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

— — — — — — — — BUILDINGS — — — — — — — —

CITY JAIL (Second)

— — — — — — — — — PARKS — — — — — — — — —


— — — — — — — — BUILDINGS — — — — — — — —


Ace Hardware Store Slates Huge 3-Day Grand Opening


7th Business to Open at Tyrol Hills

An exterior view of the new Ace Hardware Store, 19 November 1958.
Source: Brainerd Daily Dispatch
An interior view of the new Ace Hardware Store, 19 November 1958.
Source: Brainerd Daily Dispatch
Another interior view of the new Ace Hardware Store, 19 November 1958.
Source: Brainerd Daily Dispatch

Grand opening for the seventh business to open under the single roof of the Tyrol Hills Shopping Center—the Ace Hardware Store—will be held Thursday, Friday and Saturday and will feature over $500 in prizes including a grand prize drawing for a $70 mattress.

The huge new hardware store measures 57 by 130 feet. It has been stocked with a complete line of hardware, electrical and plumbing fixtures, sporting goods and a mammoth toy department with special purchases made for the rapidly-approaching Christmas season.

Store manager Ed Nelson, a lifetime Brainerd resident, said today that the store will be open every night of the week except Sunday until 9 p. m. this will also include the three nights of the grand opening.

DRAWING FOR the prizes will be held Saturday night at 8 p. m.

In addition to manager Nelson, Ace Hardware will also employ an assistant manager, Wally Anderson, and clerks Jim Graham, Mrs. Delia Johnson, Bernida Gurius and Marie Bond.

The hardware store is located on the extreme east end of the block-long shopping center and is constructed of concrete block with a facing of plate glass overhung by a large aluminum canopy. A large sign atop the building identifies it as Ace Hardware.

Originally the Tyrol Hills Shopping Center consisted only of the Brainerd Super Value store, begun in 1955. Later Service Drug and the Brainerd Clinic which houses three local doctors was added.

LAST YEAR a Gold Bond stamp redemption center was incorporated into the Super Valu, along with an on-the-premises baker. Earlier this year Ben Franklin Variety store held a mammoth grand opening while work was still progressing on the Ace Hardware Store.

The total frontage of the shopping center is now 300 feet and the depth varies to a maximum of 132 feet. It was pointed out today by builder Joe Gustafson that there is still room for a 38 by 130 foot addition to the west end of the building with an approximate floor space of 5,500 square feet.

No plans have been announced for construction of further additions.

To complete the attractiveness of the shopping center is a large free parking lot directly in front of the building which can easily park several hundred cars.

According to Gustafson, there are now about 64 persons employed by the seven businesses of the Tyrol Hills Shopping Center. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 19 November 1958, p. 17, c. 3)


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)

NOTE: The A & P store operated in Brainerd until sometime between 1956-1959 when it left the city.




Purchased by a New Corporation

Formed, the Alderman-Maghan

Corporation of City




White Brothers to Retire After Years

of Merchandising, New Firm are

Young Business Men

Alderman-Maghan Ad, 28 December 1922.
Source: Brainerd Daily Dispatch

White Brothers, the oldest, and one of the leading hardware firms in the city have just closed negotiations for the sale of their entire business and good will, to become effective May 1st. With its passing, goes a firm connected with the very earliest history of the city, both I. U. White and C. B. White being numbered among the oldest residents. They have always maintained a reputation for quality merchandise and fair dealing which is unassailable.

The purchasers are James H. Alderman, Amos J. Maghan and Henry C. Mills, all of them prominent and successful business men of this city. Mr. Alderman and Mr. Maghan were connected for a number of years with D. M. Clark and Company and their ability and popularity contributed to a large extent to the success of that firm. They will give their personal attention to the business, and as they have a host of friends, the future outlook for the business is bright. Mr. Mills will devote a portion of his time to the business, but for the present will continue his traveling position as jobbers’ representative. A corporation is being formed, under which the new company will operate as the Alderman-Maghan Hardware Company. (Brainerd Dispatch, 16 April 1920, p. 2, c. 5)

The Alderman-Maghan Company, as stated by the firm members, is now a member of the largest association of independent hardware dealers in the country. Through the Marshall-Wells Company and hundreds of other independent hardware dealers, the greatest hardware buying in the world is at their command. James H. Alderman and Amos Maghan started business in Brainerd in 1920, dealing in hardware and furniture. They purchased the business from White Brothers in May, 1920. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 21 March 1930, p. 3)

14 April 1936. James Alderman and Amos Maghan are in the Twin Cities and Duluth this week, purchasing a new stock of hardware and furniture for the re-opening of their Alderman-Maghan store in May. The store on Laurel St. is being repaired after the fire earlier this year. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 14 April 2016)

SEE: White Brother’s Hardware & Contractors

Fire animation On February 26, 1987 a fire swept through Alderman’s Hardware and several other businesses and apartments located in the 600 block of Laurel Street causing upwards of a million dollars in damages.

SEE: 1987 Walker Block / Alderman’s Hardware Fire in the Brainerd: City of Fire page.


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 travelers 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

Olaf Peterson's Clothing store located in the Anna Block, ca. 1930s. A 850x674 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society, Courtesy of the Birney Wilkins Family
Anna Block on the northwest corner of Front and Seventh Streets, ca. 1930s. A 850x614 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society, Courtesy of the Birney Wilkins Family

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
Looking southeast on Front Street near Fourth Street. Buildings left to right: Globe Hotel, Antlers Hotel Schlange Cigar Factory, ca. Unknown (Before 1917). A 1438x802 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society

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
Men’s Retail Clerks’ Union in front of the Arlington Hotel, ca. 1900. A 1992x1280 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 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. 1936.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society
Interior of the armory at the northwest corner of 5th and Laurel, ca. 1936. A 640x447 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Minnesota 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)

11 December 1936. A New Year’s Eve military ball combining brilliantly uniformed military personnel and formally dressed civilians will serve at the informal dedication of the new armory. Sponsored by Brainerd’s National Guard unit, the 134th Tank Co., the ball has been endorsed by the adjutant general. This was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 11 December 2016)

SEE: 1938 Summary of WPA Activities in Brainerd for 1937 in the Early Accounts of Brainerd page.

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)


The Swedish Methodist Church, located on the corner of Washington Street NE and Gillis Avenue, was purchased by the Assemblies of God in 1922. This church was torn down in the summer of 1932 and replaced with a new Assemblies of God Tabernacle built in 1932 and dedicated on January 10 & 11, 1933.
Source: The Word, a Century with Our Churches, Brainerd, Minnesota 1871-1971, p. 36

It was in the summer of 1921 that the Rev. Frank Lindquist and the Rev. James Menzie came to the Brainerd area from McKeesport, Pennsylvania. These two men began to hold tent meetings in the city of Brainerd. Interest in the community was good so it was decided to secure a building for worship purposes. The old Swedish Methodist Church, which had long been closed, was purchased and after some needed repairs and cleaning was opened for services. The local assembly received their Certificate of Incorporation on May 17, 1922. The church was incorporated under the name “FULL GOSPEL ASSEMBLY.” There were 11 charter members and a Sunday School of 18 members. The Swedish Methodist Church then became the regular place of worship for the members of the “FULL GOSPEL ASSEMBLY.” This church occupied the site of the present Assemblies of God Church on the corner of Washington Street and Gillis Avenue. The Brainerd Assembly was the first church of the Assemblies of God denomination to be established in the state of Minnesota. The church building was constructed in the heart of the then young city of Brainerd.

The Assemblies of God Tabernacle erected in 1932 and dedicated on January 10 & 11, 1933. This building replaced the old Swedish Methodist Church, on the same location, which was torn down in the summer of 1932. A 1343x952 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: The Word, a Century with Our Churches, Brainerd, Minnesota 1871-1971, p. 36
Assemblies of God Tabernacle, ca. Unknown. A 1445x1025 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Denny Olson
Assemblies of God Tabernacle and parsonage, 1993. A 2592x939 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Denny Olson
Assemblies of God Tabernacle demolition and move of parsonage to a location on Gillis Avenue, 1993. A 1019x447 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Denny Olson
Assemblies of God Tabernacle demolition, 1993. A 1017x723 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Denny Olson

About the year 1930, the congregation saw the need of constructing a larger building. The edifice they occupied at that time had been outgrown, and age had taken its toll; so plans were made to build a larger and better one. The old Swedish Methodist church was torn down and the present edifice was built on its site. The construction of the building began on June 17, 1932. On January 10 and 11, 1933, the present church building was dedicated. The Rev. Ivan O. Miller was pastor at the time. Pastor Miller, with the help of the church board and others, designed the building. Upon the completion of the building, the church had a debt of only $4,400. This in itself was a miracle during the days of the depression. During the ministry of the Rev. Stanley Clarke, an educational unit was added to the rear of the church in 1951. The present parsonage was also built during Mr. Clarke’s ministry.

The Brainerd Assemblies of God Tabernacle has had 16 pastors since its inception. The Rev. Frank Lindquist and James Menzie (co-founders) left Brainerd in 1924 and the Rev. Roy Fyles was asked to serve as pastor, which he did until 1925. At this time the Rev. Henry H. Ness was called to serve the church. After Mr. Ness left in April, 1926, the Rev. Herman Johnson served as pastor for about one year. The Rev. Harry Johnson served for a very short time also and after his departure, Miss Mary Chase served as interim pastor until the Rev. Ivan O. Miller arrived. It was during Mr. Miller’s ministry in Brainerd that the present church building was erected. He drew the plans and supervised the construction of the building. When Mr. Miller left, the Rev. Wallace G. Ross was called and he was succeeded by the Rev. Stanley Comstock. Next came the Rev. R. D. E. Smith who pastored the church for approximately seven years and was succeeded by the Rev. David Hastie. Next in succession was the Rev. Rangnos S. Peterson. During his stay in Brainerd a fine addition was made to the church building, but it was during the Rev. Stanley H. Clarke’s ministry that the educational building was finished (1951). Mr. Clarke was succeeded by the Rev. Melford Olson and he in turn by the present pastor, the Rev. Raymond W. Schaible.

These are some of the names that were associated with the Assemblies of God Tabernacle in the year 1933: Ashel, Benson, Cass, Cook, Crawford, Campbell, Dufresne, Flaata, Foster, Gilmore, Henderson, Holman, Jackson, Jenson, Jones, Kunde, Mason, Miller, Nelson, Newman, Peterson, Rose, Shanks, Speed, Spencer, Sterud, Walters, and Williams.

The Assemblies of God Tabernacle has just recently voted to begin a building program. The present facilities are inadequate and there is a serious lack of Sunday School space. (The Word, a Century with Our Churches, Brainerd, Minnesota 1871-1971, pp. 36 & 37)


Baehr Building at the northeast corner of 6th and Front, ca. 1948.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society

Built in 1936 [sic] 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)

15 January 1938. Brainerd’s newest structure, the 1,100 seat Brainerd Theatre, will open tomorrow night. The Baehr brothers, A. W. and E. J., started their theater company five years ago and will move their headquarters from Bemidji to Brainerd with the opening of this new attraction. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 15 January 2018)

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.


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)

The third building on the left will become the Bank of Brainerd located at the southeast corner of South Fifth and Front Streets looking west on Front Street, 1872. A 849x538 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society
William Ferris and his son Allen F. Ferris, age 15, 1880. A 817x474 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society
William A. Ferris ad for jewelry, watches, clocks, silverware and spectacles, 17 January1880.
Source: Brainerd Tribune
Bank of Brainerd located at the southeast corner of South Fifth and Front Streets looking south from Front Street, bank under construction, ca. 1880. A 847x654 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society
Bank of Brainerd at the southeast corner of 5th and Front, ca. 1881.
Source: Minnesota 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
Exterior view of the Barn, 2017. A 1263x691 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Andy Walsh
Karen and Gary Kinney, owners of the Barn, an interior view, 2017. Gary purchased the Barn in 1970 when he was 19 years old. A 1266x687 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Andy Walsh

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)

21 November 1956. Sale of two Brainerd restaurants was announced today. The Barn on Washington Street has been owned for several years by Leonard Boeder and was sold to Don Bennyhoff. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 21 November 2016)

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)


A receipt for the purchase of supplies from Eber Bly's store dated 29 August 1872. A 2544x3149 version of this photo is also available for viewing on line.
Source: Andy Walsh

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-covered 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, Mills, 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; Crow Wing County Historical Society, Brainerd, Minnesota: circa 1936, 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
Brainerd Brewery site with picnic table, 2016. A 1000x750 version of this photo is also available for viewing on line.
Source: Carl Faust
Brainerd Brewery site historical marker, 2016. A 1000x750 version of this photo is also available for viewing on line.
Source: Carl Faust

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)

02 May 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)


Charles N. Parker arrives to make Brainerd his permanent home. He had come in 1872 to build the foundry for the Northern Pacific Railroad and get the operation started, but in 1885 he and his partner H. A [sic]. [Herbert W.] Topping leased the plant and named it Parker-Topping Foundry Company. It depends essentially on a contract entered into by the railroad for all its castings. That business grows to employ up to 150 men. In the course of time E. O. Webb and the grandson Clyde E. Parker became part of the organization. In 1888 the Northern Pacific foundry, being as aforesaid leased to Parker-Topping Foundry Company, is supplying castings for the entire system west of Spokane, Washington and provides a payroll that year amounting to $60,000. Sometime around 1917 the Northern Pacific replaces its old foundry building with a new one of double capacity. During the railroad strike of 1922-23, the railroad discontinues its contract with the Parker & Topping Foundry, the strike scatters the employees and the firm ceases to exist. In 1924 a few former participants, such as the grandson, Clyde E. Parker, and Fred E. Kinsmiller and E. O. Webb join their experiences into a partnership. They name it Brainerd Foundry Company and erect a building of their own at 801-807 South Tenth Street. With two employees they begin work at casting grey iron. In 1925 this new company makes its first brass castings and on 01 January 1928, negotiates its first contract with the Northern Pacific Railroad Company for brass castings. Things pick up enough to justify incorporation in 1930 by Parker and Kinsmiller. As of 1945 the company employs about thirty men and makes 2,200,000 pounds of brass castings and 400,000 pounds of grey iron castings per year. Much of its work is for Cuyuna iron mines; more goes to the pulp and paper mill at International Falls; and most of it goes to the Northern Pacific Railway Company for use between here and Spokane, Washington. [Many years later the foundry is torn down, the site is fenced and declared a hazardous waste site. To my knowledge it is still hazardous and has never been properly cleaned up.] (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946; pp. 50, 51, 55, 112, 131, 132)



2 New Additions Built for Pattern

Storage and Machinery





Recently the Foundry Made a Bronze

Casting Weighing 1,295


Brainerd Foundry, ca. Unknown. A 1248x711 version of this photo is also available for viewing on line.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society

The Brainerd Foundry located on South Tenth street have added two new additions to their building, one of them being for the storage of patterns and the other a new machinery building which gives them more room to increase their output. They have also installed some new core ovens.

Recently the foundry cast a bronze casting weighing net 1,295 pounds. This undoubtedly is one of the largest bronze castings made by any foundry in the state. The foundry is working on a number of contracts and at the present time are employing about 15 men. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 27 November 1925, p. 8, c. 5)

NOTE: This foundry was no longer leased from the Northern Pacific Railroad.

28 December 1984. The defunct Brainerd Foundry a city landmark, went under the blade of a bulldozer today. The Water & Light Board cleared the way for demolition by the EDA when it agreed to waive a lien for unpaid utility bills. A PCB spill at the site will also be cleaned up. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Dispatch, 28 December 2014)

Old Brainerd Foundry Superfund Site

Lead Cleanup Begins

Lead contamination in a south Brainerd neighborhood left by a foundry shut down nearly 35 years ago is slated for cleanup next month.

The areas marked by dotted lines are those the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency intends to excavate this summer to eliminate lead-contaminated soil. The solid line in the center of the map shows the outline of the original foundry building and the shaded area shows where soil was previously excavated nearly 20 years ago.
Source: Brainerd Dispatch

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency intends to break ground June 15 at eight excavation sites around the intersection of Quince and South 10th streets to remove soil laced with high concentrations of lead. The areas surround the site of the former Brainerd Foundry, where the casting of bronze, brass and iron parts for the railroad industry caused heavy metals to spew from its smokestacks for 45 years.

