Watonwan County (pop. 11,211) is west of Blue Earth County. It’s the only Watonwan County in the U.S.
The county seat is St. James (pop. 4,605).
The Grand Opera House in St. James was built in 1892.
In the town of Madelia (pop. 2,308), the Madelia Theater (1934) still shows first-run movies.
The Younger Gang (Bob, Cole, and Jim) were captured near Madelia in 1876 after their famous attempt, with the James Gang, to rob the First National Bank of Northfield.
The town of Butterfield (pop. 586) hosts the Butterfield Threshing Bee every August.
There is some disagreement about how the town of Darfur (pop. 108) got its name; it may have had to do with the “dark fur” on local otters, or it may have come from a conversation in which one Scandinavian railroad worker said to another, “Why you stop dar fur?”
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