Washington County, Minnesota
Area: 423 square miles
Named for: George Washington
Cities included: Afton, Bayport, Birchwood Village, Cottage Grove, Dellwood, Forest Lake, Grant, Hastings (part), Hugo, Lake Elmo, Lake St. Croix Beach, Lakeland, Lakeland Shores, Landfall, Mahtomedi, Marine on St. Croix, Newport, Oak Park Heights, Oakdale, Pine Springs, Saint Marys Point, St. Paul Park, Scandia, Stillwater, White Bear Lake (part) Willernie, Woodbury
County seat: Stillwater
Largest city: Woodbury
Washington County is one of Minnesota’s original nine counties, and was created on October 27, 1849. It is now one of the most populated counties in the state with substantial growth in recent years.
While the county began as a rural area, the region has seen explosive population growth and expansion and now is home to several highly-developed areas with established economic bases and work forces. Residents of Washington County include young professionals, families, senior citizens, and more, while featuring residents of varying ethnicities and backgrounds
Washington County has a robust park system with two park reserves, three regional parks, two county parks, two regional trails, and one historic courthouse site, covering more than 4,400 acres of parkland. The county runs more than 40 miles in length and boasts more than 450 lakes that are 10 acres or more in area.
Historically, the communities that make up Washington County were known for sawmills and transporting logs downstream on the St. Croix River. The area was originally part of the Wisconsin Territory until 1848 when leaders met in Stillwater to establish the new territory with the name Minnesota, while then electing Henry Hastings Sibley to deliver the petition to Congress. This is how Stillwater came to be known as the “birthplace of Minnesota.”
There are plenty of recreation opportunities in Washington County, including skiing at the Afton Alps Ski Area, museums, and tons of dynamic businesses, restaurants, and outdoor activities.
Today Washington County is home to a variety of landscapes and communities, including farming and agricultural properties, business parks, residential neighborhoods, including multiple family developments, and everything in between.