was the decision to purchase three lots on the northeast corner of 5th and Laurel Streets as a city hall site. The vote was 6-3, with one member absent. The Salvation Army hall is currently on one lot. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 04 March 2013)

12 March 1913. The Trades and Labor Assembly of the city, in a special meeting at the Labor Temple, voted to raise $50 to finance a fight against the proposed location of a city hall at the corner of Laurel and S. 5th Streets. At its last meeting, the council purchased 3 lots there. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 12 March 2013)

02 May 1913. A petition bearing almost 300 names has been filed with City Attorney Ryan and objecting to the city’s payment for the site purchased for a new city hall. The matter will be thrashed out by the city council. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 02 May 2013)

01 December 1913. The city council demonstrated last night that it stood in the first rank of the progressives, voting to put these items on the Jan. 4 ballot: Bond issue of $22,000 for a fill to replace the Northeast Brainerd bridge; bond $75,000 for a new city hall; build it at 5th and Laurel Streets. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 01 December 2013)

07 January 1914. The result of yesterday’s special election saw the proposed new charter defeated, but not by a large margin. The $22,000 bond for bridging the fill and $75,00 bond for a new city hall were both passed. The proposition to build the city hall at 5th and Laurel passed 550 to 529. This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 07 January 2014)


Wells & Dickey Company, of Minneapolis, Take the $75,000 Issue
at $3,025 Premium


Six Local Bidders Take $7,500 and
Sinking Fund Commissioners
the Balance of Issue

From Wednesday’s Daily:—
Wells & Dickey company, of Minneapolis, who have been the best boosters of Brainerd in recent years, having bought two other issues of bonds made, last night bought the $75,000 city hall bonds at a premium of $3,025 after spirited bidding with the Harris Trust & Savings bank, of Chicago.
The $22,000 bridge fill bonds in the bidding, got the highest bid from the Wells & Dickey company, a premium of $375. The council rejected the bid and awarded it to the local bidders at par and accrued interest.
The selling of bonds witnessed the first entry of local individuals as bidders. The $22,000 bond issue is distributed among these buyers: Peter Larson $1,000, Charles Barrett $1,000, Mrs. Maggie McPherson $500, Mrs. Louise Congdon $500, the local Eagles lodge $2,500, Torger Peterson $2,000 and the sinking fund commissioners take the balance $14,500.
The city hall $75,000 issue bears interest at 5 per cent, payable semi-annually and the bonds mature in 20 years. Interest is payable at the First National bank of Minneapolis.
The bridge fill $22,000 issue bears interest at 5 per cent, payable semiannually, and the bonds mature in 10 years. Interest is payable at the city treasurer’s office in Brainerd.
All members of the council were present last night. On motion, it was decided to sell the bids at auction. The sealed bids were first opened.


Wells & Dickey thereupon offered $2,000 premium on the city hall bonds. Then followed a line of spirited bidding for the city hall bonds. The council chambers were filled with interested onlookers, the bond buyers themselves occupying half the room. In weight of financial interests the houses represented more money than had ever come to Brainerd in any time of its history.


In bidding on the $22,000 bridge fill bonds, Wells & Dickey made the premium $150, Minneapolis Trust Co. $200, Harris $220, Minneapolis Trust Co. $230, Wells & Dickey $250, Minneapolis Trust Co. $275, Wells & Dickey $300, the Minnesota Loan & Trust Co. first and only bid in the auction $350, Wells & Dickey $375.
The motion then carried to reject this bid and award the bonds to local parties.
The Wells & Dickey Co. offered to re-sell to local people, making the bonds 4 1/2 per cent. Frank Russell, of the Eagles lodge, said the local people bid because they thought they had a preference. Mayor Henning said the bids of local individuals should not be disregarded.
Other members of the council favored selling to the Wells & Dickey Co. for by so doing they would be passed on and made negotiable. The point was raised that if the sinking fund commissioners wished to sell these bonds, they would have to be passed on before being negotiable.


(Brainerd Dispatch, 13 February 1914, p. 1, c. 3)

On 02 March 1914 the Common Council issues $75,000 in bonds for a new City Hall and Fire Hall. The City Hall is built on the northeast corner of Laurel and Fifth Streets. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946, p. 123)


Council to Have City Forces Load up
from Ahrens' Hill, Shipping on
M. & I.


Liquor License is Granted to John
Hughes—Labor Payroll on Fill
to be Insured

From Tuesday’s Daily:—
The city council had a short meeting on Monday evening, adjourning to Wednesday evening, March 18.
All the aldermen were present except Alderman Anderson. On motion, eighty cars of gravel were ordered to be shipped from Ahrens' hill on the Minnesota & International railway and unloaded in the city at the most convenient place for the city hall construction. The gravel is to be loaded by the city forces.


(Brainerd Dispatch, 20 March 1914, p. 1, c. 1)

Alderman Peterson reported on the gravel, and recommended the installation of a conveyor into which the men could shovel and thus load the flats at the Ahrens' hill pit. (Brainerd Dispatch, 03 April 1914)


Council Favors Purchase of Dr. E. F.
Jamieson Lot if Salvation Army
Lot Can be Bought


The 10 Hours Pay 9 Hours Work
Schedule Proves Confusing—
New Standard Adopted

From Tuesday’s Daily:—
Monday night’s session of the council was most prolific in discussion. All members were present except Aldermen Stallman and Smith. But it is a difficult matter to follow aldermen in their talks when the talk ends in nothing definite, in no motions. Yards of opinion indicate no concrete action. It would expedite business in a great measure to have committees report in writing and to do away with verbal reports which in large measure have little cognizance taken of them in official reports.


Alderman Mahlum read a letter from Dr. Earl F. Jamieson, the latter offering his alley lot near the city hall site for $950. Mr. Mahlum also reported that it was practically assured that the Salvation Army was willing to exchange its Fifth street location for a lot on Front street. Mr. Mahlum said the Front street lot could be bought for $250.
It was ascertained that there was $1,000 in the general fund and the question was where to get the balance. Alderman Lagerquist said it could be raised by subscription.
A. L. Hoffman urged the acquiring of the entire quarter block site. It meant a gain in civic beauty. He advanced various reasons why it should be bought now.
On motion of Alderman Mahlum the purchase committee was empowered to negotiate for the purchase of the Jamieson lot providing the city can gain title to the Salvation Army lot.
Alderman Peterson reported on the gravel question. On motion the city engineer was instructed to go to St. Paul and confer with the Northern Pacific railway officials regarding shipment of gravel.


The city engineer was instructed to look up the location of a gravel pit and the city will then by purchase or condemnation acquire it.


The city engineer was instructed to run the line of the streets in the sand pit.


City Hall Architect Parsons, of Minneapolis, wrote that the plans for the city hall and jail were about completed and asked for a council meeting to consider the same. A special meeting will be held on Monday evening, April 27. (Brainerd Dispatch, 24 April 1914, p. )

Brainerd’s new city hall and fire hall will soon be in use by the city. The city clerk’s office and the water and light board offices will be in their quarters in the city hall by Friday morning, April 30.
At the fire hall some cement work must be done and when completed the truck will be placed the same. (Brainerd Dispatch, 24 April 1914, p. 1, c. 1)


Council May Advertise for Bids on
May 11 for Construction of
Brainerd’s City Hall

Specifications are Expected Soon—
Council Building Committee
Going Over Plans

From Tuesday’s Daily:—
At the special meeting of the city council last night, Architect C. Howard Parsons, of Minneapolis presented his plans for the new city hall in Brainerd and the council, as a whole, considered them.
It is expected that on May 11 will be advertised the desire of the city for bids to construct the new public building. The specifications are expected soon.
The plans have been referred to the building committee, Aldermen Smith, Hess and Stallman.
In excess of 100 cars of gravel at $7.50 a car will be loaded by the city to take care of all contemplated street work this season including sidewalks and furnishing of gravel for the city hall cement work, and the street committee and the city engineer were given power to act to arrange for the price of gravel to be paid Richard Ahrens'.
The building committee is to look over the city hall plans and report in two weeks, when the architect will be here. In the meantime the plans are on exhibition at the city clerk’s office and the public is invited to examine them and to comment on the same. The specifications are expected today or tomorrow.
The matter of acquiring two additional lots for the city hall site so as to make it a complete quarter block is now assured. The Lieutenant Colonel of the Salvation Army has consented to trade the present army lot for the A. L. Hoffman lot on Front street. The price for the two additional lots will be about $1,200. (Brainerd Dispatch, 01 May 1914, p. 1, c. 1)


Hodgin Construction Co. of St. Paul
Get General Building

From Tuesday’s Daily:—
The city council met last evening at the council chambers with all members present.
The matter of the lots on which the new city hall is to be place was taken up and the Salvation Army was given permission to move their building now located on lot 22, block 45, to lot 15, block 17. This clears the lots in question and leaves them clear for the construction of the new building which will commence as soon as the contractors can get their material on the ground.
When the bids were opened for the city hall and jail building they were confronted with a mass of applications with which they wrestled until nearly 12 o’clock when they adjourned until 9 o’clock this morning. The council again took the city hall matter up and behind closed doors sorted and tabulated the figures as given by the several applicants with the result that the contract was let as follows:
The general building contract was awarded to Hodgin Construction Co. of St. Paul.
Jail cells, corridors, doors, vault doors, etc., went to the Diebold Safe Co. of St. Paul, at $4,000.
The electrical work was given to Nemis & Nemis of St. Paul, at $718.
The plumbing and heating contract was let to Slipp-Gruenhagen Co. of Brainerd, at $3,673 for the plumbing and $3,811 for the heating plant. The material to be used to be purchased of Crane & Ordway Co. and approved by the architect.
A bill of $1,600 was awarded the contractor [sic] [architect] for the drawing of the plans and other work incurred in the preparations for the bids.
Brainerd is now assured of a public owned city hall, jail and fire station, all to be complete in the most up to date construction and a credit to any city of this size in the state.
The building will be of dark pressed brick variegated in color and trimmed with light granite and dark stone.
At the regular meeting held last night a communication was read from Geo. F. Reid, president of the street railway company, having the franchise to construct and operate a street railway in the city of Brainerd, asking for an extension of time for the commencement of actual work of construction until Sept. 15, 1915. The city attorney was instructed to draw up an amendment to so change the ordinance to read as Mr. Reid desired. The war scare and the condition of the money market was given as the cause of the delay but it was stated by Mr. Reid that actual work would commence in a short time as the company was now incorporated in another state which would remove the restriction of selling the bonds at less than par. The company is said to be in good financial condition and no further hitch on the development work is anticipated, according to Mr. Reid.


On motion the council adjourned until Monday night, Sept. 25 at which time any points overlooked in regard to the city hall may be taken up. (Brainerd Dispatch, 21 August 1914, p. 1, c. 1)

SEE: Gruenhagen Block


City Engineer C. D. Peacock Has Sur-
veyed Out the Foundation
Lines of Structure


Hole to be Dug 140 by 150 Feet in
Extent and Five Feet Deep
—W. E. Hodgin in Charge

From Tuesday’s Daily:—
Work on the new $75,000 city hall has been started. The Hodgin Construction Co., of St. Paul, has the general contract and as soon as the Salvation Army building is removed they will put a force of 15 Brainerd men and 8 teams at work excavating the basement.
The excavation for the main structure is to be five feet deep and about 54 by 90 feet in size. Including the jail the basement measures roughly speaking about 140 by 150 feet.
W. E. Hodgin, of the construction firm, is on the ground and tomorrow will put up an office on the site. At present he is stopping at the Ransford hotel. He hopes the Salvation Army building will soon be removed from the grounds, the local contractor having already spent a week on the job.
City Engineer C. D. Peacock has surveyed out the foundation lines. Throughout the entire building Brainerd material and Brainerd labor will enter into the construction of the building as much as possible.
The Brainerd Booster club early in the year favored getting lists of Brainerd workers in all lines, to be furnished the contractors. (Brainerd Dispatch, 28 August 1914, p. 1, c. 3)

City Hall, Jail and Fire Hall

New City Hall completed in April 1915, ca. 1915.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society
Bidding was opened on February 10, 1914 for $75,000 worth of bonds to finance the building of a new city hall, jail and fire hall. City Hall architect C. Howard Parsons, of architects Alden & Harris, Minneapolis, [The same firm that designed the second courthouse in 1919 and the County Jail and Sheriff’s residence in 1916-17.] wrote that the plans for the city hall and jail were about completed and asked for a council meeting to consider them. On March 16 eighty car loads of gravel were ordered to be delivered on the Minnesota & International Railroad from Ahrens'’ Hill to the site. It was later recommended that a conveyor be installed into which the men could shovel and thus load the cars at the Ahrens'’ Hill pit.
Architect Parsons presented his plans for the new building on April 27 and it was expected that the city would advertise for bids on May 11. The plans were on exhibit in the City Clerk’s Office and the public was invited to view them and make comments. On August 17 the general building contract was awarded to Hodgin Construction Company of St. Paul. Jail cells, corridors, doors, vault doors, etc., went to the Diebold Safe Company of St. Paul, at $4,000. The electrical work was given to Nemis & Nemis of St. Paul, at $718. The plumbing and heating contract was let to Slipp-Gruenhagen Company of Brainerd, at $3,673 for the plumbing and $3,811 for the heating plant. The plumbing and heating supplies to be used were to be purchased from the Crane & Ordway Company of St. Paul and approved by the architect. A bill of $1,600 was awarded the architect for the drawing of the plans and other work incurred in the preparations for the bids. The building would be of dark pressed brick variegated in color and trimmed with light granite and dark stone. Excavation for the main structure was begun on August 25 and was to be five feet deep and about 54 by 90 feet in size. Including the jail, the basement measured about 140 by 150 feet.
The plasterers, George Thill & Sons of St. Paul, were putting on the finish coat on February 12, 1915. Molded beam ceilings were created, the only work of the kind resembling it was in the post office which was built in 1910. The council chambers, situated at the east side of the city hall, were elaborately decorated with a ceiling of four full beams and two half beams. The cornice molding consisted of six members and molding plaster, plaster of Paris and stucco were used in its composition. About this time the jail was ready for the white coat. By Monday, February 15, the last of the plastering was underway in the fire hall and all plastering was finished by about Thursday, February 25.
Without ceremony, the new city hall was occupied on Thursday, April 29, 1915. City Clerk Anton Mahlum, with his employees, worked heroically and were the first to be established in the new space, occupying the southwest corner of the building on the second floor. City Engineer Peacock’s office was next door. The municipal court moved to its new quarters on the second floor. The first case, regarding a deal on a horse, to be tried in the new court room was that of Ole Lawson vs. Frank Veillette; W. H. Crowell was the attorney for the plaintiff and M. E. Ryan the attorney for the defense. The plaintiff rested his case and it was dismissed by Judge J. H. Warner. The council chambers, said to be light and airy, offering comfortable space to all who wished to hear the proceedings, were occupied Thursday evening by the council assembled in a special meeting. At the Water and Light Board offices, situated on the main floor in the southwest corner of the building, William Nelson, secretary, installed the equipment. The Hotel Antlers was one of the first to pay its water and light bill. The Water and Light Board also had the southwest corner of the ground floor for its workshop and additional rooms for storage. The farmers’ restroom was also located in the basement. The new city jail was unoccupied, no one seemed to be rushing for the distinction of being the first to get a cell.
The fire hall was to be occupied as soon as cement work near the entrance had been completed. The fire truck was on hand and ready to be run into its new quarters. Of the $75,000 in bonds voted to build the city hall, jail and fire hall, about $4,500 was left in the building fund. (An Overview of Happenings in the City of Brainerd for the Years of 1914 and Early 1915, A. Nelson)


Brainerd Proud of its Group of Mu-
nicipal Buildings Which Have
Been Completed by


Alden & Harris Were Architects,
Slipp-Gruenhagen Co. had
Heating and Plumbing

Brainerd is justly proud of its group of municipal buildings, the city hall, fire hall and city jail just completed by the general contractors, the Hodgin Construction Co., of St. Paul.
The members of the firm are W. E. Hodgin and G. N. Fairchild. Under the direct supervision of Mr. Hodgin the group of buildings was built on time and in accordance with plans and occasional alterations made by the building committee. They give Brainerd a city hall, city jail and fire hall second to none in the state for the money spent, a $75,000 bond issue covering the cost and the savings effected permitting the city to buy electric light fixtures, furnishings, etc. contractors’ bonds hold over one year from the date of signing the contract for construction.
The architects were Alden & Harris, of St. Paul, and they did commendable work. The plumbing and heating contract was carried out by the Slipp-Gruenhagen Co. of Brainerd, who did most excellent work. This firm has undertaken and carried out some of the largest contracts in this section of the state.
The city hall has a granite base and is built of brick, being hard-burned-sand mold Danville brick in three colors. The inside floors are of tile and concrete covered with maple flooring in private offices and having terrazzo in the public space. The finish and trimmings are of quarter-sawn oak.
The heating system includes a Kewanee down draft boiler of latest design with automatic air exhaust and water return. All vaults are equipped with hollow walls and have ventilation to the roof. There is a ventilating system in the council chambers. The roof has a written guarantee for seven years. All buildings in the group are equipped with hot water heating.
The dimensions of the city hall are 55 by 90 feet, 28 feet in height, being two stories and basement.
On the ground floor of the city hall is the water and light board store room and work rooms, boiler room and store room. Brainerd is noted as being the first city to provide a farmers’ rest room. This room is supplied with two public toilets, in the farmers’ rest room will be placed tables and chairs, magazines and papers.
On the first floor are the general offices of the water and light board, the board room, Associated Charities room, municipal judge’s offices, squad room for the police department, the mayor’s office and an unassigned office.
On the second floor are the offices of the city clerk, city engineer, assessor, treasurer, city attorney, the council chamber and municipal court room, the council committee room and several unassigned spaces.
The third floor has the blueprint room and a storage room. Surmounting the roof is a fine flag pole
The city jail is built of concrete and brick. The cells are of latest design furnished by the Diebold Safe & Lock Co. The jail measures 30 by 40 feet in size and 38 feet high. There are washbasins and toilets in each cell. The jail has seven male cells and shower bath on the first floor. There is a transient room supplied with eight beds on the first floor.
On the second floor is the matron’s room. There are three cells for females each supplied with bath. There are two cells for juveniles, and a sick room. The jail, as are the other buildings, is supplied with a ventilating system.
The fire hall measures 30 by 60 feet and is 30 feet high. It is of brick and wood construction, with maple and concrete floors, oak trimmings and finish. There is a ventilating system and one which carries gases from the auto.
There is a boiler and coal room in the basement. The main floor is of cement and this section houses the new motor truck. The second floor has the club room and dormitory, with bath and toilet. There is also situated the chief’s private room, a store room and work room. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 14 May 1915, p. 9, c.’s 1 & 2; p. 10, c. 7)


Ladies to Entertain at the Commun-
ity Rest Room in the City Hall
on Monday Evening


Couches, Tables, Chairs, Rockers,
Pictures, Writing Desk, Etc.

Brainerd’s “Community Rest Room” will be formally opened to the public on Monday evening, Nov. 15, when light refreshments will be served and the whole community will be invited to visit the room.
Cozy rockers, chairs, couches, tables, a writing desk, bookcase, pictures, etc. have been installed making the room a most inviting one. Adjoining is a washroom and toilet. Pictures, eight in number, have been hung in the rest room. There may be a number of counter attractions Monday evening, but the ladies hope all will find time to attend the opening, to view the room and by their presence lend encouragement to the plan of creating a more neighborly feeling between rural and city communities. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 13 November 1915, p. 5, c. 2)

Drinking Fountains

Drinking fountains were discussed. It was reported that the water and light board had instructed Secretary McKay to order three drinking fountains, one for 6th and Front, one in city hall corridor, and one at 7th and Laurel. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 16 August 1921, p. 3, c. 1)

SEE: Fire Halls
SEE: County Jail / Sheriff’s Residence (Second)
SEE: Courthouse (Second)
SEE: Gruenhagen Block

City Hotel at 510 Front, ca. 1892.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society
...At the corner of south Sixth and Front Streets, where the Ransford Hotel now stands and over a general store was Bly’s Hall. The formal dances of the year were the one’s given by the Volunteer Fire Department, the Locomotive Firemen and the O. R. C. (Order of Railway Conductors). After Bly’s Hall was converted into a roller skating rink, Gardner’s Hall was used for dances. Dreskell’s orchestra furnished the music. Dances usually began at eight, at midnight an hour’s intermission for lunch, generally in J. T. Sanborn’s City Hotel, then the dance continued until morning. Winter sleigh ride parties to Toting places, the forerunners of our present day roadhouses and resorts, provided frequent country dances. (As I Remember, Dr. Werner Hemstead, born April 1860; came to Brainerd in 1882)

The City Hotel and Restaurant, by E. A. Summers, was opened on Thursday to the public. The premises have been thoroughly fitted up and the proprietor has one of the finest restaurants in the northwest. Everything about the establishment is new and neat and we are informed that the place is already enjoying a good custom. (Brainerd Dispatch, 29 May 1885, p. 3, c. 2)

Notice to the Public.

