Lyman P. White Park will stand again in Brainerd

The new park along the Mississippi River on East River Road in Brainerd will be known as Lyman P. White Park, after the Father of Brainerd.

Lyman P. White Memorial Park postcard-1920-1945
A small sign informs visitors to the entrance of Lyman P. White Memorial Park, later known as Tourist Park in Brainerd.
Contributed / Carl Faust

BRAINERD — The newest park in Brainerd will bear one of the oldest names in the city’s history.

Referred to as Mississippi Landing Trailhead Park until recently, the land along the Mississippi River on East River Road will instead be called Lyman P. White Park.

Brainerd Mayor Lyman White
Brainerd Mayor Lyman White, May 1874-75, president of first council, active in organizing First National Bank, the first school district and the Episcopal Church, died at 91 in 1902.

Known as the Father of Brainerd, Lyman P. White was the townsite agent when Brainerd’s original plat was recorded in 1871, according to “Brainerd’s Half Century,” a 1923 book published by Ingolf Dillon.

He was born in Vermont in 1811 and came to Brainerd in 1870 by stage from St. Cloud before the railroad reached all the way to what would eventually become Brainerd. White built the first frame house in Brainerd with lumber from Sauk Rapids and served as president of the city’s first council and later mayor of Brainerd.

And at some point, the city just forgot that it was gifted land from somebody and that it was named after someone,
Brainerd Mayor Dave Badeaux

The decision to rename the park comes after Mayor Dave Badeaux said he dug up records showing there had been a Lyman P. White Memorial Park in the past.


Mississippi park.JPG
The blue outline shows the site of the park along East River Road in Brainerd.

A century-old article he presented to the City Council last month showed the donation of the land south of the new park, extending to the College Drive bridge, from White’s son, Almond, with the request it be named for his father.

The Mississippi Landing Trailhead project in Brainerd plans greenspace with trails and pathways, a community amphitheater and an outdoor classroom with steps down along East River Road. It was previously a Tourist Park attracting thousands.

The request was honored, and a sign with the name once hung in the park, which was a tourist campsite.

“And at some point, the city just forgot that it was gifted land from somebody and that it was named after someone,” Badeaux said during the Feb. 21 City Council meeting.

Picture of new Brainerd park
Land along the Mississippi in Brainerd was named Lyman P. White Memorial Park in 1923. It will now be part of a new, bigger park, and will bear the name Lyman P. White Park.
Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

Badeaux then proposed extending the borders of the new park south to incorporate the old campsite and dedicate the entire piece of land as Lyman P. White Park. He suggested dropping “Memorial” from the name, so as not to confuse the park with northeast Brainerd’s Memorial Park.

More Brainerd City Council coverage

“And although the Mississippi Landing Trailhead is still a piece of this park, the name of this park should continue to be what we agreed to have in the first place,” Badeaux said.

Council members unanimously agreed to the change and dedicate the park as such earlier this month.

The park is set to be completed in June and will include a community amphitheater, trails, an outdoor classroom, steps down to the river and other amenities.

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at .

Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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