Paul Bunyan history With the recent discussion of the small statue being broken in front of the Chamber of Commerce, I thought this would be a good time to dive in to the history of Paul and his relationship with Brainerd. TBA.


Brainerd has had an illustrious, and early history of musical talent. Below find

a timeline of bands and bandstands. Thanks to Tom Green for getting me mo-

tivated to assemble this list!

-1872, Jan.21: First band organized. Feb.: Band becomes Dresskell's Band. (Wm.

M.), a jeweler. Operated by him until about the end of 1872. He was a cornet

solist and band leader at 17, and also operated a 10 piece orchestra.

-1882: Brainerd City Band organized, led by Dresskell.

-1885, Feb.: Residents request City to cut paths through the "forest" in Gregory

Park. City did not yet own the Square, which was actually owned by the Lake

Superior and Puget Souind Co. In May of this year the city "claimed" ownership

and control for maintenance and developement.

-1886-7: C.F. Kindred builds a bandstand in Gregory Park (wood-frame).

-1887, Sept.: Fence built around the Square by White & White. Before this C.F.

Kindred's bandstand was directly in the middle of the Square.

-1892, Jan.25: After a long court battle, a Circuit Court decrees "official" owner-

ship to the City.

-1894, May: City Band tries to have the council make repairs to the bandstand

and pay towards its maintenance. The Council refuses to pay for other people's

property, even if on city land. On June 18 the City Band assigns a lease and

ownership of the bandstand to the City.

-1898, June 2: A cyclone hits Gregory Parkand destroys all but a few trees in the

SW corner. The bandstand is re-erected on the grounds EAST of the depot (now

the concrete water tower). In July, lights were put on the bandstand. The Common

Council eventually moved this bandstand to its last location SOUTH of the depot,

on a spot confusingly called the City Park, although the city did not own the land.

The spot later became more known as Depot Park. I have heard references to

this location also a "Hobo Park", perhaps earning that name in later years after

the bandstand was removed. Some time prior to 1898 the City acquired a lease

on this land from the NP Railway Co., which may be when the term Depot Park be-

came popular.

-1899: The Council authorizes $200 for tree planting in Gregory Park.

-1912: The Parker Memorial Bandstand is built in Gregory Park, of brick, and still

stands today. Gil Hartley gave the City a bandstand and furnished 24 uniforms,

but I cannot determine if it was this brick bandstand or the one on the Depot Park

property. I believe the Parker family furnished the funding for the brick one in

Gregory Park, and Hartley put in some refurbishing money when the old wooden

bandstand made its third and final move.

-1936: Baehr Theaters Co. came from Bemidji and erected the theatre block

Baehr Building., opening 1938.

I can envision the old Depot Park losing its reputation for a site of musical

talent when the bandstand and such activities moved to Gregory Park. I

wonder if the old site then became ramshackle and in moved the "hobo"s!

This site later became home to a snow slide of wooden construction and of epic proportions, nearly a half-block long.