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Wadena County

Wadena County is named after the Wadena Trading Post and the name is derived from an Ojibwe word meaning “a little round hill”.


Surrounding County Courthouses: 

N – Hubbard County

E – Cass County

S – Todd County

W – Otter Tail County and Becker County


Created:  June 11, 1858                         Map of Minnesota highlighting Wadena County

County Seat:

Wadena  1858 – present


County Courthouse – Wadena


Location:  415 Jefferson Street South / Emerson Avenue SW

Built:  1969 – 1970

Style:  Modern

Architect:  Walter S Butler Company of Saint Paul

Contractor:  Edlund Construction Company


Description:  The building faces east and is a two story white colored concrete structure. The building is located on landscaped grounds in the center of Wadena and is constructed of reinforced concrete. The building has a sheltered doorway in the center of the long facade which is the only break in the repeating vertical, narrow, double windows with block spandrels between wide two-story slabs of concrete. There is a one story wing on the south side of the building. The roof line is flat. In the interior, wide stairs ascend to the second story with the County District courtroom located at the center of the south side. The building houses the County District Court of the 7th Judicial District.


See:  The cupola from the demolished 1886 courthouse is located on the grounds of the Wadena County Historical Society at 603 North Jefferson Street and Fir Avenue.


See:  The 7th Judicial District includes Becker County, Benton County, Clay CountyDouglas CountyMille Lacs County, Morrison County, Otter Tail County, Stearns County and Todd County. 


History:  The county was created in 1858 and Wadena was selected as the county seat in 1873. The county occupied rented premises. The first courthouse was a one story wood structure built by the Lake Superior and Puget Sound Company at First Street Northwest and Ash Avenue in 1880. The courthouse was sold to the county for $20. The town of Verndale built a courthouse designed and constructed by Thomas C Myers of Verndale in 1866 but Wadena retained the county seat and the second courthouse was two story brick structure built in 1886 at a cost of $8,000. The building was demolished in 1970. The third and present courthouse was constructed in 1969 to 1970 at a cost of $850,000.



County Courthouse – Wadena











Second story with County District Court courtroom in the center left



County District Court courtroom 

























Cupola from 1886 County Courthouse









Photos taken 2007, 2008, 2022 and 2023