What’s in a Name? (Townships with Ojibwe Names)

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by Sue Bruns (from The Depot Express newsletter, Fall 2014) Beltrami County consists of 51 named townships (not all of them organized) and a number of unnamed, unorganized townships in the northern part of the county. At least four township names have their roots in Ojibwe words: Bemidji Township, which, along with a village established in 1896, took the name “Bemidji,” a shortened version of the Ojibwe name for the lake “Bemejigamaug,” meaning “a lake with water running through it.” Nebish Township: According to the Minnesota Historical Society, Nebish Township and its lake of this name are from the Ojibwe […]

Sidetracked (Fireplace of States)

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By Darla Sathre (from The Depot Express newsletter, Fall 2014) I love rocks. So no matter where I am or what I am doing, rocks can get me sidetracked. The nationally known Fireplace of States located in Bemidji’s Chamber of Commerce Tourist Information Center is made of over 900 rocks from all over the country. It all started in the early 1930s with an idea from Harry E. Roese, district manager of the Federal Reemployment Service, as well as president of the Civic and Commerce Association in Bemidji. His grand idea was of a fireplace containing rocks from every state […]

Every Picture Has a Story

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By Sharon Geisen (from The Depot Express newsletter, Fall 2014) Have you looked at a picture and wondered: Who are these people? What did they do for a living? Why did they come to Bemidji? If they moved away, where did they go? Where was this picture taken? What happened to that building? What did these people accomplish? Many questions like these stir in our minds just from looking at a picture, and I recently had those questions while looking for pictures to hang in the hallway of the Beltrami County History Center. I came across this wonderful black and […]

The Bemidji Belle & Dixie Belle

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By P. J. Reynolds (exclusive online content to accompany The Depot Express newsletter, Summer 2014) Bemidji has changed a lot over the years. Tons of tourist attractions have come and gone, but there is one attraction that many old timers will always remember: the Bemidji Belle and the Dixie Belle. During the 1950s the Bemidji Belle and the Dixie Belle were very popular tourist attractions. They used to sit at a dock which was at the water front near the Paul and Babe statue. The Bemidji Belle was a 66 foot knotty pine stern-wheeler. It was launched on May 21, […]


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By Darla Sathre (This story is part of the electronic portion of The Depot Express newsletter, Spring 2014, and did not appear in the print edition. It will be a regular part of future newsletters.) I am a new volunteer here at the Beltrami County Historical Society. I was born and raised in Bemidji, but moved to Brainerd 23 years ago. Do not worry – even while in Brainerd I remained loyal to the real Paul Bunyan on the shores of Lake Bemidji! The last five years there I worked at the Crow Wing CountY Historical Society & Museum, where […]