Washington County, Minnesota
|Washington County, Minnesota|
Location in the state of Minnesota
Minnesota's location in the U.S.
|Founded||October 27, 1849 |
|Named for||U.S. President George Washington|
423.16 sq mi (1,096 km²)
391.70 sq mi (1,014 km²)
31.46 sq mi (81 km²), 7.43%
577.7/sq mi (222.8/km²)
|Time zone||Central: UTC-6/-5|
Washington County was one of the nine original counties created when the Minnesota Territory was organized in 1849. The county was officially established October 27, 1849, named after George Washington.
Early development in the area was on the St. Croix River, which now forms the boundary with Wisconsin on the county's eastern side. The river not only provided a means of transportation to move people upstream, but also move logs downstream. The area was heavily forested and the early economy was dependent on the logging and lumber industries.
The first settlement and seat was named Dacotah, and was located as early as 1838 in what is now northern Stillwater, where Brown's Creek flows into the St. Croix River. The creek's name is from the founder of this settlement, Joseph Renshaw Brown. However, a sawmill was built at Marine-on-St.-Croix in 1839, and another was built in the current location of downtown Stillwater in 1844. The success of these soon attracted the settlers from Dacotah, and Stillwater became the county seat in 1846.
During this early period, the region was part of the Wisconsin Territory, but Wisconsin became a state in 1848. Brown and other leaders called together settlers in this now-ungoverned territory to what has become known as the "Stillwater Convention" on August 26, 1848. Held in John McKusick’s store, the settlers drafted a Memorial to Congress that a new territory be created with the name “Minnesota,” and elected Henry Hastings Sibley to deliver this citizen’s petition to the U.S. Congress. Because of this convention, Stillwater calls itself the “Birthplace of Minnesota.”
After officially becoming a territory, growth continued, with the first Sheriff of Washington County appointed by Governor Alexander Ramsey in 1849, and the county's school district founded in 1850.
After the forests were depleted, the economy of Washington County became primarily agricultural. With the growth of neighboring Ramsey County and St. Paul, some of Washington County developed based on tourism and recreation, as with Mahtomedi and Landfall. Late in the 20th century, the population greatly increased with the suburban expansion of St. Paul.
According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 423.16 square miles (1,096.0 km2), of which 391.70 square miles (1,014.5 km2) (or 92.57%) is land and 31.46 square miles (81.5 km2) (or 7.43%) is water.
Major highways 
Adjacent counties 
- Chisago County (north)
- Polk County, Wisconsin (northeast)
- St. Croix County, Wisconsin (east)
- Pierce County, Wisconsin (southeast)
- Dakota County (southwest)
- Ramsey County (west)
- Anoka County (northwest)
||Anoka County||Chisago County||Polk County, Wisconsin|
|Ramsey County||St. Croix County, Wisconsin|
|Dakota County||Pierce County, Wisconsin|
National protected areas 
As of the census of 2000, there were 201,130 people, 71,462 households, and 54,668 families residing in the county. The population density was 514 people per square mile (198/km²). There were 73,635 housing units at an average density of 188 per square mile (73/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 93.63% White, 1.83% Black or African American, 0.39% Native American, 2.14% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.60% from other races, and 1.37% from two or more races. 1.94% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 32.7% were of German, 11.1% Norwegian, 9.8% Irish and 7.5% Swedish ancestry according to the 2000 census.
There were 71,462 households out of which 41.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.80% were married couples living together, 8.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.50% were non-families. 18.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.77 and the average family size was 3.19.
In the county the population was spread out with 29.40% under the age of 18, 6.80% from 18 to 24, 32.90% from 25 to 44, 23.20% from 45 to 64, and 7.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 98.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.80 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $66,305, and the median income for a family was $74,576 (these figures had risen to $78,067 and $90,867 respectively as of a 2007 estimate). Males had a median income of $49,815 versus $33,804 for females. The per capita income for the county was $28,148. About 2.00% of families and 2.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.50% of those under age 18 and 4.10% of those age 65 or over.
Superfund sites and environmental damage 
Washington County has had three locations listed as Environmental Protection Agency Superfund sites due to soil and groundwater contamination. The Baytown Township Ground Water Plume and the Oakdale Dump are currently listed, while the Washington County Landfill was cleaned up and removed from the Superfund list in 1996.
|Cities||Townships||Unincorporated communities||Ghost towns|
Points of interest 
Regional (County) Parks 
- Big Marine Park Reserve
- Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park
- Lake Elmo Park Reserve
- Pine Point Park
- Point Douglas Park
- St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park
- Square Lake County Park
|2012||49.39% 70,203||48.64% 69,137|
|2008||51.3% 70,277||46.9% 64,334|
|2004||47.8% 61,395||51.2% 65,751|
|2000||46.4% 49,637||48.1% 51,502|
|1996||51.2% 45,119||35.5% 31,219|
|1992||41.9% 35,820||31.1% 26,568|
|1988||52.6% 34,952||46.5% 30,850|
|1984||49.2% 28,527||50.1% 29,046|
|1980||46.7% 25,634||41.4% 22,718|
|1976||54.5% 26,454||42.6% 20,716|
|1972||44.6% 16,102||53.0% 19,142|
|1968||56.8% 16,449||37.7% 10,921|
|1964||67.0% 18,108||32.8% 8,850|
|1960||51.3% 11,870||48.4% 11,202|
Washington County records are available for research use. They include school records, Welfare Board records, County Auditor records, Probate Court files, Stillwater Municipal Court files, birth and death records, marriage, naturalization, deed records, and agency histories.
See also 
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Washington County, Minnesota
- List of Superfund sites in Minnesota
- "Minnesota Government Series, State Counties". Minnesota House of Representatives. Retrieved 2008-03-18..
- "2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File". American FactFinder. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- Washington County History Facts
- History of Stillwater at the Washington County Historical Society
- History of Marine-on-St.-Croix at the Washington County Historical Society 
- Washington County Sheriff's Office History
- Washington County Historical Society - Schools of the Past
- "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-13.
- "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved May 9, 2013.
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Retrieved May 9, 2013.
- Washington County, MN-Parks and Trails
- Washington County government’s website
- Washington County, Minnesota at the Open Directory Project
- Baytown Township Groundwater Plume EPA Factsheet
- Oakdale Dump EPA Factsheet
- Washington County Landfill EPA Factsheet