Wabasha County is located in Southeastern Minnesota on the Mississippi River. It is considered to be both a part of the Mississippi River Valley, and Mississippi River Bluffs Area. The rich history of this area is evident throughout the county.
Prior to 1826, the area of Wabasha was inhabited by the Sioux, led by chief Wa-pa-shaw, who would later give the county and city their names. Minnesota Territory was divided into a few large counties. Wabasha was one of the original counties and was decreased significantly in size as it entered statehood. When it was first formed the county ran across Minnesota from the western border of the Missouri River, within present day South Dakota, to the eastern border with Wisconsin along the Mississippi River.
The city of Wabasha is the county seat and also Minnesota’s first and longest continuously inhabited River town. Wabasha was first settled in 1826, becoming an officially recognized city in 1830 with the Prairie du Chien treaty. This makes Wabasha the oldest city in Minnesota..
Wabasha County is part of the 100 mile scenic route known as the Great River Road, which begins in Hastings, and ends in Le Crescent, Minnesota. Wabasha County is at the center of this stretch of scenic river views. This unique location allows for unparalleled scenic vistas, as well as a diverse and rich wildlife population. Wabasha County is home to a large population of American Bald Eagle, and in March, Wabasha County is in the center of what is known as The Flyway which is a path traveled by Bald Eagles and other migratory birds during the winter months. The construction in 2008 of the National Eagle Center allows visitors to observe both the bird migration and the scenic vistas offered by the bluffs and the valley and provides education opportunities with chances to see eagles up close.