Wabasha is home to the National Eagle Center, a non-profit organization concentrating on environmental education and community sustainability. The Center has five resident eagles and visitors are allowed to take as many photos as they like. Wabasha is a great place to see eagles year-round! The Upper Mississippi River Valley is home to hundreds of bald eagles. In the summer months, bald eagles nest along the river valley and feed their young from the plentiful fish of the Mississippi River. In the winter months, hundreds more bald eagles migrate to this area to find open water near Wabasha. This is the best time of year to view wild eagles and see the many eagle nests along the river valley.
Wabasha, Minnesota is a place which feels as if it belongs to a simpler time and place, deliberately refusing to accept franchise architecture and giant advertising billboards, thus renewing the human spirit and bidding you to return again and again until you decide to make it your home.
Perhaps the spirit of Chief Wapashaw, reputed to be of good sense and upright conduct, asks for peace and tranquility in this space. Accurately described in an early historical account, “For beauty of location Wabasha is unexcelled, and the sunset from the place is most enchanting.” Some say French fur trader Nicholas Perrot built a trading post here about 1683, on the site of today’s ‘high tech, high touch” St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center. Sometime between 1826 and 1830, however, it is confirmed that Augustine Rocque built a fur post here, thus qualifying the location as the first settled town in Minnesota, some thirty years before Minnesota statehood.
Wabasha grew rapidly between 1850 and 1880, becoming a center for lumbering, milling and boat building. Of the 59 primary buildings in Wabasha’s National Historic District, 44 were built by 1900, many retaining much of their ‘vernacular Italianate’ style and character.
Today in Wabasha, beneath the historical veneer, you’ll find a young and very active community. Home to artists and authors, Wabasha has struck a balance between high-tech hustle/bustle and the tranquility of earlier times, achieving a character both energized and serene, youthful and mature.
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