Progress: Anderson Brothers - Building on history
For 77 years, Anderson Brothers Construction has been leaving its mark on the Brainerd lakes area, mainly through road paving and asphalt projects.
Brothers John and Arthur Anderson started Anderson Brothers Contractors in 1940 on property along Highway 210 east of Brainerd. New buildings have been added to the site over the years, but the company's headquarters are still in the same location. The first woodshop at the site was moved, but is still visible today.
In the early days, the company focused on excavating and hauling material for road projects. They soon began gravel work on roads and started road-mixing asphalt. In 1955, the company worked on the Gunflint Trail in northern Minnesota. John Anderson died in 1957 and Arthur Anderson continued operating the company.
In 1960, the company bought its first hot mix asphalt plant, shortly followed by a paving machine, roller and two new road graders. In 1964, Arthur Anderson died. His son, Jim Anderson, returned home from his third year of college to help his mother, Minnie Anderson, who was running payroll and administration for the company.
That same year, the company got the contract to excavate and fill the site where the East Brainerd Mall sits. That project, combined with an airport runway project, helped keep the company afloat, CEO Terry McFarlin said.
"It kept a lot of people busy," McFarlin said. "That's one that they do identify as a project that helped this company out."
In 1966, the company became incorporated and took the name Anderson Brothers Construction. In 1968, the company built a racetrack at Donnybrooke Speedway, which has become Brainerd International Raceway. A gas station near BIR now sits where an asphalt plant for the project was.
In 1983 the company expanded into North Dakota, then to South Dakota in 1985. But in 1995, the company began to centralize and focus on the Brainerd lakes area. In the early 1990s, the company built the portion of the Paul Bunyan State Trail from Brainerd to Hackensack. As interest in golf grew in the 1990s, the company paved parking lots and cart paths for many courses in the Brainerd lakes area. Today, the company's primary market is a 75-mile radius from Brainerd.