Brainerd celebrates City and Fire Halls centennial
1914 Brainerd’s city hall was built. Now 100 years later the city gathered at the steps of the historic building to wish it a Happy Birthday. The celebration isn’t just to celebrate the centennial of the City Hall and Fire Hall, but to celebrate Brainerd’s history.
Brainerd Mayor, James Wallin, says, “One of the things is to recognize is that, not only is Brainerd the seat for the county, but it is also, this is where the grassroots level of all of the politics and all of the city business is handled.”
Mary Koep, city councilwoman, says, “We think it’s important to bring attention to the city in general. This is a very historic city and we have events all week to celebrate.”
Today’s focus was celebrating Brainerd’s founding fathers decision to spend $75,000 to build a true city hall and the voters electing to update it rather than build a new one.
Koep says, “It was really in that year I think they hunkered down and decided we’re here to stay. And so we’re celebrating that. And we’re saying we’re here to stay.”
1914, it means more to the people of Brainerd than the year their city hall was built. But it’s also a symbol of home.
Koep says, “I think for some people who’ve lived here and maybe have moved away and they come back and they see these familiar sites; it is, it’s nostalgic. It’s like I’m home now.”
National Guard Sergeant Walter Straka says, “I’ve lived here 94 years. My father moved here in 1914 and I’ve lived here ever since. I would rather live here than any place in the world. Any place I’ve ever been, I’m serious about that. I’m dead serious about that. And I’ve been to some nice places.
100 years later Brainerd is remembering all the history that has been made on it’s streets. And this celebration is a chance to educate the next generation of that history.
Koep says, “There’s so much history in this community and it’s kind of been forgotten.”
Straka says, “It use to be, you could walk downtown and go to a candy store or a malt shop or something. Those things have changed, now they’re all bars.”
The celebration continues all week and Mayor Wallin told us he hopes to see everyone at the events celebrating.