371 Welcome Center

Brainerd, MN

This safety rest area and visitor center serves as a gateway to the Brainerd Lakes Area. Special state legislation was required to create the unique private/public partnership among the Brainerd Chamber, Crow Wing County, MN Department of Transportation, MN Department of Natural Resources, and MN State Patrol.

The site provides travelers with a safe place to rest, as well as a place to gather information about the area’s recreational, historic, environmental, cultural, and commercial offerings.

The building’s design integrates functional concerns with regional design elements. Historically, as the area grew and farming and industry flourished, a “rural” architectural style emerged that is characterized by varied rooflines, gables, and setbacks, as well as the use of indigenous materials. The rest area and welcome center uses this regional “language” of architectural forms to reflect and harmonize with its surroundings. With the fieldstone base and cedar timber columns and beams, the building harkens to the early craftsmanship of the Brainerd Lakes Area.