Having purchased the City Hotel and Restaurant business from Mr. E. A. Summers, I wish to notify the public not to allow any bills to be run in my name by any one unless on my written order.
(Brainerd Dispatch, 12 June 1885, p. 3, c. 3)

The City Hotel will be moved into the building formerly occupied as a clothing store by E. M. Westfall. (Brainerd Dispatch, 23 October 1885, p. 3, c. 3)

E. A. Summers has moved his City Hotel and restaurant to the building formerly occupied by E. M. Westfall as a clothing store. (Brainerd Dispatch, 06 November 1885, p. 3, c. 3)

NOTE: I believe this is the location at 510 Front Street.

Located at 510 Front Street in the late 1890’s, next west of the McFadden-Westfall Stores. John Thomas Sanborn is the proprietor from 1886 to 1904; in 1902 he becomes Judge of Probate. (Brainerd’s Half Century, Ingolf Dillan, General Printing Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1923)

SEE: Sherwood Drug Store

J. T. Sanborn, of the City Restaurant, will shortly add to his lunch department one of the very best short order outfits, and hereafter will cook to order any thing that the market affords, such as oysters, fish, game, steaks, chops, etc. “Prices way down” at his old stand, 40 Front Street. (Brainerd Dispatch, 13 February 1891, p. 4, c. 3)

T. McMaster contemplates the making of extensive improvements in the City hotel and restaurant property. The business of this popular hostelry has increased to such an extent that more room is absolutely necessary. Mr. McMaster now has in view the building of a third story on the present building which would add 14 more rooms, and he will probably ask council at its next meeting for a permit to do so. (Brainerd Dispatch, 17 June 1892, p. 4, c. 4)

T. McMaster proposes early in the spring to build a brick veneered addition to the rear of the City Restaurant 20 x 80 feet, two stories high, which will be used as a kitchen and laundry and the portion now used for a kitchen will be made a part of the dining room. The second story of the new portion will be used for sleeping rooms for the servants of the hotel. (Brainerd Dispatch, 17 February 1893, p. 4, c. 4)

Sanborn’s Restaurant Ad, 22 July 1892.
Source: Brainerd Dispatch
Lunch counter and restaurant inside the City Hotel, ca. 1909.
Source: Brainerd Tribune
The new addition to the City Hotel and Restaurant has been completed which gives the popular hostelry one of the largest and best dining rooms in the city. A magnificent new antique oak lunch counter has been put in. (Brainerd Dispatch, 07 April 1893, p. 1, c. 3)

The City Hotel and Restaurant in this city has been sold to Mrs. Kate Closterman, of Staples, who expects to take possession April 1st. Mr. and Mrs. Sanborn will reside in their residence on 4th street north. (Brainerd Dispatch, 29 March 1895, p. 4, c. 4)

A Bold Robbery.

Mrs. J. R. Crane Loses Nearly $1,500 by
Some Light-Fingered Gentry.

On Wednesday of last week Mrs. J. R. Crane, of this city, suffered the loss of diamonds and jewelry valued at $375, and over $1,100 in currency, through a boldly planned robbery, and the exasperating thing about the whole matter is that not the slightest clue has yet been obtained as to who the villains are.
Mrs. Crane has been making her home with her sister, Mrs. Sanborn on the north side, but on that day she came down to spend the day with her mother, Mrs. Closterman, at the City Hotel, bringing her jewelry and money with her in a small satchel. At noon she left the satchel in the parlor of the hotel while she went to the dining room for dinner. On her return she found the satchel in the place she had left it, securely locked, but she could not find the keys some time afterward when she wanted to get into the satchel for some purpose. She thought nothing of this, supposing she had mislaid them. However, not finding the keys by Friday, she became uneasy and had a key made, only to discover when she unlocked the satchel that the diamonds and money were gone, taken, undoubtedly, while she was at dinner in the restaurant on Wednesday. Mrs. Crane is very much distressed by her heavy loss. She had received the money by express only a day or two before, intending to deposit it in the bank here, but neglected to do so at once, much to her sorrow. It is sincerely hoped that the guilty culprits may be apprehended and the lady recovers at least a portion of her property. (Brainerd Dispatch, 13 December 1895, p. 4, c. 5)

Found Her Diamonds.

Mrs. J. E. Crane, who recently had the misfortune to lose a satchel containing, among other things, her diamonds and several hundred dollars in money, has been fortunate enough to recover her diamonds, and also her pocketbook containing $4.50 and the keys of the satchel from which the things were taken. The pocketbook containing the diamonds and keys was found in the closet of one of the rooms at the City Hotel between a lot of blankets that were piled upon a shelf in the closet. It was probably put there by the person who stole the money, but who did not care to keep the diamonds and pocketbook, as they might have led to his discovery. The lady is to be congratulated on her good fortune. (Brainerd Dispatch, 14 February 1896, p. 4, c. 5)

Robbed a Blind Man.

George West, a blind man, who was in the city on his way to Ann Arbor, Mich., to have his eyes operated on, was robbed of $14.50 at the City Hotel on Monday night by a fellow named Jim Morris who was employed about the hotel in the capacity of porter. Morris took the blind man up to his room at bed time, and, according to Mr. West’s statement, requested him to turn over what money he had for safe keeping, stating that he would put it in the safe. Mr. West objected but Morris insisted and gained his point, taking $14.50 out of West’s pants pocket, and when he left locked the door on the outside. With the money Morris proceeded to the west end of the city and had a high old time, leaving on an early train for Staples, where he was arrested and turned over to Sheriff Spalding on Wednesday. A petition was circulated and $12 raised for Mr. West to replace the money he had lost. The charge against Morris is petty larceny. (Brainerd Dispatch, 17 April 1896, p. 4, c. 6)

J. T. Sanborn yesterday morning took charge of the City Hotel and hereafter will have charge of it. Mrs. Closterman will return to Staples where she will again engage in the hotel business. (Brainerd Dispatch, 03 July 1896, p. 4, c. 3)

Mrs. Kate Closterman has again taken charge of the City Hotel, having bought out Mr. Sanborn. (Brainerd Dispatch, 09 October 1896, p. 4, c. 4) 

J. T. Sanborn has again assumed control of the City Hotel and Restaurant, buying out Mrs. Kate Closterman the latter part of last week. Under Mr. Sanborn’s control the City was one of the most popular hostelries in the city, and deservedly so, and Mr. Sanborn will no doubt again enjoy the public favor. He contemplates making considerable improvement in the near future. (Brainerd Dispatch, 19 February 1897, p. 4, c. 3)

The work of putting in the steam heating plant of the City Hotel has been completed by F. J. Murphy, the plumber. (Brainerd Dispatch, 19 November 1897, p. 8, c. 2)

Landlord Sanborn is having the interior of his dining room at the City Hotel renovated and re-papered. It will be a perfect beauty when the work is completed. (Brainerd Dispatch, 29 November 1901, p. 8, c. 2)

In 1904 extensive improvements are made at the City Hotel. New carpeting and new furniture, rooms are being re-painted, the walls in the lobby are being touched up. Mr. Sanborn is expending something in the neighborhood of $1,000 in these improvements. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, Thursday, 15 April 2004)


Judge J. T. Sanborn Disposes
of this Popular Hotel to
Minto Parties


Geo. Wright is Name of New
Proprietor and He Comes
Highly Recommended

The City Hotel, one of the most popular in Northern Minnesota, was sold this morning by Judge J. T. Sanborn to George Wright of Minto, N. D., and the latter gentleman will take charge on Jan. 1.
Judge and Mrs. Sanborn have been in the hotel business in Brainerd for twenty years and during this time have made scores of friends who have made this place their home. There was never a more popular place in the city and the hotel has enjoyed a liberal patronage since it was first opened. It has been especially a sort of headquarters for the town folk, people who lived here in Brainerd, and both Mr. and Mrs. Sanborn will be greatly missed.
Mr. Wright has bought the furniture and fixtures of the hotel and has leased the building for five years. He was for years in the hotel business at Minto and comes to Brainerd highly recommended. He is sure to do well, if the hotel is kept up to its present excellent standard.
Judge Sanborn will now give his undivided attention to the duties of the office of judge of probate, which he has by no means neglected, but he will be free to give all his attention to the office in the future. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 December 1905, p. 3, c. 4)

In 1906 James Smith, for many years a conductor and well known in this city, closed a deal by which he became landlord of the City Hotel. He bought the entire equipment and assumed the lease. He expects to make it the best popular priced hotel in the city. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 10 December 2006)

Fire animation On January 20, 1916, a fire believed to have been started by defective wiring destroys the City Hotel, owned by Judge J. T. Sanborn and occupied by C. J. Evensta, as well as a building owned by James Cullen [Midway Saloon]. The buildings and contents were valued at about $17,000.

SEE: 1916 City Hotel Fire in the Brainerd: City of Fire page.

SEE: Davis (Martha P.) Ice Cream Parlor / Bookstore / Music Store

City Jail located next to the County Sheriff’s home and jail at the northeast corner of 4th and Washington, ca. 1910.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society
CITY JAIL (Second) (MAP #43)
In March of 1886 land is acquired from the county, since it is part of the courthouse half-block, and the second city jail is constructed of Brainerd-made Schwartz cream brick and is located east of the sheriff’s house and county lock-up on Main [Washington] Street. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946; pp. 38 & 50)

The City Council.

...The report of the committee to obtain a lease of the grounds for the new city prison reported that they had conferred with the proper railroad officials and found that they could get the grounds for that purpose, for as long as was necessary.... (Brainerd Dispatch, 08 January 1886, p. 3, c. 6)

The question which is now agitating the minds of the councilmen is whether it is feasible to build a $2,000 or $3,000 brick jail building on the railroad grounds adjoining the hose house, which stand exactly in the middle of Fifth street, but which has never been opened across the railroad track. Of course the railroad company is perfectly willing that this building should go up on this site as it insures them of having the benefit of the unopened street which would otherwise cut their yard in two, but on the other hand if the railroad company so wills they would be obliged to remove the brick structure. It does not seem to be a sensible idea, and we doubt if any of the men who will have charge of locating it would put $2,500 of their own money into a building erected on railroad land, knowing that they would be obliged to take it off when said company got ready to so order. It is to be hoped that some good central location will be selected for the new building. (Brainerd Dispatch, 07 May 1886, p. 4, c. 6)

The contract for building the new city jail was awarded to F. A. B. King & Co. at $2,259. Several other bids were in among which was that of A. Everett for $2,300, H. C. Miller, wood work for $1,168 and Denis Bro. iron work for $1,200. Aldermen Gardner, Keene, Percy, Doran and Hemstead will superintend the construction of the new building. (Brainerd Dispatch, 21 May 1886, p. 4, c. 5)

The council held a short session on Monday night while the balance of the citizens were celebrating the national holiday. Very little business was done except the allowing of sundry bills and receiving the reports of police and street commissioners. The purchasing committee was instructed to procure the necessary material for water closets for the new jail, this part of the structure having been entirely overlooked by that august body until brought to their notice, and no arrangements had been made in the contract with the builder. The clerk was instructed to issue an order to King & Munson for $1,000 as a part payment on contract.


(Brainerd Dispatch, 09 July 1886, p. 4, c. 3)

The new city jail is fast nearing completion, the structure being finished to the roof. Denis Bros. are doing the iron work for the contractor. Over the door is the ominous word “Lock-up” carved in stone. (Brainerd Dispatch, 16 July 1886, p. 4, c. 4)

...The jail committee accepted the new city jail building and allowed the bill of $2375.88 for its construction. (Brainerd Dispatch, 05 November 1886, p. 4, c. 4)

Crow Wing County’s Poor.



The lockup at Brainerd was built from plans furnished by the state board of corrections and charities, at a cost of $2,300. The building has a stone foundation and is fire-proof throughout. It contains four cells, each 4x7 feet, separated by a middle corridor like that in the Goodhue County jail, and is divided into two sections for heating purposes. The floor is of concrete; each cell is well ventilated and is supplied with a swinging hammock. The outside walls are of brick, built hollow with an air space. The inside walls are unplastered, but are finished up smooth. The iron front of each cell is composed of lattice work, admitting light, air and heat freely. The whole can be readily washed with a hose. When visited, the jail corridor on one side of the lockup was occupied by the chief of police, as a lodging room. The building was entirely free from vermin and bad smells. This building could have been constructed with two additional cells for about $2,700, or $450 per cell. These cells are designed for one prisoner each, but are of a size commonly used in lockups for two prisoners each.... (Brainerd Dispatch, 04 March 1887, p. 1, c. 9)


“The grand jury found an apparent lax management of the county jail, touching safety of prisoners. Several articles were picked up in the jail, and found under the closed cages, that may have been or might be used as weapons or as means of effecting escape. The sanitary condition was found reasonably good. It was recommended that prisoners be locked in their cells at night from sunset to sunrise. The city jail was found in apparent better condition than the county jail, but in both there was the evident practice of permitting the prisoners to sleep in the corridors. The jury criticizes this, and recommends that the officers be required to remove the cots of prisoners into the cells. The grand jury agree that the buildings are in condition ample both in sanitary and safety conditions to answer all present purposes, if the officers in charge only do their duty carefully and intelligently, and as a precaution necessary, it is recommended that the sheriff and officers be required to prevent communication through the windows, and that notices prohibiting such communication be posted, and infringement of the rule be punished.” (Brainerd Dispatch, 23 September 1887, p. 4, c. 5)


The Committee Gets at the Bottom of
Affairs and Reports.


At the request of Chief Brockway a stove was ordered put into the ladies department of the city jail.


(Brainerd Dispatch, 06 November 1891, p. 1, c. 4)

Brainerd policemen now present a handsome appearance in fine new uniforms with brass trimmings. (Brainerd Dispatch, 21 April 1893, p. 4, c. 4)

Business of the Council.

The city council met in adjourned session on Wednesday evening with Vice President Ferris in the chair. The minutes of previous regular and special meetings were read and approved.
A communication was read from the mayor in which he requested that some means be devised to prevent outsiders from passing liquor into the city jail, and suggested that a high board fence be built around the lock-up or that wire cages be attached to the windows in such a manner as to effectually prevent anything being passed through the grating. The matter was referred to the committee on health, sewerage and police to report. (Brainerd Dispatch, 08 September 1893, p. 1, c. 3)


The September term of the district court opened on Monday morning with Judge Holland presiding. The work of the grand jury occupied two days....
The grand jury made the following report:


To the Hon. G. W. Holland, judge of the district court.


The city lock-up was also visited and the contrast was so marked that this jury feel it their duty to call the attention of the court to its filthy and unhealthy condition. At present there is but one water closet in the lock-up which is situated on the side used for the male prisoners, the side used for the female prisoners being with out conveniences of this kind. The grand jury would suggest that this matter be brought to the attention of the city officials. Besides this the windows are in such shape and condition that liquor can be passed in to the prisoners from the outside and frequent complaints of this nature have been made by the officers. The court is requested to urge upon the city officials the necessity for immediate remedy of this condition of things.
(Brainerd Dispatch, 22 September 1893, p. 1, c. 4)

Court Matters.


...The following is the report made to the court:
To the Honorable Judge of the District Court of the 15th Judicial District:
We, the grand jury, have visited the county jail and the city lock-up, and find the county jail in excellent condition. The city lock-up was found in a bad sanitary condition, with dirty, filthy cots, unfit to be slept on, and we recommend to the court that the proper authorities be requested to remedy the matter at once. To procure new iron cots, and to have the place thoroughly cleaned and repaired and kept so. (Brainerd Dispatch, 06 September 1895, p. 4, c. 4)

The city police will give a dance at Gardner Hall on Monday evening, April 22nd. It is intended to require the members of the force to dress in full regulation uniform, which they must do at their own expense, as no funds are provided by the city for that purpose. If an officer “jumps his job” or is fired, he has a suit of clothes on hand which he cannot use, and they feel as though assistance should be extended for this purpose, and it is to raise funds for this purpose that the dance will be given. Buy a ticket and help the boys. (Brainerd Dispatch, 12 April 1901, p. 8, c. 3)

The policemen’s ball on Monday evening was a great success in every way. The boys on the “force” realized enough money to provide every man a new uniform, and have a little to spare. The boys are to be congratulated. (Brainerd Dispatch, 26 April 1901, p. 8, c. 2)

The new uniforms for the police have arrived and they are dandies. The ordinary cop in Brainerd now put on the airs and looks like a brigadier general on the governor’s staff. (Brainerd Dispatch, 17 May 1901, p. 8, c. 1)

No, dear reader, the figure you see posing on the street corner in a magnificent blue uniform, gold braid and a scarlet sash, is not a major general in the army, it is only a Brainerd cop showing off his new uniform. (Brainerd Dispatch, 17 May 1901, p. 8, c. 2)

06 January 1913. The city jail is now steam heated. But, to prevent a general emigration to Brainerd of all hobos in the country who may relish a warm room and a nice bed, Chief of Police Ridley remarked that rations would not be elaborate, probably just bread and water. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, Sunday, 06 January 2013)

24 October 1913. The state board of control, in a letter from its chairman, has notified the city that its lockup is in bad condition, unsanitary and unfit for use. Brainerd has been notified that it is unlawful to use it to hold any prisoners. The council has called a special meeting. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 24 October 2013)


Four Call Boxes to be Supplied—
Gong to be Attached to the
Hose Houses


Officer Chris Mattson Discharged by
Mayor, to Have Hearing at
Friday Meeting

From Tuesday’s Daily:—
The council last night unanimously voted to install a police call system supplied by the Northwestern Telephone Exchange Co., consisting of four call boxes to be placed in designated places in the city, to which there shall later be added gongs to the hose houses. As explained by Fred Speechley, of St. Cloud, of the telephone company, the call boxes are telephones enclosed in metal boxes and attached to poles. Several feet from the ground the gongs are placed and when rung by the telephone operator they can be heard for several blocks. Each policeman is supplied with a special key enabling him to open the box. He answers the call, talks over the telephone and is thus in direct communication with the chief. The telephone operator, by pressing the proper button at the telephone office, can call any certain policeman or can ring all gongs simultaneously.
Four of these stations were installed at St. Cloud and each telephone supplied with a six inch gong at a cost of $32 each for the entire equipment. The telephone company charges $2 a month for service. During the night the policemen travel their beats and regularly ring up central whose report shows just where each policeman has been and if he has traveled his beat properly.
A Fergus Falls a 16 inch gong is at the fire station. At Sauk Center a red light was tried to summon the policeman, but it was no good on a stormy night. Small gongs may be bought at $7.50 each.
On motion, a contract for four stations similar to those of St. Cloud, is to be made with the Northwestern Telephone Exchange company.
The discharge of Officer Chris Mattson from the force is to be investigated at a meeting on Friday evening, the policeman being given a chance to be heard in his own defense. The appointment of Charles Varner, by Mayor Henning, to take the place of Chris Mattson, discharged for the good of the service, as stated by the mayor, was held up by the council and no action taken.
In the discussion over the matter, Alderman Mahlum wanted to know if Mattson wanted a hearing.
Alderman Lagerquist said Mattson had a right to be heard.
Alderman Anderson said the mayor must have been justified in his action or he would not have dismissed the policeman.
Mayor Henning said it was agreeable to him if they wanted to grant the discharged man a hearing. He maintained that such a request should come from the officer himself. He said a chief and three men were inadequate to handle the city’s business. Somebody had to be responsible.
The mayor said he had discharged Mr. Mattson. If Mr. Scott and Mr. Olson had disobeyed him (the mayor) they would also have been guilty of disobeying orders.
Alderman Hess said Mattson had told him he wanted a hearing.
The mayor submitted the name of Sam Bourquin, filling one of the places made vacant by the resignations of Officers Schulte and Nordstrom


(Brainerd Dispatch, 03 April 1914, p. 1, c. 1)


Thomas Clark, a Transient, Gets the
Disease While Serving Time in
City Jail


Claims he had Worked in a Rooming
House in St. Paul that had been
Recently Fumigated

From Tuesday’s Daily:—
Hoboes will give Brainerd a wide berth this spring for the city lockup has housed a virulent case of scarlet fever.
Thomas Clark, a transient, was serving time there and took sick and Dr. R. A. Beise was called. He diagnosed it as scarlet fever and the patient was removed to a house the city designated in West Brainerd.
The jail was fumigated. However, a few microbes, hardier than the rest, may have run the gauntlet of all the fumigating stuff and may be in waiting ready to pounce on any “bo” consigned to the city bastile and accordingly it is better to stay out of jail than to be consigned to the place.
A municipal rock pile or wood pile is bad enough, but a scarlet fever jail caps the climax and there is nothing in a tramp’s hieroglyphics attached to a gate post which cover such a situation.
Clark says that he had worked in a rooming house in St. Paul that had recently been fumigated and believes he got his scarlet fever there. (Brainerd Dispatch, 17 April 1914, p. 1, c. 2)

25 June 1914. The police call box and alarm system is being installed at these sites: SW corner of 6th and Laurel, the east side of city hall, SE corner of 8th and Front, the East Brainerd Hose House, 4th Ave. and Forsythe, Southeast Brainerd Hose House, and 10th and Oak Streets. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 25 June 2014)

Early-day Jail is Torn Down

One of Brainerd’s earliest city jails has been lost from Washington Street despite efforts to save it for posterity’s sake.

