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Brainerd gets new city seal

After 140 years, Brainerd has a new city seal.

Used since the city was founded in 1873, the old seal has always been the same as the state’s design, just with the Brainerd lettering.

The iconic American Indian riding a horse behind a farmer in the field just didn’t fit what Brainerd represents, said Mayor James Wallin.

“It was fine for Minnesota, but not for Brainerd,” he said.

So he designed a new one.

On the new seal, the trademark Brainerd water tower stands over two train cars, which played a key role in building the city, two trees are next to the tower, representing the logging industry and vast number of trees still in the area, and finally a stream of water on the bottom because of the Mississippi River.

“It was time Brainerd get its own identity,” Wallin said.

Nearly a decade ago, Wallin knew he wanted to redesign the city seal. Last year, he enlisted the help of Chip Borkenhagen, who has since been elected to the council, to lay out his vision.

The pair went through about 20 drafts, finally coming to the perfect image in December.

The new seal has already been used on the birthday cards Wallin gives to his staff. Once he gets a double brass stamp, it will appear on all official city business.

The seal has not been adopted by the city council, which is not required, Wallin said.

Wallin would eventually like the seal to become the new city logo.

But for now, he’s just happy there’s a little more Brainerd imagery going out of city hall.

“We are known worldwide,” he said. “I’m proud of the heritage we have.”

JESSICA LARSEN may be reached at or 855-5859. Follow me on Twitter at