Minnesota: Douglas County

Douglas County (pop. 36,009), with more than 250 lakes, is a major tourist destination in central Minnesota.

Alexandria, the county seat, is well-known for its 25-foot statue of Big Ole the Viking.

Built for the New York World’s Fair in 1965

Alexandria is growing; its population went from 8,820 in 2000 to 11,070 in 2010.

Douglas County Courthouse (1895)

The former Great Northern Railway depot in Alexandria now houses a restaurant.

Built in 1907

Ten miles north of Alexandria is Lake Carlos State Park.

Established in 1937

Interstate 94 cuts through Douglas County at a diagonal, northwest to southeast.

Construction began in North Dakota in 1958.

The Central Lakes State Trail parallels I-94 for 55 miles on a former railroad bed.

Douglas County also has 368 miles of snowmobile trails.

Carlos Creek Winery, near Alexandria, is part of the Alexandria Lakes American Viticulture Area.

Minnesota’s largest winery

The town of Forada was named by the man who surveyed the town site. He wanted to name it for his wife, Ada, but Minnesota already had a town named Ada. So, he named it For Ada.

Pop. 185

The town of Kensington (pop. 292) is famed for the “Kensington Runestone,” a slab of rock “found” in 1898 that “seemed” to “show” that Scandinavian explorers reached Minnesota in the 14th century.

Displayed in Alexandria’s Runestone Museum


4 comments on “Minnesota: Douglas County

  1. John Dodds says:

    I’m offended by those quotes around that tablet discovery. That really happened.

    • Kathy Kasten says:

      I’ve lived in Minnesota for 72 years and it’s amazing what things I still have to learn about this state. A town named Forada? Didn’t know that! I have been to Douglas County many times because our church camp is located on Lake Ida (Pilgrim Point). That has an interesting history. It was a vacation compound owned by the Rand family (of Remington-Rand Corporation fame). It was purchased in the 1950’s by the United Church of Christ. The main lodge has been remodeled and added on to and many buildings have been added but several of the original buildings are still mostly as they were.

    • Mary Schlick says:

      I, too, am offended, John Dodds. The Viking story is a thrilling part of northland history! I have on my answering machine a greeting from a dear friend named Thor who is now in his 80s as I am. He dropped into my life in the 9th grade from Alexandria, MN. I have loved – and believed – the viking stories from that day on!

  2. Charlie Warnes says:

    Sarah’s father-in-law gave us a bottle of wine from this area a couple years ago. It tasted interesting. At least the first glass did. We never got around to trying a second.

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