The demolished second city jail built in 1886 on Washington Street just east of the corner of North Fourth Street, 14 July 1988.
Source: Steve Kohls, Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 14 July 1988
In the jail’s place will be a parking lot for Easy Riders Sports, which plans to locate in the old Meyer Cleaners building at 415 Washing Street by Sept. 1. The bicycle shop is now located at 704 NW seventh Street near the Westgate Mall.
The old jail building was torn down over the weekend. The loss has bothered several residents, including Irene Johnson, who said the building had been marked with a Brainerd centennial plaque. Johnson indicated the building was a piece of history that deserved to be preserved.
The building had been marked with a centennial plaque but had not been registered with the National Register of Historic Places, said Jeff Allen, director of the Crow Wing County Historical Society. He said it had no legal protection.
However, Gary Kurilla, of Kurilla Real Estate Corp. in Nisswa, thought it should be preserved. He spoke to Ken Shepherd, owner of Easy Rider Sports, who said the Crow Wing County Historical Society could have the building if it wanted.
Unfortunately, there were too many factors involved to make moving the jail feasible, Kurilla said. He had contacted the Brainerd Rotary Club to see if the organization would provide funding.
Shepherd said every effort was made to see if the building could be moved but it was in bad condition, he said. He said he’d been looking into possibilities for the building over the last six months but found no options to move it. “The roof was totally rotten,” he said. “It (the jail) just crumbled when the (wrecking) equipment touched it.”
Shepherd said the building had been used for years by Meyers Cleaners and had been gutted inside. “It didn’t resemble a jail in any way,” he said.
Allen said he reviewed the site but found it could not be moved without a new foundation. He also said buildings lose some of their historical value in the view of the National Register’s Board when they are moved from their original sites.
Allen said the Historical Society was also lacking funds to invest in the jail. “It’s a tight year,” he said. “There’s no extra funds right now.”
Allen was not certain if the jail was the first city jail or one of the earliest, he said. The centennial marker indicated it had been there sine 1871 when the city of Brainerd was organized.
The interior of the building would have needed a lot of work, Allen said. “I looked inside the building and there was very little original material,” he said. He also said he appreciated Kurilla’s efforts to save the building. “We just wish we could have done something,” he said.
Allen said there was nothing the historical society could do to save the jail but has been looking into the preservation of other historical sites in Brainerd, including the Brainerd armory and Brainerd City Hall. He also said the former Elks building on Laurel Street is of interest.
Allen identified those three buildings as having potential to be listed on the National Register but said there is a very detailed process to do so. However, he said, “We think the city hall building has a real good chance.”
The Crow Wing County Historical Society has been in contact with the Minnesota Historical Preservation Office in Fort Ripley about the city hall and the armory. Allen said the first step is to get a recommendation from the state office.
Ted Lofstrom, review and compliance officer for the Preservation Office, said the Brainerd city Hall warrants a careful review for consideration in the National Register. “Clearly, it has architectural and historic significance,” he said.
To qualify for the National Register there are three levels to pass through as well as rigorous tests, Lofstrom said. He said the Preservation Office is looking into the Brainerd City Hall on an informal basis.
He said legal recourses to protect a building are stronger when a building is listed on the National Register. However, he said, just because a building does not qualify for the registry does not mean it has no historic significance. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 14 Jul 1988, p. 1, c.’s 1-4; p. 2, c.’s 3 & 4)



Geo. S. Gardner Sells His Whole-
sale and Retail Liquor House
to John Coates.


Mr. Coates has Taken Long Lease
on Building Including
Gardner Hall.

A Coates Liquor ad, 28 October 1905.
Source: Brainerd Daily Dispatch
A deal was consummated this morning between George S. Gardner and John Coates, whereby the latter has purchased the wholesale and retail liquor business of the former in the Gardner block on Laurel street.
Mr. Coates has taken a long lease of the building, including Gardner hall, and he will take charge at once. He hails from St. Paul where he has been in the hotel and saloon business for a number of years. He expects to add materially to the big stock of wholesale liquors now carried by Mr. Gardner and and expects to do an extensive wholesale business.
Mr. Gardner will retire from active business life, occupying most of the time from now on with his private affairs. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 26 September 1903, p. 5, c. 3)

SEE: Gardner Block


John Coates Liquor Company will Engage
in Saloon Business on Sixth
Street Also

A Coates Liquor ad, 08 November 1905.
Source: Brainerd Daily Dispatch
The saloon in the First National bank block, known as the McIntosh saloon, has been bought by the John Coates Liquor company and they are already in charge. The saloon has been conducted by Ed. Breheny since the demise of the late D. F. McIntosh, Manager Brady, of the Coates Liquor company, states that the place will be stocked up and the best of service will be given. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 06 July 1905, p. 3, c. 4)

The bond of the John Coates Liquor Co., which had been referred to the city attorney was approved, defects having been remedied. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 18 July 1905, p. 3, c. 2)

A. B. C. Bohemian St. Louis beer at 211 Sixth street and Coates Club Bourbon and Rye. Family trade solicited. Tel. 164. JOHN COATES LIQUOR CO. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 24 August 1905, p. 3, c. 3)

SEE: 1905 The Death of Truman D. Merrell in the Early Accounts of Brainerd page.

A Coates Liquor ad, 14 November 1905.
Source: Brainerd Daily Dispatch
The application of the John Coates Liquor company, with a surety company bond, was also granted. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 30 June 1908, p. 3, c. 2)

The report of the police committee on the application of the John Coates Liquor company was received, the same being favorable, and the report was adopted and the license granted all voting aye except Alderman Kjellquist. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 22 June 1909, p. 3, c. 1)


Four Brick Business Blocks Will be
Erected in Brainerd
This Summer


All Will be Handsome Structures and
Will Add Much to Prosperity
of City


A Coates Liquor ad, 22 November 1905.
Source: Brainerd Daily Dispatch
The John Coates Liquor company, which recently acquired the Schwendeman property, just south of the Imperial block, will erect a three story brick building thereon as soon as the weather will permit. The main floor and basement will be occupied by their business and the two upper floors will be fitted up as modern, up-to-date residence flats. This building will be up-to-date in every respect and will be a decided addition to South Seventh street. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 05 March 1910, p. 3, c. 3)

Wholesale and Retail Liquors

A collection of Red Wing Stoneware liquor jugs labeled John Coates Liquor Company, WHOLESALE, Whiskies, Beer and Cigars, BRAINERD, MINN., sizes range from a half gallon to three gallons, 2016.
Source: Chris Norskov
The John Coates Liquor Co. established their business in Brainerd in 1903 under the management of Mr. Jas. E. Brady, who, by conscientious effort and enterprise, has established for his firm a reputation for an absolute reliable business policy and confidence in the quality of the goods they handle.
In quality and high standard of everything sold, none can surpass and few anywhere equal the variety and excellence of the stock. It has been a set policy always to sell only that which is pure and can be guaranteed by the firm name, and it was by this policy of selling that which was pure and of merit, coupled with the rule of fairness and reliability in all dealings which have made the success for the firm and has established the name of Coates in this section.
The company makes a specialty of high grade California Wines and Brandies and secure only the best there is on the market by buying direct from the vineyards of California. The “Coates Club Whiskey,” both rye and bourbon, are bottled under this brand and are of the highest grade, pure, mellow and rich of flavor and highly recommended for medicinal purposes.
The cigar stock contains all of the best brands, both domestic and imported.
The firm also carry the Schmidt Brewing Co.’s products, both in glass and wood.
Mail or telephone orders are given prompt attention and delivery services are the best. Whether one buys of the store, corner Laurel and Seventh streets, or orders by mail or phone, they will receive the purest and best quality goods at moderate prices. Telephone 164. (Special Publication, 02 September 1910, Brainerd Tribune, A. J. Halsted, Editor and Publisher)

Application for Liquor License

To the Council of the City of Brainerd, Minnesota:
The undersigned, John Coates and J. E. Brady doing business as John Coates Liquor Co., hereby makes application for a license to sell intoxicating liquors, at, upon and in the room and premises described as follows, to-wit: No. 702 Laurel street on the ground floor, in the City of Brainerd, from July 1st, 1914 until July 1st 1915.
Dated: June 3rd, 1914
Said applicant has been licensed to sell intoxicating liquors in the City of Brainerd, Minn., from Sept. 26th, 1903 to July 2nd, 1914.
Notice is hereby given that a hearing on the above application will be had on July 1st, 1914, at 8:00 p. m. at the special meeting of the City Council of the City of Brainerd.
Dated June 3rd, 1914.
City Clerk
(Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 15 June 1914, p. 2, c. 3)

Schmidt Beer, $1,000 Natural Process Beer, the brewery’s own bottling. Sold by John Coates Liquor Co., telephone 164. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 15 August 1914, p. 2, c. 3)

M. E. Ryan, attorney for Werner Hemstead, filed a claim for refundment of liquor license moneys due John Coates Liquor Co., W. S. Brady, A. A. Davis, Henry Betzold, George Donant, Andrew Carlson, John Hughes, Thomas McIntyre, and Nelson & Knudsen, such claims having been assigned to Mr. Hemstead. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 05 October 1915, p. 5, c. 3)


Case of John Coates vs. James E.
Brady is on Trial Before Judge
McClenahan Today


In district court today, the case of John Coates vs J. E. Brady is on trial. This is a civil case wherein the plaintiff claims there was no partnership and the defendant claims there was a partnership. Attorney M. E. Ryan appears for Mr. Brady. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 04 November 1915, p. 6, c. 1)

In district court the first case to be tried, John Coates vs J. E. Brady, occupied the court’s attention a day and a half and this morning there was a recess, attorneys announcing that a settlement would be made out of court. At the afternoon session the case was announced settled. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 05 November 1915, p. 2, c.’s 3 & 4)


November 11.

John Coates and wife to J. E. Brady part of lot 3 of 24-45-33; lots 16 and 17 blk. 71 First Addn. to town of Brainerd: c 115 ft. lots 1 and 2 blk. 69 town of Brainerd; lot 2 blk 9 Sleeper’s Addn. to Brainerd qed $6,000. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 16 November 1915, p. 5, c. 6)



Columbia Theatre Has Artistic and
Splendidly Designed Front on
Laurel Street

Today carpenters took down the temporary wood work from the front of the Columbia theatre and revealed in all its beauty the splendid designs, bas reliefs, modeling, painting and designing of the Laurel street front. The building is a distinct addition to the business section of Brainerd and J. M. Hayes, the owner, is to be commended for the public spirit he has shown in putting up such a fine building. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 21 January 1914, p. 3, c. 3)

Nels Kjar, of St. Paul, of the Monarch Studios Co., who built the Columbia theatre building, returned today to his home. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 23 January 1914, p. 2, c. 3)

The Columbia

Brainerd will soon have a new moving picture theatre that will not have a rival in the entire northwest. Its equipment throughout is along the most modern lines and a building for which we may all feel justly proud.
Edwin Harris Bergh, proprietor and manager, promises an entertainment to compare favorably with anything of its nature in the entire country.
In a very few days he will be able to announce a definite date of opening. Under the above heading you will, in the near future, read of some very interesting developments at the Columbia. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 24 January 1914, p. 3, c. 3)


New Moving Picture Theatre is the
Latest in the Engrossing World
of Movies


Offers Seating Room for 550—Per-
formances Given Afternoon and
Evening Each Day

Edwin Harris Bergh, proprietor and violinist at the Columbia Theatre, 29 January 1914.
Source: Brainerd Daily Dispatch
Tonight the new Columbia theatre of Edwin Harris Bergh, the latest word in the engrossing world of the movies, gives its opening performance at 7 o'clock in the evening. Everything is in readiness. The powerful moving picture machine, a Powers 6A, was tested last night and given its final adjustment.
The exterior of the theatre is something new in decorative art in Brainerd. The bas reliefs picture four angels with garlands, and these as well as other decorations of the frieze are painted in gold. The two arched entrances are studded with hundreds of high power electric lights and fairly blaze out a welcome. On the corner is the large electric sign, “Columbia,” which can be seen from the Northern Pacific depot and up and down Laurel and 6th streets.
Four swinging doors are at the entrance and within are numerous exits, all built in conformity with the laws which demand safety in theaters. The operator’s booth is of steel lined with asbestos and absolutely fireproof.
Within the theatre the harmony of decorations appeals to the most aesthetic taste. The colors merge wonderfully, old rose and gold being the predominant shades. An indirect system of electric lighting rests the eyes and illuminates the theater without detracting from the beauty of the pictures shown on the screen. The screen is ornamented with decorative work and is framed with black velour. Two panels adjoining enhance the picturesqueness of the screen. French velour is used for curtains at the orchestra pit and at the rear of the room.
Advertising the opening of the new Columbia Theatre, 28 January 1914.
Source: Brainerd Daily Dispatch
Every seat of the 550 is said to offer a good view of the pictures. Nothing obstructs the line of vision. The seats are of the most comfortable kind, 22 inches, between rows. The theater measures 50 by 75 feet in size and the ceiling is 18 feet high. The sanitary arrangements are of the best. A Western Union clock furnishes the time.
The floor has an incline of a half inch to the foot, sufficient to give every seat a clear and unobstructed view of the pictures shown.
Four thousand feet of film, with changes four times a week, that is on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, will be shown. There will be matinee and evening performances every day. The matinees will be from 2:30 to 4:30 and the first one will be given Friday afternoon.
Construction of the Columbia theater building was commenced in September, 1913 by the owner James M. Hayes. The new building replaces an old structure and the public spirit and progressiveness of Mr. Hayes is exemplified in the splendid improvement made to this corner, an improvement which is virtually a benefit to the entire business section of Brainerd.
The building was built by the Monarch Construction Co. of St. Paul, with Nels Kjar in immediate charge at Brainerd. The plans were drawn by White Brothers, and the work and material of many Brainerd firms was used in the construction of the building, including Louis Sherlund, D. M. Clark & Co., Slipp-Gruenhagen Co., White Brothers, Brainerd Electric Co. and others.
On the second floor are suites of offices, there being 12 rooms, all having mahogany finish, well ventilated and lighted. Four skylights are in the hall. The stairway is five feet wide. Drs. Sykora and Nelson have engaged the suite in the northwest corner of the building and the adjoining office to the east has been taken by the dentist, Dr. Murphy. This fills all offices facing Laurel street.
In the theater the musical programs will be made features. Music of all countries will be played, and there will also be request programs.
Edwin Harris Bergh, proprietor of the Columbia theater, spent three years in Duluth and Superior where he had a violin school and orchestras at the Grand and Lyceum. He had charge of the Orpheum in Fort William, Ontario, for a year and a half and conducted two schools of music in Fort William and Port Arthur. Last year and the year previous before coming to Brainerd he studied violin with MacPhail of Minneapolis, conducted the Rogers hotel orchestra and taught violin. His work as an instructor, a soloist and in the direction of operas in Brainerd, is well known to the public.
The piano player is Alfred C. Harris, of St. Paul. He has been in this country two years. In England he was organist and pianist in the leading churches. He played seven years in the Episcopal church in the Jersey Islands.
Miss Cecil Witham is a local musician and piano player of ability, having had experience in playing at the opera house and some of the leading moving pictures houses of the city.
William Rodenkirchen is the cello player of the Columbia orchestra. He is a well-known musician of the city and played several years in different orchestras in St. Paul.
Arthur Johnson, of St. Paul, is the moving picture operator, who has been employed in three or four of the leading movie houses of the Twin Cities. He is also a sign painter and decorator.
The piano and organ used in the theater has been installed by Wm. Graham. Both will be tuned every month by Prof. Bartsch.
Nels Kjar, of St. Paul, is the foreman who was in charge of the work of building carried on by the Monarch Construction Co. Mr. Kjar comes from a family of builders and contractors of Copenhagen, Denmark. His work in Brainerd demonstrates the thoroughness of his instruction and his capabilities as a builder. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 29 January 1914, p. 3, c.’s 1-3)


Those Who Purchased the First Four
Tickets to See the New Moving
Picture Theatre

Nearly a thousand people attended the opening of the Columbia theatre on Thursday evening and considerable interest has been aroused as to who bought the first tickets.
At the evening performance at 7 o'clock, the first ticket was sold to Andrew Berglund, assistant manager of the Ransford hotel, and the next two sold were to Mr. and Mrs. V. N. Roderick.
Especially pleasing to all patrons was the note of comfort in the theatre. There was ample room in the seats and between the rows. Every seat was taken at the first performance and the overflow waited at R. D. King’s and in the Iron Exchange arcade for the next show. The pictures were popular subjects. A specially selected musical program was presented by Prof. Edwin Harris Bergh, violinist; William Rodenkirchen cellist; Alfred Harris, pianist; Cecil Witham, organist.
The first matinee performance was given Friday afternoon and was notable because of the attendance of twenty farmers and their families as well as a large number of city people. Marie Lillian Hoffbauer, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Hoffbauer, bought the first matinee ticket. It is evident to every businessman that if the Columbia theatre can draw to Brainerd many of the farmers of the county on afternoons it means much to the city at large. It means that trading will be done every week day instead of concentrating on Saturdays. This point alone should secure for Edwin Harris Bergh the backing of every businessman in the city, for he is endeavoring to create in Brainerd a permanent amusement center interesting alike to the farmers, their wives and their children, as well as to the people of Brainerd. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 31 January 1914, p. 4, c. 3)


Another fine program was given last night at the Columbia. Every picture was greatly appreciated by the large crowd. Tonight there will be a complete change including two or three of the greatest films ever made.
The first to receive special mention is that Vitagraph headliner, “The Masked Dancer.” The next would be the “Engineer’s Revenge.” This powerful drama deals with railroad life and all its wonderful situations.
The other two pictures were booked for the express purpose of a good laugh. The musical program as usual is par excellence. Don’t miss the program for Friday and Saturday. Especial attention is called to the bargain matinee Saturday afternoon when everybody will be admitted for 5 cents. Mothers bring the children and forget your cares and troubles. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 06 February 1914, p. 4, c. 4)


The management of the popular play house feel greatly encouraged over the splendid attendance since its opening only a week ago. In many ways it is remarkable. Every change of program will find hundreds who have attended every change, and among them scores who have never attended a picture show. Attend this show but once and you will be a picture “fan” and a constant customer. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 07 February 1914, p. 4, c. 3)

Ushers of the Columbia theatre have been supplied with new uniforms, being red trimmed with black braid and gold letters. The suits were purchased by Edwin Harris Bergh, proprietor of the Columbia theatre, through Bye & Peterson. The Columbia is the first and only theatre to have uniformed ushers in Brainerd.
NOTICE the beautiful rich tone of the Clarendon piano used at the Columbia theatre. No better instrument at any price. You can buy at $250 cash, or monthly payments during March only. Wm. Graham, 210 S. 6th. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 25 February 1914, p. 4, c. 4)


Distinguish Themselves by Giving
Monster Theatre Party at Co-
lumbia Theatre


Farmers, Their Wives and Their Chil-
dren are Enjoying the Show
This Afternoon

When Con O’Brien and James M. Elder started out to give a theatre party they set a pace which will cause the rest of society in Minnesota to take a back seat for some time to come. You have often read of some host or hostess taking a party of friends to the theatre, or of having a box party, but you never heard or read of any two gentlemen buying the whole afternoon performance of a theatre and inviting their farmer friends of the entire county to be their guests. That is what Mr. Elder and Mr. O’Brien did.
And the response has been more than expected. Shortly after 1:30 when this special matinee performance at the Columbia commenced, there were 300 farmers in the seats and the number was augmented every minute.
They commented on the era of good feeling in Brainerd. They enjoyed the show, the music and the special features. They went home satisfied and they praised the hosts of the afternoon and the Columbia theatre.
The novel features of Messrs. Elder and O’Brien’s party were commented on in the Duluth, Superior, St. Paul, Minneapolis and other papers. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 February 1914, p. 3, c. 4)

NOTE: This theatre opened in what was known as the Hayes Block, built by J. M. Hayes.

