Centennial Plaques, 1971:

The story of the wonderful 1971 Plaques is a strange one, and it continues. The first mention of them in the newspaper that I can find is the 1971 article below. It appears as though NONE were put up by the intended 1971 Centennial date (except the one at the Armory, which I cannot find and was likely a different plaque than the others). Here's a timeline:

-1971/08/04: A photo "showed where the plaque WOULD be placed" at the Burlington Northern (former NP) shops. It also mentions a permanent Centennial marker for the 194th at the National Guard Armory, which I have not found. We have since found the NP plaque, and no black paint was scratched where the nut or washer would have had to spin or scratch on its face, so I don't think it was ever affixed to the building. The photo clearly shows the 2 men holding it up with the index finger and thumb, the index finger being BEHIND the plaque, as if it was were merely held UP TO the brick wall. 17 plaques were planned. Notice below that the first Centennial /1971 plaque did not go up until 1975! (photo)

-1975/10/10: The first 2 of a series of 18 BICENTENNIAL markers were erected. #18 must be the state marker Water Tower plaque. The photo shows the Water Tower and the Depot plaques. (photo)

-1975/10/23: the Headquarters Hotel plaque is installed by the Brainerd Bicentennial Committee. (photo)

-2008/05/06: 6 plaques found in the attic of the Crow Wing County Historical Society.

-2009/04/17: 2 plaques found in the basement of the City Hall.

Posted 5/16/2008: See big news at the bottom of this page, from May 6, 2008! And more good news in April of 2009!!


From Renee at the Dispatch (parts added by Carl):

Here's a story I found in the Brainerd Dispatch regarding the centennial
markers. I sent the information to the city of Brainerd.

There was a story on Page 1A of the Aug. 4, 1971 Brainerd Dispatch on the
Centennial markers.

It said the markers would be installed at 17 sites in conjunction with the
Centennial year.
(*=plaque already installed at the start of this project)

The sites were:

1) *First Church (St. Paul's Episcopal, east of Gregory Park), previously installed.
2) First National Bank (SE corner 6th & Front Sts.) Needs pedestal. NEWLY FOUND 2008! INSTALLED 2008.
3) *Jerry Howe Mill (Boom Lake/Kiwanis Park), previously installed.
4) Fire Hall (first, Johnson Cigar building) NEWLY FOUND 2008! INSTALLED 2008.
5) *Hallet Trading Post/Ferry Crossing (by the Dairy Queen, previously installed.
6) *Original Dam Site (by the paper mill), previously installed.
7) Lumberman's Hospital (parking lot of NE Liquor) NEWLY FOUND 2008
INSTALLED 7/22/2009!
8) Headquarters Hotel (diagonal from Sawmill Inn, pedestal broken/needs relocation, needs painting. NEWLY FOUND 2009. Awaiting installation!

9) *First Northern Pacific Depot, previously installed. One of the first 2 installed.

10) Original Courthouse (according to a newspaper article, was to be installed by building owner) MISSING!!!
Lyman White House (former location of LP White's house, SW corner 7th & , Juniper Sts.) Awaiting permission from landowner. NEWLY FOUND 2008! Awaiting installation!
12) Park Opera House (former Paramount Theater) MISSING!!!
13) *Drexler Blacksmith Shop (present/2008 US Bank), previously installed on a stone pedestal, relocated to in-ground location after highway restructuring. Needs a pedestal.
14) Northern Pacific Shops (on the Clock Tower building) NEWLY FOUND 2008! INSTALLED 2008.
15) *City Jail, Original (actually second, this one was mis-labeled), previously installed.
Last Turn Saloon (first, not present, diagonal from old Nash Finch building) reads "and Indian Lynching Site"), awaiting approval. NEWLY FOUND 2008! Awaiting approval/installation!
17) First School Site (west end of Front St.), need to find exact location. NEWLY FOUND 2009! Awaiting installation!

These were not on this list:

18) *Water Tower (This one is/is also a MN Historical Landmark, apparently making it #18.) One of the first 2 installed. Previously installed.

SUMMARY, as of 6/27/2009:

Previously installed (before the start of the BHG Project): 8

Newly found, awaiting installation………………………….: 4

Newly found, and INSTALLED………………………….. 4

Missing…………………………………………………………..: 2


-Laurel St. Bridge (I thought there was one here before the new 1980 bridge went in, and others thought so too, but we have no evidence of it.)

The story goes on to say "and a permanent marker was recently installed in
front of the National Guard Armory for the 194th in part of the Centennial
marker project.”
Jim McComas was in charge of installation. A front page photo of a plaque at
the Northern Pacific Shops accompanied the story and showed where the plaque
would be placed. Frank "Bud" Kittleson, owner of the Brainerd Foundry, who
donated the metal markers and Clarence Jordan, superintendent of then
Burlington Northern here, (the caption says) were holding the plaque at the
shop headquarters building."

The story goes on to say the markers were made at the Brainerd Foundry and
contributed for the project by Kittleson. The original drawing for the
inscription of the tower, trees and train is the work of Mrs. John (Bunny)
Humphrey. The drawing was made into a form or stamp for the mold by Olive
George of the Whittle Shop in Walker.