About 20 people attended a community meeting hosted by the MPCA Tuesday night at the First Lutheran Church in Brainerd to learn about the upcoming cleanup. As part of the first phase of the $600,000 project, the agency plans to remove contaminated soil up to 4 feet deep from residents' yards and other property adjacent to the empty lot where the foundry once stood.

The foundry began operations at its South 10th Street location in 1925, although its history dates back to 1872, according to an article from the Brainerd Dispatch's 1971 centennial edition. One of its primary products was brass journal bearings used on the axles of railcars and its primary customer was Burlington Northern, although they also made products for the paper mill and other industrial customers.

The foundry operated until 1981. Over its lifetime, the MPCA estimates about 162,000 pounds of lead were emitted from its smokestacks. The emissions were greatly reduced in 1970, however, when clean air regulations required the addition of air filters to the stacks.

The site has been on the agency's radar since 1983. In response to resident complaints, the MPCA investigated contamination from polychlorinated biphenyl, also known as PCB, two years after the business was abandoned. Since then, numerous investigations have revealed soil lead concentrations several times higher than those considered safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. About 640 cubic yards of contaminated soil were removed from the site in 1996, although not any from surrounding properties.

The MPCA listed the foundry site on its Superfund priority list in 2010 and dedicated funding toward its cleanup this year. It joined five other Superfund sites in the Brainerd area, including the former city dump and the Burlington Northern shops.

Lead is toxic to humans and can cause behavior, learning and health problems in children along with high blood pressure, kidney damage and fertility problems in adults, the Minnesota Department of Health reports. Children are at the greatest risk of lead poisoning from ingesting sources of lead, including lead-based paint chips and contaminated soil.

Daniel Peña, MDH environmental research scientist, conducted a health assessment of the neighborhood in 2001. His findings noted non-industrial land use around the foundry site increased the likelihood of residential lead exposure. This includes Washington Middle School, where classes took place until 2004 and student programs continue to run.

"There is the potential for lead exposure via ingestion of contaminated soil and inhalation of contaminated dusts," Peña wrote. "These data do indicate the existence of children and adults with elevated blood lead in the vicinity. There is a vulnerable population that could be exposed to off-site soils."

Stephanie Yendell works with the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at MDH in St. Paul. Yendell told those in attendance she evaluated blood lead records from the last 20 years in Brainerd and found those living near the foundry site were at no greater risk than those living elsewhere in the city.

"The percentage of people that come up with high levels of lead was very similar in the area right around the foundry as it was in the rest of Brainerd," Yendell said. "There are sources of lead exposure in the area, but we can't say whether it's from one exposure or another."

Marlys Peterson and Raymond Comeau own one of the contaminated properties. Peterson, who purchased the home from her aunt, was aware the property was contaminated when she bought it but has concerns about whether the cleanup efforts will fully eliminate the problem.

Her front yard, which contains some of the heaviest contamination in the area based on sampling, also has two large trees. The MPCA said they would not be removing any trees as part of their excavation efforts.

"It's beautiful and it provides wonderful shade, but in the long run I would prefer clean soil," Peterson said.

Doug Beckwith, MPCA site remediation supervisor based in Duluth, said the agency planned to avoid tree removal as a benefit to residents. Beckwith said they could talk about removing the trees in Peterson's yard but because of the use of state funds, could not make improvements to the property.

Although the foundry owners were found responsible for the pollution, they filed for bankruptcy in 1982, leaving the U.S. Economic Development Administration in possession of the land. The city of Brainerd now owns the land after the EDA gave it to them several years ago. State funds are used to remediate abandoned sites where the responsible party can no longer be assessed the costs.

Jennifer Jevnisek, project manager, said she is discussing with the contractor whether any landscaping will be included beyond replacing the dirt and reseeding the grass.

"We are managing state funds, yet we also acknowledge the fact that homeowners have a preference for how their lawn looks," Jevnisek said.

The first phase of the project is set for completion by July. The MPCA will treat the contaminated soil as hazardous waste, which will be deposited at the Crow Wing County Landfill.

Jevnisek said the agency is planning to implement the second phase of the project next year. The second phase will include wind modeling to determine whether there are additional sites at risk for high lead concentrations, more soil sampling and possible groundwater sampling. (Brainerd Dispatch, 21 May 2015, p. 1)

NOTE: For more information on the early history of this foundry:

SEE: 1872 A Monster Manufactory in the Northern Pacific R. R. in Brainerd page.


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 [30 March 1928], 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 first Brainerd High School, 1885. A 974x878 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society

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)



For Heating and Ventilating New

Additions to Washington

and Lowell.




For $7497—All Bids Were Close

There Being $200 Between

Lowest and Highest

There was a meeting of the board of education on Saturday evening called for the purpose of letting the contract for putting the heating and ventilating plants in the new additions to the Washington and Lowell school buildings.

A communication was received from Architect Wangenstein stating that it would be impossible for him to be present. A communication was also received from the building committee in which it recommended that the secretary be instructed to advertise for the bids for the plumbing in the additions.

The following bids were then opened for the heating and ventilating:

American Heating Co., Minneapolis—$7675

Moore Heating Co., Minneapolis—$7497

F. E. Kreatz, St. Cloud—&7725

Murphy & Sherlund, Brainerd—$7800

The Moore Heating company, of Minneapolis, being the lowest bidders, they were awarded the contract. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 13 July 1903, p. 3, c. 3)

Most of the brick work on the new addition to the Washington school building as been done and Contractor Rowley has started work on the interior. The addition to the Lowell school is also being rushed and it is hoped that both improvements will be completed by the first of November. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 01 October 1903, p. 2, c. 3)

Supt. Hartley: The new high school addition will be all ready Jan. 4. It is completed now all but the blackboards and it will not take long to put these up. We expect to start in with everything in fine shape the first of the year. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 30 December 1903, p. 3, c. 3)

NOTE: Both the Park Opera House/Paramount Theatre and the 1903 addition to the high school were designed by J. J. Wangenstein, of Duluth, and both buildings were built by Charles B. Rowley, Brainerd contractor, who also built the Carnegie Library, Grandelmyer Block, Brainerd Wholesale Grocery building, the Central Hotel, the Juel Block and the first St. Francis Catholic School.



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)



Many Bids Submitted for Contracts

on New High School





Farmers Room of Court House

Crowded to Doors as

Bids Are Opened

Up to the time of going to press no awards had been made by the Brainerd School Board, which last night opened bids for the construction work, etc., of the new high school. The farmers room in the court house was crowded with contractors bidding on the various contracts.

The complete board was in attendance. Bids were read by Architect Croft of the firm of Croft and Boerner and the figures were tabulated by Secretary Louis Hohman. In addition all board members kept tally as well as all the contractors.

Bids as read in order on construction work came first. In addition, tallies covering nine alternates, for inclusion in these general bids, substituting fir for oak, omitting steel doors, etc., which will all be taken into consideration by the board in awarding contracts.

The general construction bids:

Klippers & Husted, Duluth, $344,000

Pfeffer Construction Company, Duluth, $339,800

G. Schwartz & Co., Rochester, $323,000

Edward Hirt & Son, St. Cloud, $254,500

J. B. Nelson, Mankato, $293,682

J. H. Olson, Willmar, $311,200

Devereaux & Olson, Minneapolis, $298,440

Redlinger & Hanson, Minneapolis, $218,700

Madsen & Simonson, Minneapolis, $234,600

Dohm Building Co., Hibbing, $331,000

S. W. Jonason, Aberdeen, S. D., $329,400

R. S. Billingsly Co., Minneapolis, $280,790

Bracker Construction Co., Minneapolis, $294,990

Standard Construction Co., Minneapolis, $285,396

Lindh Gustafson Klopfer, Minneapolis, $297,635

Phelps Drake Co., Minneapolis, $328,000

Field Martin Co., Minneapolis, $303,205

Pehrson Bros., Minneapolis, $308,800

J. C. Nelson & Son, Minneapolis, $311,900

Alex Nelson, Perham, $321,000

Askov Construction Co., Askov, $307,000

Mada Madsen, Minneapolis, $328,700

R. C. Elim, Minneapolis, $312,400

Two bids were offered for temperature control work:

National Regulator Co., Minneapolis, $7,865

Johnson Service Co., Minneapolis, $7,380

The 11 electrical bids were:

Calhoun Lighting Co., Minneapolis, $19,780

H. A. Brown & Son, Waseca, $13,200

Brainerd Electric Co., $18,905.27

Central Service Co., Fargo, $15,800

Industrial Electric Co., Minneapolis, $16,550

Aberdeen, S. D., Engineering Co., $15,900

Sterling Electric Co., Minneapolis, $16,550

Grosse Electric Co., St. Cloud, $14,098

Gateway Electric Co., Brainerd, $17,436

Twin City Electric Co., Minneapolis, $15,300

Noble Electric Co., Minneapolis, $15,342

Further bids follow:

Schirmer Co., Hibbing, heating, $41,025; ventilation, $26,534; plumbing, $28,214

M. J. O’Neil, St. Paul, heating, $35,000; ventilation $23,800; plumbing, $25,000

Heating, Plumbing and Ventilation Co., St. Paul, heating, $34,297; ventilation, $24,215; plumbing, $25,993

Ruben Anderson, St. Paul, heating, $36,267; plumbing, $23,982

Martin Wold Co., Duluth, heating, $42,900; ventilation, $26,300; plumbing, $24,400

Cubey Heating Co., Mankato, heating, $32,780; ventilation, $21,870; plumbing, $22,420

Sherlund Co., Brainerd, heating, $37,400; plumbing, $27,00

Gates and Wise, Grand Rapids, heating, $35,724; plumbing, $23,547

Robb Co., Minneapolis, heating $34,498; plumbing, $24,887

Gruenhagen Co., Brainerd, heating, $34,845; plumbing, $21,970; combined bid, $54,500

B. J. Gallagher and Sons, Faribault, heating, $33,50; ventilation, $23,360; plumbing, $22,990

Benson and Bretz, St. Cloud, heating, $35,128; plumbing, $23,658

H. Gazette, Duluth, heating $37,450; ventilation, $27,800; plumbing, $22,445

Elmer E. Johnson, St. Paul, heating, $36,426; plumbing, $23,034

Charles Conner Co., Minneapolis, heating, $37,000; plumbing, $33,000

Pharo Heating Co., Madison, Wis., heating, $38,800; plumbing, $27,700

American Mechanical Engineer Co., Minneapolis, heating, $39,495; plumbing, $31,350

W. H. Eddy and Co., Superior, Wis., heating, $37,490; ventilation, $26,915; plumbing $25,540

Belvin Porter Co., Minneapolis, heating $38,111; plumbing, $29,614

Individual bids on ventilation follow: L. Pancratz, Little Falls, $23,470; Capitol City, St. Paul, $22,000; Broman Cook Co., Minneapolis, $23,247; Carlson Brothers, Superior, Wis., $25,565; Bartl Brothers, South St. Paul, $23,569; J. Henning and Son, Minneapolis,$27,152; Grand Forks Tin Shop, Grand Forks, N. D., $20,987; Minneapolis Roofing and Cornice Co., Minneapolis, $27,777; A. E. Holms Co., Superior, Wis., $23,534; Walker Jamar Co., Duluth, $26,980.

The school board was in session this afternoon to consider further outstanding bids. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 01 December 1928, p. 6, c.’s 1 & 2)



General Construction Bid Awarded to

Ed Hirt & Son, St. Cloud,

Plus 4 Alternates




Heating and Plumbing Awarded M.

J. O’Neil, St. Paul, Electric

Work to Waseca Firm

The school board of Brainerd late Saturday awarded the contracts for the construction of the new Junior-Senior high school totaling $371,021, which plus architects’ fees estimated will leave a surplus of approximately $30,000 for equipment.

The contract for general construction was awarded Ed Hirt & Son of St. Cloud at their basic bid of $254,500 plus four alternates which bring the total to $266,765. These extras added are tile floors in toilets, music floors in laboratory, terrazzo floors in corridor and Stevens sound proof floor system.

Heating and plumbing was awarded M. J. O’Neil, St. Paul, at the basic bid of $54,800 plus two alternates in heating and three in plumbing, making a total of $57,835. The heating alternates are a Nash vacuum pump and Webster traps. In plumbing the alternates are the sewer on Pine street, a soap dispensing system and a hydraulic lift.

Temperature control work was awarded the Johnson Service Co., of Minneapolis, who bid $7,380.

Electric construction was awarded H. A. Brown & Son of Waseca who bid the basic figure of $13,200 and plus four alternates made a total of $15,204. The alternates are a laboratory panel, standard time master clock, standard secondary clocks and a telephone apparatus.

The ventilating contract was awarded the Grand Forks Tin Shop of Grand Forks, N. D., whose basic figure was $20,987, plus the alternate of an American blower washer making a total of $23,837, with the further option of accepting within two months of the contract date alternate ventilating No. 2, a Sturdevant fan, which will reduce the total price in the amount of $600.

According to contract and specifications, building operations are to start immediately and the building is to be completed by October 1, 1929. The construction and other contractors, of course, are given time to supply necessary bonds and conform to other details.

Croft & Boerner of Minneapolis are the architects and will exercise general supervision over the structure.

The site for the building is the block now occupied by the ruins of the burned high school, a square bounded by Oak, South Broadway, South Ninth and Pine streets. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 03 December 1928, p. 3, c. 1)



Bonds and Contracts of New School

to be Approved at Meeting


At a special meeting last evening the Brainerd Board of Education approved forms of contract awarded to contractors for the construction of the new junior-senior high school.

The board will meet again next Monday to accept bonds and contracts if approved by the attorneys of the board. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 05 December 1928, p. 7, c. 2)



Sheds to be Erected Preparatory to

Excavation of Base-





Tearing Down of Ruins to Start

Early Part of Next Week

At Washington Site

First actual work towards the construction of the new Brainerd high school at the site of the ruins of the old Washington building will be started Monday morning when the contractors, Ed. Hirt and Son, St. Cloud, will place on the ground tool sheds, construction office, and storage buildings, according to word received here today.

Work of tearing down the ruins of the former school will be started within the opening days of next week with excavation work to follow immediately.

It is expected that labor to a large extent will be allowed Brainerd workmen.

Modern machinery will be employed in the construction work. A steam shovel will be used in the excavation work and a sewer digging machine will be brought here for the street sewer work. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 08 December 1928, p. 7, c. 1)



National Surety Co. Furnishes Bond

for Ed. Hirt and Son,





Preparatory Work to Construction

Expected to Start


The Brainerd board of Education will meet this evening in the city hall at which time bonds of contractors for the new high school work will be presented for consideration.

Ed. Hirt and Son, St. Cloud, who were awarded the general contract will be bonded by the National Surety Co. to the amount of $266,765. The bond which was received here this morning will be presented to the board this evening. The bond was placed through A. M. Opsahl, Brainerd.

Bonds to the amount of $23,837 for the Grand Forks Tin Shop, ventilating contractors, have been furnished through William Graham, Brainerd.

This morning close to 100 men seeking employment lined up at the site of the new school. It was announced today that while preparatory work to the construction is expected to start immediately, workmen will not be employed on a general scale for a few days. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 10 December 1928, p. 7, c. 3)



Defer Action on Bonds and Contract

Forms to Straighten





Actual Construction of New School

to Start When Bonds,

Contracts Accepted

Action of acceptance or rejection of bonds and contracts for the construction of the new high school was deferred by the Brainerd Board of Education at its meeting last evening to Wednesday evening.

The bonds and contract forms were being returned today to the successful bidders for corrections in technicalities as reported by the attorneys of the board.

Actual construction work on the school will start as soon as the contracts and bonds are accepted by the board, Louis F. Hohman, secretary of the board reported today.


A communication was received from Croft and Boerner, architects, recommending the changing of the type of clock system in the proposed new high school building. The type selected by the board was the Standard. The architects recommended that the change be made from the Standard to the International Time Recording Co. The recommendation of the architects was concurred in.


