The Bemidji area is home to a population of more than 30,000 and includes the Leech Lake, White Earth, and Red Lake Indian Reservations, and Lake Itasca, the headwaters to the Mississippi River. The City of Bemidji provides a focus for educational, business, and medical services. Recreational and cultural activities reflect a multicultural heritage that includes American Indian, European and Canadian influences.
Bemidji is a “golden city” along the river’s bank, only miles from where the mighty Mississippi River begins its 2,552 mile journey to New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico, a city at the center of the legends of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.
Bemidji’s natural beauty and bounty as a meeting or group tour destination is also enhanced with historic character. From world renown statues and architecture listed on the National Register of Historic Places, to ancient earth mounds and burial grounds, the past takes an interesting turn in Bemidji.
Bemidji’s waterfront is home to the world-famous statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Nearby is Bemidji’s Tourist Information Center. In addition to Paul Bunyan memorabilia, The Bunyan House features the Fireplace of States built with stones from every state in the U.S. and Canadian provinces.
To the north, you’ll encounter Library Park and the statue of Bemidji’s founding Chief Bemidji, as well as the Community Arts Center in the Carnegie Building, also on the National Register.
At the south end of Lake Bemidji is Nymore Beach, site of the Crookston Lumber Co. The burning of the mill in 1924 marked the end of the county’s logging era.
On the way into Bemidji, you may cross over the historic Mississippi River Bridge, built in 1916. This structure is listed on the National Register as one of the earliest examples of a steel-reinforced concrete bridge. At the southern end of Minnesota Avenue lies the Great Northern Depot, completed in 1913. On the Historic Register, the Depot is the last early 20th century railroad building left in its original condition.
The Commercial Building on Third Street, built in 1910, is cited in the Architecture of Minnesota Guide as a successful prairie-style solution for a single-story building.
Other examples of historic architecture include the Beltrami County Courthouse built in 1902. Across the street you’ll find the 1917 Colonial Revival-style former Post Office.
Perhaps Bemidji’s best-known historic district is the eight-block section of Lake Boulevard. Once known as Bemidji’s “Gold Coast,” among the many venerable homes to be viewed is the Dr. Johnson House built in 1910 with a showcase garden.
The Bacon House was also built in 1910, later used for a Catholic convent. An unusual log structure, the Fisk House was reconstructed log-by-log at the present site. Judge Fisk enjoyed entertaining many distinguished guests, including writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. Further along you’ll find Warfield House, the 1912 home of the man who built Bemidji’s electric light plant.
Two lady teachers resided at the 1930s Parker & Mangelsdorf House, also known for its large, informal gardens.
Birchmont Drive displays two art deco classics built in 1937, one with a semicircular glass projection, is located at Bemidji State University, the only lakeshore campus in the state with architecture dating back to 1919.
Located about midway between Minneapolis/St. Paul to the south and Winnipeg, Canada to the north, Bemidji has easy access by air, motor carrier, and automobile to metropolitan areas and international airports.