Current and *future projects of the BHG. Help wanted!!! We can use ALL the help we can get. It may be just advice, or information, or maybe you know where we could go for help.

*An emphasis should perhaps be put on the word Future, since we have WAY more projects in mind than "underway". However, we believe we need to plan ahead and form some ideas to give us some direction, and to help prioritze what should be attempted next. Generally speaking, we like to focus on:

-unfinished business from past efforts (prior to the formation of the BHG)

-anything that will help preserve the past

-bringing Brainerd history to the public

UPDATED 1/21/2009:

BRAINERD HISTORY WALK: (See separate page to the left, which leads to a special website on this topic.)

-Add new verbiage to existing Posters.

-Check Window Banners, replace where necessary.

-PHOTO COLLAGE: Bring photos and histories to businesses that agree to or already display them: Carl. We have come up with a uniform size, low-cost frame that allows for 3 or more 8-1/2X11" photos and plenty of verbiage for the historical info. This will make it easy for the public to find in each location. They are 1X3' long and about $14, plastic covered and edged. We can set the whole thing up for you at under $20 (donation). We are also working on a small window banner to designate your business as a participant in the program. It will read in bold, bright print on a burst "History Inside!"


New website for the Northies:


We are very interested in what becomes of our wonderful downtown area building s and character, so naturally any revitalization efforts and plans interest us, and we'd love to provide help. Here's a great program underway now through the Chamber of Commerce:

The Brainerd Main Street Program is a community-based effort to revitalize Brainerd's Central Business District, or CBD. The program area stretches from the Mississippi River to 11th Street and from Oak to Kingwood Streets. Though it is part of the Brainerd Lakes Chamber, it is for members and non-members alike. This program is based on the National Main Street Approach that has been used in over 1,700 communities during the past 25 years.


The Drexler Blacksmith shop was located where the present/2009 First Bank is on the NW corner of Sixth St. S. and Maple St. The site was marked with a 1971 Plaque and Monument, but the monument/pedestal was eliminated during a road reconstruction and the plaque was set in the the ground by the bank's main entrance. It would be nice to resurrect the plaque and re-elevate it on a steel pedestal so it can be more easily seen, especially in the winter!

I have found one of the spears that Fred Drexler made some 100 years ago, so am trying to gather up some darkhouse spearing items such as decoys and photos to make a display to put in the bank lobby as an exhibit of the darkhouse spearing industry and sport, since no such thing exists anywhere that I know of devoted exclusively to this sport. I am applying for funding through US Bank to help in this Endeavour. More info. here, under Blacksmiths:

PANORAMIC PRINT: See separate page to the left.

PLAQUES, 1971, 6 newly found:

-Fire Hall, first: Installed Wed., Aug. 27, 2008 at the Johnson Cigar Co. building, N end of S 5th St., fire Chief Fred Underhill officiating.

-First National Bank: Installed, Wed., Aug. 27, 2008. It went on the corner of building, west side.

-Indian Lynching Site/Last Turn Saloon: Pending further talks with the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwa.

-Lumberman's Hospital: Permission from landowner given, pending just funding (about $125) also hoping for installation and material help from the City. A pedestal needs to be installed adjacent to the NE Liquor building. This will be put on the owners land, not the city's, right next to the building amongst a nice flower and shrub planting. It will be easily viewable from the sidewalk. Thanks to Scott & Susie on this!

-Lyman P. White: first frame house residence, SW corner of N 7th & Juniper Sts. Pending sale of house to determine location on boulevard between existing and future trees.

-NP Center: Installed Aug. 14, 2008, see News Stories on the left.

THREE down, 3 to GO!!!


Set up several locations around town as a Theme Home for a particular aspect of commercial history. For instance, if someone is interested in Brainerd's lumbering history, he would go to the Sawmill Inn for photos and written histories. See separate page on the left.


-BREWERY PROJECT: See separate page on the left.

-BUILDINGS PHOTO RECORD: In the days that a lot of our wonderful old buildings were built, photographic records of them were preserved, usually on post cards. Another record is found on souvenir china items. But now post cards are kind of out of fashion, and there's not much for new buildings, so it would be nice to do a "then and now" shot of the old and the new...while we still can! One could take the original photo and take a modern-day shot from the exact same camera angle.

-FAMILY HISTORIES: One cannot research Brainerd history without continually running across some familiar family names that built the businesses and buildings. Some of these family histories span several decades, even centuries! It would be nice to have a written and photographic history on some of these early Builders of Brainerd. Some that come to mind are under the section PIONEERS & FAMILIES on this site:

-LOGO: We need to come up with a logo to put on all of our Photo Collages and to use at displays, so all of our projects are easily recognizable. We want it so that when a person walks up to a business, he can see that there is more history inside! I am thinking that the Water Tower and the Paul Bunyan icon should be included in this design. I don't think either are copyright -protected, but we should investigate it first. This logo can also lend us a bit of clout I should think!

