Washington County, Minnesota

Washington County, Minnesota

Infobox U.S. County
county = Washington County
state = Minnesota

founded year = 1849 [http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/hinfo/govseries/No34.htm]
founded date = October 27
seat wl = Stillwater
largest city wl = Woodbury
area_total_sq_mi = 423
area_total_km2 = 1096
area_land_sq_mi = 392
area_land_km2 = 1014
area_water_sq_mi = 31
area_water_km2 = 81
area percentage = 7.43%
census yr = 2000
pop = 201130
density_sq_mi = 514
density_km2 = 198
time zone = Central
UTC offset = -6
DST offset = -5
footnotes =
web = www.co.washington.mn.us
named for = U.S. President George Washington

Washington County is a county established in 1849 in the U.S. state of Minnesota. [cite web |url=http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/hinfo/govseries/No34.htm |title=Minnesota Government Series, State Counties |accessdate=2008-03-18 |work=Minnesota House of Representatives.] As of 2000, the population was 201,130. Its county seat is StillwaterGR|6.


Washington County was one of the nine original counties created when the Minnesota Territory was organized in 1849. The county was officially established October 27, 1849, named after George Washington. [Washington County History Facts [http://www.rootsweb.com/~mnwashin/] ]

Early development in the area was on the St. Croix River, which forms the eastern boundary of the county. The river not only provided a means of transportation to move people upstream, but also move logs downstream. The area was heavily forested and the early economy was dependent on the logging and lumber industries.

The first settlement and seat was named "Dacotah," and was located as early as 1838 in what is now north Stillwater, where Brown's Creek flows into the St. Croix River. [History of Stillwater at the Washington County Historical Society [http://www.wchsmn.org/research/communities/stillwater/] ] The creek's name is from the founder of this settlement, Joseph Renshaw Brown. However, a sawmill was built at Marine-on-St.-Croix in 1839, [History of Marine-on-St.-Croix at the Washington County Historical Society [http://www.wchsmn.org/research/communities/marine/] ] and another was built in the current location of downtown Stillwater in 1844. The success of these soon attracted the settlers from Dacotah, and Stillwater became the county seat in 1846.

During this early period, the region was part of the Wisconsin Territory, but Wisconsin became a state in 1848. Brown and other leaders called together settlers in this now-ungoverned territory to what has become known as the “Stillwater Convention "on August 26, 1848. Held in John McKusick’s store, the settlers drafted a Memorial to Congress that a new territory be created with the name “Minnesota,” and elected Henry Hastings Sibley to deliver this citizen’s petition to the U.S. Congress. Because of this convention, Stillwater calls itself the “Birthplace of Minnesota.”

After officially becoming a territory, growth continued, with the first Sheriff of Washington County appointed by Governor Alexander Ramsey in 1849, [Washington County Sheriff's Office History [http://www.wcsheriff.net/history/] ] and the county's school district founded in 1850. [Washington County Historical Society - Schools of the Past [http://www.wchsmn.org/research/schools/] ]

After the forests were depleted, the economy of Washington County became primarily agricultural. With the growth of neighboring Ramsey County and St. Paul, some of Washington County developed based on tourism and recreation, as with Mahtomedi and Landfall. Late in the 20th century, the population greatly increased with the suburban expansion of St. Paul.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 423 square miles (1,096 km²), of which, 392 square miles (1,014 km²) of it is land and 31 square miles (81 km²) of it (7.43%) is water.

Major highways

Adjacent counties

*Chisago County (north)
*Polk County, Wisconsin (northeast)
*St. Croix County, Wisconsin (east)
*Pierce County, Wisconsin (southeast)
*Dakota County (southwest)
*Ramsey County (west)
*Anoka County (northwest)

National protected areas

* Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (part)
* Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway (part)


As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 201,130 people, 71,462 households, and 54,668 families residing in the county. The population density was 514 people per square mile (198/km²). There were 73,635 housing units at an average density of 188 per square mile (73/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 93.63% White, 1.83% Black or African American, 0.39% Native American, 2.14% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.60% from other races, and 1.37% from two or more races. 1.94% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 32.7% were of German, 11.1% Norwegian, 9.8% Irish and 7.5% Swedish ancestry according to Census 2000.There were 71,462 households out of which 41.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.80% were married couples living together, 8.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.50% were non-families. 18.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.77 and the average family size was 3.19.

In the county the population was spread out with 29.40% under the age of 18, 6.80% from 18 to 24, 32.90% from 25 to 44, 23.20% from 45 to 64, and 7.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 98.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.80 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $66,305, and the median income for a family was $74,576. Males had a median income of $49,815 versus $33,804 for females. The per capita income for the county was $28,148. About 2.00% of families and 2.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.50% of those under age 18 and 4.10% of those age 65 or over.

Cities and towns

† Hastings is the county seat of Dakota County, but a small part extends into Washington County.
‡ in Ramsey County, a small part extends into Washington County.

Points of Interest

*Afton State Park
*Afton Alps Ski Area
*Gateway State Trail
*William O'Brien State Park

Regional (County) Parks [ [http://www.co.washington.mn.us/info_for_residents/parks_division/parks_and_trails/ Washington County, MN-Parks and Trails ] ]

*Big Marine Park Reserve
*Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park
*Lake Elmo Park Reserve
*Pine Point Park
*Point Douglas Park
*St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park
*Square Lake County Park


External links

* [http://www.co.washington.mn.us/ Washington County government’s website]
*dmoz|Regional/North_America/United_States/Minnesota/Counties/Washington/|Washington County, Minnesota

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