SEE: Best Theatre
SEE: Lyceum Theatre
SEE: Hayes Block

Built by W. D. McKay in 1893, it is located on the west side of Sixth Street, mid-block between Front and Laurel Streets. It burns down 28 October 1909 and is replaced by the Iron Exchange Building built in 1910-11. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946; pp. 74 & 75)

W. D. McKay has purchased the property on 6th street occupied by C. H. Paine & Co. Meat Market and we understand has arrangements all completed to put up a fine two story solid brick building early in the spring. (Brainerd Dispatch, 24 February 1893, p. 4, c. 4)


The Coming Season as It Never
Has Before

Many Thousands of Dollars to be
Expended in New Buildings
and Other Improvements.


W. D. McKay, ca. 1922.
Source: Brainerd’s Half Century, Ingolf Dillan
W. D. McKay last week purchased the property occupied by Paine’s meat market, and on Monday he bought the property adjoining occupied by J. A. Denis’ saloon. Here he contemplates the erection of a magnificent new brick block [Columbian Block] which will be one of the finest brick business blocks in the city, and have a tendency to make Sixth street more of a business street than Front street. Plans for the construction of this building have not been made yet, but Mr. McKay expects to make the improvement if satisfactory arrangements can be made. (Brainerd Dispatch, 03 March 1893, p. 4, c. 5)


That is the Salary the Chief of Police
Will Draw From the City.

...The petition of W. D. McKay to erect a three story solid brick building on lots 3, 4 and 5, block 45, and the removal of the old buildings to lots 13, 14 and 15, block 71, was granted. (Brainerd Dispatch, 19 May 1893, p. 1, c. 4)

The work of removing the three buildings on Sixth street to make room for the new three story brick building to be erected by Mr. McKay is being pushed by Mr. L. Rasmusson who has the contract. The buildings will be taken to the corner of Seventh and Laurel streets, and C. H. Paine & Co., and John Denis will remain in the buildings while they are being moved. C. H. Paine & Co. will occupy one of the new buildings at the old stand when the new structure is completed. (Brainerd Dispatch, 19 May 1893, p. 4, c. 3)

The foundation of the new McKay block is finished and brick laying will begin at once. (Brainerd Dispatch, 07 July 1893, p. 4, c. 3)

The “Columbian.”

Columbian Block built in 1893.
Source: Brainerd Tribune
The handsomest new block being erected on Sixth street by W. D. McKay has been christened “Columbian” and a very appropriate name it is too, the stone on which the inscription is carved having been hoisted into position yesterday. The building is being pushed with all possible rapidity, the front being completed except the washing down, and the plastering begun. As soon as the block is finished the DISPATCH will give it a fitting write-up. (Brainerd Dispatch, 08 September 1893, p. 4, c. 4)

A Grand Dedication.

The third floor of the Columbian block on Sixth street will be the new home of the Masonic and Knights of Pythias fraternities as soon as it is completed and the various lodges of the different orders have combined to give a grand dedication on the evening of Dec. 8th at the new quarters, and for which occasion invitations will be issued as soon as they can be obtained from the printers. The evening’s entertainment will consist of a short but spicy programme, to be followed by a grand ball and banquet. The hall on the same floor as the lodge rooms will be used for the dancers while in the lodge and ante rooms tables will be provided for those who desire to enjoy themselves at cards. The banquet will be served in the room which has been set apart as a banquet hall, and all the details will be so arranged that those in attendance can enjoy themselves to their fullest capacity. The committees having charge are as follows:
Printing—G. D. LaBar, A. F. Groves, Henry Robson.
Invitation—Geo. N. Day, W. A. M. Johnstone, F. A. Farrar.
Banquet—Jas. Towers, A. J. Forsyth, A. G. Gallup, George Herron, J. W. Bailey.
Music and Entertainment—C. D. Johnson, A. F. Groves, A. J. Forsyth, John Bailey.
Floor—F. A. Farrar, Geo. N. Day, A. F. Ferris, G. D. LaBar, W. A. M. Johnstone.
Decorations and Furniture—W. A. M. Johnstone, Geo. Herron, A. G. Gallup, James Towers, J. J. Thornton, Henry Robson, C. D. Johnson.
Reception—Rev. Geo. H. Davis, J. Lowey, J. T. Frater, W. A. Fleming, S. F. Alderman, F. B. Johnson, E. M. Westfall, Geo. Forsyth, M. McFadden, John Congdon, W. Hemstead, George Bertram. (Brainerd Dispatch, 10 November 1893, p. 4, c. 4)


The Masonic and Pythian Fraterni-
ties Give a Grand Ball and Ban-
quet in Honor of the Event.

On Friday evening last occurred the much talked of entertainment and uniform ball given by the Masonic and Pythian fraternities of this city, and it was a very elaborate affair in all respects. The new home of these societies is located on the third floor of the Columbian Block, and since their occupancy has been newly furnished with elegant carpets and draperies, and presents a very handsome appearance. On the evening in question the entire floor was thrown open to the guests, and a very happy throng of people assembled to do honor to the occasion. The members of Brainerd Div. No. 7, U. R. K. P., and Ascalon Commandery K. T., appeared in full dress uniform while the Pythian and Masonic brethren were distinguishable by ribbons pinned to the lapel of their coats. On every hand was heard complimentary remarks as to the neat arrangement of things and the elaborate preparations which had been made for the comfort and pleasure of the invited guests. At 9:30 a musical and literary programme was given as follows:
Address—Rev. G. H. Davis
Instrumental Duet—Misses Small and Wilson
Recitation—Mr. Geo. Herron
Song—S. F. Alderman
Instrumental Duet—Mrs. and Miss Robinson
Vocal Duet—Misses Nellie and Mary Edwards
Recitation—Miss Mamie Carney
Quartette—Messrs. Webb, Thompson, Wheatley and Alderman
Recitation—Miss Nellie Nelson
The opening address by Rev. G. H. Davis was brief owing to the lengthy programme, but was well received. The entertainment was highly enjoyed by the listeners. After the exercises the party filed into the dancing hall, where about one hundred couples joined in the grand march, after which dancing was indulged in until a late hour.
The banquet, which was a very tempting affair, was served by the ladies of the Pythian Sisterhood and the Eastern Star, and was laid in the banquet hall adjoining the lodge room. The ladies received much praise and many compliments upon this successful feature of the evening. The tables were handsomely decorated, and the large number of guests were served in elegant style.
The occasion throughout was one which will long be remembered, and was considered by all to be the social event of the season. (Brainerd Dispatch, 15 December 1893, p. 4, c. 4)

D. M. Clark & Co. have leased the two vacant rooms on the ground floor in the Columbian block and will remove from their present quarters about May 1st. Some improvements in the arrangements of things will be made to accommodate the large stock of furniture and hardware, an elevator will be put in and when they are located in their new quarters the firm will have the finest store in the Northwest. (Brainerd Dispatch, 30 March 1894, p. 4, c. 3)

The store rooms in the Columbian block are being fitted up for the reception of their new tenant, D. M. Clark and Co. Mr. Clark will begin moving his stock next week. (Brainerd Dispatch, 13 April 1894, p. 4, c. 3)

A Mammoth Institution.

The firm of D. M. Clark & Co., general outfitters, are this week removing from their present quarters in the Swartz building on 6th street, to more pleasant and commodious quarters in the Columbian block opposite their old location. A DISPATCH representative dropped into the Columbian block yesterday where the workmen are fitting up the rooms for the reception of the new occupants. The firm will occupy the two vacant rooms in the block, and when every thing is arranged, will have as fine a store as there is in the northwest without exception. The location is peculiarly adapted to the immense line of goods which is carried, the furniture, carpets, draperies, etc., being displayed in one room, while the hardware and harness department will occupy the other. With the new quarters Mr. Clark will add many new novelties to his stock, which is now one of the largest carried in this part of the state. Everything in the line of house furnishing goods is carried, and if you are thinking of starting an establishment of your own, they can fit you out from cellar to garret. The enterprise shown by the firm of D. M. Clark & Co., deserves recognition, and they should be given a good patronage by our citizens. The idea of sending out of town for goods when they can be purchased at home and from people who pay taxes and contribute largely to the institutions and welfare of the community at a price equally as low, should be frowned down. Buy your goods at home, of responsible dealers such as D. M. Clark & Co. are, and you will be better satisfied in the end. (Brainerd Dispatch, 20 April 1894, p. 1, c. 4)

C. M Hertig, the St. Paul capitalist, was in the city the first of the week, closing a deal whereby W. D. McKay secured a loan of $15,000 on his magnificent new Columbian block. The loan was made at 7 per cent, which is none too low considering the large amount and the splendid security offered. (Brainerd Dispatch, 04 January 1895, p. 4, c. 3)

The installation of the chiefs of Red Cloud Tribe No. 13, took place on Friday evening last at the wigwam at Peabody & Baker’s Hall, the chiefs being duly raised to their respective stumps, and will preside over the tribe for the ensuing six moons. The meeting was largely attended and the occasion was an enjoyable one. The ceremonies were conducted by Deputy Great Sachem A. E. Frost. There were also nine pale faces adopted. Red Cloud Tribe No. 18, which was organized by Mr. Frost and instituted Nov. 22, has now a total membership of 63, and is increasing rapidly, having no less than 8 to 15 applications at each council meeting. The tribe will kindle its next council for this (Friday) evening in their elegant new quarters in the Columbian block. (Brainerd Dispatch, 10 January 1896, p. 4, c. 5)

A New Lodge Room.

W. D. McKay is fitting up the large room on the third floor of the Columbian block heretofore known as Columbian Hall, into a magnificent lodge room, and he already has contracts with four secret societies to occupy it, viz: Brainerd Lodge A. O. U. W., Brainerd Lodge No. 2337, Modern Woodman of America, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, and the Red Cloud Lodge of Red Men. It will consist of an ante room, parlor and lodge room, besides plenty of closets and a toilet room and lavatory. The rooms will be carpeted with body Brussels carpet and furnished with finely carved antique oak furniture. Mr. McKay will expend over $800 in fitting up the rooms, hence it will be seen, with electric lights and steam heat, he will have one of the finest lodge rooms in the northwest. In fact, it is his intention to fit it up so nicely that all newly organized societies will desire quarters there. (Brainerd Dispatch, 31 January 1896, p. 4, c. 4)

The lodge rooms in the Columbian block occupied by the Masonic and Knights of Pythias fraternities have been newly papered during the past week. The job was done by Wm. Guthrie, and is a very fine piece of work. (Brainerd Dispatch, 01 April 1898, p. 8, c. 2)

A new cement sidewalk is being constructed in front of the Columbian block. (Brainerd Dispatch, 29 June 1900, p. 12, c. 1)

SEE: City Hall


W. D. McKay Will Remodel the Sec-
ond floor of Columbian Block Put-
ting in Five Suites of Rooms

The second floor of the Columbian block is to be remodeled at once. It will be transformed into five suites of flats with all modern improvements. There will be two or three offices left, but most of the space will be devoted to flats. They will be equipped with all modern conveniences, each being complete in itself and will doubtless rent readily. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 04 October 1907, p. 3, c. 3)

Fire animation On October 27, 1909, a fire started in the M. K. Swartz Drug Store which destroyed the Columbian Block and two frame buildings. The fire broke out at 7 a.m. and by 8 a.m. the Columbian building had collapsed. Total losses were expected to exceed $200,000.

SEE: 1909 Columbian Block Fire in the Brainerd: City of Fire page.

04 November 1909. D. M. Clark and Co., which was burned out in last week's fire, is opening their hardware business in the store room next to Murphy's plumbing establishment. Their undertaking department has reopened. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, Wednesday, 04 November 2009)

07 November 1909. For the first time after the fire the Ransford Hotel bar was reopened this morning with George Ridley again in charge. The sign was also replaced. They hope to get the kitchen and dining room in shape to serve Thanksgiving dinner. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, Saturday, 07 November 2009)

COUNTY / CITY JAIL (First) (MAP #44)
Sometime early in 1872 a contract is let to L. P. White for $971.60, to build a jail on Fifth Street, between Laurel and Maple Streets. The building measures 18 feet by 28 feet, two stories high, having four 4 by 8 cells and two 8 by 8 cells, sheriff’s offices, and on the second floor a court room. “The jail part,” quoting the Tribune, “is constructed of scantling lying flat, and spiked together with innumerable nails, making the walls solid as Gibraltar, and utterly impregnable to ordinary tools.” 958 pounds of nails and spikes are used in the construction. (Brainerd’s Half Century, Ingolf Dillan, General Printing Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1923, p. 39)

In 1874 [sic] [1872] the council votes the sum of $2,500 to build a jail. L. P. White is ordered to build it on South Fifth Street, opposite the present Bus Depot; it is a small wooden building that costs $971.60. It burns in the Haymarket Fire of 1886. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946, p. 50)

NOTE: There were no big fires in Brainerd in 1886. There was a huge fire in July 1888 which burned west and south along the railroad tracks and Front Street from approximately the middle of the block between Sixth and Fifth Streets south to Laurel Street and all the way west to the river. Another huge fire in October 1890 burned west and south from the SE corner of Laurel and Fifth Streets to Maple Street—this is the fire that burned the jail building cited above. The 1888 fire may be the fire referred to by Zapffe as the “Haymarket Fire” above.

NOTE: This building is built as the first county jail in February 1872. Sometime after the new combined county jail and Sheriff’s residence is built in 1882, this newly built jail becomes the first city jail.

Our New Jail.

We are pleased to be able to announce that Crow Wing county now possesses a county jail, which is a most respectable appearing and really substantial structure. The building committee appointed by the County Commissioners, at a recent meeting, let the contract for the building of the jail to Mr. L. P. White, for the sum of $971.60. The size of the building is 18x28 feet, and two stories high. On the first floor there are four cells, 4x8 feet each, and two 8x18 feet for a Sheriff’s office. The jail part is constructed of scantling, lying flat, and spiked together with innumerable nails, making the walls solid as Gibraltar, and utterly impregnable by any ordinary tools. There were consumed in the construction of these cells alone, 958 pounds of spikes and nails. The second story is finished off in good style for a court room, and is nicely adapted to the use for which it is intended.
The builder was Mr. David L. West, one of our most enterprising and accomplished builders, who not only did his work in the most satisfactory manner, but made champion-time thereon. He put his men to work on Wednesday at noon, and by the next week Thursday at noon his contract was finished, to the last nail. We are highly gratified to learn that Mr. West is soon to establish in Brainerd a factory for turning out doors, sash, blinds and finishing stuff, with a view to furnishing himself with all things necessary in the extensive building operations he designs carrying on here during the present year, as well as in years to come. This will be an accession to Brainerd which will be hailed with the greatest satisfaction by our people, and Mr. West will doubtless meet with the success his enterprise and energy deserve. His machinery will be here about the first of next month. (Brainerd Tribune, 10 February 1872, p. 3, c. 4)

Theft of Blankets.

On the night of the 26th ult., the warehouse of John Morrison, Esq., in rear of the Bishop House was broken open and some forty pairs of blankets taken therefrom It appears that the thieves were seen in the act by a attaché of the hotel, and recognized; but before he could notify the Sheriff or others, the lovers of warm blankets had succeeded in folding them up and silently stealing away. They were subsequently arrested, however, by Sheriff Gurrell, and proved to be somewhat noted characters known by the names of John Landon—alias “Limpy Jack”—and John Chisholm. They were brought before his Honor, Justice Conant, for examination, resulting in their being bound over for their appearance at the next term of the District Court, in October, in default of acceptable bail for $400 and $500, respectively they were committed to jail. At last accounts, received by us, the property had not been recovered. Limpy Jack made a confession to Sheriff Gurrell, to their having stolen the blankets, and told where the property was, having sold the blankets, receiving on them about $17.00; but the Sheriff did not find them, they having been removed—in “self defense,” we presume. (Brainerd Tribune, 10 February 1872, p. 3, c. 2)

Taken Possession.

“Limpy Jack” & Co. took possession of their new and substantial quarters—the county jail—two days before it was completed, and were the pioneers, in that line in this county. This is enterprise, and this firm cannot fill two of the apartments full (of devilment) then go no further for “lads” that can. (Brainerd Tribune, 10 February 1872, p. 3, c. 2)

NOTE: This is the jail from which the two Native Americans are taken and lynched.

A Faithful Officer.

We think Crow Wing county can boast of as accomplished, faithful and untiring a Sheriff as any county in the State. Sheriff [John/Jack] Gurrell has had an extended experience as an officer of the law, principally in the country west of the Missouri River. All the way from Mexico to Montana, and from the Missouri to the Pacific, he is well known as a terror to all evil-doers. He was City Marshal of Cheyenne during its bloodiest history, and U. S. Marshal in Wyoming and other of those gold-bearing territories, besides serving a long term as a U. S. officer in Utah among the Mormons. He has a jail-pet confined in our county jail that he has arrested before in three different territories west of the Missouri. Sheriff Gurrell has, probably, a better knowledge of all the roughs, and their deeds and character, that have been or will be along the Northern Pacific Railroad during its construction, than any other man in this country. We feel gratified, with the entire community, that we have an officer in Mr. Gurrell who knows his duties and is willing to perform them to the letter. (Brainerd Tribune, 17 February 1872, p. 3, c. 4)

Broke Jail.

