Bemidji, Minnesota: Wikis


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Bemidji, Minnesota
—  City  —
Statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox

Nickname(s): B-town, Brrrmidji
Location in Beltrami County and the state of Minnesota
Coordinates: 47°28′25″N 94°52′49″W / 47.47361°N 94.88028°W / 47.47361; -94.88028
Country United States
State Minnesota
County Beltrami
Incorporated 1896
 - Mayor Richard Lehmann
 - City 13.0 sq mi (33.5 km2)
 - Land 11.8 sq mi (30.5 km2)
 - Water 1.2 sq mi (3.1 km2)  9.11%%
Elevation 1,365 ft (416 m)
Population (2007)
 - City 13,419
 - Density 1,137.2/sq mi (390.6/km2)
 - Urban 160,000 (roughly)
Time zone Central (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) Central (UTC-5)
ZIP code 56601
Area code(s) 218
FIPS code 27-05068[1]
GNIS feature ID 0655325[2]

Bemidji (pronounced /bəˈmɪdʒiː/) is a city in Beltrami County, Minnesota, United States. Its population was estimated at 13,419 in 2007.[3] It is the county seat of Beltrami County.[4] Bemidji is the most major city in North Central Minnesota and the largest commercial center between Grand Forks, ND and Duluth, MN. Bemidji lies on the southwest shore of Lake Bemidji, the northernmost lake feeding the Mississippi River and, as such, is deemed "the first city on the Mississippi." Bemidji is also dubbed the "curling capital," of the U.S.

Its name derives from the Ojibwe Bay-may-ji-ga-maug (Double-Vowel orthography: bemijigamaag)[5], meaning "lake that traverses another body of water". On occasion, in Ojibwe, the city of Bemidji is called Wabigamaang ("at the lake channel/narrows"), because part of the city is situated on the Lakes Bemidji/Irving narrows, located on the south end of Lake Bemidji, and extends to the eastern shore of Lake Irving.

Bemidji is home to Bemidji State University, Northwest Technical College, and Oak Hills Christian College. It's also headquarters of Bemidji Woolen Mills. The statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, local landmarks, are downtown on the lakefront. Lake Bemidji State Park offers year-round recreation.

Bemidji is a base to one of five medevac helicopter flight stations in the state for AirCare, operated by North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale, MN, a Level 1 Trauma Center located in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. This station covers the northern part of Minnesota and eastern North Dakota. Its building is located at the Bemidji Regional Airport. North Country Health Services, which operates North Country Regional Hospital, and MeritCare Clinic are also here.

Paul Bunyan Broadcasting, a group of sixteen radio stations across northern Minnesota, has its headquarters here.

NFL Pro Football Hall of Famer Dave Casper was born in Bemidji, as was actress Jane Russell.


Park and Recreation

Bemidji is near Itasca State Park, Lake Bemidji State Park, state forest areas, Big Bog State Recreation areas, and the Chippewa National Forest. Bemidji has 400 lakes within 25 miles, 500 miles of snowmobile trails and 160 km of cross country ski trails. Bemidji is home to many fun events throughout the year. The Dragon Boat Festival is a colorful racing competition held at the waterfront. It is held the first week in August. Bemidji Polar days is a week long event with food and winter sporting events including golf on frozen lake Bemidji and the polar plunge. Minnesota Finlandia Ski Marathon is also held in Bemidji. Also called the "Nordic Festival of the North," it is held in February. Bemidji is also home to four golf courses, Bemidji Town and Country Club, Castle Highlands Golf Course, Greenwood Golf Course, and Maple Ridge Golf Course. There are also thirteen other golf courses located within 60 miles of Bemidji. Down hill skiing and snowboarding is also something you can enjoy while in Bemidji. Buena Vista ski resort offers 16 downhill runs, the longest being 2000 feet.[6]

Home of Rally America's Ojibwe Forest Rally


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.9 square miles (33.5 km²), of which, 11.8 square miles (30.5 km²) of it is land and 1.2 square miles (3.1 km²) of it (9.11%) is water.

Four-lane U.S. Route 2, U.S. Route 71, and Minnesota State Highway 197 are three of the main routes in the city. Minnesota State Highways 89 and 371 are nearby.

The largest earthquake on record for the Bemidji area was recorded on September 3, 1917. It is claimed that it shook houses down in Bemidji and across northern Minnesota. (Little Falls Daily Transcript, September 4, 1917) The epicenter was about 95 miles away in Staples, Minnesota. It affected an area of 48,000 km², and was rated a magnitude 4.4 with a maximum intensity of VI to VII. The closest and most recent quake occurred in Walker, MN on September 27, 1982 with a magnitude of 2.0.[1]


Based on data from over 4000 weather stations, the average mean annual temperature in Bemidji is 37.2 degrees. The coldest month tends to be January with an average daily high temp of 12 degrees and an average daily low temp of -11 degrees. The warmest month tends to be July with an average daily high temp of 78 degrees and an average daily low temp of 55 degrees. The average annual humidity tends to be 47%. The average annual snowfall is 41.1 inches and the average annual rainfall is 23.8 inches. The average day lake bemidji freezes over is November 26th and the average day the ice goes off the lake is April 26th. [7]


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1900 2,183
1910 5,099 133.6%
1920 7,086 39.0%
1930 7,202 1.6%
1940 9,427 30.9%
1950 10,001 6.1%
1960 9,958 −0.4%
1970 11,490 15.4%
1980 10,949 −4.7%
1990 11,245 2.7%
2000 11,917 6.0%
Est. 2008 13,541 [3] 13.6%

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 11,917 people, 4,669 households, and 2,427 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,011.8 people per square mile (390.6/km²). There were 4,948 housing units at an average density of 420.1/sq mi (162.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 84.31% White American, 0.76% African American, 11.52% Native American, 1.12% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.20% from other races, and 2.06% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.14% of the population.

