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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: liveries

  HORSE DELIVERY----Swift and Company, which established a wholesale beef, pork and provisions company here in 1898 and was managed by Casper M. Mills for over 30 years, used a horse and wagon to make deliveries. The company office was located at Eighth and Washington. Mills was the district manager and distributed through offices in Bemidji and International Falls with headquarters in Brainerd. Mills is shown above in the long white coat. He was the father of Stewart and Henry Mills.

Liveries Rented Buggies Sunday Drive in 1910


If you wanted to take a Sunday drive in 1910, you didn't turn the key in the ignition of a high-powered auto, you went to the local livery and rented a horse and buggy.

According to Chuck Burton who has been in Brainerd since 1915, there were at least three liveries before 1920.

One of the most popular was the Purdy Livery which stood where the Fleet Distributing Company is now.

Here people rented horses, buggies or horse teams if they wanted to travel further than around the immediate Brainerd area.

"The stables were used by the Brainerd community quite a lot," said Burton. He said the liveries went out of business in about 1920.

Another livery was the Zeirke Stable, located where the steel water tower stands now, between 9th and 10th Streets.

Across from the court house was also the Benson Stable. Another livery was located where the post office is now, in what was the "Hay Market." To the market, farmers came with loads of hay to sell.

Almost every block had a barn for boarding a cow, said Burton. "That's where you got your milk. We Didn't have any dairies then."

He said at least half of the homes on the north side of Brainerd had a barn with a horse stable.

There were iron cast horse hitches throughout Brainerd's residential area, said Burton. Some patterns for these hitches must have been quite elaborate and one in particular, was popular in north Brainerd.

It was an iron cast pattern and resembled wood complete with knotholes. "The downtown streets were paved with wooden blocks. I especially remember the wooden blocks in Front and Laurel," said Burton.

There were a number of blacksmith shops and these were still around until the late 1930's.

There was one on the corner of 7th and Maple owned and run by Roy Law. It was later moved to where the Benson Motor Co. is located now.

Another was the Drexler blacksmith shop between 9th and 10th on Laurel.

"Many blacksmith shops stayed in business after the automobile replaced the horse, mainly for repairing the early cars and farm equipment," said Burton.

One blacksmith shop still remains in business. The Nielson shop across the old Laurel Street Bridge, used mainly for welding and bending iron.

There was a blacksmith shop run by Joe Hartell between 5th and 6th Streets on the south side of Maple Street.

Burton said he remembers when the trains in Brainerd were met by carts, about 4 feet wide and 6 feet long with big wooden wheels and steel tires. The carts came to the station to pick up the luggage of hotel patrons who were staying at the Ransford, Brainerd, and Central Hotels.

"It was like a baggage taxi service," said Burton.

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