On Wednesday evening last, about dark, and during the time Sheriff Gurrell and Deputy Cassety were gone to supper, the prisoners in the jail went through that institution and betook themselves to tall timber. They were all in, charged with larceny of various kinds and degrees, and were committed for their appearance at the next October term of the District Court. There were five of them:
—John Langdon, John Chisholm, John Lynch, Patrick Morrow and Charles Monroe. The first two had too much to do with a lot of blankets that came up missing last winter; Lynch and Monroe, for stealing a watch. They made their exit through the floor of the rear of the building—the day-time quarters—and crawling out from under the building—it being set up some ways from the ground. The sheriff is of the opinion, from the appearance of the orifice, that they were assisted by some outside party, cutting from underneath the building, while the prisoners were provided with a case-knife saw above. The cells were carefully inspected daily, by the sheriff, and although the greatest vigilance was heeded, it proved of no avail. The whole transaction was gone through with inside an hour, and although the floor was made of two by four pieces set edgewise and spiked, there appears to have been no spikes in the way of their cutting. There can be no blame attached to the sheriffs, so far as we can learn, and outside of the principle of the thing, it is a god-send that the county and community are clear of them. (Brainerd Tribune, 13 April 1872, p. 1, c. 4)

THE pay of the Chief of Police of the city has been fixed by the Board of Aldermen at $75.00 per month, and that of two Policemen at $50.00 each. This reminds us that we would like to know who the Chief of Police is? It has been a long time since our City organization, and the idea strikes us that we ought to have a Chief, at some time in the course of human events. But still, the Fathers ought to know. We approve of the pay allowed the Police force, or the one that is to be, but even if we didn’t it would probably burst nobody. Still. (Brainerd Tribune, 18 January 1873, p. 1, c. 6)


The office of A. F. McKAY, sheriff of Crow Wing County, and Chief of Police of the City of Brainerd, is in the rear room of Sleeper & Holland’s building, opposite the Post Office. (Brainerd Tribune, 07 February 1874, p. 1, c. 2)

OFFICER SHONTELL will move into the upstairs of the jail building next week, and will hereafter have charge of the jail, in addition to his duties as policeman. Mr. S. is, by the way, making an excellent officer of the peace, as is generally admitted by all lovers of good order. So far as we are informed, he is a straightforward, honest man, capable, and faithful in the discharge of his work, and while he is courteous and gentlemanly to all, he goes along without fear or favor, and knows no partiality in the execution of his duties. He seems to be always where he is wanted, instead of reclining where he is NOT needed, when trouble is “on.” Such a police officer and night watchman is a treasure to the city, and all good citizens can take a pleasure in encouraging such a man in the discharge of his responsible duties. (Brainerd Tribune, 28 February 1874, p. 1, c. 4)

WHAT IS THE MATTER?—Someone tells us that it is proposed by the City Council to cut down our police force; reduce the force to HALF its present proportions at one fell stroke, and even cut down the pay of the remaining policeman; and to put him out—Officer Shontell, the remaining half of the force—and give the place to some other person. Well, we verily believe that some men, even officials, can never be happy; can never let well enough alone; everything that is, is wrong and a “change” seems to be their ruling passion. There is such a thing, we think, as being altogether too economical in public matters, and the one in question is a very aggravated case—although in this instance we are not certain whether ECONOMY is what’s the matter or not. We hope, however, that nothing but economical ideas actuate our Council in their proposition to displace our present police officers and substitute others—we know of no other reason for such a move, and even this idea we deem a mistaken one. Our present police regulation we deem a most wise one, and does credit to the Council who brought it about; nor do we admire the little police system now in vogue in Brainerd more than we do the character and work of the two men who fill the positions on our police force. Never have we had better officers of the law than Messrs. McKay and Shontell, nor can they be bettered. The “still too great expense”—twenty-five dollars per month to Sheriff McKay for acting as Chief, and fifty or sixty dollars per month to Mr. Shontell for doing police duty and night watching—is all moonshine and nonsense. The manner in which the police work is not done, costs the city literally nothing, and the city is ahead besides; so, why this cry of “too much expense!”
We are as warm an advocate of economy as anybody; but where a little expense is necessary for the proper government of the community, and execution of its laws, we for one are anxious to pay our full share—or even more than our share. And although the city is taxed nothing now, as it were, to keep up our present little police force, still; were the whole amount of the wages of such officers to come out of the property holders, we should jump at the chance to pay three times our share rather than have this branch of our municipal affairs crippled below what it now is. We are not the champion of our present police officers, by any means; all we know is—and we know because it is generally acknowledged—that they do their duty in an honorable, straightforward manner, inside the law in all their acts, and if so, what is a change wanted for? The plea of economy in our police matter is a nonsensical idea, as there is REALLY NO RESPONSE attached to it; and if there was, our people stand ready to pay it, in consideration of the comparative safety to life, order and property, that the service as now performed brings to them. (Brainerd Tribune, 18 April 1874, p. 1, c. 4)

Court Proceedings.

The grand jury submitted the following recommendations to the Court:
The grand jury have had under consideration the condition of our county jail, and would report that the said jail is unfit to keep prisoners, not being provided with suitable bedding nor properly ventilated. The jurors further recommend that the county build a new building in a more suitable location.
We further recommend that the Court censure the proper officers in not enforcing the liquor laws.
We further request that our Sheriff be instructed hereafter to provide a more suitable room for the jurors, the present one we now occupy is encumbered with merchandise and without fire. (Brainerd Tribune, 30 October 1880, p. 1, c. 4)


The prisoners of the Brainerd jail have recently been making repeated endeavors to escape, and last Monday night came very near carrying their plans into execution. Sheriff Mertz has suspicioned for several days, that mischief of some nature was brewing, and determined to be on the watch. Last Monday night, as he entered the jail with a lantern and turned into a side door, he observed that two or three of the prisoners were very much agitated and excited. This served but to feed the blaze of his suspicions, and he determined to make a careful examination of this room. Accordingly, he stepped inside, and the sight that greeted his eyes but served to convince him, that he had come not a moment too soon. The floor is composed of two layers of planks. The first is made up with plank measuring two inches in thickness by about fourteen in width, and the second is composed of the ordinary “two by fours.” The prisoners had succeeded in prying up one of the upper planks, and then by the aid of an old axe and a common auger of about one-eighth inch dimensions had cut through the lower planks, lifted a piece out, and under this piece of work had tunneled into the soft ground below some eight or nine feet, and were just on the eve of gaining their freedom, when their operations were discovered and frustrated. A brief diet of bread and water was ordered for the refractory ones, and their work repaired at once. The present jail is surely no credit to the county, to say the least. (Brainerd Tribune, 28 May 1881, p. 1, c. 3)

It is certainly time the people of Crow Wing county, and Brainerd especially, should bestir themselves relative to the importance of erecting a new jail. The horrible stench pen in which it is necessary to crowd all classes of criminals, is a curse and a disgrace to any enlightened community. (Brainerd Tribune, 04 June 1881, p. 4, c. 2)

LAST Saturday the prisoners in the county jail made another and this time successful attempt to break out from their confinement. The two who broke out were Jas. Reagan, in on charge of forging orders on G. G. Hartley, and J. Clark, for obtaining money in an improper manner, and both of them had previously made several unsuccessful attempts to escape, but their plans had always been discovered and frustrated in time, but they finally succeeded in regaining their desired liberty, but it was of very brief duration. As soon as the Sheriff discovered what was up, or rather what was out, he immediately commenced search, although the rain was descending in torrents. Stationing a deputy at the railroad bridge, he started off down toward the river bank, south of the bridge. After a long and tedious search, and just as he was on the point of returning to town, he discovered a boot protruding from some underbrush, and upon a farther investigation discovered something bearing the resemblance to a pair of brown overalls in close proximity, and soon discovered a confused pile of humanity which proved to be his lost sheep. Ordering them to their feet, he promptly marched them back to their former quarters, where they again languished in durance vile.
LATER—On Wednesday night following these two prisoners succeeded in again breaking out, and as yet have not been recaptured, although every effort has been put forth to discover their whereabouts. One of them wore off a pair of leg-chains, which it will be difficult for him to get rid of. (Brainerd Tribune, 11 June 1881, p. 1, c. 2)

Officer Shontell has moved his family into the rooms over the city jail and will hereafter board the prisoners that seek nourishment and rest under its hospitable roof. (Brainerd Dispatch, Thursday, 11 October 1883, p. 3, c. 2)

There came very near being a jail delivery [sic] last night at the city cooler. About 11 o’clock Officer Shontell hearing a suspicious noise in the room below got up and dressed himself and proceeded to examine things. When he got to the front of the building he saw a man stick his head out of the window, and knowing that he had no business there he shot at him. On investigating he found the fellow had pried up the window and unlocked the door which leads to the cells with the intention of liberating the prisoners, but none of them had escaped. The man was so badly scared when the officer shot at him that he ran into the back part of the jail and into an unoccupied cell where he was found and locked up without further ceremony. (Brainerd Dispatch, Thursday, 25 October 1883, p. 2, c. 4)

Complaint will be made by the health officers to the council on Monday night in regard to the condition of the city jail (Brainerd Dispatch, 03 July 1885, p. 3, c. 3)

The county will deed the lot and building known as the “city jail” to the city. (Brainerd Dispatch, 07 August 1885, p. 3, c. 3)

Report of the Grand Jury.

To the Honorable District Court of Crow
Wing, Cass and Itasca counties.
The grand jury submit to the court that all bills have been disposed of which have been submitted to the jury, and we further report that the jury have visited the county jail and find it in good repair and in good sanitary condition. The jury further report to the court that they have visited the old jail building on 5th street now used as a city prison, and find the same to be in a filthy condition, without proper ventilation and an improper place to keep prisoners.
We respectfully protest against its being used as a lockup or prison. It is in a locality jeopardizing other property, increasing fire risks and is dangerous as a fire trap. We recommend its sale and the procuring of other premises for a city prison.
Foreman of Grand Jury.
(Brainerd Dispatch, 16 October 1885, p. 3, c. 4)


Sealed proposals, marked “Bids for jail,” for the purchase of the old county jail and lot will be received by the county auditor up to May 1, 1888. No bids for a smaller amount than $500, [will] be entertained.
The board of County commissioners reserve the right to reject any or all bids.
Deputy Auditor.
(Brainerd Dispatch, 27 April 1888, p. 4, c. 5)

Fire animation On October 10, 1890, a massive fire burned the Commercial Hotel aka the Leland House, the oldest hotel on the line of the Northern Pacific, the old city jail, and the Catholic Church and parsonage and the Number One Saloon. About a block and a half in the business district was burned, the total damages were estimated to be between $75,000 and $150,000.

SEE: 1890 Leland House / Commercial Hotel Fire in the Brainerd: City of Fire page.

(Top) Sheriff’s Residence (Bottom) attached to the County Jail at the northeast corner of 4th and Washington, ca. 1910.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society
On 03 July 1882, Crow Wing County issues $30,000 in 7% bonds to erect a courthouse, a home for the sheriff and a jail. The courthouse is erected on the southeast corner of Kingwood and North 4th Streets and the sheriff’s home and jail on the northeast corner of Main [Washington] and North 4th Streets. These buildings occupy an entire half-block owned by the county. They are built of Brainerd-made Schwartz cream brick. Today the courthouse building is an apartment house and the sheriff's house and jail have been demolished. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946, p. 23)

The capacity of the new jail will be sixteen prisoners. One apartment will be fitted up for the accommodation of female offenders. (Brainerd Tribune, 15 April 1882, p. 5, c. 2)

What came very near being a jail delivery [sic] occurred on Saturday last while Deputy Sheriff Matteson was at Crow Wing on business. It seems that in some way the prisoners had managed to make a hole about half way through the brick wall, which had been secreted by one of the beds. The officer thought the prisoners acted rather strange, and he ordered them into the steel cage, to which they objected but finally obeyed. He then called in police officer McMahon and examined the room, when the wall was found in the above condition, and the steel cage was found to be sawed and cut considerably, these cuts being plastered up artistically with soap, so that a casual observer would not notice them. As the steel is very hard and no common saw would make an impression on it, it is a mystery as to how they got in possession of the tools and what they have done with them, as nothing can be found that the work was done with. Peter Mertz, sheriff, was absent at Stillwater and Deputy Matteson remained on guard continually until he returned on Tuesday morning. (Brainerd Dispatch, Thursday, 20 September 1883, p. 3, c. 5)

On Wednesday last a party consisting of Henry Leland, Peter Mertz [Sheriff], A. W. Frater and S. P. Douglas started out on the Crow Wing road for a prairie chicken hunt, having cigars and all the luxuries of the season packed away to use in case of an emergency. Along towards evening they came back the luxuries being consumed, and exhibited a fair sized mosquito which was captured by the sheriff [Peter Mertz] of Crow Wing County. They claim that it was a prairie chicken. There are grave doubts as to its identity. (Brainerd Dispatch, Thursday, 09 August 1883, p. 4, c. 2)


BRAINERD, MINN., OCT. 4, 1883.

To the voters of Crow Wing County:
It is not only a courtesy due you, but in recognition of your past expressions of confidence toward me, that suggests the announcement to you, that, responding to what I know is the desire of a large majority of my fellow citizens of this county, I will be again your candidate for sheriff. I know I need no introduction to or advertisement among you, or endorsement as to my record. That speaks for itself: and yet I can but remember the many disadvantages of the early part of my services as sheriff. I was then the only officer in the city of Brainerd. There was no police force even. It is a pride, at least, that I have been able to see the improvements which have attended the prosperity and improvements of the city and county, all the facts of which are well known to most of you. I am proud to believe that these friends are as numerous as in the days which were not so bright and promising. I feel also that I need make no special pledges in regard to discharging my duties, that it is sufficient that I acknowledge your past favors and say that if re-elected, I shall labor earnestly and conscientiously as heretofore, to serve you acceptably. I am well acquainted not only in the city, but in all parts of the county, and feel that my record is sufficient introduction to all. In my candidacy for re-election, I shall be not only grateful to all, but proud of the continued confidence of my many friends, whose warm and cordial support I have enjoyed so fully in the past.
P. Mertz,
(Brainerd Dispatch, Thursday, 04 October 1883, p. 3, c. 5)

Parties desiring to purchase the old county jail building can have a chance to bid for it until the 13th of Nov. All bids should be addressed to the county auditor. (Brainerd Dispatch, Thursday, 25 October 1883, p. 2, c. 1)

More Cells.

The grand jury at its recent session recommended that a new tier of cells be constructed over the old ones now in use in the county jail as the present accommodations are not ample to receive all the criminals and law breakers that need to be caged up. They also recommended that arrangements be made to heat that portion of the jail which is intended to receive the female prisoners, and also to whitewash the inside of the prison and have the floor fixed. (Brainerd Dispatch, 13 March 1885, p. 3, c. 3)

A party of hunters consisting of Capt. [sic] Sleeper, Sheriff Mertz, Dr. J. L. Camp, S. F. Alderman and H. W. Topping, started Friday morning for a prolonged hunt in the Pine River country. The party looked like original frontiersmen when they started out. (Brainerd Dispatch, 23 October 1885, p. 3, c. 3)

Crow Wing County’s Poor.


The county jail which was built in 1882 at a cost of about $8,000 does not seem to meet with the approval of the inspecting board as a reading of the following contained in the published report will show:


The jail is in the rear of the sheriff’s residence. The brick cell room is 24x24 feet, 22 feet high. The steel and iron cage contains two cells 6 1/2x8 feet and designed for four prisoners each. The jailer’s corridor surrounding the cage is too narrow, being only four feet wide on the north and south and six feet to the rear. The floor of the cell room is of concrete, a very poor job, already out of repair. There are twelve windows nevertheless the jail is unusually dark even for a cage jail; the windows are in two tiers, the lower tier having the abominable iron blinds, which shut out the light but do not prevent communication nor the introduction of tools. The interior of the cage is so dark that a lamp is necessary for reading even in the daytime. Heat is furnished by a box stove, and excellent ventilation by a fine 2 feet square with a 10-inch smokestack inside. There is a water closet in the cage, supplied with city water and connected with a sewer which works well in summer but has given great trouble by freezing and closing up in winter. Furniture: canvas, hammocks, woolen blankets, table, benches; one prisoner slept in a bed outside the cage. There are no peep holes for the observation of prisoners. Women and insane persons are provided for by two commodious cells, each 6x12 feet, and lined with light boiler iron, well lighted and comfortable, but there is no provision for heating them in winter—a surprising oversight. One of these cells was used as a store room. The jail was not very clean. Prisoners admitted having some vermin upon them. The prisoners do their own washing in the corridor, and have good facilities for bathing in a wash tub, having a boiler to heat water on the stove; bathing is not compulsory and is somewhat neglected. The darkness of the cell has led to the practice of giving prisoners the liberty of the outer corridor; an escape was made some time ago by digging through the brick wall with a knife. The sheriff stated that boys are not kept separate from older prisoners. Capacity, 10. Too small as the sheriff has had repeatedly to have prisoners sleep outside the cage at the risk of escapes. The sheriff’s residence is inadequate. The kitchen and dining room are in the cellar 5 feet below ground, damp and unwholesome. On the first floor is the sheriff’s office, 12x14, which serves also for his family sitting room and bedroom. He has also a parlor 12x14. (Brainerd Dispatch, 04 March, 1887, p. 1, c. 9)


“The grand jury found an apparent lax management of the county jail, touching safety of prisoners. Several articles were picked up in the jail, and found under the closed cages, that may have been or might be used as weapons or as means of effecting escape. The sanitary condition was found reasonably good. It was recommended that prisoners be locked in their cells at night from sunset to sunrise. The city jail was found in apparent better condition than the county jail, but in both there was the evident practice of permitting the prisoners to sleep in the corridors. The jury criticizes this, and recommends that the officers be required to remove the cots of prisoners into the cells. The grand jury agree that the buildings are in condition ample both in sanitary and safety conditions to answer all present purposes, if the officers in charge only do their duty carefully and intelligently, and as a precaution necessary, it is recommended that the sheriff and officers be required to prevent communication through the windows, and that notices prohibiting such communication be posted, and infringement of the rule be punished.” (Brainerd Dispatch, 23 September 1887, p. 4, c. 5)

The county jail building has been fitted up with storm doors and windows. (Brainerd Dispatch, 07 December 1888, p. 4, c. 3)

The Grand Jury’s Report.

The grand jury at the close of their session made the following report as to the condition of the county jail:
TO THE HONORABLE COURT: We, the grand jury, in and for the county of Crow Wing, having visited the county jail of said county, beg leave to report that they find the same overcrowded accommodations entirely inadequate for the health and comfort of the inmates, and that there is a deplorable lack of proper beds and bedding, they recommend that steps be at once taken to enlarge the jail and provide such additional accommodations and supplies as a common humanity demands.
We take pleasure in stating that the condition and care of the prisoners reflect no discredit on the sheriff who is utterly powerless to remedy the defects complained of. (Brainerd Dispatch, 20 March 1891, p. 4, c. 6)

The Sewer Agitation.

The matter of putting in a sewer from the county jail buildings to connect with that at the Arlington Hotel has been the subject of considerable discussion during the past week, but from present indications it is doubtful if the city council will sanction the scheme if they are supposed to help bear the expense. While the cost would be a nominal sum, as only about 600 feet of pipe would have to be laid, the council think the county should bear the expense if they deem the enterprise a necessary one. On the other hand, the city jail would reap the same benefits from the sewers as the county buildings do. There is no doubt but that a system of sewers in the place mentioned would be a very good thing, in fact really necessary, and will have to be constructed sooner or later, as at present the refuse and filth of the jail buildings are run into cesspools which have to be constructed every year or two. (Brainerd Dispatch, 17 April 1891, p. 4, c. 5)

We don’t believe the council at the present time should consider putting in a new sewer on Main or Kingwood street, from Eighth street to the river, unless the property owners benefitted are willing to bear the expense almost entirely. The city is in debt enough now. And it seems to us if the county commissioners want sewer connections for the court house and jail, the county should bear at least half of the expense of extending the main from the Arlington Hotel. (Brainerd Dispatch, 24 April 1891, p. 4, c. 4)


The September term of the district court opened on Monday morning with Judge Holland presiding. The work of the grand jury occupied two days....
The grand jury made the following report:


To the Hon. G. W. Holland, judge of the district court.
The members of the grand jury have this day visited the county jail and given it a thorough inspection. They beg leave to report that they find it in excellent condition. (Brainerd Dispatch, 22 September 1893, p. 1, c. 4)

Business of the Court.

...The following report was made by the grand jury which is published by order of the court:
County of Crow Wing.
District Court, 15th Judicial District.
To the Hon. G. W. Holland, judge of District Court in and for the Fifteenth Judicial District of the State of Minnesota.
The grand jury of the county aforesaid would respectfully submit the following report:
That they have examined and visited the county jail in and for said county, and that they found the same in a first-class condition.
That the court house and grounds connected with the same have been duly inspected and they are in a good condition.
Dated Sept. 20th, 1894.
Attest, F. A. FARRAR, Clerk.
(Brainerd Dispatch, 21 September 1894, p. 4, c. 5)

Sheriff Spalding has six boarders at his hostelry, and judging from what the inmates say he uses them right royally. On Christmas day the prisoners were given as fine a dinner as they could have secured if at liberty. Turkey, mince pie, plum pudding, and all other good things incident to the day were on their bill of fare, followed by a box of cigars and a generous quantity of apples and pop corn. One of the “boarders” confidentially remarked to a reporter on Wednesday that the fact was that Sheriff Spalding took as good care of his prisoners as could possibly be asked at all times. (Brainerd Dispatch, 28 December 1894, p. 4, c. 3)

Court Matters.