There were 4,669 households out of which 25.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.0% were married couples living together, 14.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 48.0% were non-families. 35.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.87.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.2% under the age of 18, 24.9% from 18 to 24, 23.0% from 25 to 44, 15.4% from 45 to 64, and 15.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28 years. For every 100 females there were 87.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,072, and the median income for a family was $37,250. Males had a median income of $28,312 versus $20,694 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,264. About 13.2% of families and 19.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.7% of those under age 18 and 10.9% of those age 65 or over.


Bemidji is a college city with strong arts influences. The city's streets are lined with small shops and adorned with sculptures and other forms of public art.

The Concordia Language Villages are located near Bemidji and this has, perhaps, been influential in the existence of several language conversational groups (including French, Norwegian, Spanish, Italian, and German) that meet weekly in local coffee houses.

During the summer the Paul Bunyan Playhouse operates a non-equity, summer stock theater.

The city is well known to fans of the sport of curling. Both men's and women's rinks from the Bemidji Curling Club won the right to represent the United States in the 2005 World Curling Championship and the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy. Pete Fenson, the skip of the U.S. curling team that took the bronze medal at the 2006 Olympics, is a native of Bemidji.

A city referendum for a Bemidji Regional Events Center passed by a slim majority of 43 votes out of 4583 votes cast in November 2006. The center is expected to cost $50 million. The major tenant for the center is expected to be the Bemidji State University (BSU) hockey team. The men's hockey team has recently entered the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA). Information on this project can be found at Bemidji Events.


Bemidji is home to Northwest Technical College and Bemidji State University.

Regional Center

The City of Bemidji acts as a regional center for shopping, arts, entertainment, educations, health services, worship, and government services. It is generally accepted that Bemidji serves an area of 60 miles radius from the city center. This fact places the Bemidji area population at around 160,000.

Bemidji continues to try to take advantage of its status as a regional center with the "City As A Park" concept and the construction of the Bemidji Regional Events Center, which began in March 2009.



The Bemidji Pioneer is the local (except Mondays) daily newspaper. Pioneer Web Site

TV stations

Most of Bemidji's TV stations primarily rebroadcast the television stations of Minneapolis.

Channel Digital
Call sign Affiliation Owner
9 22 KAWE PBS Northern MN Public TV
12 20 KCCW CBS
(WCCO-TV relay)
CBS Corporation
26 26 KFTC MyNetworkTV
(WFTC relay)
Fox Television Stations
28 none K28DD ABC
(KSAX translator)
Hubbard Broadcasting Corporation
30 none K30DK Fox
(KMSP translator)
Fox Television Stations
42 none K42FH TBN Trinity Broadcasting Network
48 48* K48KI 3ABN Three Angels Broadcasting Network

* Digital channel has been assigned by the FCC, but will not be on the air until after February 17, 2009.

Radio stations


FM radio stations
Frequency Call sign Name Format Owner
88.5 FM KCRB MPR/NPR Classical music Minnesota Public Radio
89.7 FM KBSB FM 90 College radio/Top 40 (CHR) Bemidji State Univ.
91.3 FM KNBJ MPR/NPR News/Talk Minnesota Public Radio
92.1 FM WMIS The River 92.1 Talk RP Broadcasting
92.7 FM W224AB Psalm 99:5 Christian
(KBHW translator)
Oak Hills Fellowship
93.5 FM K228EW Lifetalk Radio Christian
(KOPJ translator)
We Have This Hope
94.9 FM K235BP Your Q FM Contemporary Christian music
(KKEQ translator)
Shine the Light, Inc.
95.5 FM KKZY KZY 95.5 Adult contemporary Paul Bunyan Broadcasting
96.7 FM KKCQ-FM Q Country Country Pine to Prairie Broadcasting
98.3 FM WBJI Real Country 98.3 Country RP Broadcasting
99.1 FM KLLZ Z99 Classic rock Paul Bunyan Broadcasting
101.1 FM KBHP KB101 Country Paul Bunyan Broadcasting
102.5 FM KKWB Coyote 102.5 Country De La Hunt Broadcasting
103.1 FM K276EP Lifetalk Radio Christian
(KOPJ translator)
We Have This Hope
103.7 FM KKBJ-FM Mix 103.7 Hot AC RP Broadcasting
104.5 FM WQXJ True Oldies 104.5 Oldies Paul Bunyan Broadcasting
105.3 FM K287AD Northern Community Radio
(NPR/IPR affiliate)
Public radio
(KAXE translator)
Northern Community Radio
106.3 FM KBJI-LP -- 3ABN affiliate
(Christian format)
Bemidji Religious Ed. Brd.
107.1 FM KKEQ Your Q FM Contemporary Christian music Pine to Prairie Brd.


AM radio stations
820 AM WBKK -- under construction De La Hunt Broadcasting
1360 AM KKBJ Talkradio 1360 News/Talk RP Broadcasting
1450 AM KBUN The Fan Sports
(KFAN/FSR programming)
Paul Bunyan Broadcasting


  • Best of Bemidji Quarterly Magazine - direct mailed magazine to every home in the greater Bemidji area, BOB features ads from local businesses with no editorial copy. Most ads are coupons.
  • Northwoods Woman - Bimonthly glossy magazine launched July 1, 2008 includes articles about women who live and work in northern Minnesota. Also available in Walker, Park Rapids and surrounding areas.



External links

Coordinates: 47°28′25″N 94°52′49″W / 47.47361°N 94.88028°W / 47.47361; -94.88028

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