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Roseau County, Minnesota
Map of Minnesota highlighting Roseau County
Location in the state of Minnesota
Map of the U.S. highlighting Minnesota
Minnesota's location in the U.S.
Founded December 31, 1894 [1]
Named for Roseau Lake and Roseau River
Seat Roseau
Largest city Roseau
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

1,678 sq mi (4,347 km²)
1,663 sq mi (4,306 km²)
16 sq mi (41 km²), 0.94%
 - (2000)
 - Density

10/sq mi (4/km²)
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
The name of this Minnesota county and its county seat should not be confused with that of Dominica's capital city.

Roseau County is a county located in the state of Minnesota, United States. As of 2000, the population is 16,338. Its county seat is Roseau6.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 4,347 km² (1,678 sq mi). 4,306 km² (1,663 sq mi) of it is land and 41 km² (16 sq mi) of it (0.94%) is water.

Major Highways[]

Adjacent counties[]


Roseau County was once the home of many Chippewa, Sioux, and Mandan tribes.  Archeologists have found artifacts within the county belonging to these tribes that date back 7,200 years ago.  Roseau County is the result of a split of the neighboring Kittson County.  The land was first surveyed in 1888 and was first called "Jadis" after an auditory from Hallock who befriended settlers and Native Americans alike.  By Governor's proclamation on December 31, 1894 the 30 eastern townships of Kittson County were formed into a new county called Roseau.  The name, Roseau, came from French traders who termed the river through the area a river of "rushes and reeds".  The river was later named the Roseau River.  Again by the Governor's proclamation on February 11, 1896 the 15 townships on the east of our present county were detached from Beltrami County and added to Roseau County.

The City of Roseau was incorporated in 1895. The cities of Strathcona, Greenbush, Badger, Wannaska, Salol, Warroad, and Roosevelt were all incorporated in the next few years. The towns of Pelan, Pinecreek, Ross, Fox, Swift, and Haug have all ceased to exist except in memory. Forty-nine post offices in the county at one time also served as stores but were never recognized as towns.

In 1885 the Town of Roseau had 4 settlers. By 1895 it had grown to 600, with 25 businesses, and the county had grown to a total of 5,000 residents. In 1899, county farmers yielded 40,000 bushels of spring wheat which is an average of 18 bushels to the acre. Telephone lines were strung in 1903. A light plant was operating in Roseau and the cost of traveling to Stephen by stage coach with an overnight stop in Pelan was $3. There were once 112 school districts in the county. The first district established in 1890, taught adults to speak English. The Ag Society was established in 1904 and put on their first fair in 1906.

In 1946 a new era was born in Roseau when three local men who were involved in lightweight farm equipment manufacturing started a new company they named Polaris. In 1954 these three men developed an idea for the world's first snowmobile designed for individual use. From this beginning, Polaris has grown to become the leading manufacturer of snowmobiles and has also introduced other recreational equipment such as ATVs, motorcycles, and watercraft. Interestingly enough one of the original three owners of Polaris left to start his own company, Arctic Cat, of Thief River Falls. Polaris, along with Marvin Windows and Doors of Warroad, are major sources for the economic growth of Roseau County.

Information obtained from the Official City of Roseau History website.

Historically Documented Facts[]

  • Lutefisk was sent through the mail, often having to be stored in the Post Office until settlers would come to pick it up.
  • The first general election was held in 1888. 55 votes were polled and all but three were Republican.
  • The county sent men to war in every war our country has been involved in starting in 1898.
  • There were eight newspapers in the county in 1907.
  • There were 139 automobiles in the county in 1915. The speed limit this year will be a secret. Offenders will be fined $10 for the first mile over, $100 for the second, and $200 for the third.
  • A 400 pound sturgeon was taken from the Roseau River and had to be hauled up the river bank by a team of horses.
  • The Roseau Lake was drained in the early 1900s because of a flood control project headed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, but at one time it had a recorded depth of 50 feet deep. The lake remains drained today but does re-flood during a wet season when the Roseau River floods.

Information obtained from the Official City of Roseau History website.


Age pyramid of county residents based on 2000 U.S. census data.

As of the census2 of 2000, there were 16,338 people, 6,190 households, and 4,438 families residing in the county. The population density was 4/km² (10/sq mi). There were 7,101 housing units at an average density of 2/km² (4/sq mi). The racial makeup of the county was 95.92% White, 0.13% Black or African American, 1.42% Native American, 1.73% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.08% from other races, and 0.70% from two or more races. 0.43% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 41.0% were of Norwegian, 18.8% German and 10.7% Swedish ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 6,190 households out of which 38.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.00% were married couples living together, 6.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.30% were non-families. 24.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.11.

In the county the population was spread out with 29.80% under the age of 18, 6.80% from 18 to 24, 29.90% from 25 to 44, 20.80% from 45 to 64, and 12.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 105.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 104.00 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $39,852, and the median income for a family was $46,185. Males had a median income of $29,747 versus $23,630 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,053. About 4.60% of families and 6.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.50% of those under age 18 and 12.20% of those age 65 or over.

One of the airports in the county is Piney Pinecreek Border Airport, which extends into Canada.

Cities and towns[]

Cities Townships Unorganized

† A small part of Roosevelt extends into Lake of the Woods County.

External links[]

Coordinates: 48°46′N 95°48′W / 48.77, -95.80

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Roseau County, Minnesota. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.