Minnesota November 01, 2016
The Oldest Town In Minnesota That Everyone Should Visit At Least Once
There are several ways to determine “oldest town.” You could count by how long it’s been inhabited, by when it was platted, or by the date it was officially incorporated. In Minnesota, the method by which you decide will give you a different answer. But today, we’re going to simplify things. Though Stillwater is commonly considered Minnesota’s oldest town, another town actually holds the title. Why? Because it was established in 1830, a full 24 years before Stillwater was incorporated.
Located about 70 miles southeast of the Twin Cities, Wabasha has about 2,500 residents.
The town was named in honor the Sioux Chief Wapashaw.
According to its website, Wabasha has been continuously populated since 1826.
Though it has been occupied since 1826, Wabasha was officially established in 1830 and platted in 1854. Regardless, it is officially recognized as the oldest city in Minnesota and one of the oldest cities on the upper Mississippi River.
Wabasha is nestled alongside the Mississippi River, just across the border from Wisconsin.
Being that the river was such a vital transportation link, Wabasha quickly became an important town in the region. It was officially recognized in the Prairie du Chien Treaty in 1930.
Today, residents enjoy using the river for both transportation and entertainment.
The gorgeous scenery along the Mississippi River draws both tourists and locals outdoors no matter the time of year. A gorgeous truss bridge built in 1988 spans the river and connects Minnesota to Wisconsin.
The river acts as a backdrop to many events throughout the year.
In the summer, Wabasha's docks are busy with boats coming and going off the water. Those who prefer a slower pace can canoe or kayak the river. Wabasha even has a
paddle guide company
to make your boat tour even easier.
There are plenty of winter events along the Mississippi as well.
Each year, the Grumpy Old Men Festival celebrates the famous movie set in Wabasha. Costumed participants jump into the frozen river during the Grumpy Plunge.
Besides the Grumpy Old Men Festival, Wabasha has a full calendar year of fun activities.
For example, each year the entire town gets dressed up for the annual SeptOberfest celebration. Over a month of fall festivities take over the town and attract visitors from miles around. Other festivals, like the Watermelon Fest and Riverboat Days, also draw a crowd.
Beyond the river, Wabasha boasts over 50 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
One, the H.H. Jewell Building, was constructed in 1880 and has worn many hats over the years. Originally a hardware store, it has also been a pharmacy, a bowling alley, and a library. You'll have to visit in person to see what's happening in the building today.
The town also boasts many excellent restaurants.
Try Stacy's Kitchen for some tasty elevated classics. Other restaurants, like Bluff View Grill and Eagle Valley Cafe, offer delicious dishes to try when you're visiting Wabasha.
But perhaps Wabasha's most famous attraction is the National Eagle Center.
Here, you can get up close and personal with beautiful bald and golden eagles. Not only can you see them soar high over the Mississippi, but you can attend the Eagle Center's daily live eagle demonstration. You can also learn about and photograph these majestic birds of prey during an Eagle Field Trip. If nothing else, the National Eagle Center is a must-visit on any trip to Wabasha.
Have you ever been to Wabasha? Let us know what you did there! Or, if you’re interested in other towns, check it out on this list of
14 historic towns in Minnesota.