The old city jail temporarily being utilized for classroom purposes is proving very satisfactory and is used every hour in the day for science classes. It is one of the most satisfactory temporary rooms that we now have in use. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 11 December 1928, p. 7, c.’s 4-6)



Ed. Hirt and Son Give Employment

to Carpenters to Erect Supply





Error in Bond Forces School Board

to Await Correction Before


Ed. Hirt and Son, general contractors for the construction of the new Brainerd high school this morning hired a number of carpenters to erect storage structures and office headquarters at the site of the construction.

Work of tearing down the ruins of the old school is expected to start within a few days.

The school board last evening accepted the signed contracts of the general contractors, Ed. Hirt and Son, of St. Cloud.

The board did not accept the bond due to a typographical error whereby the word contracts was noted in place of contractors as desired.

The bond which was placed through the local agent A. M. Opsahl was returned to the St. Paul office of the National Surety Co. for correction. It will undoubtedly be accepted when returned in the corrected form. The board will meet again tomorrow evening to receive the bond and pass on it. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 13 December 1928, p. 7, c. 4)



G. D. LaBar, School Board President,

Reviews Steps Made Towards





Architects Give Assurance That

Building Will be Completed

by October 1, 1929

George D. LaBar, president of the Brainerd Board of Education gave an interesting talk on the progress of the Brainerd high school building, reviewed the history of the school, and explained a few of the obstacles which the board and school were forced to meet before arrangements could be completed for the start of construction.

His talk was given Wednesday evening at the Lions club meeting.

Mr. LaBar said in part:

Mr. Chairman, members and guests of the Lions club:

Your chairman asked me to speak on the new school, but I have a habit of changing such subject assignments to suit my own fancy and will therefore change it to “School Affairs and the New Building” which I believe more suitable. I am dividing the subject as follows:

The Difficulties Encountered.

The Progress Made.


Present Status of the Schools and Building Program.

The new Building.

Prospects of Occupancy and the Future.

The difficulties encountered have been many and they not only apply to the time since the loss of the Washington building during the latter part of March but for a considerable period prior thereto. After the fire there was the question of housing the high school, then the adjustment of the insurance and then followed the problem that has confronted the board for years: the matter of location which has frequently been a disturbing factor on the board but after the fire in a far more complicated form than ever. It required many meetings in order to work out propositions to be submitted to the voters. You all know the results of these elections—just an unfortunate lack of a few votes to carry out a full and complete educational building program for the city of Brainerd. The site for the Junior High on the North Side was authorized but the lack of a few votes authorizing the bonds seems to stand in the way of carrying out the project. A Junior-Senior high school on the old Washington site, however, was authorized and bonds to the amount of $150,000.00 voted for the balance required. The total expenditure authorized by the vote was $425,000.00 which includes building, equipment, and architects’ fees.

The progress made consisted of numerous meeting of the board in the selection of an architect. A vast number of applications were received and about eight or ten given personal hearings, and finally, on June 27, or thereabouts, the selection of Croft & Boerner as architects. These men were architects of the Minneapolis auditorium and in addition have had a vast amount of school experience, their work extending over a great many years. They are highly recommended.

The architects made preliminary sketches and submitted their estimates of costs of a building of fireproof construction about as follows:



Architect’s fees—$19,000.00


And it will be interesting to note how close these estimates were to the total of low bids recently received on the building.

Whatever criticisms that have been directed at the board for delays are not justified. The architects promised the plans in two months but the plans were not completed until nearly November 1. If you are familiar with plans and specifications you realize there is a vast difference between complete and perfect plans and incomplete and imperfect plans, and the plans as now complete seem to indicate a very wonderful building. In an effort to hasten the work bids were taken for wrecking the old building, cleaning the brick and cleaning the grounds with the result of one bid for $9,500.00 the board to retain the good, cleaned brick; and another bid of $8,450.00 the contractor to take everything. The bids were considered excessive and consequently were rejected, with the expectation of including the wrecking with the general contract for the new building and the recent bids vindicated this conclusion as this expense was entirely absorbed in the general contract—a substantial saving.

The present status of our schools is all that can be expected; rather inconvenient for teachers and pupils, but we believe all are making the best of the situation. We are positively doing all we can in providing temporary quarters by utilizing the old court house, and part of the city hall, and people should be thankful that we have these quarters available.

The new building program can best be illustrated by certain unfinished blueprints that I have in my possession and which I will show you. The building is to be of fireproof construction. The building faces North on Oak street, about 50 feet back from the street with a frontage of 221’ 2 1/2”; the length from north to south 238’ 3”. The building is intended to have a capacity of between 900 and 1,000 pupils. It contains administration offices, library, study and classrooms, and other facilities required for a Junior-Senior high for the number of pupils indicated. The entrances and exits are well placed as are the convenient corridors and stairways. Located in the basement you note that a lunch room and kitchen have been placed in addition to the heating plant, fans, air washers and other mechanical equipment together with considerable storage and other useful space. On the ground floor you will find the auditorium with a seating capacity of 1,035, and separated from this by a wall, we have the gymnasium with two playing floors 42x66, one for boys and one for girls. The doors between these two gyms can be folded back in the wall for big games and you have and an unusually large floor 66x84. The gym has a seating capacity of nearly 1,500 and in an emergency 500 to 1,000 more can be added on the playing floor. The second and third floors can be best explained by the blueprints.

The prospects for the future are simply that the architects assure us that the greater part of this building will be completed and ready for occupancy October 1, 1929, and I believe when finished the public will be more than satisfied with its new, modern, fireproof school building.

Bids for the new building were received on November 30 and from the vast number received the following low bids were accepted:

Ed. Hirt & Son, St. Cloud


Tile Floor Toilets—$1,900.00

Mastic Floor Lab—$400.00

Terrazzo Corridors—$7,845.00

Sound Proof Floor—$2,120.00


M. J. O’Neil, St. Paul

Heating and plumbing combined—$54,800.00


Soap dispensers—$160.00

Hydraulic lift—$975.00


Johnson Service Co., Minneapolis & Milwaukee

Temperature control—$7,380.00

H. A. Brown & Son, Waseca

Electric system—$13,200

Lab. panel—$300.00





Grand Forks Tin Shop





I would like particularly at this time to call your attention to the total which only slightly exceeds the architects estimate of $369,000.000 with several improved features added and the entire cost of wrecking the old building absorbed. The entire cost of the new building including equipment and architects’ fees should not exceed to any great extent the amount authorized by the voters of $425,000.00 unless we may decide to add stokers to our heating plant costing about about $4,000.00 which our investigation thus far seems to indicate will pay for themselves in only a few years.

I sincerely hope that the full and complete building program for the Brainerd schools, which definitely includes a Junior high school on the North Side, may be carried out at a not very distant day. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 15 December 1928, p. 6, c.’s 1 & 2)



Crew Cleans up Wreckage on Inside

of Old Washington





First Load of Lumber Unloaded by

Joe Bloomstrom of


Rapid strides were seen today in the construction of tool sheds, and office building as the tearing down of the ruins of the old Washington high school building started.

First steps in actual construction caused considerable excitement as the first of a number of loads of lumber was unloaded at the site of construction Thursday afternoon by Joe Bloomstrom, driver of the Hayes-Lucas Lumber Co.

A large group of citizens gathered to witness the unloading, significant of the official commencement of work in the long awaited start of construction of the new junior-senior high school building.

Officials of the Ed. Hirt and Son, contractors, in charge of the general construction gave instructions as to the location of unloading of material and where the tool sheds and office were to be located.

The main office which will house time-keepers, checkers, and officials on the job will be located on the grounds facing Oak street.

A crew today was engaged in clearing up the wreckage on the inside of the building. It is expected that on Monday work on tearing down the walls will start. A crane will be used in the work, it is reported. A carload of machinery was shipped by rail yesterday to Brainerd by the contractors. It was unloaded today.

The Board of Education last evening placed its official O. K. on the bonds of the National Surety Co. furnished Ed. Hirt and Son for the general contract. The bonds of the Johnson Service Co., temperature control contractors, were also approved. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 15 December 1928, p. 6, c. 3)



Dahlquist Construction Co. Gets

Excavation Work Contract

From General Contractors




Ed. Hirt and Son Continue to Tear

Down Old Walls; 50 Men

Now on Job

Progress is shown today in the work at the new Brainerd high school site in excavation work of a section of the basement and the tearing down of the walls of the ruins of the old building.

Ed. Hirt and Son, general contractors, have sublet the contract for the excavation of the basement to the Dahlquist Construction Co., of Minneapolis.

An Erie steam shovel is being used in the excavation work with four five ton trucks hauling the excavation dirt to South 9th street between Pine and Quince streets to build up the roadway. At the present time a trench is being dug on the grounds facing Oak street where the north basement wall will be located.

Fifty men have been employed on the work at the school site to date.

The general contractors continued today to tear down the walls of the old school. Reclaimed material is being piled while waste material is being hauled away in trucks. After cleaning, the bricks will be used as “backing” on the inside walls of the building. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 22 December 1928, p. 7, c. 5)



Walter Bringman, Pillager, is First

Injured at Work on New

Brainerd High School




Lands in Pile of Bricks; Although

Experiencing Pains Continued

Work All Day

Walter Bringman, Pillager, worked six hours with a fractured wrist and didn’t know it.

It was the first accident case in the construction of the new Brainerd high school building. At 9 A. M. Thursday, Bringman fell off a ladder 20 feet to a pile of bricks. He picked himself up and continued his work even though he did experience considerable pain in his right wrist. That evening he went to a doctor who informed him after X-Ray pictures had been taken that he had fractured his wrist.

Besides the fracture Bringman suffered abrasions on both of his legs. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 22 December 1928, p. 7, c. 7)



Detroit Stokers, New Type of Boilers,

Sturdevant Fan, Electric Lift

to be Installed




Recommendations for the installation of a Sturdevant fan, the installation of Detroit stokers for three boilers, the changing of the boilers from the proposed 322 type to the 421 Kewanee type, the substitution of an electric lift in place of a hydraulic, as made by Mr. Croft of the firm of Croft and Boerner, architects for the construction of the new Brainerd high school building were received and approved by the Brainerd Board of Education at the meeting this week.

The installation of the Sturdevant fan will mean a saving of $540 from other offers made, Mr. Croft explained.

The changing of the boiler types will give the boilers a 150 percent rating. The changing of the boilers will be considered as an extra to the contract price of M. J. O’Neil as provided in the general conditions of the contract.

In view of the exceptional figure quoted for the electric lift the board decided to accept it in place of the hydraulic lift at a cost not to exceed $450.

The board set the date of January 19 at 2 p. m. for a meeting at which time the members will view and take action on the selection of face brick for the Washington high school building.

In allowing claims the board issued an order for the payment of $12,000 to Ed. Hirt and Son general contracts of the high school and $2,600 to the architects, Croft and Boerner.

The building committee reported that additional radiation had been placed and two storm sheds contracted at the two entrances of the school in the old court house building. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 10 January 1929, p. 7, c.’s 5 & 6)



State Investment Board Approves

Loan for Construction of

Brainerd High School

The State Investment Board yesterday ordered the payment of $150,000 in a loan to Brainerd for school building purposes.

The money will be used to assist in the payment of the cost of the construction of the new high school to replace the one destroyed last year by fire. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 11 January 1929, p. 3, c. 3)



Favors Sample Submitted by A. C.

Ochs Brick and Tile Co.,

Springfield, Minn.




200,000 Face Brick Needed by Con-

tractor for New High School;

Price $28 a Thousand

The Brainerd Board of Education last evening picked the face brick for the Washington high school building now under construction.

Of the 20 samples submitted by different concerns the one by the A. C. Ochs Brick and Tile Co., of Springfield, Minn., was selected by the board as the brick for the new building.

The brick is a variation of five different shades of red and black. It is not smooth, but has a slightly rough face.

It was estimated by the general contractors, Ed. Hirt and Son that approximately 200,000 face brick would be needed for the building. The price stipulated by the architects which meets that of the brick company is $28 a thousand. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 22 January 1929, p. 5, c. 3)



Construction Work at New School

Building Proceeds With

All Speed




Brick Laying to Start About April

1; Boilers to be Installed

Next Week

Construction of Brainerd’s new high school building continues with all speed with indications that brick laying will be underway before April 1.

Officials of Ed. Hirt and Son, general contractors, announced today that practically the entire basement of the building was completed and that the boiler room would be completed within two weeks. Work of placing the boiler in the room will be started within a week.

In addition to the general contract work, ventilation men, electricians and plumbers are on the job doing preliminary work. At the present time plumbing sleeves are being put in.

Sixty men are at present employed on the construction. Eight carpenters in addition to those already working will be employed next week, a member of the general contract firm announced today.

The basement when completed will be 225 feet by 250 feet with the boiler room to the south and main entrance to the north on Oak street.

In spite of the severe winter work was delayed only four days. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 16 February 1929, p. 5, c. 4)



IT is worth one’s while to visit the high school construction work and see the steel workers and riveters at work. Bolts are heated on the ground and tossed up and no big league battery ever worked with finer cooperation or “clicked” better with a less percentage of errors than the riveter in the air and his companion on the ground.

The steel men are accustomed to working at great heights. No dizziness ever assails them. They walk with greater freedom and more certainty on the steel work, lacy filaments, than the average Brainerd man does on the ground.

Sunday afternoon, before a select group of spectators, one of the steel workers did various stunts on one of the girders and culminated his “act” by standing on his head. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 24 April 1929, p. 4, c. 1)



Steel Work Nearing Completion;

Brick Surrounds Build-

ing One Story

The ornamental entrance to the new Brainerd high school is now complete and the steel work of the new building is nearing completion. Work on the new school to finish by October is rapidly being pushed.

The brick work on the first story has already been completed. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 16 May 1929, p. 7, c. 5)


CLOSE JUNE 4, 1929

Brainerd, Minn.

Notice is hereby given that the Board of Education of the School District of Brainerd, Minn., will received sealed proposals up to the hour of ten o’clock P. M., Tuesday, June 4. 1929, at the office of the undersigned for furnishing and installation of the following furniture and equipment in accordance with plans and specifications prepared therefor by Croft & Boerner, Architects and Engineers, 1004 Marquette Ave., Minneapolis, Minn.

Separate bids will be received for the following:

1. Auditorium Seating.

2. Laboratory and Vocational Furniture.

3. Steel Lockers.

4. Electrical Fixtures.

5. Window Shades.

6. Library Equipment.

7. Stage Equipment.

8. Motion Picture Equipment.

9. School Desks, Tables, Chairs and Miscellaneous Equipment and Furniture.

Bids will be received only on the proposal form as bound with each set of specifications.

Bids must be accompanied by a certified check for amounts as shown in the Proposal Form, said check to be made payable to the Treasurer of the Board of Education, Brainerd School District.

The successful bidder for each part of the work will be required to furnish a contract surety bond for the full amount of the accepted proposal in the form prescribed in the specifications.

Copies of the approved plans and specifications may be seen at the offices of the Secretary of the Board of Education, 806 South South 6th street, Brainerd, Minn., and Architects at Minneapolis address.

Applicants requiring prints for their own use may obtain same from the Architects after May 10.

A deposit of $10 will be required on all copies of said plans and specifications, which deposit will be refunded upon return of the plans and specifications in good condition and in case a bona fide bid is submitted. Blueprint cost will be retained in case the plans are mutilated or a bona fide bid is not submitted.

The Board of Education reserves the right to reject any or all bids.

By order of the Board of Education.


Brainerd, Minn.


(Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 27 May 1929, p. 7, c. 2)



Fire Department Makes Run to New

High School Now Being Built;

Little Damage

The new Brainerd high school now under construction replacing the old Washington high building which was destroyed by fire was the scene of a small blaze yesterday afternoon which did little damage.

