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Reproduced from the Centennial Edition of the Brainerd Daily Dispatch (1871-1971).
Reproduced exactly as published in 1971 - no updates, no corrections.

photo: government

  A CITY HALL for Brainerd was authorized in 1914 and $75,000 in bonds issued for construction of the building along with a fire hall on Fifth and Laurel Street.

1st Council Passed Law On Liquor

Records show Brainerd's first City Council meeting on January 11, 1873, with Eber H. Bly as Mayor.

First ordinance on Brainerd books was one regulating the sale of "spiritous, vinous, fermented or intoxicating liquor in the City of Brainerd."

City officials serving with Mayor Bly were: Lyman P. White, M. Tuttle, W.S. heathcote, William Murphy, Anton Mahlum, and F.X. Goulett, Aldermen; C.B. Sleeper, City Attorney; P.H. Trudell recorder; Robert Macnider, treasurer; W.W. Hartley, justice; and A.F. McKay, Police Chief.

Ordinances on varied matters followed and were duly recorded on the subjects of drunkenness, disturbing the peace, careless use of firearms, indecent conduct, gaming and gambling, disorderly houses, hawking and peddling goods, and setting speed limits of six miles per hour on local streets.

A step backward in city affairs occurred in 1875, Brainerd losing its city charter for six years.

+Washington Called Main Street at First...

Brainerds Washington street used to be called Main street. When the city was planned Main street and Front street on opposite side of the railroad track were to be the chief business streets. Front street held the top spot for many years but began surrendering to Laurel early in this century.

Partly as a prank and partly as protest, historians relate, the name of a local handyman, Thomas Lanihan, was put up in opposition to Judge C.B. Sleeper in a special election to fill the post of Mayor M.C. Russell who has resigned. Lanihan won the election by a 64-58 count.

Lanihan refused to give up his office, won fair and square, and the city council refused to work with him or approve any of his appointments. Finally council managed to get impeachment proceedings through, but the Legislature revoked the city's charter.

Township government, but with little concrete action, prevailed until the city charter was reinstated in 1881.

A new city council took up the reins of government in 1882 until Mayor B.F. Hartley. Aldermen included William Ferris, James Dewar, George Stratton, A.P. Farrar, George Forsythe, Adam Brown; Leon Lum was city attorney and H.S. Relf became the first city engineer in 1883.

Home Rule charter action was started under Mayor A.J. Halsted in 1906; a Charter Commission formed under mayor R.R. Wise in 1908, and adopted at an election that year.

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