February 22, 2024


Brainerd’s authentic railway passenger depot ruined by hearth – Brainerd Dispatch

BRAINERD — The Northern Pacific Railway’s route by means of Brainerd in the city’s infancy brought materials to the lakes spot but also passengers and prosperity.

“The railroad definitely counted on passenger visitors as a profits supply throughout scheduling,” stated Jeremy Jackson, a historical researcher.

The unique railway station was constructed in 1872 and had an estimated benefit of about $27,000. The two-tale constructing consisted of the waiting around rooms, ticket office, yardmaster’s office environment, and categorical and baggage division on the initially flooring of the 40-by-80-foot creating.

“There were no highways or cars, so railroads became a principal kind of transportation all through the latter 19th century, specially for extended-length travel,” Jackson explained.

original Northern Pacific Railway depot circa 1872

The original Northern Pacific Railway depot at the southeast corner of Sixth and Washington in Brainerd circa 1872.

Contributed / Crow Wing County Historical Modern society

Prior to the design of the 1872 depot creating, the Headquarters Lodge, which was created in 1871, served as the real very first passenger depot. The 1872 depot was the initially setting up built exclusively for that objective in Brainerd, in accordance to Jackson.

“A several hundred feet further more to the east, the firm started a 3-story depot and basic business office setting up, the place the drinking water tower now stands. About a few-fourths of a mile to the east of the depot, it started out constructing automobile-mend stores,” in accordance to author Carl Zapffe.

Zapffe wrote “Brainerd 1871-1946,” which was released in 1946 by Colwell Press Inc. of Minneapolis

The design and style of architecture was Italian, with projecting turrets at every single corner, working superior previously mentioned the roof. The grand tower of the principal entrance entrance to the developing was 16 by 16, projecting 6 feet from the main portion, and 60 feet from base to pinnacle, with a clock in front.

“This ornate architecture of the accomplished Brainerd depot was an example of overspending alongside the line,” Jackson opined.

Designs for the initial building bundled on the initial ground two passenger rooms, 32 by 39 each a ticket and telegraph office in the centre, with openings into each of the passenger rooms and two 8 by 12 fireproof vaults.

“The depot was done at a time when there was minor oversight of the fees of setting up the intercontinental railroad,” Jackson said. “The early design attempts were grossly mismanaged or undermanaged and fraught with fiscal corruption.”

The Northern Pacific did donate to the city of Brainerd, on the other hand, the use of two rooms in the next tale of the depot for a community library, in accordance to area historian Ann M. Nelson’s in depth investigation on the railway for the Crow Wing County Historic Society.

“After the Brainerd depot burned, the Northern Pacific Railroad donated the land the place the outdated depot sat for the website of a proposed municipal drinking water tower,” Jackson mentioned. “Completed in 1920, the historic concrete drinking water tower stands in the place of the authentic depot making.”

The next ground of the depot was occupied by the normal offices of the Minnesota and Intercontinental Railroad. But an early early morning fireplace that was considered to have originated in the ladies’ waiting around place triggered considerable problems to the passenger depot in 1917.

All the things was saved, which include mail, specific and baggage, from the first flooring of the two-tale building. The risk of the fireplace spreading, nonetheless, was a really authentic likelihood.

“With the temperature at 15 underneath and a fierce wind raging, the main enterprise section of Brainerd 200 toes away was endangered for a time,” according to a newspaper account of the time.

Construction operate on the Northern Pacific Railroad began in the summer season of 1870. Jay Cooke, the nation’s primary banker, and railroad President J. Gregory Smith experienced formally agreed on New Year’s Day that year to build the transcontinental railroad.

“Jay Cooke, who performed a main part in financing the earliest development efforts of the NPRR, would are unsuccessful a few months later on, primary to an economic melancholy that gripped the country and stagnated construction of the railroad for a handful of many years,” Jackson stated.

When the depot making burned in 1917, the common offices of the Minnesota & Worldwide Railway (M&I) occupied the upper two floors of the depot. Brainerd’s next railway depot was produced with brick at a price of about $100,000 and formally opened on Might 15, 1920

“All of the data and early pictures of the M&I railroad built to International Falls by way of Walker and Bemidji may perhaps have burned up in this fireplace,” Jackson reported of the primary depot and hearth. “Today, that abandoned railroad quality (M&I) has been repurposed as the

Paul Bunyan Recreational Trail


FRANK LEE may possibly be arrived at at 218-855-5863 or at

[email protected]

. Comply with him on Twitter at



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