In 1870, railroad construction crews made camp on the east side of the Mississippi River, near the present railroad bridge. The area quickly became known as The Crossing. When Brainerd was later suggested as a name for the fledgling community (after the wife of a president of the railroad), the residents were not pleased. According to Dr. Carl Zappfe, an early area historian, the local folk preferred a Native American word which conveyed the idea of swift movement across the river: Ogamagua, or The Crossing. The Crossing Arts Alliance proudly honors this rich historical moment and its legacy of diversity and progressive thinking.