The city fire department put out the blaze which started in the tar pots. No material used in the construction of the school burned. The alarm was turned in at 2:30 p. m. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 12 July 1929, p. 7, c. 4)



Committee Named to Make Prepara-

tions for Coming Ceremony at

New High School




More Extensive Plans Will be Made

for Dedication Program

This Fall

A committee of three members of the Brainerd Board of Education will have charge of preparations for the cornerstone laying at the new Brainerd high school, it was decided at this week’s meeting of the board.

These members, Dr. G. H. Ribbel, Mrs. J. A. Thabes, Sr., and M. E. Morrison will be assisted in plans by W. C. Cobb, superintendent of Brainerd schools.

No definite date has yet been decided upon for the ceremony. The cornerstone laying will be brief. Concentration will be directed more extensively on the dedication program of the new building this fall. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 18 July 1929, p. 6, c. 2)



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)

The New High School


THE new high school is a credit to the city and its fame is already spreading far before the building is occupied. The rural districts about Brainerd are becoming especially interested and a large number of high school pupils will in the future come from that section.

The gymnasium will be a wonderful center for basketball and other sports and events are now shaping themselves that Brainerd with other civic improvements now about assured will become the regional as well as district center of high school basketball.

And the wonderful auditorium will be a great thing for school work and that broader area which unites parents, teacher and scholars in Parent-Teacher activities.

Sunday the building was crowded with people viewing progress in interior work. It is hoped the building may be occupied by the first of next year and maybe earlier. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 07 October 1929, p. 4, c. 1)



Committees Prepare Group of Books

for New High School





Laboratory Equipment and Apparatus

Occupies Attention of


A committee consisting of principals and heads of departments of the high school together with a committee from the board of education and the superintendent have for some time been preparing lists of new books for purchase for the new high school library.

Similar committees have been at work looking toward the purchase of laboratory apparatus and equipment for the new laboratory.

“In fact in order to make the new building as complete for all purposes as possible special committees have been appointed to investigate equipment not included in the architects’ plans and specifications and will be ready to report their findings at a very early date,” said W. C. Cobb, superintendent of schools, today.

The last of the equipment companies to get its equipment on the ground was the Kewaunee Co., of Kewaunee, Wis., who have the contract for the furnishing of the equipment for the new library. This equipment arrived on Saturday and is being installed this week. With the completion of this installation the new building will be essentially completed in all the more important details although numerous minor features will be coming up for correction and adjustment for some time to come. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 11 December 1929, p. 3, c. 1)










On account of the final adjustment of matters relating to the final acceptance of the building under rules of the general contract, it has been necessary to not permit the use of the new high school gymnasium for basketball purposes until the acceptance status is established and adjusted.

“While the basketball squad is undoubtedly disappointed in not being able to start practice now that the playing season is really on throughout the district, it seems the only sensible course of procedure under the circumstances. It is hoped, however, that the adjustments referred to will be settled without undue delay and that the building will be ready for occupancy within a reasonable length of time,” said W. C. Cobb, superintendent of schools, today.

The opening games will probably be transferred by agreement with the towns interested, from Brainerd to Pine River on December 20 and Pequot on December 21. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 12 December 1929, p. 10, c. 4)



Will Decide on Acceptance of Build-

ing at Meeting Friday

Evening This Week

The Brainerd Board of Education will consider the acceptance of the new high school at a meeting Friday evening in the new Washington high school.

The board members met at the school last evening and conducted an inspection tour of the building. Another inspection tour of the building will be made again Friday evening. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 17 December 1929, p. 3, c. 1)



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)



First National Bank of Brainerd

Strikes Popular Chord in Its

New Calendar

The First National Bank of Brainerd is today distributing to patrons and friends a calendar which carries a beautiful picture of the new Brainerd high school, and printing and engraving merge and make of it a work of art.

The engraving was made from the architects’ sketch and shows the front elevation facing Oak street. The view shows all architectural details, and a copy of the calendar is well worth preservation as a memento of the strides in educational history in Brainerd. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 27 December 1929, p. 3, c. 3)



Large Size Calendars With High

School Reproduction Limited to

Stores, Offices

The calendars, carrying the reproductions of the new Washington high school, compliments of the First National bank of Brainerd have created such a demand that bank officials decided today to limit the calendars to stores and business houses only to which they are especially adapted because of their size.

A smaller house calendar will be given patrons and friends of the bank. The calendar has for its painting design a beautiful color reproduction named the “The Song of the Sierras.” (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 December 1929, p. 2, c. 3)



Two Open House Days at Washington

High Attract Large





More Than Lives Up to Expectations;

Dedication Program


A continuous stream of people walked through the corridors, rooms, auditorium and gymnasium Saturday and Sunday when the doors of Brainerd’s new high school were thrown open to the public for general inspection.

The “open house” days of the striking new Washington building were planned by the Brainerd Board of Education that the curiosity of Brainerd and country people to learn first hand what the building looked like might be satisfied before the dedication program to be held within a few weeks as planned.

Streets for blocks around the school were crowded with cars, many of which were from out of the city.

The new building more than lives up to the expectations of the people. Exclamations of praise were heard on all sides as people inspected the building in detail. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 30 December 1929, p. 7, c. 1)

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 ten through twelve. (Brainerd 1871-1946, Carl Zapffe, Colwell Press, Incorporated, Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1946; pp. 49 & 141)



Students Assist in Moving in Today;

Excitement Reigns Among





Structure is Practical and Beautiful,

Complete in Every


The new Washington high school embodying practicability and beauty was near ready for occupancy of the students today.

The students will move into the new building Monday morning. Excitement prevails among them as they anxiously await the opening. Teachers have been assigned rooms with their names printed on cards over the ones under their particular supervision.

Students today assisted in moving in necessary items for the starting of school. Boxes of books were moved into the spacious, well arranged library which has ample natural light through the medium of many windows on the north side of the building. These books will be placed in the shelving within a few days.

Miss Mary Tornstrom, principal of the school, returned to Brainerd after the holidays yesterday to assist in preparation for the opening.

Each of the classrooms is well provided with windows while the latest equipment has been installed in the science rooms, mechanical training, and physics department. In the domestic science rooms miniature stoves have been installed as well as glistening white wash stands. Everything has been provided to improve the girls in the art of home and kitchen maintenance and the preparation of food.

The equipment room is composed of technical apparatus which governs the airing and temperature of the building with the water cleaning of air.

Three boilers with automatic stokers will guarantee the proper temperature at all times.

Tornstrom Auditorium named after Mary Tornstrom, beloved Brainerd High School teacher and principal
Source: ca. Unknown.

The auditorium is without question one of the finest auditoriums that could be seen in any high school in the country. Its equipment includes a thoroughly modern projection room, spacious stage with lighting effects for every occasion. The seats are designed for comfort with cushioned backs. The draperies on the stage are in themselves an attraction. The auditorium can but be appreciated completely only on sight.

The gymnasium meets every requirement for the holding of basketball and indoor games. It has a seating capacity of 1,500 and for tournaments the capacity can be swelled to 2,500 by the addition of bleachers on the floor.

If the combined gymnasium is ever used as a convention hall and chairs are placed on the floor a seating capacity of three thousand is obtained. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 04 January 1930, p. 7, c. 1)

Anent High School Gymnasium


GETTING into the new high school gymnasium is quite an undertaking when a crowd attempts entrance through a bottleneck opening. A large group milled on the cold steps and sidewalk last Friday night. The pressure was partially relieved when a second entrance was opened and ticket selling started there too. It would not be a bad idea to have places downtown where tickets will be put on sale and to have an entrance for the fans thus provided.

The Bemidji-Brainerd game drew an attendance of approximately 1100. The Crosby-Ironton game here this Friday will draw a larger crowd as the range team will bring hundreds of fans. At a recent football game in Brainerd, Crosby-Ironton had more range people in attendance than there were Brainerd people.

A little sand on the south walk would also not be amiss. With crowds running 1,000 and over, high school officials should make preparations to handle crowds expeditiously, permitting quick ingress and egress. To assist in handling crowds, the chief engineer and janitor staff of four can be deputized.

Let’s have something done before Friday of this week. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 06 January 1930, p. 4, c. 1)


First use of the auditorium was made by the whole high school today when all pupils assembled there this morning and listened to talks made by Supt. W. C. Cobb and Principal Miss Mary Tornstrom.

The acoustics of the hall were given a test when Hallett Clarkson officiated as cheer leader. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 06 January 1930, p. 7, c. 3)



J. M. McConnell, Commissioner of

Education to Officially Dedicate





Ceremonies to be Held in Auditorium

of New Washington

High at 8 P. M.

Impressive will be the ceremonies of dedication of the new Washington high school to be conducted next Tuesday evening, January 28 in the auditorium.

Heading the group of honored guests and speakers will be Governor Theodore Christianson and J. M. McConnell, commissioner of education of the state. The governor will be present in the afternoon to address the student body of the school and to speak at the dedication exercises in the evening which will start at 8 o’clock. Mr. McConnell will officially dedicate the building as a high school.

Present members of the Brainerd Board of Education and members of the board when work on the building was planned and started have been invited to sit on the stage. They will include: G. D. LaBar, Mrs. J. A. Thabes, Sr., Dr. G. H. Ribbel, Louis F. Hohman, Fred Drexler, R. W. Crust, M. E. Morrison, F. M. Hagberg, Elmer O. Olson, George Falconer, Elmer Forsberg, John Holvick, Harold E. Whitlock, Hugo Sundberg, Andrew Anderson. Besides the board members W. C. Cobb superintendent of schools, Miss Mary E. Tornstrom, principal of the Brainerd high have been invited to have seats on the stage.

Arrangements for the dedication are being made by the following committee: Dr. G. H. Ribbel, chairman; M. E. Morrison, Elmer Forsberg and Harold E. Whitlock.

R. W. Crust, president of the board will act as chairman and will give the address of welcome to the speakers and visitors.

The program will start with selections by the school orchestra under direction of Miss Cora Rickard.

The program follows:

Selections—High school orchestra lead by Miss Cora Rickard.

Songs—Brainerd Choral club directed by Miss Effie Drexler.

Address of welcome—R. W. Crust.

Songs—Dr. G. I. Badeaux.

Dedicatory address—J. M. McConnell, state commissioner of education.

Songs—High School Glee club directed by Miss Rickard.

Address—Governor Theodore Christianson.

The auditorium has the large seating capacity of 1010 but since a capacity house is expected for the exercises the school board has decided to give adults first choice in the seats. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 22 January 1930, p. 7, c. 1)

Dedication Ceremonies of the New High School Tonight








Ceremonies of dedication for the new Brainerd high school will be conducted in the auditorium of that building tonight. The general public and members of the senior class are cordially invited to attend these exercises at 8 o’clock.

Underclassmen and other pupils who desire to attend may meet in the gymnasium until adults are seated in the auditorium. If the auditorium is filled to capacity, these students may have the privilege of remaining in the gymnasium to hear a special program arranged for them.

Governor Theodore Christianson and Commissioner J. M. McConnell of the state department of education are to be honored guests and speakers on the program. The main address will be given by the governor and Mr. McConnell will officially dedicate the building.

The complete program as arranged by a special committee in conjunction with the members of the school board is as follows:


Les Bohemian (March)—Brown

Golden Rod (Intermezzo)—Metcalf

The Scarlet Mask (Overture)—Zamecnik

High School Orchestra

Miss Cora Rickard, Director


Rev. F. A. Kufus, President of Ministerial Association.

Address of Welcome—

Mayor Frank E. Little.


Stars Brightly Shining (Venetian Carnival Waltz Song)—Bronte

To a Wild Rose—McCowell

High School Glee Club


Robert W. Crust, President—Board of Education.


Friend of Mine—Wilfred Sanderson

Heidelberg (from Prince of Pilsen”)—Gustev Luders

Dr. Irving Badeaux

Mrs. W. F. Wieland, Accompanist

Dedicatory Address—

J. M. McConnell, State Commissioner of Education


Glory to Isis (from Aida)—Verdi

O, Irish Hills (Londonderry Ave)—Lester

Children of the Moon—Warren

Brainerd Choral Club

Miss Effie Drexler, Director

Mrs. Louis Knudson, Accompanist


Hon. Theodore Christianson, Governor of the State of Minnesota




Miss Cora Rickard, Leader


Rev. F. A. Kufus

(Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 January 1930, p. 3, c. 1)

New School Presents Impressive Appearance


Viewed from the outside, the Washington high school building puts up a spectacular and impressive appearance. The building is rectangular in shape, and at the back there is a large extension that houses the gymnasium. There are six entrances two of which are in front of the building two of which lead into the gymnasium, while the last two open into the building at the east and west sides.

Inside, the floors of the halls are made of spotted marble while the walls are plastered and painted tan. The building also features oaken woodwork. Stairs lead from each corner of the halls on every floor. Gates in the walls, which can be drawn out, are at the head of all stairs leading up from the first floor. These gates are closed to shut off parts of the building when these sections are not in use. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 January 1930, p. 3, c. 1)

New School is Highly Praised by Supt. Cobb


Our new building is a source of joy and delight to all students and members of the faculty as well as to the general public. Its equipment is of the very best and nothing has been omitted to make all departments as efficient as possible. The school board has labored valiantly to provide a building of which we can be extremely proud, for it is a credit to Brainerd beyond any doubt.

With a heating system of the very finest; with an auditorium of unusual beauty; with a gymnasium large enough to take care of all physical needs; with science departments that are outstanding; with classrooms that are light and roomy; and with a library that will compare favorable with any of its kind in the state, we are happy indeed to be in this new building presented to us by the citizens of Brainerd and the state of Minnesota.

W. C. Cobb.

(Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 January 1930, p. 3, c. 2)






In the past, the lack of a school or municipal auditorium suitable for class plays, concerts and declamation contests has been mainly responsible for the waning interest in these activities. Before the old high school burned, the assembly was converted into a temporary concert hall, the only stage available, the teacher’s desk. What few dramatic ventures there were, were produced either in the gym or at some lodge hall. As a result these productions seemed not to be school activities, and the support of students and parents was lost.

But with the opening of the new Washington school, this is all changed. Brainerd now boasts one of the finest high school auditoriums in the northwest.

We have only a few minutes, but if we hurry, we may be able to get into the auditorium before Mr. Swanson finishes his sweeping.

Now, as we open this door, set yourself for a big surprise.

There! Have you ever seen a more beautiful and impressive room?

A thousand seats stretch off in front of us to the stage over a hundred feet away. The stage itself, 50 feet wide and 20 feet deep, is framed by a massive proscenium arch, supported by two gigantic pillars, and delicately paneled in the same chaste, subdued light tan and cream that dominates the decorative motif of the whole room.

Chandeliers Furnish Light

New Brainerd High School auditorium, 28 January 1930. A 650x462 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Brainerd Daily Dispatch

Unconsciously our eyes wander upwards to the source of light, 15 bowl chandeliers, each one bordered by 12 small lights. The ceiling, like the proscenium, is divided into large panels but unlike the arch it is bordered on the lower edge by a cutout frieze, daintily beautiful in quiet good taste.

Now that we have a general impression of the room, let us look at it more closely. There is a rich navy blue velvet curtain trimmed in gold on the stage. They tell us that there are three changes of scenery, besides a fire curtain and a movie screen. There is also a complete set of disappearing footlights and a battery of colored floods.

We find that the walls are paneled in the same scheme as the ceiling; on each of the three walls are two bronze sconce lamps which cast a delightful soft green glow over the auditorium. As we look towards the back of the hall at the electric clock, we notice a large enclosed balcony, supported apparently by two braces of the same predominant, simple but effective type of decoration. That, Mr. Swanson tells us, is the projection booth. Those holes all over the front of it are for the movie and slide projectors which will be installed later.

As we are shoved out by the janitor, we look backward and think that it would be worth 50 cents just to come and sit in those comfortable seats and drink in the beauty of it all.

R. C. E

(Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 January 1930, p. 3, c.’s 2 & 3; p. 5, c. 2)



“With the occupancy of the new school it is hoped that the opportunities, privileges and social times afforded there will offset the inconveniences caused the faculty and students in the temporary quarters.

“The school is the road to success.

