The Beltrami Historical Society was founded in 1952. Our first location was adjacent to the present-day Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center in downtown Bemidji, next to the famous statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. Here, the BCHS operated a museum, offered research assistance and pursued its mission of preserving Beltrami County history for more than twenty years. In 1993, the BCHS moved to a building located at the Beltrami County Fairgrounds and operated as a research center with no exhibit space or museum.
In 1999, a collaborative vision to bring the BCHS and museum back to downtown Bemidji became a community-wide priority. Minnesota State legislative appropriations, investments by local units of government, area businesses and countless individuals achieved an ambitions goal of restoring the James J. Hill railroad depot. The exterior of the depot has been fully restored, and while maintaining the historical integrity of the interior, it was rehabilitated for adaptive reuse and opened as the new Beltrami County History Center, at 130 Minnesota Ave. SW Bemidji, MN on April 30, 2001.
Board of Directors
Sue Bruns – President
Jim Aakhus – Vice President
Charlene Sturk – Treasurer
Chris Muller – Secretary
Cyndi Fenske – Executive Director