"Some of the markers will be cast in cement pedestals, others attached to
buildings. Cement pedestals are being made through Rep. Don Samuelson and
the concrete and masonry members of Brainerd Trades and Labor.
"Members of the committee working on the markers pointed out that they will
be put on or as near to the sites as is feasible for the best viewing by the
public. For example, the Jerry Howe Mill was located in the Boom lake area.
The sign designating this will be placed in Kiwanis Park. Again, the site of

The original courthouse is now an apartment building on Kingwood. The owner
will install the marker."

Working on the Centennial Committee on the project were Pete Humphrey, Mrs.
Elmer Reichert, Mrs. William Graham, George Kinney, James Alderman Sr., Joe
Gustafson, Dick Knutson, Wayne Curtis, John Stensrud, Mrs. Stephen Nicolas
and Jim McComas.

That's all the story had. I hope this helps.



Renee Richardson
Senior Reporter
Brainerd Dispatch

May 6, 2008:

"Carl Faust was at the Museum explaining about the walk etc., he
mentioned something about the markers, that several were missing. Pam
seemed to recall seeing something in the attic that sounded somewhat
like the markers. Carl left for a meeting at the library. Pam and Darla,
flashlight in hand immediately went to the attic to the general vicinity
of the recalled memory. Sure enough back behind several artifacts there
they rested. There were five total making it quite a find. Pam was just
about jumping up and down with excitement. We had to call the library
and tell Carl. News like that just couldn’t wait. To our dismay we
couldn’t reach Carl, but left a message. What seemed like no time at
all, Carl arrived back at he Museum. He was so excited he could hardly
contain his excitement. Out comes the digital camera and the markers are
posing on the floor, ready to greet the world again! Carl exclaims 'A
discovery has been made today!'

One of our Volunteers, Mary Ann Frisch discovered the 6th marker. It was on display in our railroad exhibit, and had been donated to the Historical Society in 2007."

Pam Nelson
Administrative assistant

April 17, 2009: 2 more missing plaques are discovered, the First School and the Headquarters Hotel. (The latter is faded and chipped, and needs to be repainted.)

The newly discovered 6 (found at the CWC Historical Society), plus now/2009, 8:

1) Lumberman's Hospital (1st)

2) First National Bank

3) Lyman White House (diagonal from St. Paul's Episcopal church, not the present house of anyone???)

4) Fire Hall, first (on Front St.)

5) Indian Lynching Site & Last Turn Saloon (first LTS location, not the newer tavern on 8th)

6) Northern Pacific Shops (on the Clock Tower)

7) First School Site (found at City Hall)

8) Headquarters Hotel (found at City Hall)

In a perfect world, here are some sites I'd like to see get marked in the future:

-Alderman-Maghan Hardware, earlier first ? hardware store location, White Bros.?

-Arlington Hotel, SW corner 6th & Wash. Sts., burned

-Brainerd Brewing Co., east side of Boom Lake. The Bottling House footings cleared off would make a great patio for a picnic area!

-Brainerd-Cuyuna Mining Company mine shaft (south 7th St.& Wright Sts.)

-Brainerd Lumber Co. (NE ballpark area)

-Brainerd State Bank, SWE corner 7th & Laurel Sts., presently/2009 Downtown Art & Frame

-Brick Yard, Schwartz (mill area, south end, possibly on paper co. land)

-Cullen Pop Factory (south 7th St. & Joseph St.)

-Elk's Hotel, 1926, NE corner 6th & Laurel Sts., presently/2009 Northwind Grille

-Iron Exchange Building, 1910/11-1970, burned, presently Laurel Sts.

-Jail, County, first, NE corner 4th & Wash. Sts., presently/2009 Carlson-Wagonlit travel

-Lakeland Building, 1913, W side 8th St., originally Brainerd Model Laundry Co., later Meyer Cleaners, presently/2009 Last Turn Saloon

-Northern Pacific Depot, second, presently/2009 W end of Midtown Center

-Northern Pacific Foundry (10th & Quince Sts.)

-Northern Pacific Freight Depot, 1904, presently/2009 BNRR use, possibly same? or offices

-Northern Pacific Hospital (West of the formerPORT buildings south of Riverside School). All that remain are the Nurse's Residence, the Chief Surgeon's residence and the footings of the Root Cellar

-O'Brien Mercantile, 1883, SW corner 8th & Laurel Sts., presently/2009 Bob & Fran's Furniture

-Parker Building, 1909, NW corner 7th & Laurel Sts., presently/2009 EL Menk

-Post Office, third?, presently/2009 Qwest telephone office parking lot

-Ransford Hotel, SW corner, (place sandstone window sills as a bench on this corner)

-Ski Jump (SE side of Boom Lake)

-Sleeper Opera House, 1882, NE corner 8th & Laurel Sts., presently/2009 vacant, was Chocolate Etc. ?

-Steamboat Landing site (just west of the High School athletic field bleachers)

-Northwestern Hospital (present Lakes Area Senior Activity Center location on Kingwood St.)

-Turcotte Grocery, 315 S 6th St. (presently/2009 Shep's On Sixth)

-Villard Hotel, NW corner 6th & Wash. Sts., burned name it!

Size of plaques: 21” W X 11-5/8” H X ½” D.

Material: Cast aluminum, black painted recesses and edges; lettering and logo tops an unpainted metal.