Minnesota Counties
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Minnesota Counties

There are eighty-seven Counties in Minnesota. On October 27, 1849 nine large Minnesota Counties were created. Among them were Benton, Dahkotah, Itasca, Ramsey, Mahkahta, Pembina, Wabashaw, Washington, and Wahnata. Of those Benton, Dakota, Itasca, Ramsey, Wabasha, and Washington still exist as their original name. With the creation of Kittson County on March 9, 1878, Pembina County no longer existed. When Minnesota was organized as a state, 57 of the present 87 Counties were established. The last county to be created was Lake of the Woods County in 1923

Pennington County, Minnesota

Pennington County Education, Geography, and HistoryPennington County, Minnesota Courthouse

Pennington County is a county located in the state of Minnesota. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 13,930. Its county seat is Thief River Falls. The county was formed on November 23, 1910, from sections of Red Lake County. It was named after Edmund Pennington, vice president of the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railway.

Etymology - Origin of Pennington County Name

Named for Edmund Pennington, president of the Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie Railway Company.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Pennington County History

The earliest known settlers in northwestern Minnesota were the Dakota Sioux who were well established by the late 1600's. By 1770 the Chippewa had become the dominant tribe in a wide area of northern and central Minnesota, including the area which later became Pennington County. In 1863 the Chippewa signed a treaty with the Federal Government which opened up a large tract of land to homesteaders, while reserving some of what would later become Pennington County as Chippewa land. When Polk County was formed in 1858, it included what would later be both Red Lake and Pennington Counties. In 1896 Red Lake County was formed from part of Polk County and in 1910 Pennington County was formed from part of Red Lake County. Thief River Falls is the county seat.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 618 square miles (1,600 km2), of which 617 square miles (1,600 km2) is land and 1.7 square miles (4.4 km2) (0.3%) is water. Pennington is one of 17 Minnesota savanna region counties with more savanna soils than either prairie or forest soils.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Marshall County (north)
  • Beltrami County (east)
  • Clearwater County (southeast)
  • Red Lake County (south)
  • Polk County (west)


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