Baird Island now is the name of the small, wooded island on the Cedar River State Water Trail at Austin Mill Pond. It is named after Lyman D. Baird, one of Austin’s “Pillars of the City” honored in 2018.

LOOKBACK: Baird Island name for little spot on Austin Mill Pond

Naming honors Austinite who ignited area’s transformation from swamp to park in early 1900s

A 1930s postcard of the Horace Austin State Park swimming beach along the Cedar River at what’s known today as Austin Mill Pond. The mill pond’s island can be seen out and to the right of the beach. Over time, part of the river on the left side of this photo was filled in for developing North Main Street.
Lyman D. Baird
Drone image by CRWD staff on June 12, 2020, of Baird Island at Austin Mill Pond.
Individuals and families paddle in June 2019 on Austin Mill Pond near the island as part of the annual 4th Ave Fest. Paddlers got free rentals of canoes and kayaks thanks to the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center and Cedar River Watershed District.
Aerial photo from the 1930s of the Horace Austin State Park with the island shown toward the top along with the Cedar River’s old bend under North Main Street that was filled in and redirected in the 1960s.
Austin Mill Pond’s island circa 1965 after major dredging of the Cedar River from above the downtown dam to near Interstate 90. Hormel Foods’ original plant is seen in the background.
Dredging of today’s Austin Mill Pond area circa 1920 for creating Horace Austin State Park.
Sept. 1969 photo in the Austin Daily Herald
1977 beautification for the island and Austin Mill Pond.
Late 1970s or early 1980s photos of the Austin Mill Pond island. (Photo from Rena Langowski)
Baird Island during the 2020 winter.
1876 map of Austin Mill Pond’s area with more detail than most maps.
1874 map of Austin Mill Pond area — islands not detailed as much.

Formed in 2007, CRWD works to reduce flooding and improve water quality on the Cedar River State Water Trail and its tributaries in southern Minnesota.