...The following is the report made to the court:
To the Honorable Judge of the District Court of the 15th Judicial District:
We, the grand jury, have visited the county jail and the city lock-up, and find the county jail in excellent condition. The city lock-up was found in a bad sanitary condition, with dirty, filthy cots, unfit to be slept on, and we recommend to the court that the proper authorities be requested to remedy the matter at once. To procure new iron cots, and to have the place thoroughly cleaned and repaired and kept so. (Brainerd Dispatch, 06 September 1895, p. 4, c. 4)


Sheriff Spalding Very Cleverly Catches
the Prisoners as They Were
About to Depart.

What came very near being a jail delivery occurred last evening. Sheriff Spalding has confined in the county jail seven prisoners, and among them are some tough customers. For some time he had been apprehensive that an attempt would be made by them to gain their liberty before the term of court opened, which convenes Nov. 16th, and he has kept a close watch on them. Last night about 1 o’clock he became suspicious that something was wrong and he arose, going to the door that leads into the jail part and listened, but the only noise he could hear was that of the water running from the faucet inside. Knowing from that fact that there was something up he tried to turn the electric lights on but they would not work and he lighted a lamp, unlocked the door and stepped inside with a gun in his hand. The first glance showed him that the seven men were out of the cage, and he immediately leveled his gun on them and told them in plain English that the first man to make a move would be shot down. His wife, who had locked the door behind him, summoned W. E. Seelye, who was stopping at Mr. Nevers’ across the street from the jail, and when he arrived the men were locked up in one of the cells inside the cage. It was found that a piece of steel floor, 10x18 inches, and which is 8/16ths of an inch thick, had been cut out of the cage, and the men had dug a tunnel to the outer wall, where work had already been commenced to effect an opening, and in an hour more the prisoners would have all been outside and at liberty. The instruments used were two case knives, which had been fashioned into saws, and it must have taken some time to have accomplished the work. In the nine years Sheriff Spalding has held his position he has never lost a man, and he feels very much pleased to think that he found out what was going on before it was too late to prevent the escape, and it was certainly a very clever piece of work on his part, and one which deserves credit. The names of the prisoners connected with the job are: Dave Deloney, assault; Frank Amberger, forgery; Martin Johnson, forgery; Jos. Gardin, larceny; H. M. DeMars, larceny; Chas. Slimmer, larceny; James Fisk, burglary. (Brainerd Dispatch, 06 November 1896, p. 4, c. 4)

Grand Jury Report.

BRAINERD, March 8th, 1899.

The grand jury met and transacted such business as properly came under its notice. We inspected the county jail and make the following recommendations: We find after investigation,
1. That we find the sleeping apartments of the jail as inadequate and insufficient; we therefore recommend that hammocks be provided.
2. That spittoons be provided for prisoners.
3. That commissioners be instructed to furnish sufficient coal and wood for heating and cooking.
4. That any reasonable request of the sheriff for necessaries to supply the jail be complied with.
5. Aside from these recommendations everything is satisfactory.


(Brainerd Dispatch, 10 March 1899, p. 1, c. 5)

District Court.

The grand jury in their report to the court on adjournment Friday evening last made several recommendations among which were that a steel ceiling was needed in the county jail and also screens over the windows, and that hammocks should be furnished; the closets were found in bad shape and badly in need of repair. Vermin was found in abundance and the grand jury suggested that more bedding and some additional clothing be furnished so that the sheriff might be able to remedy the matter in regard to cleanliness. (Brainerd Dispatch, 15 September 1899, p. 1, c. 3)

In Good Condition.

John F. Jackson, of St. Paul, secretary of the state board of correction and charities, was in the city on Tuesday. Mr. Jackson is making a tour of inspection of the correctional institutions of the northern part of the state. During the day Mr. Jackson inspected the county jail, the city lock-up and the county poor farm. To a DISPATCH representative, Mr. Jackson expressed himself as well pleased at the manner in which all three institutions are kept. The jail he says is bad and poorly fitted for the purpose intended. However, the worst defects can be remedied at comparatively no cost. The walls should be whitewashed, and a new floor constructed, the present one being in bad shape. An iron or steel roof or ceiling is an absolute necessity, as a prisoner could go through the present one with a jack knife. The lock-up was good, almost a model institution for the use intended. The poor house he considers not properly constructed, but he was lavish in his praise of the splendid way in which the house and rooms are kept, and the splendid treatment of the inmates. He considers it one of the very neatest and best kept places of this character under his jurisdiction. Mr. Jackson talked entertainingly of the subject of prisons and correctional institutions and said that Minnesota was slowly getting the best institutions of this character in the country, not the most expensive, but the best adapted to the use intended. (Brainerd Dispatch, 10 November 1899, p. 10, c. 2)

A steel ceiling is being put in position at the county jail. (Brainerd Dispatch, 29 December 1899, p. 8, c. 1)

Attempt to Escape.

An attempt has been made during the past week by the prisoners in the county jail to escape by sawing off the bars in the northeast window of the jail. The sheriff, in examining the jail, made the discovery, and the window will be repaired today, and a search made for the saw and coal chisel which they apparently have to do the work with. An attempt was made about a year ago to break jail at this same place, which was also discovered. This time three bars were sawed about one-half off, and if not interrupted it would not take more than three or four hours to complete the job. The work has to be done in the day time when no one is around, as the prisoners are confined to their cells at night. There are at present six prisoners in the jail, two safe blowers from Bemidji, two from Cass Lake, one from Walker and one local man. The work was undoubtedly done by the Bemidji men, as they are professional safe blowers, and understand the work. (Brainerd Dispatch, 20 April 1900, p. 1, c. 6)


Bemidji Safe Blowers Make Their

The last issue of the DISPATCH, which went to press about 10 o'clock Friday morning, contained a notice of an attempt of the prisoners of the county jail to escape, by partially sawing off the window bars, but which had been discovered by the sheriff and the attempt frustrated. The attempt, however, proved to be successful later in the day, when the prisoners were released from their cells for dinner. The sheriff had left the city, leaving Deputy Winters in charge. When the prisoners were fed, they were, as usual, released from their cells, and during the absence of the deputy for a few minutes, two of the prisoners, Edwin Decker and Geo. Gardner, held for safe blowing at Bemidji, succeeded in finishing the job of sawing off the lower end of two bars, which they bent upward by main force, and jumped from the window and escaped before the deputy returned. Sheriff Erickson’s little girl saw them throw their coats from the window, and gave the alarm, and Officer Brockway got there in time to prevent the other prisoners from escaping. The released men ran as fast as they could in the direction of the mill, and although Chief Nelson mounted a bike and rode in that direction as fast as possible, no trace of the men could be found after they left the immediate vicinity of the jail. Deputy Winters telegraphed to all the surrounding towns, and sent out postals notifying the authorities in neighboring places, but nothing has as yet been heard from them. It is known, however, that they have a lot of burglars’ tools and considerable money which they took from the safe at Bemidji, hid somewhere near the latter place, and the sheriff hopes by keeping a sharp lookout in that vicinity to recapture his prisoners. They are tough characters, and it is to be hoped the sheriff will be successful. (Brainerd Dispatch, 27 April 1900, p. 1, c. 2)


We, the grand jury of the March term of court, 1901, hereby submit the following report:
We have examined all cases brought before us, and also the county jail, and found that in a very filthy condition and recommend the following changes: That we either stop taking prisoners from outside counties or enlarge the structure, as we have found it very much overcrowded. We find that four prisoners have had no exercise for at least four weeks, and the sheriff acknowledges that he is afraid to let them out of the cage, and that the cage has not been cleaned out for four weeks. We think the prisoners should have exercise and the cage be cleaned up. The floor we find in bad condition and should be repaired, and the whole inside of the jail whitewashed at once. We find the city lock-up in a very good condition, but would recommend the lock-up be whitewashed inside also.
(Brainerd Dispatch, 08 March 1901, p. 1, c. 1)


Grand Jury Throws out a Gentle
Reminder in Their Final Report.


The following is the report of the grand jury:
“We, the grand jury for the July general term of the district court of Crow Wing county respectfully report that we have attended to all maters brought before us; that we have examined the county and city jail and county buildings and find the same kept in a neat and clean condition.
We find that the county jail is inadequate for the number of prisoners usually confined therein and would respectfully urge that the proper officers of the county take immediate steps for the proper enlargement of the same. We also find that there is not sufficient bedding in said county jail to furnish the prisoners with proper beds. We would recommend that a bath tub be placed in said jail for the use of prisoners confined therein. We further recommend that the jail floor be repaired and placed in such condition that the same may be kept cleaned, and that window screens be placed upon the windows of said jail.
We are informed and believe that the recommendations heretofore made by grand juries of this county have been ignored by the county commissioners of the county, and we would especially urge that the recommendations herein made be acted upon without unnecessary delay.” (Brainerd Dispatch, 12 July 1901, p. 4, c. 3)

09 July 1915. Sheriff Claus Theorin received notice from the state board of control that the county jail has been condemned, and that has been assented to by Judge McClenahan of district court. No prisoner can be detained there for more than 24 hours. Action is expected by the county board. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 09 July 2015)


Work was begun today in the tearing down of the old county jail, long a landmark of Brainerd, to make room for a new filling station on Washington and Fourth streets to be constructed this spring by the Skelly Oil company.
Workmen began the razing of the old brick building which housed criminals in the pioneer days of Brainerd. For several years the place has been used as a residence building, with occupants getting notice to vacate several weeks ago.
The building and grounds were purchased from Crow Wing county some time ago by F. N. Russell of Brainerd and acquired this winter by the oil company. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 29 April 1936, p. 3, c. 5)

Sheriff’s Residence attached to the County Jail at the south side of Laurel between 3rd and 4th, ca. 1922.
Source: Postcard
In 1919 [sic] [1916] the Board of County Commissioners purchase two blocks of land on the south side of Laurel Street between Fifth and Third Streets upon which is built a new courthouse, completed in 1920, and a new sheriff’s home, [completed in 1917]. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946; pp. 123 & 127)

G. A. Peterson reported on county officers, the work of the county board in securing by condemnation a site for a new county jail. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 20 January 1916, p. 6, c. 5)


County Commissioners Employ Alden
& Harris, St. Paul, as the


Building of $28,000 Contemplated
Situated at Fifth and Laurel

At the meeting of the county commissioners Tuesday, a resolution was adopted employing Alden & Harris, architects of St. Paul, to prepare plans and specifications for and to supervise the construction of a new county jail and sheriff’s residence to be erected by Crow Wing county on the west half of block 65 and the east half of block 53 in Brainerd, being on Fourth street between Laurel and Maple streets.
The plans and specifications, as is usual in such cases, must be submitted to and approved by the state board of control before they will be accepted by the county board.
The value of the building contemplated is estimated at $28,000. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 01 February 1916, p. 3, c. 1)

There was presented a petition from the county board asking for the vacation of Fourth street between Maple and Laurel streets, the east half of block 63 and the west half of block 65 forming the site for the proposed new county jail and sheriff’s resdience. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 08 February 1916, p. 5, c. 2)


Council at Regular Meeting Approves
Vacating Section of Fourth
Street for Site



Regarding the resolution adopted by the Board of County Commissioners at its February 1, 1916 meeting, requesting the city council to vacate Fourth street between blocks 63 and 65, town of Brainerd, so that the same may be available for county purposes. On motion of Aldermen Benson and Betzold the motion carried to vacate the section of Fourth street mentioned, the aye and nay vote being unanimous. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 23 February 1916, p. 5, c. 1)


Proceedings of the Board of County
Commissioners Meeting Held
April 4th, 1916


Plans for the construction of the new county jail were submitted by the architects, Alden & Harris, and on motion the same were approved.
On motion the auditor was instructed to advertise for bids in the Improvement Bulletin of Minneapolis as well as in the local official newspaper for the construction of the new county jail, as per plans and specification on file the same to be received at the May 2nd meeting of the board, at two o'clock p. m. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 06 April 1916, p. 4, c. 1)


The Board of County Commissioners of Crow Wing county, Minnesota, will receive bids up to eight o’clock P. M., Saturday, May 13th, 1916 for the buildings on property recently acquired by the county for county jail and buildings located as follows: On lots 3-6-7, block 63 and W. 100 ft. of lot 16 and lot 19, block 65, to the town of Brainerd. The right to reject any and all bids is hereby reserved.
County Auditor.
(Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 05 May 1916, p. 5, c. 2)

A special meeting of the county commissioners will be held on Saturday morning, at which time it is expected to open bids on the purchase and removal of the business on the county jail site. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 12 May 1916, p. 2, c. 3)


Brickwork was Started Tuesday, Jail
to be One of the Most Modern
in the State


Two Stories High, with Tile Roof,
Built of Mat Faced Brick
Structure 50x100

Work at the new county jail is progressing favorably. The foundation has been completed and work started on the brickwork Tuesday. It will be one of the most modern in the state, a twenty-cell jail, the structure measuring 50 by 100 feet, being two stories high and having a title roof. Twin City mat brick will be used.
The sheriff’s residence will be enclosed within the building. William T. Harris of St. Paul, member of the firm of architects of Alden & Harris examined the work this morning. He had just returned from Perham where he secured the contract to draw the plans of a $50,000 parochial school and the remodeling of a church.
Mr. Harris called attention to the state of the grounds about the city hall and fire station and said greenery should be planted and a well-kept lawn would do much to add to the appearance of the group. If the city did not set a good example in this regard, he knew little would be done by the county at the jail property in the way of improving the grounds. In addition to a lawn, appropriate shrubbery should be planted. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 27 June 1916, p. 5, c. 1)

The auditor was authorized to draw his warrant in the amount of $3910 in favor of H. J. Frandsen as partial payment of the new county jail and for $97.75 in favor of Alden & Harris, architects. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 19 July 1916, p. 6, c. 2)

On motion, the auditor was instructed to draw his warrant in favor of the Slipp-Gruenhagen Co. for $592.97 as partial payment on the new county jail contract. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 27 July 1916, p. 4, c. 3)

Workmen are putting on the roof at the county jail and sheriff’s residence now under construction. The jail is to be one of the most modern in the state. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 01 September 1916, p. 2, c. 3)

The auditor was authorized to draw his warrant, in the amount of $1700, in favor of H. J. Frandsen as partial payment on contract for the new county jail. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 11 October 1916, p. 4, c. 3)

The auditor was authorized to draw his warrant in the amount of $235, in favor of the Slipp-Gruenhagen company as partial payment on heating, plumbing and electrical work in the new county jail. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 11 October 1916, p. 4, c. 3)

The Slipp-Gruenhagen Co. has the contract for plumbing, heating and fixtures at the new county jail. W. A. Warnecke has returned from St. Paul and said the new fixtures purchased would be a revelation to the Brainerd people. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 23 October 1916, p. 2, c. 3)

On motion, the matter of a gas stove for the county jail was referred to a committee of Commissioners Erickson, Oberg and Crust. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 13 November 1916, p. 5, c. 4)

On motion, the matter of the cement walks around the new county jail was referred to the chairman with power to act. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 13 November 1916, p. 5, c. 4)

H. J. Frandsen, contractor for the new county jail building presented a certificate from the architects, showing a partial payment of $637.50 due him. On motion, the auditor was authorized to issue his warrant in payment of same. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 06 January 1917, p. 4, c. 5)

The Slipp-Gruenhagen Co. presented a certificate from the architects showing a partial payment of $382.50 due on the plumbing, heating and electric work contract on the new county jail and on motion, the auditor was instructed to issue his warrant in payment of same. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 08 February 1917, p. 4, c. 3)

The Slipp-Gruenhagen Company presented a certificate showing the amount $595 due them as partial payment for the plumbing, heating and wiring contract of the new county jail. On motion, the same was allowed and the auditor instructed to draw his warrant for the amount mentioned in payment. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 08 May 1917, p. 4, c. 3)

William T. Harris, of the architectural firm of Alden & Harris, St. Paul, was in the city. They drew the plans for the city jail and hall and county jail building. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 11 July 1917, p. 2, c. 3)

County Commissioners in Annual
Session Receive Board of Control
Report on County Jail

Building is Accepted and Final Payments to
Contractors Ordered, Soon to
Take Possession

The board of control reported the completion of the new county jail. The same was accepted and the money ordered paid on contract balances due. H. J. Frandsen of St. Paul was the general contractor, Slipp-Gruenhagen Co. of Brainerd did the plumbing, heating and lighting. The Diebold Safe & Lock Co. of St. Paul did the cell work. The architects were Alden & Harris of St. Paul, who also drew the plans for the city hall, fire hall and city jail. The sheriff’s residence will soon be occupied. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 11 July 1917, p. 1, c. 7)

The county auditor was instructed to transfer $4,000 from the Building to the County Jail fund. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 09 October, 1917, p. 4, c. 3)

On motion, the grounds of the new county jail site were ordered improved, the work to be done under the supervision of Commissioners Erickson and Crust. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 09 October, 1917, p. 4, c. 3)

NOTE: Alden & Harris were the architects for the City Hall and Fire Hall built in 1914-15 and the Courthouse built in 1919-20.