MUSEUM EXHIBIT: Marilyn a the Crow Wing County Historical Society has graciously allowed us some valuable space at the museum on Laurel St. for an exhibit of the Brainerd History Group. This can be used to promote our existance, our mission and our projects. The people touring the museum naturally are history buffs anyway, and some may want to get involved in the Brainerd end of it. We might want to come up with a simple easel that could be changeable to reflect our current activities, and have a spot for handout brochures.

-ORAL HISTORIES: Transcribe to print the ones at both the CWCHS and the library. I wonder if the new computerized speech recognition systems could do this!

-PARK HISTORIES: Since Parks & Rec. has allowed us to have a small display on the wall as the Parks Theme Home, we need to do a history of all 13 parks in the city. To my knowledge there is no such listing done. About all I know of written is of Gregory Park and Lum Park, maybe some on Bane Park. This all needs to be transcribed and compiled.

-PHOTO COLLAGE: Bring photos and histories to businesses that agree to (or already) display them. We have come up with a uniform size, low-cost frame that allows for 3 or more 8-1/2X11" photos and plenty of verbiage for the historical info. This will make it easy for the public to find in each location. They are 1X3' long and about $14, plastic covered and edged. We can set the whole thing up for you at $20 (donation). This will cover framing and copy costs. We are also working on a small window banner to designate your business as a participant in the program. It will read in bold, bright print on a burst "History Inside!"

-PHOTO SITE: We are looking for a good non-commercial website with plenty of capacity to host old photos of historical interest. This will be available for one to get a reasonable size image to his inbox at no charge. Photo sharing and getting history out of the "vaults" is a priority with the BHG!

-PLAQUES: Reproduce the 3 missing 1971 Plaques. Add to this list with similar plaques with more locations missed in 1971 or that have come about since then, such as: Brainerd Brewing Co. location and picnic area, second Depot location, Werner Hemsted house, Pulp Mill on the west side of the river, and even a Tour Of Plaques!

-PLAQUE TOUR: Locate and list ALL historical plaques in the city, so one can hop in the car and visit them on an orderly route.

-RAILROAD MUSEUM: A location to display artifacts and information on the thing that built Brainerd in the first place , the Northern Pacific Railroad. What better location than their first headquarters, Brainerd?

-TIMELINE: Produce another 5' long Print like the Panoramic, but with a timeline and photos from 1871 on.

-TRAILS: Fully marked as to routes, and with historical markers.

-TRAVELING LIBRARY: I have several different research materials that I have either duplicates of or just inexpensive copies of, even a few CD's. These could be used for anyone interested in doing some research but does not want to do it onsite at the traditional places where one typically cannot check out such items. I will make a list on a separate page.

-WEBSITE: A website to top all on Brainerd history, more complete and accurated and more easily searchable. In the mean time we could use a separate site just for photos!

-ZAPFFE: Reproduce Carl Zapffe's 1946 book, "Brainerd 75", but on a CD so it's searchable, and then perhaps later a spiral-bound coffee table or reference book version.


NEEDED! was the best description we could come up with for the title of this section, because there are many things we NEED to help meet our goals. Some things are more concrete and of a physical nature, like for instance...concrete mix. Others are less tangible such as carpentry help or research work needed. Here is a list of current needs, so maybe you can help, or know someone who can!

-CONCRETE MIX: We will need some quick-set concrete mix to set the pedestals on the Lumberman's Hospital and Drexler Blacksmith Shop 1971 Plaque projects.

-EASEL: We need an easel or other display board or stand for the Museum Exhibit. See Projects.

-FUNDING: Yes, like most projects some need good old fashioned cash to purchase supplies. We can run some tax-deductible contributions of major items through the CWC Historical Society on an approval basis, but most projects just need a small amount of funding for such things as photocopy and printing costs and advertising.

-MARKERS: Some type of more permanent material will be needed to replace the paper Historic Site markers that we used for the 2008 Brainerd History Walk. We used a blue paper and laminated them, but the ones in the sun are fading. These could be some sort of metalized or foil material.

-PLAQUES: We have identified several locations that should have been marked with the 1971 plaques back then, such as the brewery location and the ski jump on Boom Lake. It would be nice to re-create the same plaque used, which were made at the Brainerd Foundry and made of aluminum. Due to the cost, perhaps we could find a cheaper material and process such as fiberglass or plastic stamping, but use the same basic mold.

-STEEL TUBING and PLATES: Three, 8" steel tubes will be needed for the 1971 Plaque projects, to be used as pedestals (in place of the former stone ones used in 1971. Also 3-1/4" plates will be needed to mount the plaques to on top.

-WELDING LABOR: We'll need someone to weld the steel pedestals together, consisting of the tube, a top plate and some angle iron as footings.