Lyman D. Baird

October 17, 1857 – August 28, 1921

Lyman D. Baird, has long been considered Austin’s most helpful citizen and his interests reached far beyond the boundaries of the city and county. In the city, he served as mayor and city attorney. In the county, he was the secretary of the Mower County Old Settlers Association and an officer for the Mower County Fair Association. At the state level, he was the postmaster of the house of representative, and a member of the board of managers of the Minnesota State Agricultural Association for more than eight years and in that society he served as the Chairman of the committee on amusements and privileges for the Minnesota state fair.

Mr. Baird advocated for the improvement of Austin in various ways, offering his purse as well as his influence and the advantage of his support. He tendered a considerable sum of money for the beautifying of the Mill Pond along with donating the land, and starting around 1905, he began acting on his idea to transform the swampy backwaters into a lake. He supported creating a road, dredging the river and beautifying the various islands in the pond area. These efforts would also be the groundwork for what would later become Horace Austin State Park.  He offered valuable land for the building of the city hall. He gave a beautiful lamp, which adorned the humane fountain. He was the first of the heavy taxpayers to advocate street paving, and was the real father of the concrete sidewalks in the city of Austin. He also built many homes in the city.

Lyman was born on a farm in Lansing Township on October 17, 1857. Before he was fourteen years old, he had saved $300 by raising and selling vegetables. After leaving school, he worked as a clerk in a store, but later went back to the farm. Next, he received an appointment as county jailer. At the age of 21, he began studying law and after 3 years he was admitted to the bar. He never practiced law, but devoted his whole life to real estate and banking.  In 1901, he was appointed National Bank Examiner and was in charge of the National Banks in Wisconsin and large cities in Minnesota for five years. He also served 24 years as the secretary of the Austin Building and Loan Association.  He married Lila M. Hall on May 1, 1879 and they had two daughters, Helen and Frances.

It should be noted that Lyman Baird once owned the land where the “Pillars of the City” are now located. He will be forever be remembered as an old settler and helpful man to the city of Austin.

Do you know someone that has made an impact on the City of Austin? Submit a Pillars of the City nomination for next year!