SEE: City Hall
SEE: County Jail / Sheriff’s Residence (Second)


Daughters of the American Revolu-
tion Will Sponsor Meeting
Friday Evening


Judge L. B. Kinder Offers Legal
Assistance Gratis; All Inter-
ested Urged to Attend

The Daughters of the American Revolution are sponsoring a mass meeting to be held in the Farmers room of the court house this Friday evening for the purpose of organizing a Crow Wing County Historical society.
Mrs. M. A. Bronson, regent of the local chapter is actively interested in the movement and is working for its organization. Judge L. B. Kinder has offered his assistance in the way of doing all legal work involved gratis.
There was at one time a historical society in this county which dissolved. Any former members of this organization are asked to make themselves known at the meeting. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 16 November 1927, p. 3, c. 5)


D. A. R. Sets New Meeting Place
for Organization Meeting
of Historical Society

The mass meeting sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution for the purpose of organizing a Crow Wing County Historical society will be held Friday evening in the Chamber of Commerce rooms.
The place of meeting was changed from the Farmers room of the court house to the Chamber rooms.
A large assemblage is expected. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 17 November 1927, p. 6, c. 1)


Crow Wing County Historical So-
ciety Approve of Articles
of Incorporation


S. R. Adair Named Head; Mrs. M. A.
Edson Bronson is Vice

S. R. Adair was elected president of the newly organized Crow Wing County Historical Society at a meeting of the charter members of the society Tuesday evening in the Chamber of Commerce rooms.
Other officers elected follow:
Vice President—Mrs. M. A. Edson Bronson.
Secretary—Mrs. Lucy D. Wieland.
Treasurer—Mrs. Florence F. Fleming.
Directors—A. J. Forsythe, Mrs. Irma C. Hartley, Mrs. Flora Elder.
Judge L. B. Kinder read the proposed articles of incorporation and proposed by- laws.
On motion of F. W. Wieland and Mrs. Henriette Fox, a resolution was adopted that the Crow Wing County Historical society incorporate, that the articles of incorporation submitted by the committee be adopted as read, that the names of the officers elected at this meeting be inserted in their appropriate places and that W. A. M. Johnstone, A. J. Forsythe and Mrs. Irma C. Hartley be authorized and directed to incorporate the society. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 08 December 1927, p. 7, c. 4)


Crow Wing Historical Society Re-
membered by Late
Leon E. Lum


Will be Displayed With Other Dona-
tions in Dispatch

A check for five hundred dollars, which was bequeathed to the Crow Wing Historical society in the legacy of Leon E. Lum, was received from the First National bank of Duluth by Judge L. B. Kinder yesterday. A desk made by John Tweedalo and other things, when the Northern Pacific did coach work in Brainerd shops, was also bequeathed by Mr. Lum.
These articles have been in charge of the St. Louis County Historical Society and are being shipped to Brainerd. They will be on display in one of the office spaces at the Brainerd Dispatch. The atlas and other articles which will be displayed were donated by Mrs. M. A. Bronson and other members of the society. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 26 January 1928, p. 7, c. 3)


Map Shows Division of State in
1850 of Nine

Items Are Part of Leon E. Lum
Estate; Preserved by
County Society

Maps showing the nine counties of Minnesota in 1850, the Red River trails through Crow Wing, St. Cloud, and Alexandria in 1859 as well as some very interesting manuscripts on the early history of Crow Wing county, have been received by Judge L. B. Kinder, president of the Crow Wing county Historical Society, from Dr. C. E. Lum, of Duluth.
The items of historical value were part of the estate of the late Leon E. Lum who devoted a great deal of his time to the interest of Crow Wing county. They will become the property of the society and will be preserved throughout the years.
The map of Minnesota shows nine counties during the year 1850, Pembina, Itasca, Mahkahta, Wahnahta, Dakotah, Benton, Ramsey, Washington, and Wabashaw. Since 1850, counties were added until now there are 84. Of the original nine, six still bear their names but the territory has been greatly reduced in each case. The three counties of 1850 whose names have since been abandoned are: Pembina, Mahkahta, Wahnahta.
Photographic copies of maps showing the Red River trail from Crow Wing to the other Red River trails traveling north by way of St. Cloud and Alexandria were also received. These maps were issued in 1859, being the result of a survey made in 1855 by Edward Holmes, army engineer on orders from the war department.
The trails through St. Cloud and Alexandria were known as prairie trails and the Crow Wing trail was known as the woods trail and was chiefly traveled in winter. It was over this trail that the troops were sent from Fort Ripley to the Red River valley to build Fort Abercrombie.
The collection also included a framed picture of the late Leon E. Lum when a young man, a manuscript copy of the diary of William E. Seelye, old time resident of Brainerd, a manuscript copy of the narrative of the Eighth Minnesota Regiment and a copy of Mrs. Fuller Abbe’s account of the Hole-in-the-Day outbreak near Fort Ripley in 1862. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 27 July 1928, p. 2, c. 4)

January 1982. The campaign to finance the remodeling of the old county jail and sheriff’s residence for a county historical museum has reached its goal. John Stensrud, president of the County Historical Society, said the goal of $265,000 was raised, spearheaded by the Rotary Club. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, Friday, 13 January 2012)

September 1983. The dedication of the Crow Wing County Historical Society Museum will be held Sunday at 2 p.m.—public welcome. Nina Archabal of the Minn. Historical Society will be the speaker. Work to renovate the old jail into the museum began in 1979. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 05 September 2013)

Mr. Lum's Wise Decision
By Don Samuelson

A wise decision made by local civic and business leaders in Brainerd in the early 1900s has helped preserve the history of Crow Wing County. In 1926 Mr. Leon Lum, a local attorney and active leader in Brainerd, left a sum of money in his will, requesting the organizing of a Crow Wing County Historical Society to be located in Brainerd. In 1927 local citizens filed articles of incorporation to create the society. The first board of directors included: Sam B. Adair, president; Martha A. Edson Bronson, vice president; Lucy D. Wieland, secretary; Florence Fleming, treasurer; and A. J. Forsythe, Irma C. Hartley, and Flora Elder, trustees.
The society opened the first museum in 1931 in the old county courthouse, located on Fourth Street and Kingwood. Built in the early 1800s, it is still standing as an apartment building. Later in 1931 the museum was moved to the basement of the new county courthouse where it stayed until 1982. In 1975-76 the county board decided to build a new law enforcement center and demolish the old 1917 jail. The historical society board then petitioned the county to set aside the building for a museum. The board agreed to submit the issue to the voters at the next election. The question on the ballot in November 1976 was:
“When the present Crow Wing County Jail building is no longer needed as a jail facility, should the building be converted and renovated by the Historical Society to house the Crow Wing County Museum, under the condition that the County provide utilities and custodial services for the building and continue to provide the Crow Wing County Historical Society with the financial grant that it has enjoyed in previous years, provided that such additional levy shall be exempt from the penalty provisions of Minnesota Statutes Sec. 275.51, Subd. 4, in the next succeeding levy year and levy years thereafter.”
The vote was 82 percent in favor. We are pleased to say every Crow Wing County Board since 1976 has honored the intent of the vote, and has been most supportive and helpful. After the successful vote was taken, the community got behind the effort of the historical society to raise the necessary funds to remodel the building for a museum. Led by the local Rotary Club, which took this on as a special project; co-chairs for the fund drive were Dennis Johnson, John Kurtzman, and Bernie Roscoe. Appointed to head a grants and matching fund drive was Ray Madison and Ed “Tom” O’Brien. After a successful fundraiser, McDonald Construction of Brainerd was chosen as the contractor and began construction in July of 1981. The museum moved to the new location in the spring of 1982 and it was opened to the public in June. The original sheriff’s residence was preserved as well as two jail cells for display.
Because Brainerd got its start by the railroad, it is one of the main features on display as well as the logging industry, mining, native American artifacts, a Civil War display, Bataan, and thousands more. Besides the main building the historical society is also responsible for several buildings at the county fairgrounds: three log homes, an old country schoolhouse, a blacksmith shop, and general store. Needless to say, they also take a lot of upkeep and hours of work. The historical society and museum are operated by part-time employees and many volunteers. The society board of directors is made up of nine members from around the county, and they meet on the third Tuesday of each month at 5 p.m. in the museum. The public is always welcome. We also have an annual membership dinner meeting in April of each year, and we encourage new and current members to attend.
Hours of the museum are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, and most anytime for special group tours. In addition, our research library is a great source of information for county history and genealogy. We get many people from far and wide using this great source of information. Because of the vision of our civic leaders dating back to the early 1900s, we now have a very valuable asset to the whole area as well as the state. We can thank our membership, county board, several cities, townships, and civic organizations for their interest and support to preserve the more than 200 years of history pertaining to Crow Wing County and the surrounding area.
DON SAMUELSON is president of the board of directors of the Crow Wing County Historical Society and former state lawmaker. (Brainerd Dispatch, 12 February 2013)

: National Register of Historic Places, added 1980.

Courthouse at the southeast corner of 4th and Kingwood, ca. 1912.
Source: Postcard
COURTHOUSE (First) (MAP #18)
The board of county commissioners adopted a resolution to take the necessary steps towards securing a site for a new court house and erecting a suitable building thereon at the earliest possible date. This is an eminently wise action and it is to be hoped the citizens will lend their cordial support and hearty cooperation, that Crow Wing county may have a court house adequate to the present and increasing needs. (Brainerd Tribune, 07 January 1882, p. 5, c. 5)

That lots 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, in block 48, in the city of Brainerd, Crow Wing county, Minn., according to the recorded plot thereof be and the same are hereby purchased for the sum of $3,000, for the use of this county, for the purpose of building a court house and other county buildings thereon. (Brainerd Tribune, 11 February 1882, p. 4, c. 3)

Citizen’s Convention.

All interested in the building of the proposed new Court House for Crow Wing county are hereby requested to meet in convention at Hartley Hall, Saturday evening, April 1, 1882. Everybody invited.
(Brainerd Tribune, 01 April 1882, p. 2, c. 6)

The call for a meeting of citizens at Hartley Hall this evening to take necessary steps relative to a new court house in Crow Wing county should not fail to call out every citizen who is interested in the welfare of the county. There may be opposition to the side of right, and if the plan is not adopted, the citizens will only have themselves to blame for not doing their duty. (Brainerd Tribune, 01 April 1882, p. 6, c. 3)

SEE: Gregory Park

The plans for the court house and jail have been received and are said by those who have seen them to be just elegant. The cost will probably reach $25,000. (Brainerd Tribune, 06 May 1882, p. 5, c. 2)


Brainerd has let the contract for building her new court house to Haglin & Morse, of Minneapolis, for $31,018. (Minneapolis Tribune, 21 June 1882, p. 8)

NOTE: These two very prominent contractors built the Minneapolis City Hall and Courthouse and a number of other prominent buildings and residences in Minneapolis. This building, even though it has been stripped of its character, needs to be, if possible, on the National Register of Historic Places before it is destroyed!!!!



Our court house still hangs fire, the action of the commissioners in giving the contract to parties bidding $5,000 higher than other responsible bidders, being condemned on all sides, as well as their action in making selection of an unsuitable site. (Minneapolis Tribune, 25 June 1882, p. 8)

On 03 July 1882, Crow Wing County issues $30,000 in 7% bonds to erect a courthouse, a home for the sheriff and a jail. The courthouse is erected on the southeast corner of Kingwood and North 4th Streets and the sheriff’s home and jail on the northeast corner of Main [Washington] and North 4th Streets. These buildings occupy an entire half-block owned by the county. They are built of Brainerd-made Schwartz cream brick. Today the courthouse building is an apartment house and the sheriff's house and jail have been demolished. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946, p. 23)

The courthouse has been so cold for the past week that it has been uncomfortable for the occupants thereof. The heating apparatus in the basement is a decided failure. (Brainerd Dispatch, 02 January 1885, p. 3, c. 3)

Three new Stewart coal burners have been put into the courthouse this week. The furnace will probably be discarded as a useless piece of furniture. (Brainerd Dispatch, 09 October 1885, p. 3, c. 3)

Made at Home.

The stone coping for the wall about the courthouse grounds has arrived and will be placed in position in a few days.—[Daily] News.
The [Daily] News reporter saw the coping piled up around the courthouse and supposed it had just arrived from foreign parts. If he had taken the trouble to inquire he would have found that it was manufactured not fifty feet from where he saw it in the basement of the courthouse by C. Peterson, the gentleman that laid the stone wall around the courthouse. (Brainerd Dispatch, 23 September 1887, p. 4, c. 6)

The courthouse fence is nearly finished. The improvements which have been made on the grounds around the county buildings this summer are the subject of much favorable comment. (Brainerd Dispatch, 28 October 1887, p. 4, c. 3)

Hereafter municipal court will be held in the county court house, a committee of the council securing the permission of the county commissioners at their meeting on Tuesday. The hose house will no more be frequented by the energetic vag or the gay and festive “jag.” (Brainerd Dispatch, 07 April 1899, p. 8, c. 1)

Repair the Court House.

A very prominent gentleman, at one time a resident of Brainerd, who was recently here on a visit was asked what he thought of the city. He replied everything looked flourishing and prosperous. But, he added, “there is one place in town that is a disgrace to the city. I refer to the condition of the offices and hall in the court house. The walls are grimy and black and cracked, and dirty looking bills are posted everywhere. The floors are all rough and so worn and slivered that it is not safe to walk on them. It is not economy to be positively and indecently dirty as are those offices. By the expenditure of not to exceed $200 new hardwood floors could be laid and the walls cleaned and papered, and put in nice shape. The court house is a very nice and comfortable building, but the condition of the rooms are disgraceful, and it is false economy to leave them so.”
The gentleman certainly reflected the sentiment of almost every citizen of the city in his remarks, and it is hoped the commissioners will immediately authorize the necessary repairs to make the various offices presentable. (Brainerd Dispatch, 30 November 1900, p. 1, c. 2)


Resident Members of the Board of County
Commissioners to Make Some
Radical Changes

There is a feeling of delight among those whose offices are in the court house over the action of the board of county commissioners in taking steps to have the interior of the building renovated and repaired.
The work will commence as soon as the settlement season is over. New floors will be put in, the woodwork will all be varnished and the walls both in the offices and in the halls will be papered. Instead of hanging posters etc. on the walls as heretofore a large bulletin board will be put up. The improvements are much needed and the news will be heralded with a great deal of favorable comment.
New vault fixtures will also be put in the auditor’s office. At present the space for important documents is entirely inadequate and as the business in this office is constantly growing there is an increasing necessity in this line. (Brainerd Dispatch, 14 June 1901, p. 7, c. 2)


County Commissioners Will Make Some
Extensive Improvements at the
Court House.

Commissioners Erickson, Gardner and Paine, who compose a committee, recently appointed by the board of county commissioners, met at the court house yesterday afternoon and looked over the building with a view to making some extensive improvements in the near future.
New floors will be laid in many of the offices and the walls will be re-papered and the wood work throughout repainted.
The committee decided to advertise at once for bids for the work. (Brainerd Dispatch, 19 July 1901, p. 4, c. 5)

Contracts Let.

Late Saturday afternoon the commissioners’ committee consisting of Messrs. Paine, Gardner and Erickson met at the court house to consider the bids for the heating of the court house and jail and also those for the constructing of a cement sidewalk on the west side of the court house lot.
For the installing of the heating plant in both buildings there were three bidders, two local men and one outside firm. Murphy & Sherlund and F. G. Gruenhagen had bids but the contract went to the Archamps [sic] Heating & Plumbing Co., of Minneapolis they being the lowest bidders. The contract price is $1740.
J. H. Kelehan, Z. LeBlanc and L. Shaiefer [sic] were the bidders for the contract of putting down the cement walk on the west side of the court house lot. J. H Kelehan was the successful bidder and the contract was let to him at 89 cents per square yard.
The committee authorized the county attorney to draw up contracts with J. C. Congdon for the immediate completing of repainting and papering the court house and with Contractor Kelehan for putting down the cement walk. (Brainerd Dispatch, 30 August 1901, p. 3, c. 3)

The work on the new cement walk on the west and south sides of the court house lot is progressing satisfactorily, and it is expected that it will all be laid by Saturday night on the west side. (Brainerd Dispatch, 13 September 1901, p. 8, c. 5)

The cement walk around the court house, on the south and west sides of the lot, has been completed. (Brainerd Dispatch, 27 September 1901, p. 8, c. 1)

J. C. Congdon has a crew of men at work at the court house and everything is being torn up preparatory to painting and papering the different offices. (Brainerd Dispatch, 27 September 1901, p. 8, c. 2)


Contract for Heating Plant in Court
House Let but Contractor Has not
Yet Shown Up.

The board of county commissioners are in somewhat of a quandary to know just what to do in regard to the installing of the steam heating plant in the court house. The contract for the work was let to the Archamber [sic] Heating Co., of Minneapolis, over a month ago and the same was to have been completed before Oct. 15.
The contractors have not shown up although a bond has been filed and the commissioners are wondering if they have flunked. (Brainerd Dispatch, 04 October 1901, p. 8, c. 6)

The contractor who was successful in securing the job of installing the new steam heating plant in the court house commenced work this morning. It will be pushed as rapidly as possible and it is expected that the plant will be ready for use before the extreme cold weather sets in. (Brainerd Dispatch, 11 October 1901, p. 8, c. 3)

J. C. Congdon has a large force of men at work on the interior of the court house. The work will all be completed in a short time. Carpenters are also at work putting down new floors which is a great improvement. (Brainerd Dispatch, 11 October 1901, p. 8, c. 3)

13 November 1913. The citizens’ committee in charge of the court house proposition is sending cards to people of the county asking their opinion as to whether a new court house should be built or the old one improved. This should help decide the sentiment of the people. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 13 November 2013)


Has Offer of $5,000 for Property,
Will Consider Offers at May
1st Meeting


Committee From Chamber of Com-
merce Wants Option Extended
by County Commissioners

The board of county commissioners at their regular meeting on Saturday set May 1 as the date on which it will consider offers for the old county court house property.
A committee from the Brainerd Chamber of Commerce addressed the board on the subject of an extension of the option, to give the Chamber further time to secure a manufacturing tenant for the old building. The commissioners gave the committee assurance that it would not wreck the building for another year.
After the committee had had its interview, the board received an offer for the property of $5,000 cash, from Wm. Graham. The property consists of the west half of the block between Main and Kingwood streets, along Fourth street, with the old county court house, county jail, and old city lockup.
Upon the receipt of this offer, the board considered the advisability of selling the property, and thus get it on the tax rolls. The board set May 1 as the time when this and any other offers that may be made will be considered. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 10 March 1926, p. 7, c. 3)

...The offer by William Graham to purchase the old court house for $5,000 was withdrawn. A motion was passed that the commissioners keep the Chamber of Commerce informed as to any prospects they have for the sale to give the Chamber first chance on the court house for sale to an industrial firm. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 08 May 1926, p. 7, c. 1)

Old Courthouse, Landmark of Early History Offered for Sale.

Another old Brainerd landmark, probably the most outstanding memento linking the city of today with its earliest history is doomed.
Bids for the sale of the old courthouse, the old sheriff’s residence and the jail have been asked by the Crow Wing county board of commissioners. The offers will be opened at a meeting the board set for March 4 at 3 o’clock in the office of the board in the court house.
Fronting on Fourth street and embodying the property extending from Main to Kingwood and a half-block deep, the old courthouse has long been idle except for a short period when the county historical society had their exhibit in the building.
Only a cryptic notice to bidders is the procedure involved in its sale but announcement of the intention will revive many reminiscences of stirring legal battles and other historical data linked with the old structure during its many years of useful service as Brainerd’s courthouse.

Here is the notice:
Crow Wing County is the owner of lots 10 to 24 both inclusive of block 48, town of Brainerd, in the county of Crow Wing, State of Minnesota, known as the old court house, sheriff’s residence, jail, and lockup.
And Whereas, Crow Wing county has no further use for the said property and being desirous of returning said property to the tax rolls.
Now Therefore be it resolved, that on Saturday the 4th day of March, 1933, at 3 o’clock p. m. at the office of the county board in the county court house in said city of Brainerd be and the same is hereby fixed as the time and the place for considering offers to the purchase of said property, and making such orders as may be deemed conducive to the interests of the inhabitants of said County.

