HOME: Brainerd History Walk



PHOTO: Here is an example of one of the many Monument/Plaques that were erected by the city in or before 1971 for Brainerd's centennial. I believe they were physically built by the Green Thumb group. This one is in the Boom Lake area Kiwanis Park playground.]

10/7/2008: A question came to my attention as to the number of people that have been on the walk, so here is my best "guestimate", May-June:

-Guided, by appointment, service groups, etc.: 300

-Guided, by set times on Sesquicentennial Week: 250

-Guided, by guides by Brainerd History Group members: 50

-Self-Guided, with the Guide Book provided at the library, estimate only: 50

Based on the response from the participants, here is where we intend to go from here:

---Expand the walk with a few more sites, and take out a few, since some others that are of more interest have come up.

---Remodel the Walk a bit based on feedback from the participants. We found more interest than we anticipated in the buildings themselves, as far as what they were built with, especially Brainerd bricks.

---Make the Guide Books more available to more people for Self-Guided tours. We could put some at the Senior Center and the nursing home, Chamber, and some key businesses such as restaurants.

---Do a few mini-bus tours for the nursing home folks, or anyone who cannot get out and about easily.

---Make the Walk in to a PowerPoint presentation so it can be viewed right IN the nursing homes and senior center.

A recent Walk:

On April 9, 2009 Marta Mersereau and Carl Faust of the Brainerd History Group presented the Brainerd History Walk to the League of Women Voters at their meeting at the Sawmill Inn in Brainerd. After their regular meeting of about a half hour, Carl led about a dozen of the folks who braved the chilly winds outside. They picked up the regular route of the Walk at about its half-way point going from the old water tower south, then east on Laurel St. to 8th, north to Front St. and back to the tower, so about 2/3 of the tour was covered. Carl asked how the time schedule was and was told there was about a half hour allowed, but it seemed everybody was having so much fun he had a hard time keeping the group moving! So, going over the time a bit we all learned a lot about the buildings and the town design and how the NP railroad truly did build a ready-made town, almost before the people got there back in 1871. Monuments and markers were identified, and as usual, the tour guide learned a bit more by the time the tour was done, as many walkers had tidbits of history to add. Back at the Sawmill Marta did a “virtual tour” from the Guide Book and said it too went well. The Brainerd History Group hopes to produce the Walk in a slide presentation so it can be brought to the seniors and nursing home residents, who themselves must surely have a lot to add! The Brainerd History Group was glad to have been invited to speak to the League.


About 1987 the City, I assume the Park Dept. or perhaps it was the Kiwanis, developed a hiking trail in the Boom Lake area. I later read in a Dispatch This Was Brainerd clip that "plans for the development of an 'excercise trail' at Boom Lake Park were unveiled at the Brainerd City Council" was clear back in 1978. It left the paved trail and headed up a dirt path from the brewery area on the east side of the lake to the top of the 1940's ski jump hill. I don't know what precipitated it nor what became of it but I thought it was a great idea and that it should get more use. Then in about 1987 my sister came here from CA and she was an avid jogger/walker, and asked where our walking trails were. I knew of none so she jogged the streets in the neighborhood. Now fast forward 20 years and here she is back again last/2007 summer and guess what, there are still no marked walking trails. I do know of a few newly-paved pathways but don't know how they are connected, so I saw a need for some markings or a map, or better yet, both. How nice I thought it would be to combine this trail with a system of pathways all around town that would also point out historical sites of interest, of which Brainerd has many.

So now here it is 2008 and I notice a lot of interest in both downtown development and healthy living, walking in particular. There was an article in the paper just lately about a Social Capital Survey, and the first item on the list of "what can you do?" in your community was "plan a walking tour of historic areas in yoyur town". A few days before that the front page of the paper touted a "walk don't ride" walking tour. A week later Andrew Hook was on the front page giving a talk about the economic outlook of the community, and via Marta at the library, he found me and the wheels started turning. Andrew was also working on getting some events planned for the upcoming celebration of Minnesota's 150th anniversary of statehood, or sequicentennial. This event is being celebrated May 11-18, 2008. We saw an opportunity to tie all of these events together. So, this might be a good time to see if there is ENOUGH interest to get this idea off and "running" so to speak. On this page I will outline some ideas that I think would be needed to make this work. It would definitely take some volunteers from around the community! For now, this page will be fluid and I will add to it as ideas come in, and I'll change the date each time it is updated.

Please see the MISSION STATEMENTS link to the left.

READERS: Have you been on one of our Walks, or just have a comment on it or this site? We appreciate your imput, so contact the webmaster and let us know what you think! Carl: 218-829-0137, fertfaust@msn.com

After the Sesqui week we are still giving tours on a reservation basis for the summer.

This is the copy that was added to our posters:

"Guided Tours given by appointment throughout the summer begin at the Brainerd Public Library. Groups larger than 10 are best split in half using two guides, if available."

Tour will take approximately one hour to complete.

BUSINESS OWNERS: If you did not get a flyer on this project, please click on the link to the left of the same name, print it out, and now you have one! Feel free to make several and share them with others. Thanks!

4/28/2008: We now have permission from the state group to use their logo in our project.

5/22/2008: We now are linked from the Crow Wing County Historical Society's website on their Internet Links section. Check out their great new site here! http://www.crowwinghistory.org/

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Site published: 4/23/2008

NOTE, 4/3/2008: MEETING RECAPS has been moved to its own page at the left.