Reader Opinion: West Brainerd history


Lots of praise to Mr. Jackson on a well written and researched history of the naming of Brainerd in the Aug. 23 Dispatch. It's a prime example of why utilizing primary sources (i.e. those from the period in question) in historical research is very important to getting an accurate picture of historical events. I, too, had always heard the story of the naming of Brainerd as coming from Mrs. Smith's (Brainerd) name. I would however, add one clarification to Mr. Jackson's statements about West Brainerd. The plat of West Brainerd as the county seat of Cass County was made and recorded as "West Brainerd" in 1872. This is the same year that Cass was organized as a county (it was created in 1851 but was attached to other organized counties prior). It was de-organized in 1876 and attached to Crow Wing County until 1897 when organized permanently. All the area that currently comprises Crow Wing County north and west of the Mississippi river (i.e. including West Brainerd) was attached to Crow Wing County in 1889. If West Brainerd was ever called "Lawrence" at some point it must not have been very long.

William Durham


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