BRICKYARDS

BRICKYARDS [+2]:

Brainerd has been home to 3 different brick yards, one which produced a lightweight cream colored brick, and the other 2 a lesser-quality reddish clay brick, subject to shaling. It has been said that there is still enough fine cream clay remaining on the east bank of the river, north of the Washington St. bridge, to supply a moderately-sized operation for many years.

Brick manufacture was considered a major industry in Brainerd at one time, but a very short time indeed. It started in 1878, and was all but dried up in just a decade.

Do you have a building in Brainerd made of brick, or brick veneer? Chances are they are local bricks! Most veneered houses of the post 1900-era have used bricks recovered from demolitions at the NP Shops, which will be all Creams. See the Brick Types sub-page at the left to help identify your bricks.

EBINGER AND KOOP BRICKYARD: Also operated under various other names, this 10 acre site was not far west of the west shore of Rice Lake. Produced RED brick.
Known structures these bricks found in:
-Sleeper Opera House, partial.

L. P. WHITE BRICKYARD (for lack of any name known to me): This small yard was owned and operated by Lyman P. White, known as "the father of Brainerd", "south of the east end of the Laurel St. bridge" [CZ]. I take that to be roughly across the street to the south of the fire hall. Produced RED brick.
Known structures these bricks found in:
-Sleeper Opera House, partial.

BRAINERD STEAM BRICK YARDS: Operated by Wilhelm Schwartz. The clay was located about a mile north of the present Dairy Queen. Sand and soil 20' thick covered this 30' bed of clay, but since it was on a bank of the river, it could be scraped off and dumped down the hillside without having to haul away. "A firing test burned it to an attractive cream or buff color, a finely crystalline texture and a very tough structure" [CZ]. The plant was on 28+ acres now occupied by Potlatch (earlier NW Paper Co.). It had a horse-drawn rotary paddle mixer, and 3 wood-fired kilns with steaming facilities. His brick soon became famous and known as "Milwaukee cream brick", and was shipped to Duluth and the Twin Cities. Within 3 years this boom warranted the NPRR to build it's first spur in the area out to it in 1881. I'm sure many people assume this rail line was first used to serve a paper mill! In 1883 the area was recorded as Schwartz's Addition to Brainerd. In 1882 the plant produced 7,500,000 bricks, many of them being used for the NP repair shops, which used these bricks exclusively. Produced all CREAM brick.
Known structures these bricks found in:
-City Lock-Up (later Meyer dry-cleaning plant)
-C.N. Parker's street car power-house (non-existent)
-Court House, 1st. (later Newell Apt's.)
-First National Bank Bldg. (Hartley's)
-Grade School Buildings, all (replaced 1936)
-Hartley Block
-High School Bldg., 1st. (burned 1929)
-Houses, several, some owned by C.B. Sleeper and W.D. McKay -McFadden-Westphal Bldg.
-NPRR shops
-Park Opera House (later Paramount Theater)
-Sheriff's home and jail, 1st. (non-existent)