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Our exhibits tell stories about Beltrami County’s history and showcase our collections.


BCHS preserves historical artifacts, photographs, and manuscripts in the Beltrami County History Center archives. What will you discover when you visit?

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BCHS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization supported by members and donors. Join us to help connect individuals and communities to Beltrami County’s rich history.

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Beltrami County History by the Numbers

Beltrami County Established
Great Northern Depot Built
Population in 1870 per U.S. Census
Paul Bunyan Statue Constructed

Recent Stories

BSU: The First Hundred

BSU Centennial The First 100 Years exhibit is in honor of Bemidji State University’s centennial year. Items on display in the exhibit include a World War II diary from former BSU President Charles Sattgast, a replica of BSU’s Alumni Arch, records from BSU’s music department and more.

‘Centennial’ Teacher with a passion for Teaching and Learning

Interview with Lillian Mathews, BSU graduate and Shevlin School teacher by Janet Kelly Moen                                   The life-story of a woman that encompasses an entire century is by necessity one that reaches back not only into another time, but into another continent as well. The changes over this period of time were staggering, and involved new lands, new technologies, in the context of different cultures and languages.  All of these changes were mediated through family life, in a time when families were both extended and large, and deeply imbedded in […]

Keeping the Northern Pacific Railroad Rolling: An interview with Lowell O’Brien, Bridge and Building Crewman

On February 16, 2016 I interviewed Lowell O’Brien in Bemidji. Lowell and his crew repaired or rebuilt most of the wooden piling-type train trestles along the Northern Pacific rail line between Bemidji and International Falls, as well as further south towards Brainerd. Lowell was raised by his parents, Guy R. and Blanche O’Brien, near Hines, MN. His Grandparents were living in in Gemmell, MN. at the time—as his Grandfather worked for a cedar pole company. In fact, Lowell was born in Gemmell—his mother went to there to stay with her parents as the time approached for his birth (July 7, […]

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