Brainerd Paper Mill
1903 Brainerd became connected to the Northwest Paper Co.'s holdings when a ground wood mill was established along the Mississippi River and northeast of the original city plat.
1906 My Grandfather Joe Leja, then about 21 years of age, was working for the Duluth Street Railway left Duluth to go out West with his best friend, Casper Marchel. They got as far as Brainerd and they went to work for the NP railroad shops
1910 Joe married Mary Ann Guzek Jul 18 at St. Isador's, Sturgon Lake, they met in Duluth. He bought a house at 421 No. 10th St on the North Side of Brainerd. They had four children.
1911 My Father's brother George Joseph Leja was born Apr 17, in Brainerd.
My Mother's sister Grace Marcella Ramsey was born Jun 02, at Sylvan in Cass Country, to Charles and Alta (Hines) Ramsey.

My Grandfather, Joe Leja starting building a model train the scale is 1 inch to a foot. He started with the caboose and ended with the locomotor. The train was not finished when he died. You can also go to Joe's Railroad to see more.
1913 photo: Plat of Brainerd 1913

Brainerd Plat Map of Brainerd has shaded blocks which show types of development in the area that hugs the river bluffs and provides a large park just a short walk from the downtown district.
My Father's brother William John Leja was born Jan 07, in Brainerd.
1915 My Father Henry James Leja was born Dec 28, in Brainerd.
1917 My Father's sister Pawline Teresa Leja was born Jan 31, in Brainerd.
1918 My Mother, Helene Winifred Ramsey was born Jul 15, at Sylvan in Cass Country.
1919 photo: water tower

The famous all concrete water tower at the intersection of Highways 210 and 371 was built. It was used for water in Brainerd until 1960. It held 300,000 gallons of unfluoridated water. The tower is 129 feet tall.
1920 My Grandfather went into civil court on Feb 14, and had his and his family's name changed from Leja to Lake. See the Crow Wing Court County Document.

The Washington Street depot, on Feb 15, was opened so grandly, to new facilities on Eighth and Front streets. It was built by St. Paul contractors, contractors, McMannus and Turnowski, the depot was a two story classic structure with third floor space in six dormers. Platforms allowed the flow of passengers at each end of the building. Outside the depot was brick and West Bedford cut stone. Inside the depot was trimmed in oak and wainscoted with Ludowski Imperial French tile. The depot cost $100,000 when it was constructed in 1919 and 1920. It was the headquarters for the Minnesota and International Falls Railway, a subsidiary of Northern Pacific. Those offices closed in 1933. Other internal depot space was leased to federal government offices, such as the Farm Security Administration.

My Mother's Sister Amy Irene Ramsey was born Aug 19, in Sylvan Township, Cass County.

1922 Lots of snow photo: Snow

Nationally, an estimated 400,000 railroad shopmen walked off their jobs. In St. Paul, it was noted a number of women made poor strikers, staying on the job as car cleaners, window washers and oilers. As the eight-month strike wore on in Brainerd, street brawls between strikers and so-called scabs or strike-breakers were reported. Jobless families left town. Fred Eckholm, president of the machinists's union at the Brainerd NP shops at the time of the strike, said it was based on planned two cent payroll cut. Eckholm, who said the strike was never settled, stated the railroad company plan to reduce salaries from 72 cents per hour to 70 cents. And Eckholm said many union men were told they would never hold railroad jobs again.

Just out of high school my father was working for Mr. Wheeler at his Kingwood Texaco Station, that was where my mother and father meet. My father, then worked in west Brainerd for Mr Wheeler, at the Wheeler Inn in the service station, we lived in a house on the hill behind the Inn.
On Dec 23, My Mother and Father were Married
June 1, I was born in Brainerd.
My brother Joseph Clarence was born Jun 13, and died in Nov from phenomena.

[Back] [Continue]

Other Towns and Places

[Pillager] [Gull River] [Madden's][Breezy Point]

History of

[Minnesota] [Crow Wing] [[NP Railroad]

[Railroad Posters] [NP Equipment] [Joes' Railroad]

Last Updated 26 May 2012