(Information): It's plain to me that if I don't get some help on this project, it will be another century until it's finished, or even close to it. If you have an interest in Brainerd's history, and can lend a hand on doing some research, please join the group, or just help me do some leg work on research.
Keep in mind that if you have access to a scanner with OCR capablities, and some text, or something on disc, you can just shoot it over to me on the net!
Perhaps you know of someone NOT on-line...really, that would love to help, or be interviewed to share their knowledge. Let me know!
So, below is a list of areas I'm seeking help on. This page will be in search of information only, not so much artifacts.
-BAXTER, MN: It wouldn't be fair to not include our sister city to the west, and I'm sure it's history goes a long ways back, although for the life of me I have no clue how far. In fact about all I know about it is that it's to the west of Brainerd! Where'd it get its name...Duane Baxter? Baxter Smith? When was it platted, recorded, or incorporated? If anyone out there can provide some info on its history, please send it in!
-CENTENNIAL: 1876 was of course the US Centennial, and Brainerd was only 4 years old, so did we have a celebration?
-COURT HOUSE, CASS COUNTY, in West Brainerd: For a short time the county seat of the then-configured Cass County was in West Brainerd, somewhere in the Tyrol Hills area. It is pictured on an old map, but I cannot find out where it was located. I believe it burned down, after being used for many other uses. This query came to me from a fellow amateur historian, Charles D., and thanks for prompting this investigation! The study of how this transition went and how the map changed would be an interesting one indeed.
-COURT HOUSE, CROW WING VILLAGE: For a short time the County Seat of Crow Wing county was Crow Wing Village, before there was a Brainerd, but where was the cour House located there?
-CULVERT, Ravine Creek: When was the concrete drainage culvert constructed that runs from the Franklin school football field area, all the way to the river at the cemetery landing? I found one storm sewer grate dated 1921. It would make sense that it was done in 1914 when The Fill was made, so that's my best guess.
-FILL: From where did they get the tremendous amount of fill dirt for "the fill", that spanned the ravine between Franklin school and the NP shops? Carl Zappfe's book states that it came from the hills behind the former Pamida building, yet I see on the 1883 map an area of NP lands called NP sand pit, so it may have come from there. How long did it take?
-FIRE DEPARTMENTS: We need a good history of the Fire Halls and their locations. (See Fire Departments)
-FRENCHIE'S ISLAND: Information is needed on what happened to this man. (See Waterways)
-FRENCH RAPIDS: Where did its name originate? What Frenchman???
-GOULD-GRAY COMPANY: Who were they? There is a road N. of Brainerd by that name. They were owners of the Iron Exchange Building at one time.
-KING'S SPORTING GOODS: Located in the Iron Exchange Building. Were they still in, or did they relocate from the Iron Exchange Building?
--MAPS. In particular, 1871: What is needed is a place to display all known Brainerd maps, on one wall and in chronological order. The museum would be a great place for this, as they have most of them but are scattered about on different levels.
-MINES: Where were the mines of the Brainerd Mining Co., or Brainerd-Cuyuna Mining Co. located? I remember playing around by one in the mid 1960's, and dropping stones down the shaft and waiting quite a long time for the splash! The wooden cover to it was cracked open providing access. I believe these were only capped in about 1969. My little brother recalls them being more behind (to the east) the northernmost part of the later Holiday Inn (now/2009 Red Roof Inn), but I recall one more like between the new armory and 13th St., just S. of Little Buffalo Creek.
-NEWSPAPERS: Brainerd had a number of different newspapers, some overlapping in time, so we need a good listing of them in chronological order.
-PRESERVATION: Does the city of Brainerd have some sort of Buildings Preservation Society, Historic Preservation Committee, or codes, or recommendations? Should there be an Historic District established to preserve the old look of the town?
-SKI JUMP: There is very little information on this Brainerd landmark from the 1940's...just a few photos, and its old concrette footings still up on the hill on the SE side of Boom Lake. Since this is relatively recent history, there should be some folks in town with memories of this attraction.
-WHERE is Lyman P. White buried (the location is stated to be in Brainerd) [B75, 1946]. UPDATE: 2006, I have located a Lyman P. White Sr. and junior in Evergreen Cemetery. I need more info on which is which!
-WHO actually first set foot on the site (non-indian). See TIMELINE for some thoughts on this.
-ZAPFFE, CARL: I need a good clear biography on both Carl Sr. and Jr., since I am unclear as to whom did what. Strangely, I've never seen a good biography on either of these two prominent Brainerdites!