Wadena County is a county located in the U.S. state of Minnesota. As of 2000, the population was 13,713. Its county seat is Wadena.
Wadena County was organized in 1873, at which time Wadena was chosen as the county seat.
Wadena county is composed of fifteen townships, first surveyed in 1863. Each township is 6 miles by 6 miles and contains 36 sections of land (with the exception of Bullard and Thomastown which have a slightly different configuration because their boundaries are aligned with the Leaf and Crow Wing Rivers, respectively). In 1857 a man named Augustus Aspinwall laid out a townsite in what is now Section 15, Thomastown township, at the junction of the Crow Wing and Partridge rivers, and named it Wadena. In 1872 when the railroad went through the area it ran about three miles south of this site and thus the town quickly withered away.
During that period there were five organized townships (Wadena, Aldrich, Thomastown, Leaf River and Wing River) and three county commissioners. The balance of the townships were organized between this time and 1899; the last two, Huntersville and Orton after being organized as one township in 1898, were split in 1899. As of 2010 there are six organized towns in the county: Wadena (the county seat), Verndale, Sebeka, Menahga, Aldrich, and Nimrod.
Ghost towns, towns of the past or unorganized villages, included Kindred or Shell City, Oylen and Ferris, Central, Huntersville, Leaf River, and Blue Grass.
In the early days, before rural mail delivery was begun, there were many post offices in the county to serve people so they did not have to travel far to get their mail. These included Kindred or Shell City, Wing River, Leaf River, Taylor’s Landing, Nimrod, Hoptacong, Farnham, Lukens, Passaic, Hartshorn, Ouichee, Bullard, Oye and Oylen. At the present time there are post offices in Menahga, Sebeka, Wadena, Verndale, and Aldrich.
For the last part of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth, there were two railroads in the county. The Northern Pacific main line running east to west through Wadena was built in 1872, while the Great Northern branch or "K" line which ran from Sauk Centre to Bemidji, via Sebeka and Menahga, was completed in 1891. It was disbanded in 1964.
At one time Wadena was served by the Greyhound Bus Line, Elliott Bros. Transportation Co., Northwest Transportation Co., Red Bus Line, Gray Bus Line, Liederbach Bus Co. and Mercury Bus line.
There are four historical societies in the county, including the Wadena County Historical Society, the Verndale Historical Society, the Sebeka Finnish American Historical Society and the Menahga Historical Society.
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