City Charter

Historical Background

In 1895, Tams Bixby, A.C. Clausen, Harris A. Richardson and Dr. Harry Hutchinson of St. Paul and W.J. Hilligoss, Albert Kaiser, and Lewis John, of Fosston bought 93 acres of land on Lake Bemidji with the original idea of establishing a townsite.  In January 1896, the seven organized the Bemidji Townsite and Improvement Company and in March, Bixby and Clausen filed the plat of Village of Bemidji at the Ramsey County Courthouse.   May 20, 1896, the Village of Bemidji was incorporated and had a population of a few hundred.  

By the end of 1897 rumors of diamonds found on the shore of Lake Bemidji had spread throughout the area and into southern Minnesota - today this location is known as Diamond Point Park.  By 1900, the population of the Bemidji had grown to 2,000.  Lots now sold for $1,000 in the Original Townsite.  By 1903, the Townsite Company had built a Village Hall, Fire Hall, Opera House, Water Works which stood at the corner of Minnesota and 4th Street.  In addition, the Company donated land for a County Courthouse, St. Anthony's Hospital, Warfield Electric Company, two schools and four churches. The City of Bemidji was chartered November 4, 1905, as a Home Rule city with "strong mayor" government.  The first mayor was Alva A. Carter. 

Current Government Structure

The City of Bemidji Bemidji is now a Home Rule Charter City with a "Council-Manager Plan", whereby the manager shall be the head of the administrative branch of the city government and shall be responsible to the council for the proper administration of all city affairs.  The current City Charter is found below in its entirety.


The Bemidji Charter Commission is comprised of eight (8) commissioners appointed by the Chief Judge of the 9th District Court to serve a four (4) year term, effective June 1 of each year.


Charter Commission minutes and annual reports.