Red Wing, Minnesota

Red Wing is a city in Goodhue County, Minnesota, United States, on the Mississippi River. The population was 16,116 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Goodhue County. Red Wing is home of Red Wing Shoes, the Riedell Ice and Roller Skates and Red Wing Stoneware. The Cannon Valley Trail has its eastern terminus in Red Wing. Treasure Island Resort & Casino is on the nearby Prairie Island Indian Reservation. The National Trust for Historic Preservation placed Red Wing on its 2008 distinctive destinations list, which adds 12 communities annually nationwide. Red Wing was added for its "impressive architecture and enviable natural environment. Red Wing is connected to Wisconsin by Red Wing Bridge.


In the early 1850s settlers from Mississippi River steamboats came to Red Wing to farm the lush fields in Goodhue County. They grew wheat, annual crop of which could pay the cost of the land. Before the railroads crisscrossed the territory, Goodhue County produced more wheat than any other county in the country and in 1873 Red Wing led the country in the amount of wheat sold by farmers. The warehouses in the port of Red Wing could store and exported more than a million bushels of wheat. Once the railroads connected southern Minnesota with Minneapolis and Saint Anthony, where the largest flour mills were built, the port at Red Wing lost prominence. In the last half of the 20th century, the United States Army Corps of Engineers built locks and dams and deepened the channel in the river. These reinvigorated river traffic for shipping grain and coal, however the tourist trade has never returned.

The first settlers in town built small mills, factories, and workshops, similar to ones they were familiar with in New England where many came from. Immigrants from Germany, Ireland, and Sweden were also skilled craftsman. Some early and persistent industries are tanning and shoe-making. Other businessmen made farm equipment, bricks, barrels, boats, furniture, pottery, and buttons. Consumables included beer and lumber. Service industries including stone-cutting, hospitality, and retailing. The Saint James Hotel remains a working token of the earlier time.

Red Wing was once home to Hamline University, founded in 1854 as the first institution of higher education in the state of Minnesota. It closed in 1869 because of low enrollment due to the American Civil War. It was chartered in St. Paul in 1871 and reopened in 1880 there.

Red Wing was also home to Gustavus Adolphus College, a private liberal arts college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA). The college was founded in Red Wing in 1862 by Eric Norelius, but moved to East Union in 1863 before settling in St Peter in 1876.

The Red Wing stoneware and pottery industry developed on the northwest of the city, close to Hay Creek. The clay was near the headwaters of Hay Creek, close to Goodhue, near a hamlet named Claybank. A railroad branch line was built to carry clay to Red Wing. The factory buildings remain, but only traces of the railroad, which was abandoned in 1937.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has 41.4 square miles (107.1 km²), of which, 35.4 square miles (91.7 km²) is land and 6.0 square miles (15.5 km²) (14.43%) water. The city is at the northern edge of the Driftless Area of karst topography.


At the census of 2000, there were 16,116 people, 6,562 households, and 4,166 families in the city. The population density was 455.3 per square mile (175.8km²). There were 6,867 housing units at an average density of 194.0/sq mi (74.9/km²). The racial makeup was 94.33% White, 1.32% African American, 2.22% Native American, 0.74% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.53% from other races, and 0.82% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.27% of the population.

There were 6,562 households of which 30.4% had children under18 with them, 51.2% were married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.5% were non-families. 30.7% of all households were of individuals and 13.3% had someone living alone 65 or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family 2.94.

In the city the population was 24.6% under18, 8.2% from 18 to 24, 27.5% from 25 to 44, 23.2% from 45 to 64, and 16.5% 65 or older. The median was 39. For every 100 females there were 93.5 males. For every 100 females 18 and over, there were 90.6 males.

The median income for a household was $43,674, and the median for a family was $54,641. Males had a median of $36,576 versus $25,477 for females. The per capita income was $21,678. About 3.9% of families and 6.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.9% of those under age 18 and 8.0% of those 65 or over.


U.S. Routes 61 and 63 and Minnesota State Highways 19 and 58 are the main routes.

Wisconsin Highway 35 is nearby.

Red Wing's Amtrak station is served by Amtrak's daily in each direction between Chicago and Seattle and Portland.



The mayor is Matt Erickson(pronounced eric-son). His term started January 2005 and will last until January 2009.

City Council

The current city council members of Red Wing are-

  • Carol Duff (At-Large)
    • Council President
    • Term- January 2007 to January 2011
  • Dean Hove (Wards 1 & 2)
  • Gerald Cook (Ward 4)
    • Council President Pro Tem
    • Term- January 2007 to January 2011
  • Steve Castner (Ward 1)
    • Term- January 2005 to January 2009
  • Mike Hall (Wards 3 & 4)
    • Term- January 2005 to January 2009
  • Gary Peterson (Ward 2)
    • Term- January 2005 to January 2009
  • Mike Schultz (Ward 3)
    • Term- January 2007 to January 2011

Red Wing Politics

Red Wing has a youth government that helps protect youth interest in city council meetings

Notable residents

Sister cities

Red Wing has two sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International, Inc. (SCI):


External links

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