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Reproduced from the Centennial Edition of the Brainerd Daily Dispatch (1871-1971).
Reproduced exactly as published in 1971 - no updates, no corrections.


photo: early

  INFANT BRAINERD----This is Brainerd shortly after birth in late 1870 or 1871. These buildings, the first to be constructed at "The Crossing" (Later christened Brainerd), were located near the present site of the Northland Clinic, not to far from the site of the bridge. The log house was erected by the Northern Pacific Railway Company to serve as a boarding house. The store building, built by Ed White, chief bridge carpenter, served as a trading post or store for both Indians and whites, It was later occupied by James Hallett. By 1900 the log building was taken down and by about 1920, the frame buildings had tumbled down. The scene above was painted in 1899 by C.J. Lier. It is based on a photograph as well as the buildings which were still in existence at that time.

Centennial Recalls big News Stories of city's 100 Years


In Brainerd's 100 years of life thousands and possibly millions of events have occurred which were newsworthy but standing out from the mass of news are a few occurrences which attracted unusual attention in their time and have become subjects of much conversation since.

In an effort to choose the prime news stories of Brainerd's long life. members of the Brainerd Dispatch news department have compiled a list of a dozen news stories which they believe stand out above the rest.

Topping the list is the Northern Pacific railroad strike of 1922 which colored life in Brainerd for decades. Almost a generation passed before the city had rid itself of some of the bitterness which accompanied the strike.

The tragedy of the strike, however, was surpassed some 20 years later when Brainerd's National Guard company was caught in the Philippines by the Japanese invasion resulting in the imprisonment, death and injury to scores of Brainerd's young men.

From a news standpoint, the lynching of two Indians on Front street in July, 1872, stands out. The Indians were suspected of murdering a missing girl. Later in July, troops were called to Brainerd when Indians were approaching the town, However, they were only coming to sell blueberries and the incident has gone down in history as the "Blueberry War."

Discovery of iron ore on the Cuyuna Range could be ranked as the fourth most interesting story of the 100 years. development of the Iron ore brought vast changes in Crow Wing county as well as to Brainerd.

The loss of Brainerd's charter by action of the state legislature occurred in 1876 after Thomas Lanihan was elected mayor as a joke. The city had township government until the charter was restored by the legislature in 1882. This might be ranked as the fifth most interesting news event in the history of the city.

Sixth ranking could go to the holdup of the First National Bank in 1933. The loss was about $32,000.

A news event which attracted wide interest in Brainerd occurred in 1926 when Mayor George A. Cain was recalled because some Brainerd residents believed he had been to active in enforcement of liquor laws.

+ R.P. Miller operated a ferry on the Mississippi River at the village of Crow Wing by the exclusive right extended by the state legislature in 1852.

+ A trading post usually consisted of shop, clerk's house, house for men, a clearing for potatoes and corn surrounded by high stockade built of 12 logs set on end in holes dug into the ground, often a roof house, flag staff and well.

+ In 1872, Brainerd was a wild and wooly town all early writings make reference to this point.

A fire which destroyed the old Washington High School building in February 1929 could be rated among the leading news events of the city's one hundred years. Many other buildings have burned in Brainerd, including the Iron Exchange building last year, but the burning of the high school was the greatest fire loss o city residents during the century.

The collapse of the Northern Pacific railroad bridge in 1875 would deserve a place among the big news stories of the city's history. The collapse of the bridge carried two railroadmen and two Indian women to their deaths.

A tornado hit northeast and north Brainerd in 1898, wrecking the trestle across the fill by the present Franklin Junior High School and destroying many of the original pine trees in Gregory Square.

In more recent Brainerd history, top news stories have included the state basketball championship which the Brainerd High School Warriors won in 1954 and the 20-year fight over the fluoridation of the city water supply.

Top news stories in Brainerd during the century might rank something like this: 1. Railroad strike of 1922, 2. Loss of Brainerd men on Bataan, 3. Lynching of Indians in 1872, 4. Discovery of Iron Ore on Cuyuna Range, 5. Loss of Brainerd's charter in 1876, 6. First National Bank holdup of 1933, 7. Recall of Mayor Cain in 1926, 8. Washington High School Fire in 1929, 9. Collapse of railroad bridge in 1975, 10. Tornado of 1898, 11. State Basketball championship in 1954, 12. Twenty-year fight over fluoridation 1951-71.

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