Wisconsin Counties
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Wisconsin Counties

There are seventy-two counties in the state of Wisconsin. Wisconsin became part of the Territory of Michigan and divided into two counties: Brown County in the northeast along Lake Michigan and Crawford County in the southwest along the Mississippi River. The state of Wisconsin was created from Wisconsin Territory on May 29, 1848, with 28 counties.

Washburn County, Wisconsin

Washburn County Education, Geography, and History

Washburn County, Wisconsin Courthouse

Washburn County is a county in the state of Wisconsin. It is named after Governor Cadwallader C. Washburn. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 15,911. Its county seat is Shell Lake. The county was created in 1883

Etymology - Origin of Washburn County Name

Named in honor of Cadwallader C. Washburn, governor of the State, 1872-74. Born in Maine (1818), Wash-burn migrated West at the age of twenty-one. In 1842 he settled at Mineral Point, was admitted to the bar, and opened a bank. He was a congressman for three terms (1855-61), and again after the War of Secession (wherein he served), for two further terms (1867-71). After retiring from public life he built up the flour-mill industry at Minneapolis. For many years he was president of the State Historical Society, and gave the University its observatory. He died in 1882.

[Source: Kellogg, Louise Phelps. "Derivation of County Names" in Proceedings of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin for 1909, pages 219-231.]


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Washburn County History

Washburn County was established in 1883 and named after Cadwallader C. Washburn. The county is divided into twenty-one districts, with a representative from each district that serves on the Washburn County Board of Supervisors.

Washburn County is the 28th largest county in Wisconsin and has a population of 16,036. The county's municipalities consist of twenty-one towns, two villages, and two cities. The county seat located in Shell Lake.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 853 square miles (2,209 km2), of which, 810 square miles (2,097 km2) of it is land and 43 square miles (112 km2) of it (5.08%) is water.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Douglas County - north
  • Bayfield County - northeast
  • Sawyer County - east
  • Rusk County - southeast
  • Barron County - south
  • Burnett County - west


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