Minnesota: Watonwan County

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).

Watonwan County Courthouse (1896)

The Grand Opera House in St. James was built in 1892.

On the National Register of Historic Places

In the town of Madelia (pop. 2,308), the Madelia Theater (1934) still shows first-run movies.

Tickets are $5.

The Younger Gang (Bob, Cole, and Jim) were captured near Madelia in 1876 after their famousĀ  attempt, with the James Gang, to rob the First National Bank of Northfield.

Cole’s gun

The town of Butterfield (pop. 586) hosts the Butterfield Threshing Bee every August.

Since 1967

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?”

Probably not from the war-torn region of Sudan


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