“The high school road is four years long and what is at the end of the road depends on you.” said R. W. Crust, president of the Brainerd Board of Education in a statement today. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 January 1930, p. 3, c. 4)



The things that delight us in the new building? They are legion. In the first place, the building as a whole is far beyond our fondest dreams. The lighting, the fresh air, the spaciousness—all these are keen joys after years of waiting. The biggest thing is the joy that permeates the student body—for privacy in lockers, for adequate gym space, for a beautifully equipped auditorium which seats enough and to spare. Old grads can laugh in appreciation of performances in the old gym, where one sat for hours on hard bleachers and gazed around pillars and folded and carried chairs after the performance. This generation of students has the inestimable privilege of sharing in the beauty and convenience of a building that should make for better cooperation and finer citizenship along every line. May the excellence of physical equipment result in a greater appreciation of the aims of education.

Mary F. Tornstrom

(Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 January 1930, p. 3, c. 5)






Although our magnificent new school has aged but a few short months and has been frequented by exuberant students for but three shorter weeks, its existence has been recognized for a far greater period of time.

In the minds of the hundreds of hopeful grade school children all over the city a number of years ago there rose a treasured vision of the magnificent building which would be waiting for them long before they were ready to enter. Many years were to pass, however, before this longed for “Castle of Dreams” was actually to be be molded into being.

The old Washington high school was almost completely destroyed by fire on the night of March 30, 1928. What the possible cause of the fire was remains a mystery to this day but whatever the agency which plotted its destruction, the reader may rest assured that the episode brought no tears from the astonished students for out of the ashes rose the present magnificent structure which far surpasses the hopes and dreams of citizens and students alike.

Within a period of two months following the destruction of the old building, the board of education was well on its way towards the selection of an architect to prepare plans and specifications for a new modern fireproof building. The time required for preparing blueprints and specifications by the selected firms, more of which the reader may learn by looking elsewhere on this page, took about four months.

Advertising for bids for the construction of the building, opening of such bids and awarding of contracts required also more than a month of hard and patient work on the part of the board members of 1928.

The construction of the school was soon underway and within a few short months the structure was complete and equipped, ready for use.

History’s pages do not yet bear inscriptions regarding our new building other than the brief resume of its coming into existence as we have tried to picture to you. Such masterpieces of men created for such a worthy cause are originally designated by fate to become famous and so it shall be numbered with the best and when the time will come that its walls shall wither and decay its spirit shall rise anew—a living emblem to its worthy existence.

Z. S.

(Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 January 1930, p. 3, c.’s 5 & 6; p. 5, c. 6)







As we look upon the beautiful structure which has been given to Brainerd as the home for its High School student body, seldom do we stop to realize the endless planning and great ingenuity which has made the completion of this wonderful project possible. The greater part of this mental labor has been done by the Brainerd Board of Education, in conjunction with the superintendent of schools, W. C. Cobb.

The board consists of ten members, each ward in the city electing two persons for a term of four years. After the destruction of the old High School, in 1928, the School Board immediately took up the work of preparing a means by which a new school might be obtained. It was the board of 1928 that awarded the contract for the general construction of the building. Before choosing an architect, the board was obliged to listen to 15 or 20 minute talks by representatives from many architectural firms, who gave the general qualifications of their establishments concerning their work.

The board of 1928 consisted of the following: G. D. LaBar, Pres.; R. W. Crust, Vice Pres.; M. E. Morrison, Treasurer; Louis F. Hohman, Secretary (clerk); Geo. Falconer, F. M. Hagberg, Fred Drexler, Elmer Forsberg and Mrs. J. A. Thabes. Before the close of his term, Mr. Falconer resigned, and Andrew Anderson was elected to serve out his unexpired term. The Board of ‘29 includes R. W. Crust, Pres.; Mrs. J. A. Thabes, Sr., Vice Pres.; M. E. Morrison, Treasurer; Louis F. Hohman, Secretary (clerk); Hugo Sundberg, Harold Whitlock, Dr. G. H. Ribble, Elmer Forsberg, Elmer Olson, and Fred Drexler.

Continue Good Work

The work which had been begun by the Board of ‘28 was immediately taken up by the new staff of ‘29. Included in its duties were the awarding of contracts for the furnishing and installing of equipment in the building, installation of furniture and fixtures, and the purchasing of numerous articles needed in the different science departments. This work also called for the employing of janitors and an engineering staff, advertisement of bids and of awarding of contracts.

These items together with countless others, not mentioned, formed a stupendous task, which required an inestimable amount of time and labor.

E. G.

(Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 January 1930, p. 3, c. 7)

Thousand New Books Ordered for Library


New Brainerd High School library, 28 January 1930. A 650x467 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Brainerd Daily Dispatch

One of the outstanding features of the new high school is the school library situated on the second floor between the junior and senior assemblies. It has been rightfully judged one of the finest in the northwest.

The woodwork is quarter sawed oak and the twelve chandeliers are of etched glass with bronzed trimmings. The bookcases are enhanced by wood behind the shelves. There are twelve stationary tables with stationary chairs that eliminate all unnecessary disturbance. The floor covering is a very superior quality of tile, three-fourths of an inch thick with green and brown coloring.

The room has an extension telephone and also a clock connected with the main office. The conveniences for filing are excellent and there is a large magazine rack and also an encyclopedia rack. The room is lined with shelving and according to Miss Tornstrom there is space enough for books for many years to come. Fifteen hundred old books will be used here and a thousand new books have been ordered. Students of the Brainerd high school will have the opportunity of reading choice books and literature.

A. H.

(Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 January 1930, p. 3, c. 7)






One occasion long to be remembered by the student body of the Brainerd high school, and also by the alumni and former students who took part in the program, was the dedication of the new grand piano held last Friday afternoon in the high school auditorium.

Mrs. J. A. Thabes, Sr., who made all the necessary arrangements for the event, was in charge and after briefly reviewing the history of the piano fund and the final purchase of the new Conover grand, announced the following musical numbers:


Scherzo from the Concerto in A Minor—Schubert

Wm. St. Clair McClenahan, Jr.


Melody in A—Dawes

My Old Kentucky Home—Foster

Miss Geraldine Kiebler

Miss Lorraine Morrison, accompanist


Heidelberg (from Prince of Pilsen)—Luders


Dr. Irving Badeaux

Mrs. W. F. Wieland, accompanist


Hungarian Dance No. 5—Brahms

By the Waters of Minnetonka—Lieurance

Julius Witham

Mrs. W. F. Wieland, accompanist


Lover, Come Back to Me—Romberg

Dr. Irving Badeaux

Julius Witham

Mrs. W. F. Wieland


Romance Arabesque—Arnold

Prelude in C. Minor—Rachmaninoff

E. R. Billings (of the Cable Piano Co.)

At the close of this program, Mrs. Thabes presented the piano to the Brainerd high school and Miss Mary Tornstrom, principal, accepted for the student body the beautiful gift for which alumni and members of the school board are responsible.

Misses Effie Drexler, Cora Rickard and Mrs. Louis Knutson were members of a committee who chose the Conover, a product of the Cable Piano Company, from an artistic standpoint. This committee functioned in conjunction with Mrs. J. A. Thabes, Dr. Geo. Ribbel and Hugo Sundberg, members of the Brainerd Board of Education.

M. E. H.

(Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 January 1930, p. 4, c. 1)



One of the rooms which is of much interest to B. H. S. students, especially those who stay at noon for lunch, is the cafeteria room. This room is being supplied with modern equipment. As yet all the furnishings have not arrived or been installed.

The lunchroom itself will be able to take care of two hundred and fifty people. Just back of the lunchroom the kitchen is located and at the end of the lunchroom is a pantry and dishwashing room. A large restaurant type stove and scullery sinks have been installed in the kitchen. To the kitchen a pastry section is to be added. This section is to be equipped with ovens and sinks.

A full set of cafeteria dishes serving two hundred people is now to be used in the lunchroom. The dishes are trimmed in green and are very attractive. One or two hot dishes will be served to the lunchers during the rest of the school term. Enough to serve one hundred to one hundred and twenty-five boys and girls at one lunch is to be prepared. A regular cafeteria lunch is being planned for the next school term.

Table linen has been ordered and is to be used when banquets and other dinners are served.

K. S.

(Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 January 1930, p. 4, c. 1)



Lining the corridors of the new high school, are the beautiful green, sheet-steel lockers. About one thousand constitute the total number which have been installed for the purpose of helping the students to care not only for their personal property but also for the school’s books.

All of the lockers have adequate room for any books or papers, having a small shelf at the top. For the coats, hats, scarfs, or what have you, hooks are provided, four in number. Rubbers and overshoes may be placed on the floor of the locker.

Ventilation of the lockers, one of the most important and interesting factors concerning them, is carried in by the space left between the walls and floor of the building and the back and bottom of the lockers.

The purpose of this system is to help dry and wet articles which one may have and to keep them sanitary and healthful.

An exceedingly small rental is charged for the combination locks which will prevent any tampering with the articles contained in the lockers. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 January 1930, p. 4, c. 1)



Eight local firms contributed to the new and exquisitely modern Washington high school. The contributions ranged from equipment for the home training department to the painting and furnishing of the interior of the building.

Probably the largest local job was the painting and decorating of walls and ceilings and the varnishing of the woodwork and floors. This was done by F. H. McCaffrey. The next largest contracted local job was the installation of electrical fixtures by the Gateway Electric Company. This included the light fixtures in all the rooms of the building, also the lights. The wiring was done by an outside firm.

Samuelson and Son were employed most of the time in expert brick laying.

Other firms furnishing equipment were Patek Furniture Company for installation of window shades and Alderman-Maghan Company for a modern electric icebox. This helped to improve the home training department which was already equipped with expensive and modern furniture. All of the utensils for this department have not yet been obtained.

The Sherlund Company was called upon to make a few minor adjustments in plumbing, etc. Fitzsimmons and Son were given a contract for complete equipment to accommodate 200 persons in the cafeteria. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 January 1930, p. 4, c. 2)



Warm classrooms with clean refreshing air is supplied and regulated in the new high school by means of the Johnson service system for heat control with thermostats.

The air which is supplied for the hot air system comes from ventilators on top of the building. This air then passes down into the basement where it is heated to a temperature of 50 degrees by coils. The same air then passes through three Sirocco air washers which take all impurities out and leaves a required amount of water. The air is again heated to a temperature of 70 degrees when it passes through some more coils. From there it is passed into an air passage which surrounds the building on three sides. This air has a pressure of 15 pounds exerted on it which forces it into the different rooms through passages leading from the main air passage. By means of fans the foul air is drawn through an opening near the floor and discharges at the top of the building.

The hot water for the radiators is furnished by three automatic Detroit equipped furnaces each having 240 horsepower. These furnaces heat the water in the pipes which passes down into the main distributor which distributes water to the different rooms. The capacity of water in the pipes and the return is regulated by the Nash vacuum pump.

The temperature in the classrooms is regulated by the Johnson Dual system of thermostats which keeps the temperature at 70 degrees during the day and 50 degrees at night. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 January 1930, p. 4, c. 3)

Teachers at Washington High

Teachers in the new Washington high school building follow:

W. C. Cobb—Superintendent of Schools.

Mary F. Tornstrom—Principal, Senior Advisor, Brainonian Annual Adviser.

Helen Farrankop—General Science and Biology, Tri-Hi Advisor, Sophomore Advisor, Camp Fire Girls Advisor.

Bertha Filk—Home Training.

Josephine Graham—History, Freshmen Advisor.

Minnie Haug—English II, English I, Camp Fire Girls Advisor.

Aletha M. Herwig—Social Science, Brainonian Weekly Advisor, Social Problems Club Advisor.

George T. Johnson—Mathematics, Activities Treasurer.

Warren E. Kasch—Coach, Jr. Business Training, Senior Advisor.

Anne Laipple—Biology, Freshmen Advisor.

Roy S. LaMeter—Science.

Anna L. Lord—Stenography, Commercial Club Advisor.

Mabel E. Mathis—English IV, Ancient History, Semper Partus Club Advisor.

Rolf E. Melby—Science, Assistant Coach, Junior Hi-Y Advisor.

Ella Oerting—English I, Declamation, Debate.

Evelyn A. Olson—English III, Junior Advisor.

Mildred O’Brien—Latin, Junior Advisor.

Richard L. Penrose—Modern History, Senior Hi-Y Advisor, Sophomore Advisor.

F. W. Rosel—Manual Training.

Cora E. Rickard—Music, Glee Clubs, Orchestra, Octet.

Aline Ruthe—Stenography, Commercial Club Advisor.

Sue S. Schow—Algebra and English II.

Winifred Spencer—Mathematics.

Doris G. Taylor—U. S. History and French, French Club Advisor.

Helen Torgerson—Bookkeeping, Commercial Club Advisor.

Madge G. True—Art, Brainonian Art Advisor.

Lucille Walkup—English IV, English I, U. S. History.

8th Grades

Esther Campbell, Emma Justin, Mrs. Florence F. Fleming, Emma S. Bratvet.

Two new teachers will arrive in the near future. One will be Miss Alice Flueck, girls’ gymnasium instructor. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 January 1930, p. 4, c. 4)



Brainerd basketball team left to right, standing: Otto Dahl, student manager, John Hoffbauer, Jr., James Garvey, Lyle Mayo, Donald Guin, Elmer Foster, Coach Warren E. Kasch. Seated: Nathan Schuety, Arthur Hautala, Carol Guin, Bernard Foster, Kenneth Clauson. A 652x314 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 January 1930

At the next game on our home floor, that of Brainerd with Little Falls, the B. H. S. cagers will appear for the first time in their newly numbered and mottoed suits.

It will be remembered that Mr. Kasch sponsored a contest a short time ago for the purpose of finding a motto or emblem for the team to wear on their uniforms during the games. This contest has materialized in such a way that an appropriate motto and emblem have been selected and the prize of two dollars and one-half in gold goes to none other than our own Miss Herwig! The epigram which has been given first place and will appear on the boys’ suits is “Warriors” with the accompanying insignia of an Indian’s head. Miss Herwig stated that she realized that perhaps very few people, including Mr. Kasch himself, would connect the word “Warriors” with Mr. Kasch’s Christian name “Warren” so she gives us this opportunity to acquaint the public with that fact. She also remarked that she thought the name decidedly appropriate to the fighting spirit of the team.

The shirts of the suits will be white, the pants, which are jersey, solid blue while the belts will be white to match the shirts, and the trousers and sweatshirts also will be blue to match the pants.

Mr. Kasch has chosen the numbers to be placed on the suits in such a way as to create a psychological barrier to the defense of the other team. Those of you who are interested in the psychology of numbers are invited to explain the phenomena if you can.

At any rate, be at the Little Falls game, try to solve the tricky number combination and see the mottoes and emblems which will appear on the suits at that time. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 January 1930, p. 4, c. 5)



Brainerd High’s school property is certainly destined to safe keeping when not in use. The two big storerooms on either end of the second floor are, as Miss Mary Tornstrom says, “Big enough to hold the textbooks of years to come.”

In the basement next to the boiler room is an enormous vault built to hold all school material except textbooks.

On the west side of the office of W. C. Cobb, superintendent of schools, is a vault which is fireproof and capable of holding the records of the school. The staunch doors of this vault are the ones which guarded the vaults next to Miss Tornstrom’s office at the old court house.

On the east side of Mr. Cobb’s office is a room given over to general supplies and certain textbooks for sale to the students.

E. F. I.

(Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 January 1930, p. 4, c. 5)

School Band Organized to Enliven Pep Fests


Under the direction of Roy LaMeter, a new musical organization known as the “Pep Band” has been organized at the Washington high school. This band, which at first could play “Hail, Hail” and no more, has practiced assiduously until at the present time it has a goodly number of selections at its command. Mr. LaMeter plans to use his musicians at pep fests and games to enliven all sport events.

Band members thus far enrolled are: Claude Holden, Arden Miller, Melvin Newman, David Weber, Ray Wareing, Russell Nelson, De Vere Beckley, Carl Holvick, Howard Gile, Gerald Cass, Rolland Jenkins, Clarence Holden, Victor Bourgeois, Malcolm Lammon and Morris Larson.