A short historical review of the building is interesting. It was on February 29, 1882 that the courthouse, then a long sought objective became a possibility for it was on that date that the state authorized Crow Wing county to issue $30,000 in bonds for its erection.
The bonds bore a maturity date of 20 years drawing interest at the rate of 7 per cent.
Haglin and Morse were the general contractors for the building. The structure was completed in August 1883 and immediately accepted by the board of commissioners. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 11 January 1933, p. 1)


The County Commissioners are offering for sale to the highest bidder at their March 4th meeting, the old court house property on North 4th street including one-half block of ground. The main building has been vacant a number of years. (Journal Press, 13 January 1933, p. 8, c. 3)

SEE: County Jail / Sheriff’s Residence (First)

COURTHOUSE (Second) (MAP #67)
In 1919 [sic] [1916] the Board of County Commissioners purchase two blocks of land on the south side of Laurel Street between Fifth and Third Streets upon which is built a new courthouse, completed in 1920, and a new sheriff’s home [completed in 1917]. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946; pp. 123 & 127)

The New Court House of Crow Wing County
Located In the County Seat, Brainerd

Architect’s rendering of the new Crow Wing County Courthouse, 14 July 1919.
Source: Brainerd Daily Dispatch
William T. Harris of the firm of Alden & Harris, St. Paul architects who drew plans for the new court house of Crow Wing county located in the county seat, Brainerd, was in the city Monday in company with John Elliott, of the Minneapolis firm of J. & W. A. Elliott Co., general contractors of the building, and staked out the building site, and made preparations to start excavation work Tuesday morning.
The building will be one of the finest in the Northwest, being of the latest style of construction, fireproof in every particular. It will be of stone exterior, marble and tile interior. No wood of any kind will be used in the building, except a few casings on windows. The doors and all interior trim will be of metal.
Mr. Harris will be pleased at any time he is in the city to explain any part of its construction to any citizen who may wish information. Mr. Harris expects to make his summer home in the lake section near Brainerd for the next two years, so as to give particular attention to the construction and finishing of the buildings. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 14 July 1918, p. 4, c.’s 3-5)


Bids are Let Saturday Afternoon by
Board of County Commissioners,
Work Starts Soon


General Contract to J. & W. A. Elliott
of Minneapolis for $246,763—
Many Bidders

Excavating for the new courthouse, July 1919.
Source: Unknown
Bids for the construction of Crow Wing county’s new court house were let Saturday afternoon by the county commissioners, totaling approximately $280,000.
The general contract was awarded to J. & W. A. Elliott Co., of Minneapolis for $246,763. There were six bidders.
Heating and ventilating was awarded the American Heating Co. of Duluth for $17,050. There were seven bidders.
The plumbing was awarded the Slipp-Gruenhagen Co., of Brainerd for $6,950. There were five bidders.
Electric wiring was awarded the Brainerd Electric Co., for $8,635. There were five bidders.
The commissioners adopted a resolution that the contractors engage local labor wherever practicable, and they are to be commended for the stand so taken.
Alden & Harris of St. Paul are the architects. The court house is to be ready for occupancy December 1, 1920. Excavation starts Tuesday of this week. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 07 July 1919, p. 5, c. 1)

NOTE: Alden & Harris built the City Hall and Fire Hall in 1914-15 and the County Jail / Sheriff’s Residence (Second)

SEE: City Hall
SEE: County Jail / Sheriff’s Residence (Second)


In the Sum of $175,000 Sold to the
Minneapolis Trust


Certificates Bring a Premium of $400
and 5 Per Cent on

At a special meeting of the county commissioners on Saturday afternoon bids were opened for the sale of the county certificates of indebtedness in the sum of $175,000 to pay for the new court house. Four bids were received all offering a premium ranging from $375 to $400, the latter bid by the Minneapolis Trust Company. The certificates bear interest at 5 per cent, and the county draws 5 per cent on balances left in the hands of bidders.
This is the amount the court house will cost over and above the amount now in the building fund. The certificates will be paid at the rate of $30,000 a year beginning in 1921. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 14 August 1919, p. 5, c. 2)

Foundation work has started at the new court house. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 August 1919, p. 2, c. 2)


Laying of Corner Stone of New Court
House, Official Dedication of
Northern Pacific Depot


Speaker at the Corner Stone Laying,
New Depot Dedication May Take Form of Banquet

The Public Affairs committee of the Chamber of Commerce will meet at 7:30 sharp this evening, to discuss plans for two important community functions, the laying of the corner stone of the new court house and the official dedication of the new Northern Pacific railway depot.
The board of county commissioners have requested the chamber to suggest plans for the laying of the corner stone and speaker for the ceremonies. The building has so far progressed that these ceremonies may be held at any time and it is planned to set the date for the present month, extend a county-wide invitation to the exercises and secure a speaker of state-wide reputation.
The official dedication of the new depot will probably be in the nature of an elaborate banquet at which President Jule M. Hannaford and officials of the road will be the guests of honor. These details will be taken up at the meeting of the committee made up of the following, this evening: Chairman Henry I. Cohen, W. H. Cleary, Mons Mahlum, R. R. Wise, L. B. Kinder, A. L. Hoffman. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 03 October 1919, p. 5, c. 1)

Cement is being poured for the main floor at the court house. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 04 October 1919, p. 2, c. 2)



An Address to be Given, Resume of
History of County—Whole
County to Attend

The Court House

The laying of the corner stone of the Crow Wing county court house was discussed by the committee, Chairman Edward Crust of the board of county commissioners, meeting with the committee. An address by a speaker prominent in public life, resume of the history of the county to be read at the dedication exercises, and the placing of copies of local papers with a story of the court house, its dimensions, architecture, etc. with other data under the cornerstone, will be features of the event. It is to be made a county-wide event and official invitations sent to the executive heads of every city and village in the county as well as to the supervisors in each township.
The date is to be announced in the near future and will be set for the month of October. The Brainerd band will be invited to furnish music for the event. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 04 October 1919, p. 5, c. 1)

At the new court house, favorable weather on Sunday was taken full advantage of and the cement crew poured the main floor. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 06 October 1919, p. 2, c. 3)

Mrs. W. T. Harris, of St. Paul, wife of the architect who designed the county court house, city hall and other buildings, joined her husband today. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 06 October 1919, p. 2, c. 3)


Ceremonies at the Court House at 3
O’Clock to be of an Informal


All Officials of County to be Present
—Public Invited to the Cere-

Due to sudden weather changes, which have turned to cold and called for a greater rush in building operations, the court house corner stone laying ceremonies, at first planned to be very formal, have given way to informal ceremonies set for Saturday afternoon at 3 o’clock.
The public is invited to the exercises, Judge W. S. McClenahan, of the district court will deliver an address. All county officers will be present.
A derrick will swing the corner stone into place and workmen with a few well directed trowel strokes will speedily seal it into place. Within will be placed various records of a timely nature.
The general contractors of the building are J. & W. A. Elliott, of Minneapolis. The architects are Alden & Harris of St. Paul, with Wm. T. Harris as supervising architect.
Plumbing is being done by the Slipp-Gruenhagen Co., of Brainerd; the electric work, by the Brainerd Electric Co.; heating by the American Heating Co., of Duluth; painting by Frank H. McCaffrey of Brainerd.
Cut stone is furnished by Furst, Kerber Co., Chicago; granite by Alexander Bros., of Rockville; metal trim by Zahner Metal Products Co., of Canton, Ohio; glass by Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co.
C. A. Anderson of Minneapolis is the superintendent of construction. The structure will cost about $270,000 and is expected to be completed about December, 1920. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 10 October 1919, p. 4, c. 2)


Theodore Setula Has Two Ribs Broken
When Struck by Large

Theodore Setula, age 16, son of Mike Setula of Gull Lake, had two ribs broken when the crane at the new court house was accidentally released and swung against him. A thick leather vest he wore saved him from worse injury. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 10 November 1919, p. 4, c. 2)


Supt. A. C. Anderson of Elliott Co.,
Gives His Version of Accident
to Theodore Setula

Supt. C. A. Anderson, superintendent of the Elliott Co., constructing the new court house, gave his version of the accident suffered by young Theodore Setula, son of Mike Setula, who had two ribs broken.
The lad was holding a rope attached to a small winch and he fell over an iron pin on the floor and broke two ribs. He asserts there was no truth to the statement made that Setula had been struck by the big swinging crane.
The accident is covered by workmen’s compensation carried by the contractors and a full report was promptly made by Mr. Anderson. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 11 November 1919, p. 5, c. 1)

At the new court house things are being gotten in readiness to pour the second floor cement. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 22 November 1919, p. 2, c. 2)

An example of the efficiency of International trucks was given yesterday when William E. Lewis, the drayman, hauled four tons of boilers without a hitch from the wagon track near South Broadway to the new court house. Six horses could not even start the load, said Lewis. He used a one ton International truck at the head to aid in pulling and hitched it by eight feet of chain to the two ton International truck. On the two ton truck he placed the boilers with their ends resting on a stone boat towed at the rear. They will be used in the new court house heating plant. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 04 December 1919, p. 2, c. 4)


Designs of Lighting Fixtures Shown
at the Brainerd Electric Co.
Display Windows

Brainerd Electric Company, located at 714-716 Laurel Street, wired the courthouse in 1920, 21 March 1921.
Source: Brainerd Daily Dispatch
Designs for the lighting fixtures of the new court house, revelations in the way of convenience and good taste, sketched in water colors by the architects, Alden & Harris of St. Paul, are on display in the windows of the Brainerd Electric Co.
A huge light for the district court room dome, smaller lights for offices, judge’s private office, corridors, vestibules, rotundas, etc. are shown. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 07 February 1920, p. 5 c. 2)

Court House

Construction of the court house will be resumed as soon as the weather is favorable. It is expected to have the structure fairly completed by the end of this year. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 03 March 1920, p. 5, c. 2)


Chicago and Minneapolis Firms Gain
Contracts to Furnish Furni-
ture at Court House

Chicago and Minneapolis firms gained the contracts to furnish furniture for the new court house.
Newton & Hoyt Co., of Chicago, will supply the wood furniture for $31,945. The Art Metal Construction Co., of Minneapolis, will supply the steel furniture at $12,327. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 14 April 1920, p. 7, c. 2)

Work at the new court house has been resumed, men being employed there Sunday. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 19 April 1920, p. 2, c. 1)

The steam shovel has been taken to Fourth street where it will dig from the court house to the Stadlbauer garage and lay mains. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 29 June 1920, p. 2, c. 1)

Masons are at work on the new court house, laying stone on the west wall. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 08 July 1920, p. 2, c. 1)


Building Stone on Hand Enables the
Masons to Get the Second Floor
Well Underway


Window Frames Set at East End and
Masons Today are Working on
West Wall of Building

Building stone is now arriving steadily and is being hauled to the new court house where a force of masons is setting the stone in place. A large hoisting engine and boom pick up each block and the engineer, cautiously following signals, deposits it where needed.
The east wall of the building has the stone set for the top of the second story windows. On the north wall, the front of the building, the columns have their bases set. Window frames are in position at the east wall. Today the masons are working on the west wall.
Enough of the court house has been erected to give citizens an idea of the complete, simple and harmonious proportions it will attain. Architect Harris is in the city and is supervising construction. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 20 July 1920, p. 5, c. 3)

John Elliott of Minneapolis, of the firm of J. & W. A. Elliott, general contractors for the new court house was in the city and inspected the work. Maurice Fitzgerald, secretary of the company, is expected this week. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 04 August 1920, p. 2, c. 2)


Work at the New Court House is
Most Interesting and Architect
Invites Citizens


Hollow Tile, Steel Rods, Cement
Joists and Cement Floor Make
a Fireproof Slab

At the new court house the slab for the third floor will be poured the latter part of the week. Architect W. T. Harris of the firm of Alden & Harris, of St. Paul, under whose personal supervision the building is being constructed, will be glad to show citizens interested the manner in which the fireproof slab is constructed.
Mr. Harris has an office at the building and those who wish to see the work should apply to him there. The invitation is extended to include the wives of citizens.
Few people realize what is going into the court house in the way of materials and they should be able to tell visitors and strangers of what material and the manner in which the new county building is constructed.
The cement slab to be poured measures 90 by 120 feet in size and 10 inches in depth. The slab is composed of concrete joists reinforced with steel rods. The joists are separated with burned clay hollow tile.
It will take three days to pour the cement, said Architect Harris. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 04 August 1920, p. 5, c. 3)


Cement Slab of Third Floor Poured
at the New Court House, Rig-
ging is Moved Up


Work of the Crane is Interesting. It
Lifts Big Blocks of Building
Stones and Places Them

At the new court house the third floor slab of cement was poured successfully, no difficulties being encountered on account of weather conditions as the latter were well nigh perfect. The slab measured 90 by 120 feet in size and 10 inches in depth. The slab is composed of concrete joists reinforced with steel rods. The joists are separated with burned clay hollow tile.
With the third floor as a base, the crane and boom were removed to a new location and building stone is again being hoisted to position.
Many people not versed with engineering or construction work imagine the signal man who gives the hoisting directions to the engineer at the hoist, rejoices in an easy job. But far from it! All day he must keep his eyes glued on hoist and building stone in order to direct the engineer. If any man ever had a steady job, then the signal man has it.
W. T. Harris, of the architectural firm of Alden & Harris, St. Paul, gives his personal attention to the building of the court house. When completed, Crow Wing county will have a court house to be proud of. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 25 August 1920, p. 5, c. 1)


A white rabbit making its home at the new court house under planking on which a large gasoline hoist rested, gave birth to eight rabbits. The men engaged in construction work at the county building have grown fond of the rabbit and petted and fed it. She nurses her little brood under the engine and anyone knowing how gasoline machinery of any kind snorts and heaves, wonders that the mother and children can endure such a racket. In all his years of building and planning, Architect Harris has never heard of a similar case of a wild animal housing its young right in the jaws of machinery. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 27 August 1920, p. 5, c. 1)

Masons are again at work at the court house. A delayed shipment of building stone has been received which includes cornice, etc. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 04 September 1920, p. 2, c. 2)

Cornice is now being placed in position at the new court house. Extensive false work had to be built to enable the setting of heavy building stone at the front of the building. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 08 September 1920, p. 2, c. 2)

Commissioner Erickson offered the following resolution and moved its adoption:
“Whereas, J. & W. A. Elliott Company, contractors on the new court house, have agreed to install one-half inch Cork Tile floors of the best quality and of such patterns as may be selected instead of Everlastic Tile as contracted for, without any additional cost to the county.
Be It Resolved, that the Board hereby approve and accept this change and instruct the county auditor to notify said company and Alden & Harris, architects to that effect.”
Which resolution being seconded by commissioner Syreen was duly adopted, all members voting “aye.” (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 07 October 1920, p. 4, c. 1)

The cement roof slab of the court house will be poured Saturday and men will work continuously in shifts Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday to complete the job. The slab will be eight inches thick. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 21 October 1920, p. 2, c. 2)

The flagstaff has been placed on the new court house. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 05 November 1920, p. 2, c. 1)


Motion made and carried, that the county enter into a contract with L. Sonneborn Sons, Inc. for the application of lapitolith floor hardener on all cement floors and steps in the new court house, three coats to be applied. Cost to be two and one-half cents per square foot. The work to be done under the supervision of the architects.

The following partial payments for contract work were authorized and the auditor directed to issue his warrants in payment thereof:
J. & W. A. Elliott Co., general contract, new court house—$28,202.40
Brainerd Electric Co. electrical work, new court house—$297.00
Alden & Harris, architects’ fees, new court house—$751.18 (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 15 November 1920, p. 5, c. 3)


The following partial payments covering contract work were authorized and the auditor directed to issue his warrants in payment thereof:

Art Metal Construction Co., steel vault equipment, new court house—$10,477.95
J. & W. A. Elliott Co., general contract, new court house—$10,260.00
Slipp-Gruenhagen Co., plumbing contract, new court house—$1,980.00
Alden & Harris, architects’ fees, new court house—$567.94
(Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 10 December 1920, p. 5, c. 2)


Architect Wm. T. Harris Always
Finds Pleasure to Show Citi-
zens the Structure


Builders Have Been Handicapped at
Times Waiting for Material.
Marble Shipment Expected

William T. Harris of St. Paul, the architect of the new county building escorted the reporter for the Dispatch through the building on Tuesday afternoon.
When the sightseer expressed his appreciation of the courteous way in which he was treated and the painstaking manner in which the different parts of the building were described to him, Mr. Harris stated that he had extended an invitation to the people of Crow Wing county to look over their new building and that very few had accepted the invitation. The architect made it very clear to this correspondent that he finds pleasure in taking people through the building and is gratified when he knows that the people are interested in the splendid building his firm designed and have partially completed.
When one starts at the basement and passes through the building up to the roof, one is impressed with the way in which the various offices and attendants have been provided for, and one is more impressed by the fact that the people of the county who are to transact their business within the building have not been overlooked.
On the first floor there is a large room which is to be comfortably furnished in which the farmers may meet each other as individuals or hold meetings together. This room will contain glass cases in which farm products will be displayed. On the same floor is a ladies’ rest room which is to be comfortably furnished.
Nothing that would make the big building more convenient has been overlooked and the comfort of everyone from judge to janitor has been thought of.
In the basement a large coal room which is beyond the line of the building and is covered by a slab, capable of holding about 4 cars of coal has been provided.
Adjoining this room is an ash room equipped with a hoist for hoisting ash cans.
Two Kewanee boilers with downward draught, and smokeless, supply the steam for heating the building. In temperate weather the smaller may be used; in colder weather the larger one may be called for, and in very severe weather both may be used.
Near the boilers is a pump to lift the water resulting from condensation from the pipes.
A hot water storage tank, heated during the cold weather by steam from the boilers, has been installed. During the warm weather it will be necessary to have some other means of heating the tank and for this purpose a gas heater was provided. Owing to the closing down of the gas plant a small coal heater may be required.
The building will be well ventilated. On an elevator above the level of the boilers there is a fan—almost noiseless—which draws the air from outside over heated coils and drives it into the corridors and larger rooms. In this way the building will always be supplied with warmed, fresh air during the weather when buildings are likely to be so tightly closed that very little fresh air is admitted.
The basement proper contains store rooms, blue print room for the county engineer and a large unpartitioned room that will be found convenient for various purposes. The basement’s value is enhanced by the height which is adequate for all the purposes it will be called upon to serve.
Pipes go out from the basement, underground, through which steam will be conveyed to the county jail so that it will be heated from the one plant.
All the wires entering the building come in underground so that no hanging wires mar the effect of the architectural design.
The building stands out firm and square without any frills in the shape of pipes, wires, porches or additions of any kind. While some buildings suggest that they would be benefitted by an operation for appendicitis, this building, thanks to its builders, is without an appendix.
On the first floor of the building are offices for the county agent, county engineer and others. Also the storage vault of the auditor which is immediately below his main vault located on the next floor and connected by a special stairway. All the vaults are equipped with steel shutters protecting all windows.
The corridors are wide and have floors of marble tile. The various rooms have cork covered floors and walls have a sanitary base of Tennessee marble.
A tablet of cast bronze will be placed at either side of the main entrance, one bearing the names of the county officials, and the other which the American Legion has been asked to provide will be in the nature of a memorial to those who gave their lives in the World War.
All the doors are of metal panes enclosing cork. The letters C. W. C. are on all the door plates which are cast bronze. A black enamel crow is seen on all door knobs.
Passing from one floor to another one is struck by the well-lighted stairways. Large windows face one as one ascends the stairway. The leaded glass dome [sic] [skylight] is a feature of the building. This dome [sic] [skylight] diffuses an abundance of soft light into the corridors.
In the old quarters the county officers work amid all the noise and distractions of the building, but in this new building they are each provided with an inner office where they may be free to do their work without interruptions.
On the third floor, on which the court room is located, one is impressed by the careful arrangement made to provide for the attendants of of the court. These include an office for the county attorney, a room for the bailiffs, two jury rooms for jurors sitting on cases, each jury room has the necessary toilet facilities. The court reporter’s room, judge’s private office, a large room for the jurors who, in the old court house after being excused were required to sit in the court room or stand around in the corridors, but in the new building have a room set apart to which they may gather to await the pleasure of the court.
Andrew Johnson is superintendent of construction and Vern White, assistant superintendent, was one of the first men on the work. Tom Leslie of Minneapolis is responsible for plastering and he does it most efficiently.
The architect and builder have been very seriously handicapped by the conditions which have hindered the arrival of materials. They are now awaiting the arrival of the marble which is required.
Crow Wing county will have reason to be proud of its building when completed. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 20 January 1921, p. 5, c.’s 1 & 2)


Bronze Tablet Bearing Names Coun-
ty Officers to be Placed at En-
trance to New Court House


The matter of placing a bronze tablet in the entrance corridors of the new county building was introduced and it was ordered that in addition to the tablet bearing the names of the county officers, to be placed at the other side of the corridor bearing the inscription: “In Honor and Memory of Those Who Served in the Defense of Our Country.”
The people of the city and county will be interested in knowing that the crew of the county engineer will be put to work on leveling the grounds around the county buildings when the weather permits. The walks will be built and the grounds leveled and black dirt hauled in during 1921 and in 1922 shrubbery will be planted and the grounds laid out according to the plans suggested by a landscape gardener. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 08 February 1921, p. 5, c. 3)


Architect Harris of St. Paul to Guide
Sightseers of Chamber of Com-
merce Tomorrow


Members and Friends to Gather at
Chamber of Commerce and Then
March in a Body

Members of the Chamber of Commerce and their friends will meet at the Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday afternoon, March 22, at 4 o'clock and march in a body to the new court house building where Architect Harris of St. Paul, will guide the party about the new building and explain its every purpose.
Mr. Harris is a good lecturer and it will be a tour worthy of the attendance of every citizen. It seems unusual in a way, but to date not one organized body of citizens or any small group has visited the court house or inspected it.
The regular Chamber meeting will be held on Wednesday evening and various matters of importance are to be discussed. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 22 May 1921, p. 4, c. 3)

Court House Visit

R. R. Gould spoke of the courtesies extended the Chamber of Commerce “Seeing Brainerd First Tour” which on Wednesday afternoon was guided through the court house by the architect William T. Harris of Alden & Harris. Although a St. Paul man, Mr. Harris has a long time been a member of the chamber.
Every room of the court house from the third floor to the basement was shown the Chamber of Commerce men and friends and at the conclusion a luncheon was served in the basement.
The Chamber, on motion of Mr. Gould, expressed its thanks to Alden & Harris, architects; Twin City Tile & Marble Co.; Brainerd Electric Co.; Gruenhagen Co. and Elliott & Co. general contractors for the courtesies shown them. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 24 March 1921, p. 5, c. 2)


“Seeing Brainerd First Tour” is Well