Water tower committee works on historical buildings calendar

The calendars are expected to include photos of old Brainerd buildings that are no longer standing.

Photos of historical Brainerd buildings
Buildings like the old Paramount Theater and train depot are planned for a calendar of historical Brainerd buildings to serve as a fundraiser to restore the city's water tower.
Theresa Bourke / Brainerd Dispatch

BRAINERD — A calendar of historical Brainerd buildings is the latest fundraising idea from the group working to restore the city’s historic water tower.

Iconic buildings like the Ransford Hotel, Iron Exchange and Paramount Theater that no longer stand today are planned for the pages of the 2023 calendar. This historic water tower will be included as well.

Proceeds from the calendar — which are expected to be available later this summer — will go toward the tower’s restoration.

Work on a new roof for the tower to prevent further water damage is expected to begin in August, after the water tower preservation committee received a grant from the Minnesota Historical Society to fund the work, along with a matching donation from the city.

Along with a synthetic rubber roof, the first phase of work will include a roof hatch, new downspouts and revamped lighting at a cost of $385,000.


Once the roof is on, committee members plan to conduct a stucco study to determine the exact cause of falling stucco chunks from the tower and figure how much the repairs will cost. The study is estimated to cost $45,000, and the committee plans to apply for more historical society grants. Depending on costs, the stairs and the windows in the tower could be addressed at the same time as the stucco.

Donating to the cause

Donations to the tower can be made online via the “payments” tab on the city’s website at , with a $2.95 service fee applied to all electronic check transactions and a 3.5% service fee applied to all credit card transactions. The water tower committee is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, so all donations are tax-deductible.

Water tower memorabilia is on sale at Visit Brainerd in downtown Brainerd, with all proceeds benefiting the tower’s restoration.

There is an open seat on the water tower committee. Those interested in becoming a member can fill out an application at or pick up an application at city hall. The committee meets at 6 p.m. the third Wednesday of each month at city hall, with the next meeting June 15. Meetings are open to the public.

For more information, visit or follow the Save the Historic Brainerd Water Tower page on Facebook.

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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