Prospective tooters and blowers are urged to see Mr. LaMeter for tryouts. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 January 1930, p. 4, c. 5)

Under the supervision of Mr. Kasch and Mr. Melby the boys’ physical education classes met in the new gymnasium for the first time Monday. The attendance in each class averaged about 35.

Here the boys are instructed in the art of keeping physically fit, and receive pointers on playing the national indoor favorite sport. Mr. Kasch is watching the progress of the boys in these unorganized teams for prospects, as the future teams will be taken from these groups. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 January 1930, p. 4, c. 6)

NOTE: All of the articles above taken from Page Four of the Brainerd Daily Dispatch of 28 January 1930 were written by the high school staff of the weekly Brainonian.

New Washington High School Serves Students Needs Well












The Washington high school situated on the site of the old Washington high school was planned with the fundamental idea that the building should serve the needs of a complete, modern High and Junior high school, and with the further idea of serving as a community center for both students and public.

In providing for the needs of the school, a program of studies contemplated was first decided and carefully worked out by W. C. Cobb, superintendent. From this curriculum schedule, the building was carefully planned to take care of all requirements therein set forth, with the economic theory borne in mind at all times to provide a school with the maximum amount of educational space and the minimum amount of unused areas and cubage.

In the development of this plan, it became evident that the building should provide for the following basic divisions: academic facilities, vocational arts, physical education and a general auditorium.

In planning the academic section of the building, it was found after careful study of the school system that the classroom unit best adapted to the Brainerd school system would be classrooms having an average capacity of 35 pupils. This would permit a great flexibility in arranging the classes and tend to decrease the instructional cost per pupil per year.

The two other important divisions of the academic section that were given careful consideration were the commercial and science departments, the first developed to include typewriting, stenography and bookkeeping; the science department developed to provide facilities for general science, biology, physics and chemistry.

To round out a complete modern high school, it was necessary to provide an ample and attractive library and rooms for study, public speaking and music.

In developing the vocational art section, provision was made for home economics, namely, sewing and cooking, manual training, mechanical drawing and general art.

The section for physical training was carefully studied so that the pupils would have ideal and ample facilities to receive their prorated amount of this phase of the modern educational program. Individual gymnasiums were provided for both boys and girls. Ample shower facilities are provided so that it is possible for every boy and girl to have a shower in the time allotted between classes, together with ample locker space for storage of their gymnasium clothes.

In order to make this section of the building function for evening gatherings of not only students but the public, the plan was so arranged that the gymnasium can be used outside of school uses without giving access to the entire building.

The auditorium section, which was planned to furnish ample accommodations for the entire enrollment of the school, is planned and arranged to round out the educational needs of the school, and, like the gymnasium section is arranged so that it can be cut off from the main part of the building and used for functions outside of school uses.

A section of the building which does not come under any one of the above headings, but which is very necessary in the modern high school, is the lunchroom. This was carefully studied to take care of the anticipated needs of the pupils at lunch time and also for community gatherings where lunches or banquets are served.

In the selection of materials used throughout the building, the choice was based entirely upon the suitability for the purpose intended, which would give long and satisfactory use with the minimum amount of maintenance. Therefore, the corridor floors and stairs were finished in terrazzo; the floors in the science department were made mastic, which is acid and stain proof. The typewriting room walls are treated acoustically to reduce reverberation, as are also the walls and ceilings of the auditorium. The blackboards throughout are natural slate and therefore permanent for the life of the building. The toilet and shower rooms have ceramic tile floors with metal partitions, which are indestructible and require no maintenance cost. The gymnasiums have the standard maple floor with a cork tile wainscot, which eliminates the possibility of accidents in the playing of games. And so on throughout the building materials in each case are particularly fitted for the uses of the occupied spaces.

In the arrangement of the rooms, natural lighting was given first consideration. The rooms are arranged so that they receive the maximum amount of daylight, and are so placed as to eliminate all shadows and eyestrain. Likewise the artificial lighting was calculated to give as nearly as possible daylight conditions to all rooms.

The ventilation system required careful study to provide sufficient fresh air to all rooms during their occupancy. Due to irregular occupancy of certain sections, the system was divided into several units, so that each section of the building can be thoroughly ventilated at all times.

In the design of the exterior, the idea borne in mind was the desire to obtain a building that would be pleasing from all sides and all angles, a building that in the distance would appear well en masse, and as approached would be sufficiently rich in detail and color to be cheerful and inviting. This was accomplished by the use of face brick of a wide range in color, together with terra cotta and cut stone, the latter being concentrated at points of interest, namely, the entrances.

It has been the aim and desire to make this a building of community interest and as such it should be the individual pride of students and taxpayers alike to be cherished and protected by all from defacement throughout its life. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 January 1930, p. 5, c.’s 1 & 2)



Lighting fixtures in the new Brainerd High school are of the very best. They are attractive besides being efficient. All the fixtures, including the chandeliers in the auditorium, were installed on contract, by the Gateway Electric Co. of Brainerd. These chandeliers are all of a special design and hand-cast work. Each piece is installed so that it can be lowered from the ceiling by means of a winch situated between the ceiling of the auditorium and the roof of the building. Thus by means of these winches burned out bulbs can be replaced by new ones with ease.

Each classroom has six globes of frosted glass. These are closed at top and bottom producing a very soft yet strong enough light. Each assembly and larger room has eight globes.

In the halls the globes are of a different design. They are decorated with a small tan design besides being of an odd and more decorative shape.

The exterior lights, at the entrances, were also installed by the Gateway Electric Co. and are of a special design. These are fashioned after the Old English sconces.

The light equipment for the stage which includes various color effects was furnished by H. A. Brown & Son, Inc., of Waseca, Minn. The Gateway Electric Co. furnished the globes for the colored light-producing equipment, such as footlights and overhead lights. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 January 1930, p. 5, c. 2)






Chemistry and Physics are fascinating subjects at the worst and to be well understood and properly enjoyed fine laboratories are necessary. It was with this understanding that this department was constructed and according to contractors and other authoritative persons, the ones in the new Washington high school are among the most complete and best equipped laboratories in any high schools this side of Chicago, and many other features classify them as being of college calibre.

The desks necessary for both of the laboratories were constructed by the W. W. Kimball Company of Chicago. Each desk has 12 drawers and a different key for each. These keys are kept in a cabinet constructed in such a way that by unlocking one door and by used of a combination all the other little doors will open to reveal keys hanging on them.

The desks in the physics laboratory are low and each has an electric outlet plate. The electricity going to the desks may be controlled easily. There is a special series of storage batteries connected to a switchboard. There are six distinct circuits controlled here and they range from four to 24 volts rising by four each time. This is something new in high schools and something to be proud of.

Rising from each desk are two nickel plated bars about three feet apart with a wooden cross piece. The object of this is to make apparatus hookups. This very simply does away with the old tripod stand.

Prof’s Desk Different

The instructor’s desk is different from the others in that it has a sink and hot and cold running water. All of the desks have two commercial gas appliances for experimental work. The swivel chairs are fixed to the floor.

In the front of the room is a sliding blackboard so that it is possible to have space for something to be saved if important and at the same time twice as much board space. Another feature in the front is a silver screen for picture projection purposes. The screen is unique in that it rolls up like a window shade.

Along the north side of the room is an alberene stone shelving running almost the entire length. The reason for this is that it is acid proof and acid bottles and all dispensers of chemicals are kept on it. The floor likewise is acid proof, it is made of a composition called mastic flooring.

Dark Room, a Part

Two other parts of the physics department are the dark room, for developing blueprints and films, and the storeroom which includes the instructor’s office.

The chemistry laboratory is similar to the physics lab except that the desks are a little higher and each one has a sink with running water. One special difference is that the gas connections are on the side so there is room on top for the bottles, which gives students a free unobstructed view. The old way was to have shelves to hold bottles. The stools used here are not stationary.

The department is modernly equipped with fume hoods which make it very safe from any collection of gases.

All the teaching and experimental equipment has not arrived but when it does it will meet all standards set forth by the state. Roy S. LaMeter, the instructor, says that he is very much pleased with the new facilities and that already the students are showing a marked improvement. He has 24 students in each class which is a state requirement.

R. O.

(Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 January 1930, p. 5, c. 3)

Solarium is Feature of Biology Department


The Biology room! The room where nature thrives in the warm sunshine of the solarium and is appreciated by nature lovers! With the modern equipment now in use, this study proves more interesting daily.

A sandbox extends the length of the miniature greenhouse (the solarium) and the soil in the box is heated by coils running beneath it. Here plant life in all its various stages will be studied. There are also, in this smaller room, two electric heaters and a sink.

Turtles, snakes, snails, water plants, will be housed, upon their arrival, in the aquarium which is equipped with running water.

Most of the curiosities in two of the specimen cases have been contributed by students. A third case is yet to be filled.

Illustrated lectures will be given by means of a “screen” which rolls up when not in use. Just below this is a large sliding blackboard, and it will prove its worth during exams.

Booklets adorning the bulletin boards show the result of many hours of student toil.

Last but not least come the desks. Instead of ordinary school desks there are large tables with drawers for use in “lab” work. Each person taking Biology is entitled to one drawer and is responsible for the key, which by rule, is returned to the keyboard when the period is up.

M. E. H.

(Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 January 1930, p. 5, c. 4)






Upon entering the art and mechanical drawing room in Brainerd’s new high school the first thing that is noticed by the inquirer is the large desks of two types, one for art students, the other for those taking mechanical drawing. Each of the 20 art desks is equipped with an adjustable top, six individual drawers with locks and keys, six drawing boards and a stool. The desks used for mechanical drawing are of the same type but much higher.

At the back of the room is a large cabinet with display shelves and storage room. Two small tables are reserved at the front for statuary and still-life work. At one side is a sink set in the wall. Two large bulletin boards will display the future work of the classes. All keys are numbered and kept on the keyboards in a small cabinet. A feature for the mechanical drawing student is the blueprint room, as yet not equipped.

Just because Miss Madge True, the art instructress, is rejoicing in her own private office, adjacent to the main room, is no reason why anyone should supply her with 14 keys, all to fit the same lock, she thinks. (Did you ever hear of a Scotsman loaning one key?) The outstanding features of the office are the large double windows and the supply cabinet.

Self Expression

The art class includes 19, each of whom will express himself in his own way by specializing in that work which interests them most. Some do modernistic work while others are inclined to nature study. The drawing of the grotesque Chinese and Japanese masks worn by these people at their ceremonials promises to be a very interesting future assignment. Posters for the various activities throughout the school year will be made by this class. A half credit is given to those spending two periods a day studying art, one-fourth for those who spend only one period.

F. W. Rozel has a class of 17, some taking the elementary and others the advanced work in mechanical drawing. New work will not be brought before the class until next year.

J. C.

(Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 January 1930, p. 5, c. 4)






To keep up with the changing of times and conditions in the department of physical education, one of the finest gymnasiums in the Northwest more than serves this purpose in Brainerd’s new Washington high school. About a quarter of a century ago, no doubt the plan to follow in fitting out a gym of this order would be to supply it with all sorts of contrivances for exercising such as bars and rings. But now the general trend, according to the State Physical and Health Inspector, Mr. Evertis, is to present a program in the form of games which build the sound body and develops the mind to think and act quicker. Encouraging teamwork and cooperation are other benefits derived from this type of gym work, of course exercising in unison is also carried out to the fullest measure.

The gym itself is capable of holding approximately 2,500 people if conditions so require it, while the uniform bleachers will seat between 1,400 and 1,500. This ample seating arrangement is ideal for tournament contests which will be so used this week to hold the district meet.

Not only basketball may be played in the gym but also there is room for practically all indoor sports which require a hardwood floor. Wrestling and boxing as intramural sports may be used for indoor signal drill and practices during rainy nights in football and track.

The court is 85 feet in length and 65 feet wide and for the convenience of having two gym classes operating at once a huge dividing door or curtain is put into use. It is an all steel partition which cuts the big gym into two smaller ones about 42 feet wide and 65 feet in length.

As far as lighting and ventilating are concerned, nothing is left undone as two mammoth ventilators are situated in each half of the gym while power-fed lights furnish the sunshine at night. Every bit of the air, not only in the gym but the entire building is kept on the constant move, thus insuring a continuous supply of pure fresh air.

Entrances to the gym are in the south section of the school, one at each end. From the inside there are four entrances, two on the floor level and two on top of the bleachers. These doors also serve the purpose of exits.

The showers are modern in every respect and are capable of caring for an entire gym class or a team at once.

Lockers are adjacent to the showers and make convenience reign supreme.

J. J., Jr.

(Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 January 1930, p. 5, c. 5)



Sanitary drinking cups, scales, and a cabinet, furnished with special medicinal details have been given to Miss Eula Michael, city nurse, by the Minnesota Public Health Association to be placed in her office in the new high school. An eye chart is also promised her by the same organization.

This small office lies adjacent to Miss Mary Tornstrom’s and is accessible to the rest room. A waiting room just outside the main office is a place where patients may wait comfortably. A desk, chair, and telephone complete the furnishings at this time but the office is as yet not fully equipped.

Miss Michael’s schedule allows her to be at this school only for a small period of time in the morning but she hopes that together with the new gym teacher, Miss Alice Flueck, a girls’ class in personal hygiene may be formed. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 January 1930, p. 5, c. 5)

New School Contains Host of Roomy Offices


“—Down at the ‘office’”—Every student is familiar with that phrase. For information, the students flock to the ‘office’—rather Miss Mary Tornstrom’s office. In the old court house, you would very often hear Miss Tornstrom say, “It’s in the vault” . . . (that was about the only place, in the office where you could put anything you expected to see again!)

Off at the right of the principal’s office is Miss Eula Michael’s office. A waiting room adjoins the Health Nurse’s office. W. C. Cobb’s office is separated from these two offices by the central office, which is overseen by Miss Corna Stickney. The teachers’ post office is in the central office and also a cabinet for the teachers’ lockers. Mr. Cobb’s office is similar to Miss Tornstrom’s both face Oak street. The superintendent has a vault next to his office in which records and valuable papers are placed. No longer do the superintendent and principal have to share the same domicile.

Then we have the coach’s office better known to the students as Mr. Kasch’s room. Here are his headquarters, as well as those of his athletes! This office is right off the gymnasium.

Last, but not least, is the Brainonian “dugout,” where the staff labors to put out their weekly paper. The office is on the second floor. All the offices are provided with the most modern equipment. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 January 1930, p. 5, c. 6)



“Joan of Arc,” a beautiful statue presented to the Brainerd high school by the class of 1928, now occupies a place of honor on the landing between first and second floors in the Washington high school. This statue is not the usual equestrienne “Joan” but rather depicts her as the simple, naive girl who hears the voices that call her to lead the armies of France.

Clad in the peasant costume characteristic of her time, and with hands folded, “Joan” presents a simple yet effective picture as she kneels there in the garden. She radiates sweetness and religious ecstasy.

A suitable pedestal for the statue will be provided by the manual training department.

As an adornment, this gift to the high school is more than acceptable. As an influence for good and for an appeal to the love of the beautiful it cannot be excelled. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 January 1930, p. 5, c. 6)



Contractors for the general construction of Brainerd’s new school were: Edward Hirt and Son, of St. Cloud, who were the overseeing contractors; M. J. O’Neil, of St. Paul, who furnished the heating and plumbing; the Grand Forks Tin Shops, of Grand Forks, who provided the ventilation; the Johnson Service Co, of Milwaukee, Wis., who purchased and installed the temperature controls; and H. A. Brown and Son, Inc., of Waseca, Minn., who had charge of the electrical wiring. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 January 1930, p. 5, c. 6)






Domestic Science Room, this bright, shiny room with its glistening kitchen equipment and gas ranges is another example of what Brainerd's Washington high school is doing for its students. Here's where the girls learn the arts of the cuisine which will benefit them in the home and—tend to make them better housewives. A 650x461 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 January 1930

Situated in the northeast corner on the first floor of the new high school building is located the Domestic Science department. Here the future good mothers, wives and housekeepers will receive their training.

The department consists of one large room where the girls will learn everything in cookery from the making of the tastiest of desserts to “johnnie cake” and bread; and a large pantry, where the reserve supplies will be stored.

