the judicial seat of
County, is situated on Lake
Bemidji and Lake Irving, sister lakes fed by the Mississippi
River and is the first city on the Mississippi
geographically. Bemidji was incorporated May 20, 1896. Bemidji is a vigorous, friendly city of
quaint charm in a setting of natural beauty covering an area
of 16 square miles at an elevation of 1,356 feet. The
2005 census gives a population of 13,059.
Bemidji has a manager-council form of
government. The fire, police, water and street
departments have maintained exceptionally fine records of
Bemidji is a center for federal and state
agencies and has ten financial institutions.
Primarily a retail sales community,
forestry, education, government services and the travel
industry contribute greatly to its economy. The retail
sales area is approximately 80 miles in diameter with a
population of 80,000 persons and over 182 million a year in
retail sales. Its forest products business depends
largely on pulpwood shipped out by rail.
Bemidji has 30 manufacturing
establishments. The principal products include lumber,
wood products, plywood, hardboard, machining, steel culverts,
computer components, woolens, concrete blocks, garage doors,
signs, printing plants, wood furnaces and fishing tackle.
Bemidji's Industrial Park is
located on the south edge of the city and has 400 acres.
Over forty businesses are located in the Park with more prospects
in the planning stages. A Technology Park is located on
the northwest side of Bemidji along Highway #71.
Educational, Professional and Cultural Facilities
Bemidji has 6 elementary schools, 4 parochial schools with
grades 1-8 (Catholic, Lutheran, Seventh Day Adventist and
Christian), a middle school, a high school and 3 charter
University, located on the
shores of Lake Bemidji, has an enrollment of over 4,400
students. BSU offers programs in liberal arts, find
arts, nursing, business administration and graduate
The area vocational school,
Technical College, offers courses in auto mechanics, carpentry,
dental assistant, hardware marketing, industrial drafting,
forest harvesting, licensed practical nursing, computer and
Oak Hills Bible
College is located south
of Bemidji on the shores between Upper and Lower Marquette
Lakes. It is a four-year college, which trains over 100
young people each year for the Christian ministries in
missions, Christian education and pastoral leadership.
The nationally recognized
Village is located on Turtle River Lake just north of
Bemidji. Foreign language programs using culture,
European atmosphere and ethnic customs are offered.
Programs in Norwegian, German, Finnish, French, Spanish,
Swedish, Russian, Swiss, Japanese and Danish are available.
A public library
and a Community Art Center are located in the downtown
Beltrami County History Center and
Museum, opened in 2001 in the
renovated Great Northern Railroad Depot. Two exhibit halls offer
rotating exhibits. The
Headwaters Science Center,
downtown provide hands-on exhibits and programs.
Bemidji offers excellent professional
Clinic and a VA Clinic are located in Bemidji. Beltrami County maintains a 133 bed nursing
home. There are also private nursing home
There are 27
churches in Bemidji
representing leading denominations. The daily newspaper
The Pioneer with a circulation of over 8,000.
The BuyLine is published weekly. Bemidji has 11 radio stations.
KBUN (AM), KB101 (FM), KJ104 (FM), KZY (FM), WBJI (FM) WMIS
(MN Public Radio),
KKBJ (AM &
FM), KLZ (FM) and Q107
(FM). Bemidji also has two television stations - KBSB and
and two cable TV providers:
Bunyan Television and
Bemidji is provided freight service
by several truck lines. Jefferson Bus Lines provides
passenger service. Air service is provided Mesaba/Northwest Airlines, with daily flights to and from
Minneapolis/St. Paul. Taxi and intra-city bus service is
also available. Bemidji is located on two major U.S.
Highways - 71 North & South and 2 East &
Points of Interest
Hundreds of lakes may be found within a
radius of twenty to twenty-five miles from Bemidji. The
region is known as one of the finest sporting grounds in
America. To the north is Red Lake, the largest body of
water wholly within one state. Here one may see the
Chippewa sawmill, maple sugar groves and the Red Lake
Casino. Saum is the site of a restored one-room
school. A few miles north of Bemidji is the continental
Divide where water flows north to Hudson Bay and south to the
Gulf of Mexico. To the south of Bemidji is beautiful
Itasca State Park, site of the Headwaters of the Mississippi
River. Lake Bemidji State Park is just north of the city
limits. There are five State Forests nearby and to the
east is the beautiful Chippewa National forest with thousands
of acres of pines and lakes.
The huge statues of
Paul Bunyan and Babe the
Blue Ox, one of the most photographed statues in America, stand on
the shore of Lake Bemidji near the Tourist Information
Center. Bemidji's Paul Bunyan celebrated his 50th
birthday in 1987. Inside the Tourist Information Center
is the nationally famous "Fireplace of States" which
is made from stones from every state in the Union except
Alaska and Hawaii, most Canadian provinces and may foreign
countries. Paul Bunyan paraphernalia can also be viewed
inside the building.
Located on one of Minnesota's most attractive lakes, in a
healthful and invigorating climate, Bemidji has a magnetic
attraction for vacationers and travelers. Bemidji is the
center of a playground with more than six million acres of
lakes and forestland. The most pleasant months of the
year are from May to November. The winter is also
inviting to the snowmobiler, x-country skiier, dog sledder and
other winter enthusiasts. The average snowfall is 41
inches and the average annual rainfall is 22 inches.
There are accommodations in the Bemidji area
to suit every taste and budget. They range from
secluded, rustic camps to luxurious American Plan
resorts. The bulk of area accommodations are completely
modern and give everyone time to enjoy their vacation.
The popularity of the Bemidji area for conventions and meeting
has grown and area motels and resorts annually host
conventions and professional meetings. Bemidji has over
600 motel rooms with a convention center as a part of the
Bemidji has an excellent park system, with eleven parks
containing a total of approximately 150 acres. Public
beaches are maintained at Diamond Point, Nymore and Cameron
Parks. State of the art baseball fields are maintained
by youth baseball. Ice hockey is popular with area youth
and three indoor rinks exist, with one at Bemidji State
A senior citizen's center is located in the downtown area.
Bemidji has one movie location with nine theaters. The
Chief Theater is home to the Paul Bunyan Playhouse, a summer
professional theatre presenting top Broadway stage fare during
a ten-week season. The Chief is used for many other
theatrical events throughout the year. There are
three 18 hole golf courses in the area. Other amusements
include bowling, gaming casinos, miniature golf, waterslide,
go-cart track, stock car racing, racquetball, roller-skating, tennis and many high school and university
sports. Winter recreation is provided by a curling
arena, the two municipal indoor skating rinks, Lake Bemidji
State Park and Buena Vista Ski area. The area abounds in
trails for snowmobile and cross-country skiing. For the
hardy fisherman, ice fishing provides a unique winter sport.