Here I will attempt to locate the oldest items in the city, whether they be buildings or trees.
Just a few guesses, such as the first Court House north of Washinton St., now an apartment. Nash-Finch building?
There are still remnants of rail buried under the asphalt in the alleys between Laurel and Maple Sts., in the downtown area, which I believe led to the lumberyard at the west end of Laurel, later Cahill-Hall Lumber Co. and then on to the sawmill by Boom lake, down what was then Water Street. The only piece of narrow-gauge, thin rail I have found turned up during the excavtion of the lot adjacent and east of the Lively Building, now Mill's Fleet corporate offices, while expanding the building there. [A fine addition to to the downtown area, for sure!] Thanks to Tom Green for notifying me, after spotting a chunk sticking out of the sand. What we thought was regular gauge was in fact the narrower type used for the electric railway. Apparently it was recycled after the line's demise, and used as stakes to reinforce railroad ties used as shoring to berm the sand when they built sidewalks. The few pieces we found were attached to vertical RR ties with a heavy "S" shaped clamp made specifically to spike-in the rail to the tie. A sample of this rail was donated by Mills to the CWCHS Museum.
[I heard once that 8th. St. from Washington to Oak Sts. is the shortest STATE highway in the state.(?)] Would Front St. be Brainerd's oldest? On second thougt I suppose tey had to go down 6th. to get to Front! I suppose it would have to be the first one platted. I thnk 6th. was first to be paved.(?) Help needed from the city steet dept. (Norm?). I found several sewer grates (or man hole covers) still in the streets dated 1887. About 1999 I commandeered one from an obscure alley location (with the blessing of the street dept.!), and it can be seen at the Museum (the former city jail) on the top floor, if it hasn't fallen through yet! It took a hand cart to wheel it up there.
Perhaps this should be LARGEST instead of oldest since it's diffucult to determine a tree's age while it's still standing. Perhaps we could use more than one criterion, such as height and girth (circumference). I could use some help from Parks and Rec. on this one (Chuck?). I did locate a Cottonwood of over 6' diameter in north Brainerd, and some Silver Maples in front of Franklin School are not far behind. THere is a HUGE tamarac, strangely not in a bog, just W. of the Dairy Way a block in S. Brainerd.