The ten work tables which are equipped with four-burner gas plates and drawers containing necessary equipment accommodate four girls to a table. Each table has stools attached which revolve and may be swung under the tables when not in use.

In the center of the room are four sinks—one to each two work tables—with the latest plumbing fixtures.

A built-in alcove at one end of the room contains a complete all-pyrex oven and model kitchen range. A ventilating system which carries off all the odors of cooked foods is directly above the stoves.

To the right and left of the instructor’s desk are two tables—demonstration and supply.

Four bulletin boards which will be used by the instructor to post food charts and any other materials can be found in different sections of the room.

The model apartment may be entered by two doors on the west side of the room.

Directly opposite the Domestic Science rooms, in the northwest corner of the building, are the sewing rooms.

Ten green composition top tables accommodating thirty-two girls, four White Rotary sewing machines and two stationary ironing boards show the latest in equipment for sewing departments in schools.

Each table is equipped with two drawers where the pupils will keep their sewing material. The drawers are removed at the end of each class to the locker room, adjoining the sewing room, where built-in cupboards and drawer space is provided. One table which is called the cutting table has an extra leaf that is dropped when not in use.

Adjoining the sewing room is the fitting room which contains beautiful cabinets to hang dresses and also file patterns, and a large triple mirror.

Miss Filk, who is the instructor for both the sewing and cooking departments, is very well satisfied and the reader, upon investigation, will without a doubt agree with Miss Filk.

M. B. V.

(Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 January 1930, p. 5, c. 7)

Commercial Department Includes Model Bank


Having a complete detailed description of our new school and all the parts as our aim in this issue, we feel that such an edition would be far from complete without a glimpse into the commercial department. This department boasts many unique and up-to-date features which have been supplied to realize the fondest dreams of teachers and students alike who are connected with this sector. Besides a regular room for shorthand and class recitation there is a fine typing room with adjustable seats accompanying each and every table. Another good-sized room directly off the typing department contains a model bank which is instrumental in providing financial instruction. The departments are provided with all necessary equipment which includes a scaled paper cutter, adding machine and typewriters.

As this branch of high school education is one which is bound to prove beneficial and very practical to the student in later life, one cannot help feeling that the school board has gone to no unnecessary ends in providing roomy quarters and an abundance of necessary equipment for use in this department.

Z. S.

(Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 January 1930, p. 5, c. 7)



Because of lack of facilities during the past few years many important experiments were left out of the General Science course.

But now with the new laboratory all of the important laboratory experiments can be performed. The laboratory has five long desks each capable of holding six students. Each students’ desk has six drawers one for each period class. These desks were put in so the students can keep important papers pertaining to Science right in the laboratory.

A rolling blackboard and a screen for showing pictures are also part of the equipment. In the back of the laboratory is a cupboard where further equipment will be placed when it arrives from the Chicago Apparatus Company.

The instructor’s desk is supplied with water and gas so as to improve experiments.

R. A. E.

(Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 January 1930, p. 5, c. 7)

Room Exchanges Made as 8th Graders Arrive


Due to the eighth graders coming to the new high school, several teachers have changed their classrooms. Miss Lucille Walkup now has room 208, formerly occupied by Miss Aletha Herwig, who has moved to the music room. Room 103, originally Miss Walkup’s is now that of Warren E. Kasch. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 January 1930, p. 5, c. 7)

With the dedication of the new school a great opportunity has presented itself to the Brainonian staff, that of preparing a dedication edition. Usually a thing of this type is undertaken only by the city papers, and school papers have little or no hand it it, but through the courtesy of the Dispatch the Brainonian has been allowed extra space with which to present to its readers the high school students’ impressions of the new building.

The Brainonian, in addition to being most grateful to the Dispatch, wishes to show its great appreciation to the school board for making possible the new high school, the dedication of which we now celebrate.

To all others who in any way contributed to this issue the staff extends its most sincere thanks.

R. K.

(Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 28 January 1930, p. 4, c. 2)

NOTE: I believe the articles dated 28 January 1930 above and signed with initials were written by the staff of the Brainonian, which at that time, was the weekly student newspaper printed in the Brainerd Daily Dispatch.

23 November 1936. A $60,000 enlargement program to the rear of the Washington High School was disclosed today with word from the federal Public Works Administration that they approved a grant of $27,630 for the project. Balance of the funds were already approved by the school board. (This Was Brainerd, Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 23 November 2016)




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)




C. H. Paine Will Commence Putting in His

Supply Next Week at Rice


C. H. Paine will have a crew of men at work next week at Rice Lake putting in his supply of ice for next summer. He stated today that the ice now is about fourteen inches thick and by next week, with this cold snap, the ice will be thick enough.

Peter Walters will also commence operations next week. He expects also, to put up a big supply of ice this year. (Brainerd Dispatch, 13 December 1901)



Ice Firms in the City Have Replen-

ished Their Houses for

Another Year.




C. H. Paine Has Put in About

3,500 Tons and Peter Walters

2,000 Tons.

This card, provided by the ice company, was placed in the window of a Brainerd Ice Company customer to let the delivery man know how much ice was requested. The card is two-sided and on the reverse shows 50, both the 25 and 50 relate to how many pounds of ice were being requested, ca. Unknown.
Source: Carl Faust

The ice harvest is about over and those who look forward to discomfiture on sweltering July days can breathe easier. While the people of the city do not think much about it now, when old mercury dances around the 100-in-the-shade point, “the iceman” will be the whole cheese.

There are two ice companies in the city and during the past two weeks they have been particularly active filling their houses with the icy substance. They have put in a good supply and taken altogether have harvested more this year than last.

C. H. Paine has put in the largest supply perhaps, but has not put in a great deal more than he had last year. He has 3,500 tons in his house near the bridge across the Mississippi and this he figures will run him through the year all right. Peter Walters who bought out the ice business of C. O. Beck has put up about 2,000 tons in his house.

These gentlemen are now busy putting in ice for other concerns such as the breweries, etc. and when they complete this work it is figured that Brainerd will have stored away something like 9,000 tons for use during the summer.

It might be interesting to note here that Brainerd uses considerable ice. With the 9,000 tons it will be seen that nearly a ton to a person in the city is used, which is about the average in New York city, which is supposed to hold the record of the world for the annual consumption of ice. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 20 January 1902)

For Sale

The Brainerd Ice company offer for sale their entire plant, together with the good will of the business. Sale must be made before Dec. 15, if sold this season, apply to:

C. H. PAINE or


(Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 20 November 1903, p. 3, c. 1)



C. H. Paine and Peter Walters Will Put

Up Ice Again this Year—Getting

Ready for Work.

The same firm will put up ice again this winter from present indications.

Last year when C. H. Paine and Peter Walters started in to put up ice there was quite a kick on the part of some of the teamsters on the price that was being paid for hauling ice, and the agitation nearly resulted in the formation of a new company to engage in the business, but some of the men could not agree and the thing fell through. This year Messrs. Paine and Walters gave the same gentlemen a chance to “cut in” early, but it is understood that the project could not find support and so the old firm will get at it again to stock up.

They are getting their saws ready and will probably commence work about the first of the year. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 19 December 1903)



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 owned by Peter A. Stendal, 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)

The Brainerd Ice Company commenced hauling ice this morning to fill its ice house on west Laurel St. The ice is nearly 20 inches thick. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 17 January 1910, p. 2, c. 2)





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 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)



Work of Putting up Season’s Supply

of Ice for Consolidated Con-

cern Will Begin Soon




Has Seen the Coming and Going of

Five Other Ice Companies Dur-

ing that Period of Time

The Brainerd Ice Company has bought the business, good will, holdings and all the property of the People’s Ice Company, has taken the business over and on Monday morning will begin serving the customers of the latter company.

The Brainerd Ice Company has been doing business in Brainerd for more than 30 years and during that time has noted the passing of five other different ice companies, three of which went into the hands of receivers and two of which were bought outright by the local company.

With the acquisition of the equipment of the People’s Ice Company the Brainerd Ice company will be well equipped to serve the people as any ice concern in the state, the new house acquired being 50x130 and capable of holding 2,500 tons of ice, and is located on Bluff avenue west, only a short distance from the large house of the latter company which was rebuilt last season and put in first-class condition. Altogether about 4,000 tons of ice are marketed in the city of Brainerd during the season.

The work of putting up the 1917 crop will commence shortly and some 40 teams and 50 to 60 men will be employed. The ice is taken from Rice lake where the company has a modern, up-to-date outfit for handling the business. The state board of health has passed upon the quality of ice from this source, which has been the base of supply for many years, and pronounce it absolutely pure, two spring brooks running into and through the lake to the river.

The People’s Ice company started in business here a year or more ago and had worked up an amount of trade, but with the outgoing of the saloons, which were large consumers of ice, the business was not sufficiently attractive to keep two ice concerns in business and especially after the sale of their fuel business to the Winnor-Adams Lumber company.

The Brainerd Ice company will put three wagons on as soon as the delivery demands it and will take care of the customers of the ice company that has just gone out of business in the same courteous manner that has always characterized their business methods, and good service can be expected. Their office is now in the same building with the Farmers’ Produce company on Laurel street. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 13 January 1917, p. 5, c. 1)



Brainerd Ice Company Will Put 30 to

50 Men and Teams at Work

Monday Next

The Brainerd Ice company will begin the annual harvest of ice on Monday morning, Jan. 29, at which time a force of about 30 men and 40 teams will be put at work on the ice fields at Rice lake and employed in hauling the output to their ice houses where it will be stored away for consumption during the coming year. There will be something over 4,000 tons of ice cut and put up by this company. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 24 January 1917, p. 5, c. 1)



Thirty Teams Will be Engaged to

Haul the Product From Rice

Lake to Ice Houses




Each Team Hauls From Five to Eight

Tons, Iced Road Prepared Like

a Logging Road

The Brainerd Ice Co’s. season of ice cutting starts at Rice lake on Monday, January 5. It will give employment to thirty teams and in this work farmers of the vicinity join with local teamsters in the business of ice hauling.

Teams haul from five to eight tons on a trip and the road is made an icy one and kept in shape like a logging thoroughfare. The hauling will consume about three weeks’ time, the cut amounting to 4,500 tons.

Mention is made early of the ice cutting so that farmers may list their names with the ice company. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 23 December 1919, p. 5)

NOTE: Peter J. Walters came to Brainerd in 1883, by 1888 he owned the Brainerd Ice Company, which he purchased from Benjamin Steele Mallory, date unknown, who had arrived in Brainerd in 1880. Peter A. Stendal came to Brainerd in 1883, worked for the N. P. Railroad for a while then purchased the Brainerd Ice Company from Walters, date unknown. Stendal operated the company for about ten years; by 1914 the Brainerd Ice Company was owned by R. J. Hartley, C. H. Paine and A. L. Hoffman. C. H. Paine allegedly was the founder of the Brainerd Ice Company, date unknown; he allegedly turned it over to his son, Eugene sometime in 1923, Eugene died on March 16, 1944. (Mallory obituary, Brainerd Dispatch, 04 May 1923; Walters obituary, Brainerd Journal Press, 06 September 1918; Stendal obituary, Brainerd Journal Press, 29 January 1943; C. H. Paine obituary, Brainerd Dispatch, July 1938)

Brainerd City Directories

1888-Ice Company, Peter J. Walters, residence, 263 E Maple Street

1903-Brainerd Ice Co., C. H. Paine & Peter J. Walters, 219 S 6th Street

1905-Brainerd Ice Co., C. H. Paine & Peter J. Walters, 219 S 6th Street

1907-Brainerd Ice Co., C. H. Paine & Peter J. Walters, 522 Laurel Street

1920-Brainerd Ice Co., General Mercantile & Investment Company, Proprietors, (A. T. Fisher, President, C. H. Paine, Secretary & Treasurer), 316 South Broadway [South Eighth Street]

1931-32-Brainerd Ice Co., Eugene W. Paine, 901 Laurel Street

1949-Brainerd Ice Co., 1402 ‘N’ Street, NE (Harold Smith, 1405 ‘N’ Street, NE)

1951-Brainerd Ice Co., Harold Smith, 1405 ‘N’ Street, NE

1953-Brainerd Ice Co., David C. Smith, 1405 ‘N’ Street, NE

1956-No listing for any ice company. (David C. Smith, 1405 ‘N’ Street, NE)

1959-No listing for any ice company. (1405 is not listed on ‘N’ Street, NE and David C. Smith is not listed.)

An ice company coupon card issued by the City Ice Company and signed by Fred Pikula, 11 October 1938. A 960x552 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Robert Lindberg
Peerless Ice Company, also known as the City Ice Company, operated by Martin Pikula and his son, Fred, ca. 1930’s.
Source: Anissa Hudson

NOTE: In the 1930’s-1940’s, Peerless Ice Company also known as the City Ice Company was operated by Martin Pikula and his son, Fred.




The following series of pictures takes Daily Dispatch readers, step-by-step, through the various operations of the ice harvest. This activity, now underway at Rice lake by the Brainerd Ice company, is depicted from the time equipment moves on the scene until the finished block, shaved of all honey-combed snow, is buried in sawdust in the huge warehouse on the shore.

More than 5,000 tons are being put up giving employment to about 35 men, about 20 of whom were on the lake in the various operations with the remainder burying the huge blocks in sawdust in the warehouse or under protective heat-resistant covering on the outside of the storehouse.

Cutting ice on Rice Lake, 30 January 1937.
Source: Brainerd Daily Dispatch

Circular saw, its engineer propelling the blade mounted on skids and towed by a truck, perforates long narrow strips of ice (see picture No. 2) to a depth of about 12 inches. These perforations run for a distance of several blocks and are spaced about 12 inches apart. Operating the saw is Louis Eide.

Cutting ice on Rice Lake, 30 January 1937.
Source: Brainerd Daily Dispatch

Manpower swings into action in the second operation. Sawing the long narrow perforations into blocks of about 30 inches length. A long single-handed saw, as shown in the hands of Clarence Wayt, is brought into place with pry bars such as Louis Paulson holds used to pry the perforations apart breaking the ice through its entire depth. Note open water in background from which ice already has been taken.

Cutting ice on Rice Lake, 30 January 1937.
Source: Brainerd Daily Dispatch

Broken loose from the main body of ice, the huge blocks measuring about six feet log but sawed partially through at a length of about 30 inches is pried into the open water. There, workmen with pike poles and pry bars feed the blocks into the open channel to keep the ice moving toward the conveyor machinery in the background.

Cutting ice on Rice Lake, 30 January 1937.
Source: Brainerd Daily Dispatch

Separated into lengths of about 30 inches each, the blocks move into the open water and onto a platform carried by the endless chain conveyor system which dips into the water to lift the cake onto the conveyor platform. M. E. Sundquist and E. W. McCollough are shown directing the blocks on the conveyor belt.

Cutting ice on Rice Lake, 30 January 1937.
Source: Brainerd Daily Dispatch

Up the chute go the blocks on the endless conveyor attachment at a rate of about 14 a minute. Midway up the conveyor is a shaving device which chips about 10 inches of ice honey-combed by snow from the top of the block. The finished block of pure, natural ice then tumbles onto a platform in the huge warehouse on the shore. The blocks measure about 22x30x24 inches and are stored away for distribution to consumers of natural ice in the summer. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 30 January 1937)




Junior College Proposal Up on Primary Ballot


Electors Also Will Vote On Issuance of Bonds for

Erection of Two Grade School Buildings


Citizens of Brainerd will vote in the primary election, June 20, on whether or not to authorize the board of education to construct a junior college building in Brainerd, according to action taken at a meeting of that board here last night. The question will appear on the ballot together with another proposition on which citizens of the city will vote on whether or not to authorize issuance of bonds with which to raise money for the construction of two grade school buildings in Brainerd.

The question of the junior college, long urged in Brainerd by many citizens will come directly before taxpayers at the election, school board officers said. A two-thirds majority of all votes cast in the election is necessary before the school board can go ahead with plans to build the junior college.

