The first successful bone marrow transplant was performed at the University of Minnesota in 1968 by Dr. Robert Good.
Wadena County, located in central Minnesota, has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. The area was inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Dakota, Ojibwe, and Cree, who relied on the land for hunting, fishing, and gathering. European exploration of the region began in the 17th century, with French and British traders establishing contact with the native populations.

The first permanent settlement in Wadena County was established in the mid-19th century by European immigrants. The town of Wadena was founded in 1872 and became the county seat. The area experienced rapid growth with the construction of the Northern Pacific Railway in the late 1800s, which connected Wadena to larger cities and facilitated the transport of goods and people.

Throughout its history, Wadena County has relied on agriculture as its economic backbone. The fertile land allowed for successful farming, and crops like corn, soybeans, and potatoes became prominent. The county also had a thriving lumber industry, with numerous sawmills operating in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Like many rural areas, Wadena County faced challenges during the Great Depression and subsequent periods of economic instability. However, the community has shown resilience and adaptability, diversifying its economy by embracing tourism, manufacturing, and service industries. Today, Wadena County continues to be a vibrant and welcoming community, known for its natural beauty, recreational opportunities, and strong sense of community spirit.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Wadena County, Minnesota.

  • 1855: Wadena County established, named after a Ojibwe word meaning "leaf" or "leafy place"
  • 1873: Wadena becomes the county seat
  • 1881: The Northern Pacific Railway reaches Wadena, boosting local economy
  • 1894: Severe fires lead to significant losses, but the county rebuilds
  • 1903: The town of Menahga is incorporated
  • 1922: Wadena County Courthouse is built
  • 1978: The Minnesota Commercial Railway abandons rail service to Wadena
  • 1998: A devastating tornado destroys a significant portion of Wadena
  • 2002: The county hosts the first annual "Stomping Grounds" music festival
  • 2018: Wadena County receives federal grant to improve broadband access