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

Stearns County, Minnesota

Stearns County Education, Geography, and HistoryStearns County, Minnesota Courthouse

Stearns County is a county located in the state of Minnesota. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 150,642. Its county seat is Saint Cloud. The county was founded in 1855. It was supposed to be named after Isaac Ingalls Stevens, but a clerical error changed the name to Stearns, after Charles Thomas Stearns.

Stearns County is part of the St. Cloud, MN Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN-WI Combined Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Stearns County Name

Named for Charles Thomas Stearns, member of the council of the territorial legislature, 1854-55


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Stearns County History

The area that is currently Stearns County was formerly occupied by numerous indigenous tribes, such as the Sioux (Dakota), Chippewa (Ojibwe) and Winnebago (Ho-chunk). The first large immigration was of German Catholics in the 1850s. Early arrivals also came from eastern states. Originally, the county was supposed to be named Stevens County after Governor Isaac Ingalls Stevens who conducted an area expedition in 1853. However, due to a clerical error, the county was named Stearns after Charles Thomas Stearns who was a member of the Territorial Council. (Later, the area two counties west was named Stevens County, to compensate for this clerical error.)

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,390 square miles (3,600 km2), of which 1,343 square miles (3,480 km2) is land and 47 square miles (120 km2) (3.4%) is water.

The East border of Stearns County is the Mississippi River. The land consists of rolling hills, scenic lakes, prairies, savannas and woodlands of a mixture of coniferous and deciduous trees. Stearns 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:

  • Todd County (north)
  • Morrison County (north)
  • Benton County (east)
  • Sherburne County (east)
  • Wright County (southeast)
  • Meeker County (south)
  • Kandiyohi County (south)
  • Pope County (west)
  • Douglas County (northwest)


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