The election, of course, will not force the board to construct the junior college building but will empower them to do it if the board sees fit when two-thirds of the voters vote “yes” on the question. A two-thirds majority of all votes cast is necessary with a ballot unmarked for that question counting as a negative vote.

The grade school bond question requires only a majority of votes cast on that particular question, it is said by officers of the district. The two propositions will be on separate blanks in the election as there is no relation between the two proposed improvements in Brainerd’s school set-up.

Need for the grade buildings has long been felt in the city with present school buildings for grade students becoming obsolete and, in some cases, dangerously overcrowded. The new buildings would alleviate that condition and bring the grade school plant more nearly on a par with Brainerd’s new high school facilities. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 05 April 1938, p. 1, c. 8)



$250,000 Asked To Replace Old Buildings Here


Voters Will decide Question at Primary Election;

If Passed Will Build Two, Perhaps Three New Schools.



To Vote on College

The board, it was said, plans to secure the money for the issue from the state board of investment where a very low interest rate can be secured. Immediate work on securing the PWA grant from the federal government will also be on the board’s agenda.

The question of the bond issuance for the new grade buildings will appear on the regular county ballot, along with another question previously decided to be placed on the ballot. In this other question voters will be asked to authorize the school board to establish a junior college in the city. No new building is necessarily involved in the establishment of a junior college. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 19 April 1938, p. 1, c. 8)

NOTE: The Public Works Administration (PWA), part of the New Deal of 1933, was a large-scale public works construction agency in the United States headed by Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes. It was created by the National Industrial Recovery Act in June 1933 in response to the Great Depression. It built large-scale public works such as dams, bridges, hospitals, and schools. Its goals were to spend $3.3 billion in the first year, and $6 billion in all, to provide employment, stabilize purchasing power, and help revive the economy. Most of the spending came in two waves in 1933-35, and again in 1938. Originally called the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works, it was renamed the Public Works Administration in 1935 and shut down in 1944. The PWA spent over $6 billion in contracts to private construction firms that did the actual work. It created an infrastructure that generated national and local pride in the 1930s and remains vital seven decades later.


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)



G. G. Hartley, Duluth, Had Evidently

Not Visited Dick Herbert’s


When G. G. Hartley, of Duluth, delivered an address on Northern Pacific grain service and said the traveler could get no sandwiches or coffee at Brainerd, he had evidently not visited Dick Herbert’s lunch room but 100 feet from the railway station where sandwiches galore, hot coffee, chicken dinners, etc., are constantly on hand.

Mr. Herbert has a big electric sign “EAT,” on his two story place of business and at train time also hammers a gong audible for a quarter mile. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 04 January 1917, p. 5, c. 1)



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)



Completely Redecorated and Re-

modeled and Made

Beautiful Place




Cafe Seats 35 People, Private Dining

Ideal for Private


The interior of Van’s Lunch Room, corner of 6th and Main Streets, has been completely redecorated and remodeled. The walls and ceilings have been refinished in a white enamel with a French grey enamel trimming to match. The new inlaid linoleum which has also been installed, has a tile effect which also matches the interior of the cafe.

New 18 inch Trojan lights have been installed which makes the cafe an attractive place to dine. The cafe has a seating capacity for 35 people. The private dining room is an ideal place for private parties, there being a piano, radio, and phonograph for the patrons entertainment. The room is large enough for parties up to 20 and is open to the public.

Upstairs there are six desirable rooms which have been redecorated and are rented out at reasonable rates.

Mr. and Mrs. Van Essen have been successful in the catering business in the past and they hope that the improvements will do much to increase their business this summer. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 17 May 1926, p. 7, c. 4)



Decorations and Remodeling of

Van’s Estimated Over $500

by Proprietor

Interior of Van's Cafe in the early 1930's. The kitchen is in back. The counter was moved to make room for more tables and the décor has been tastefully redone. Note the large selection of cigars for sale. A 2804x1875 version of this photo is also available for viewing on line.
Source: John Van Essen

Decorations and remodeling to Van’s Lunch Room corner of Main and Sixth streets completed this week was estimated today by Clarence Van Essen, proprietor to cost over $500.

The renovations include improvements throughout kitchen and dining room with landscaping effects of forest, and sunset scenes on the walls to harmonize with the tan and green color scheme. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 03 May 1928, p. 7, c. 2)




Consummation of a deal whereby C. C. Van Essen acquires the property in which his cafe is located, together with adjoining property, from P. A. Erickson, was announced today.

The sale involved $12,000 it was said.

Real estate involved includes the two-story building housing Van’s cafe, and two smaller buildings facing on Washington street.

Remodeling of the two-story structure is planned by Van Essen to begin the latter part of February. He plans to enlarge the private dining room so as to accommodate larger private parties, install booths and a large glass front together with other improvements.

These plans are tentative, Van Essen said.

Located as the property is at the convergence of four major highways, which will bring trade together with the business he now enjoys. Van Essen believes that the improved property will not only encourage new business, but will enhance the architectural lines of the city. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 10 January 1933, p. 2, c. 3)







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 January 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 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)

SEE: Franklin Junior High School


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 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)

SEE: Walker Hall



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.

Mill School located at 902 Whiteley Ave, NE, now "N" Street, ca Unknown. A 712x531 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society

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; Florene 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)

Brainerd Baseball Team. Front row: John Mahlum, Eddie Bush, Leslie Bush (“Bullet Joe”), John O'Connor, Quin Parker, Connie Osdale. Back row: Dean White, Clyde Trent, Henry Mills, Ray Jeffries, 1910. A 1994x1364 version of this photo is also available for viewing on line.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society

Brainerd Baseball Team of 1910.

Brainerd Football Team, 1910. A 1396x888 version of this photo is also available for viewing on line.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society

Brainerd Football Team of 1910.

Brainerd High School Class of 1912. A 638x834 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Augusta Thompson

Brainerd High School Class of 1912

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)

Brainerd High School Class of 1923. A 2032x1464 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Janna Congdon

Brainerd High School Class of 1923

Brainerd High School 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

Brainerd High School 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 instantaneous 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, 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 northeast 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 February 25, 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 January 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, 1906, notice the Barn in the background. A 2010x910 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
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 and 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)



Work Can be Commenced on the New

Carnegie Library—New Books

to be Selected

The new library board are working now with a view to completing all arrangements so that work can be commenced on the new building by August 20. By the time the next meeting is held it is thought that there will be some plans submitted by architects so that the style of the building, etc., can be decided upon at that time. In view of the fact that there are so many Carnegie libraries throughout the country it is presumed that most architects will have some plans all ready to to submit, and this it is thought will expedite matters considerably. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 01 August 1903, p. 3, c. 2)

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)



For the New Building to be Erect-

ed with Funds Furnished

by Carnegie




R. D. Church, of Minneapolis, is the Architect and He is a

Library Expert

There was a meeting of the library board last night in the library rooms over the Northern Pacific depot, called by President H. I. Cohen to take some definite action regarding the proposed new Carnegie library building. The plans furnished by R. D. Church, of Minneapolis, were adopted and the building will be erected according to these plans. The only other plans considered last night were those furnished by C. W. Allbrant, of Fargo. His plans were a duplicate of those used in the library building at Valley City, but the Valley City building cost some $15,000 and in cutting this amount down to $12,000 many things would have to be eliminated from the building which had been seen by the committee which visited Valley City.

The new library building will be 70x47 feet and will be built of gray St. Louis hydraulic pressed brick. There will be a stone base six feet high built of Portage Entry brownstone and there will be stone steps with eight pillars of Bedford stone.

The entrance in the vestibule leading to the rotunda will be floored with tiling. The building will be surmounted by a large dome and the skylight in this will light the rotunda. The building will also be well lighted in other ways. There will be six large windows in front of the building and six to the rear with two at each end. The general reading room will be at the north end and the children’s reading room at the south end and they will be conveniently arranged and well lighted and ventilated. The stack room will be at the east end of the building, directly back of the librarian’s distributing desk, and it will have a capacity of 10,000 volumes. The general plan on the interior will throw all the rooms under the supervision of the librarian, and will be open. Besides these rooms on the main floor, there will be the librarian’s room, toilet rooms, etc. A large chandelier will hang from the dome to light the building at night and there will be other convenient and well-arranged lights throughout the room, with mirror reflectors.

The basement will also be a convenient part of the building. There will be a large side entrance and the plan will include a large lecture room, a book elevator, a work room, a cloak room and boiler and fuel rooms. This is the general plan of the building. The architect will at once prepare the specifications and bids will be advertised and it is hoped that work will commence this fall. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 29 August 1903, p. 2, c. 4)



Specifications for the New Library

Building have Arrived from

the Architect.




Arrangements will be Made at the

Meeting Tonight to Proceed

to Erect Building

There will be a meeting tonight of the Brainerd public library board. President Cohen has sent word to the members of the board that the specifications for the proposed new Carnegie library have arrived and that the plan of advertising for bids for the construction of the building will be discussed tonight.

The plans submitted by R. D. Church, of Minneapolis, were the ones accepted by the board at a previous meeting, and it is from him that the specifications come.

It is planned to advertise for bids at once and commence work in a short time so that the building will be enclosed before winter. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 18 September 1903, p. 2, c. 4)



And Have to be Forwarded Again to the

Architect for His Approval—Meeting

of Library Board

Last night there was a meeting of the Brainerd Public Library board, when the plans of the new Carnegie library came up for consideration. They were discussed until nearly 11 o'clock and some changes were made, so that it will be necessary to send them back to Minneapolis for the approval of Architect Church.

This will take some little time and it is not thought that the board will be ready to advertise for bids for some days yet. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 19 September 1903, p. 3, c. 4)

Proposals for Construction

The Brainerd Public Library board will receive sealed proposals for the construction of the new Carnegie library building until 8 p. m., Oct. 1st, at which time the bids will be opened. Plans and specifications may be seen at the office of the city clerk, Brainerd, and full instructions had as to form of proposals. All proposals must be accompanied by a certified check for five hundred dollars (500.00) as evidence of good faith.

The board reserves the right to accept or reject any or all proposals.


Sec. Pro Tem.

(Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 24 September 1903, p. 3, c. 1)



The Library Board Will Meet and the

Bids for New Brainerd Public

Library will be Opened

There will be a meeting tonight of the Brainerd Public Library board when the bids for the new building will be opened. Architect Church, of Minneapolis, who prepared the plans, will be present at the meeting tonight.

It is understood that there are a number of outside contractors present who expect to bid on the work and the meeting tonight is expected to be a very interesting one. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 01 October 1903, p. 2, c. 4)



Will Build the New Carnegie Pub-

lic Library for the Sum

of $11,400




Local Men Bid Very Close, A. Ever-

ett’s Being but $48 More

than Rowley’s

There was a meeting of the public library board last night in the library rooms over the N. P. depot and bids were opened for the new library, for which $12,000 has been donated by Andrew Carnegie. Architect Church, who prepared the plans for the building, was present to assist the board.

The bidding was very close so far as the local contractors were concerned, two of the bidders being only $48 apart.

Contractor C. B. Rowley was the successful bidder, his bid of $11,400 being the lowest.

The bids were six in number, two being Minneapolis firms, J. L. Norrell & Son and J. & A. W. Elliott.

The following were the bids:

C. B. Rowley—$11,400.00

A. Everett—$11,448.00

George Kreatz—$11,937.00

J. L. Norrell & Son—$14,926.00

J. & A. W. Elliott—$12,098.00

Martin & Nelson—$13,226.00

(Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 03 October 1903, p. 5, c. 3)



Contractor Rowley Starts Work on the

New $12,000 Library to be

Built in Brainerd

This morning Contractor C. B. Rowley started work on the new Carnegie public library which will be located on Main street. The ground was broken and work was commenced on the excavation. Mr. Rowley will push the work as rapidly as possible and expects to have the building enclosed by winter. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 10 October 1903, p. 2, c. 6)



Encouraging Reports of Work on the New

Public Library Building Made Last

Night at Library Meeting

There was a meeting of the library board last nigh in the rooms over the N. P. depot. Some very encouraging reports of the work on the new library building were heard, but nothing of importance developed at the meeting. The foundation for the new building is about completed and work will commence in a few days on the superstructure. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 13 November 1903, p. 3, c. 1)



It Has Been Decided that It Will

Not be Wise to Continue the

Work at Present




Meeting of Library Board Held

Last Night and Architect

Church was Present

Last night there was a meeting of the Brainerd Public Library board, and Architect Church, of Minneapolis, who prepared the plans for the proposed new building, was present.

The most important question to be considered by the board was that of abandoning the work on the building until spring, as it is thought that the weather is not conducive to the best results in laying brick at this time of the year. Technical and practical information was obtained from Mr. Church on the matter and it was finally decided to leave the question to the building committee with power to act.

This committee met this morning with Architect Church and after due consideration it was thought wise and feasible to abandon further work on the new building until spring. No date was set, but in all probability it will be the first of April before work will again be resumed. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 12 December 1903, p. 5, c. 3)



$3,000 Received from Andrew Carnegie

by the Brainerd Public Library

Board this Morning

This morning the first installment of the $12,000 donated by Andrew Carnegie to build the public library in this city was received by the Brainerd Public Library board. The check was for $3,000, and it begins to look now like business and the members of the board feel more at home in ordering the work done, etc. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 21 January 1904, p. 2, c. 4)



Meeting of the Library Board

Held Last Night to Meet

Architect Church




And the Work Will Have to be

Done Over Again—Another

Meeting Tonight

Carnegie Public Library, ca. 1910. A 900x567 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Postcard
New steps were created for the main entrance, 1940. A 900x683 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society

There was a meeting of the Brainerd Public Library board last night in the library rooms and it had to do with a very important matter which has come up in connection with the erection of the new Carnegie library in this city. It seems that the foundation which was partially put in last fall, is not, according to the beliefs of some of the members of the board in accordance with the specifications. These facts got to the ear of Architect Church, of Minneapolis, who drew the plans and he was here yesterday and was present at the meeting last night. The building committee, Architect Church and several stone masons, together with Contractor Rowley, met at the library site this morning and went over the work.

The result of this investigation will not be known until the building committee meets with the full board this evening. Architect Church stated that he would have a statement to give out to the public in a few days, but had nothing to say for publication today. Contractor Rowley is also interested to see the matter righted and will be present at the meeting tonight. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 04 May 1904, p. 3, c. 3)

NOTE: In 1940, a new front entrance was created for the library. The exterior of the old entrance was entirely changed eliminating the previous hazards of a short top step at the door and steep steps with no railing. The sloping sidewalk from the building to the main sidewalk was leveled.



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)



Contractor Rowley Complying with

the Action of the Board in Matter of

Improving the Foundation

The work on the new Carnegie public library is being pushed now as rapidly as possible. Contractor Rowley is making the necessary changes in the foundation and wall and states that he will keep men right on the job now until the building is completed. (Brainerd Daily Dispatch, 26 May 1904, p. 2, c. 3)

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)

SEE: Cohen (Henry I.) Dry Goods Store


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] [Ruffee], 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)

NOTE: This building was located in Block D on the 1894 Brainerd plat map, putting it in the area currently known as Tyrol Hills in West Brainerd.

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)


11 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

The original Christian Scientist Church located on the southeast corner of North Fifth and Kingwood Streets, ca. Unknown. A 3030x1721 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Carl Faust, Postcard
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 22, 1907, a fire wiped out the Reilly block containing the Reilly drygoods and hardware store, M. J. Reis dry goods 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 Block, 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 1927, 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

NOTE: Alden & Harris were the architects for the City Hall and Fire Hall built in 1914-15, the Crow Wing County Jail built in 1916-1917 and the Crow Wing County Courthouse built in 1919-20.


City Hotel at 510 Front, ca. 1890.
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
John Thomas Sanborn, City Hotel proprietor, stands behind the lunch counter inside the City Hotel, ca. 1893. A 1182x874 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Crow Wing County Historical Society

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)

15 April 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)

10 December 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 (Second) (MAP #43)

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
A marker commemorating the second city jail near the northeast corner of 4th and Washington Streets, 28 April 2018. A 3476x2272 version of this photo is also available for viewing online.
Source: Carl Faust

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 sev