Wadena, Minnesota

According to campingship, Wadena, Minnesota is a small city located in the Wadena County of the state. It is situated on the junction of Highway 10 and 71 and lies about 110 miles northwest of Minneapolis. It has a moderate climate with warm summers and cold winters. The city experiences an average annual temperature of 42°F (5°C).

The city was founded in 1872 by John B. Brisbin, who laid out the town site on his homestead land. Soon after its founding, Wadena became an important trading center for local farmers due to its proximity to the Great Northern Railway line that ran through town. This helped to spur economic growth in the area, and it remains an important part of the local economy today.

In terms of politics, Wadena is governed by a mayor-council system with five council members representing each ward in the city. The mayor is elected at-large every two years while council members are elected every four years from their respective wards. The current mayor is David Konshok who was first elected in 2018.

The public school system consists of one high school, one middle school, and three elementary schools within the Wadena-Deer Creek School District #2144. In addition to these schools, there are also several private schools located within or near Wadena such as St Mary’s Catholic School and Trinity Lutheran School which offer religious educations for students from pre-kindergarten through 8th grade as well as daycare services for pre-kindergarten students up to age 5 years old.

Notable landmarks include Lake Alice Park which hosts several popular events throughout the year such as “Mud Days” and “Rib Fest” among others; Northland Arboretum which provides educational programs about plants and trees; Verndale Memorial Park which contains two ball fields; and finally Old Mill Museum which houses artifacts from early settlers of Wadena dating back to 1872 when it was first founded by John B Brisbin.

Population: 4,294. Estimated population in July 2020: 4,107 (-4.4% change)
Males: 2,045 (47.6%), Females: 2,249 (52.4%)

Wadena County

Zip code: 56482

Median resident age: 40.8 years
Median household income: $26,947
Median house value: $51,200

Races in Wadena:

  • White Non-Hispanic (97.5%)
  • Black (0.8%)
  • Two or more races (0.6%)
  • Hispanic (0.6%)
  • American Indian (0.5%)

Ancestries: German (45.6%), Norwegian (18.9%), Swedish (10.5%), Irish (6.2%), United States (5.6%), English (5.0%).

Elevation: 1340 feet

Land area: 5.2 square miles


Wadena, Minnesota is a small city of approximately 4,500 people located in the northwestern part of the state. It is part of Wadena County and is situated on the Leaf River. The population in Wadena is diverse, made up of people from different backgrounds and cultures. The majority of residents are Caucasian, with a smaller percentage of African Americans, Hispanics and Asians. The median age in Wadena is 37 years old with an average household size of 2.5 people.

The economy in Wadena is mainly driven by agriculture and small businesses such as restaurants, retail stores, banks and other services. There are several large employers in the area including Wadena County Hospital, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Wadena State Bank and Northwoods Nursing Home. The unemployment rate in Wadena is slightly higher than the national average at 5%. There are also many opportunities for education in the area with three public schools (K-12) as well as two private schools (K-8). Public transportation options include bus routes through Greater Minnesota Transit Authority as well as Amtrak rail service to nearby cities such as Minneapolis/St Paul and Duluth/Superior.

For population 25 years and over in Wadena

  • High school or higher: 78.5%
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher: 16.0%
  • Graduate or professional degree: 7.5%
  • Unemployed: 4.7%
  • Mean travel time to work: 14.7 minutes

For population 15 years and over in Wadena city

  • Never married: 26.2%
  • Now married: 51.8%
  • Separated: 1.4%
  • Widowed: 11.5%
  • Divorced: 9.1%

0.8% Foreign born

Population change in the 1990s: +49 (+1.2%).


Hospital/medical center in Wadena:


Other hospitals/medical centers near Wadena:

  • MEMORIAL HOSPITAL (about 32 miles; PERHAM, MN)


Airports certified for carrier operations nearest to Wadena:

  • BRAINERD LAKES RGNL (about 70 miles; BRAINERD, MN; Abbreviation: BRD)
  • BEMIDJI-BELTRAMI COUNTY (about 75 miles; BEMIDJI, MN; Abbreviation: BJI)
  • ST CLOUD REGIONAL (about 98 miles; ST CLOUD, MN; Abbreviation: STC)

Other public-use airports nearest to Wadena:

  • WADENA MUNI (about 5 miles; WADENA, MN; Abbreviation: ADC)
  • NEW YORK MILLS MUNI (about 15 miles; NEW YORK MILLS, MN; Abbreviation: 25Y)
  • HENNING MUNI (about 23 miles; HENNING, MN; Abbreviation: 05Y)

Colleges and Universities

College/University in Wadena:

  • NORTHWEST TECHNICAL COLLEGE-WADENA (Location: 405 SW COLFAX AVE BOX 566; Public; Website: www.ntc-online.com)

Colleges and Universities

Colleges/universities with over 2000 students nearest to Wadena:

  • CENTRAL LAKES COLLEGE-BRAINERD (about 68 miles; BRAINERD, MN; Full-time enrollment: 2,364)
  • NORTHWEST TECHNICAL COLLEGE-BEMIDJI (about 76 miles; BEMIDJI, MN; Full-time enrollment: 3,761)
  • BEMIDJI STATE UNIVERSITY (about 76 miles; BEMIDJI, MN; Full-time enrollment: 3,562)
  • SAINT CLOUD TECHNICAL COLLEGE (about 89 miles; ST CLOUD, MN; Full-time enrollment: 2,183)
  • SAINT CLOUD STATE UNIVERSITY (about 90 miles; ST CLOUD, MN; Full-time enrollment: 12,913)
  • RIDGEWATER COLLEGE (about 91 miles; WILLMAR, MN; Full-time enrollment: 2,711)
  • MINNESOTA STATE UNIVERSITY-MOORHEAD (about 100 miles; MOORHEAD, MN; Full-time enrollment: 6,400)


Public high school in Wadena:

  • WADENA-DEER CREEK SR. (Students: 701; Location: 600 COLFAX AVE. S.; Grades: 07 – 12)

Public primary/middle school in Wadena:

  • WADENA-DEER CREEK EL. (Students: 625; Location: 2152 COLFAX AVE. S.; Grades: PK – 06)

Private primary/middle schools in Wadena:

  • ST ANN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (Students: 121; Location: 519 SECOND STREET SE; Grades: PK – 6)
  • HILLSIDE SCHOOL (Students: 21; Location: ROUTE 1; Grades: 1 – 8)

Wadena, Minnesota