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River Route Spotlight

Wabasha, Minnesota

Population: 2,502

Nickname: Minnesota's Oldest City

Motto: Governor's Fit City


Wabasha is the home of Grumpy Old Men! The Town served as the setting for both the movies Grumpy Old Men and Grumpier Old Men and hosts an annual Grumpy Old Men Festival. It is also home to the National Eagle Center.

The beautiful and vibrant towns of Wabasha and Kellogg are home to several annual traditions. Grumpy Old Men Fest has been celebrated for more than 20 years in Wabasha and hosts a variety of activities including the Grumpy Plunge where brave people take a jump into the frozen river. It also hosts River Boat Days and the annual fall celebration SeptOberfest.

One of the most famous businesses in the Wabasha-Kellogg area is Lark Toys, which is known for handmade wooden toys and an amazing store that has been named the best toy store in Minnesota. The National Eagle Center is another pillar of the community that offers eagle viewing field trips, a variety of educational activities, and a great way to get to know different types of eagles. Eagles injured in the wild have found a new home at the center where visitors meet them in daily programs.

Wabasha is the oldest city on the upper Mississippi River and has been occupied continuously since 1826. The city is named in honor of an Indian Chief of the Dakota Sioux Nation named Wa-pa-shaw. The historic district is home to more than 50 buildings that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and people travel from all over to view eagles since they nest in the area all year. In 1993 a film was released called Grumpy Old Men starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau where Wabasha was the home of the main characters. Filming occurred elsewhere, but landmarks like Slippery’s Bar and Grill were featured in the film.



Famous Residents of Wabasha include:



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