Monticello, Minnesota

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Monticello, Minnesota
The Mississippi River as it passes through Monticello.
The Mississippi River as it passes through Monticello.
Location of the city of Monticellowithin Wright County, Minnesota
Location of the city of Monticello
within Wright County, Minnesota
Coordinates: 45°18′2″N 93°47′48″W / 45.30056°N 93.79667°W / 45.30056; -93.79667
Country United States
State Minnesota
County Wright
 • Total 8.94 sq mi (23.15 km2)
 • Land 8.94 sq mi (23.15 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation 925 ft (282 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 12,759
 • Estimate (2014[3]) 13,136
 • Density 1,427.2/sq mi (551.0/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Area code(s) 763
FIPS code 27-43774[4]
GNIS feature ID 0648048[5]

Monticello (/ˌmɒntɪˈsɛl/ MONT-i-SEL-oh) is a city in Wright County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 12,759 at the 2010 census.[6]

Monticello is located on the Mississippi River at the northern edge of Wright County. Each winter, hundreds of trumpeter swans nest near Mississippi Drive Park in Monticello, as the Mississippi River is heated from warm water discharged by the Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.94 square miles (23.15 km2), all of it land.[1] The city's latitude is 45.305 degrees North and its longitude is 93.793 degrees West. Its elevation is 922 feet. It is in the Central time zone. Lake Maria State Park is nearby.


Monticello was founded in 1856, and celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2006.

The name Monticello is derived from the Italian word for "Little Mountain," it translates literally to English as hillock or small hill. The name Monticello was chosen because the hill southeast of town, which is the highest point in Wright County. In Monticello, an elementary school, a church and two businesses include Little Mountain in their name.

On July 1, 1997, Monticello and its surrounding cities were hit with severe storms. According to the local news stations, the storm was classified as straight line winds. However, many residents disagreed, believing a tornado tore up their hometown. Later data showed that there were actually 17 tornadoes that evening. The damages to the town were extreme as debris from damaged buildings was scattered everywhere, rooftops were lifted from homes, trees were uprooted, and power poles toppled. Although the damage to buildings have been repaired, the extensive loss of mature trees has significantly altered the landscape of Monticello.

On May 3, 2006, the Monticello Middle School had an electrical fire from the large amount of rain settling on the roof. The smoke damage to the school caused the school to be closed for the rest of the school year. As a result, middle school and high school students had to share usage of the high school building on an alternate-day schedule. The school year did not get extended, and the clean up was completed in time for the 2006–2007 school year. [1] [2]

The Great American Smokeout day, held annually by the American Cancer Society, was based on an idea of the editor of the Monticello Times, Lynn R. Smith. He promised to publish the names of 300 people who pledged to quit smoking for one day (January 6, 1974) on the front page of the Times. This caused a sensation and led to Minnesota's first statewide D-day (Don't Smoke Day). In 1976, the California Chapter of the American Cancer Society held a similar Don't Smoke Day, encouraging almost one million people to quit that day. After that, beginning in 1977, the Great American Smokeout day has been a national event, held on the third Thursday each November (one week before Thanksgiving).


In anticipation of rapid population growth, Monticello created a comprehensive growth plan in 1996. A new high school was constructed in 1999. A new highway interchange was completed in 2006 on the east end of town, allowing residents full access to Interstate 94 from Wright County Road 18. Since 2002, many retail outlets have been constructed, including a Wal-Mart Supercenter, a SuperTarget store, a Muller Family Movie Theatre, a new bowling alley, the Home Depot, Marshalls, Applebee's, Taco John's, Arby's, and have recently added an Aldi's and a Goodwill. This planned growth has also brought new auto dealerships, hotels, and industrial development. Monticello continues to attract new construction and business opportunities. A new Mills Fleet Farm store was planned for 2008, on the east end of Chelsea Road, but that endeavor was never realized. A 2004 annexation agreement with Monticello Township is expected to help sustain Monticello's growth for the next twenty years.

One of Monticello's largest employers, Cargill Kitchen Solutions, formerly Sunny Fresh Foods, a Cargill Foods Company, received the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for business performance excellence in 1999 and 2005. Sunny Fresh is one of the few nationwide businesses and the only food company to win this award twice. For more information visit


Monticello High School (1,314 est.) is Wright County's third largest school. The nickname for the school's athletic teams is the Magic (it used to be called the Redmen but changed in order to prevent it from being offensive). Its main rival is Buffalo High School (1,596).


Boys' basketball is a notable Monticello High School athletic program. The team made several trips to the state tournament in the 1990s, and from 2004 to 2006. The team's highest tournament finish is 4th place, igniting humorous theories of a possible "4th place curse". Two Minnesota high-school basketball Players of the Year have come out of Monticello, Nate Holmstadt and Joel Przybilla. The 7-foot Przybilla went on to play for the University of Minnesota, and was a center in the NBA. Varsity tennis has also gone to state each year from 2004 to 2010. Track and swimming are also noted to be at very high standards.[citation needed] The girls' cross country team was Class AA state champions and rated 3rd in the nation in 2011.

The Moose Sherritt Ice Arena, attached to the Middle School, was completed in 2005 due to the efforts of the Monticello–Annandale–Maple Lake Youth Hockey Organization, community members, the mayor, the city council, the school board, businesses and the Sherritt family. "Moose" Sherritt played for the NHL's Detroit Red Wings and the USHL's Minneapolis Millers among other teams in the 1940s.

Grace Sawatzke has the Monticello women's High School basketball record with most points, assists, and steals. She has 2014 points.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 290
1890 503 73.4%
1900 818 62.6%
1910 858 4.9%
1920 1,024 19.3%
1930 924 −9.8%
1940 1,076 16.5%
1950 1,231 14.4%
1960 1,477 20.0%
1970 1,636 10.8%
1980 2,830 73.0%
1990 4,941 74.6%
2000 7,868 59.2%
2010 12,759 62.2%
Est. 2014 13,136 [7] 3.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]

As of 2000 the median income for a household in the city was $45,384, and the median income for a family was $53,566. Males had a median income of $41,057 versus $25,854 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,229. About 4.2% of families and 4.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.8% of those under age 18 and 7.4% of those age 65 or over.

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 12,759 people, 4,693 households, and 3,164 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,427.2 inhabitants per square mile (551.0/km2). There were 4,973 housing units at an average density of 556.3 per square mile (214.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 92.6% White, 1.5% African American, 0.5% Native American, 1.0% Asian, 2.3% from other races, and 2.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.4% of the population.

There were 4,693 households of which 43.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.2% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 32.6% were non-families. 25.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.68 and the average family size was 3.23.

The median age in the city was 31.4 years. 30.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 33.3% were from 25 to 44; 18.7% were from 45 to 64; and 9.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.2% male and 50.8% female.



The local newspaper is The Monticello Times.

Notable people[edit]

  • Joel Przybilla – an American professional basketball player, who last played for the Milwaukee Bucks of the NBA. Monticello High School alumni. Born in Monticello.


  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  3. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015-07-03. 
  4. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ "2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File". American FactFinder. U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 Census. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  7. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 45°18′20.52″N 93°47′39.12″W / 45.3057000°N 93.7942000°W / 45.3057000; -93.7942000