About Washburn

Washburn, ND is the oldest city in McLean County and is the County Seat. The City of Washburn was officially founded on November 1, 1882 by "King John" Satterlund. He saw that the area was a great site, with good soil, abundance of wood and coal, and excellent water transportation. Satterlund and his business partner, John Veeder, named the new town Washburn in honor of the late Wisconsin Governor Cadwallader Colden Washburn, whom both men know in Wisconsin. Washburn was a prominent soldier, political leader and capitalist, besides being governor of Wisconsin from 1872-1874 and US Congressman from 1855-1861 and 1867-1871. The Washburn area has in incredibly rich history that draws thousands of visitors every year to Fort Mandan, the winter home of Lewis, Clark, and the famed Corps of Discovery.

In the mid-1970's the physical and economic landscape of the Washburn area changed forever, with the development of the energy industry on both sides of the Missouri River. Closest to Washburn is the Coal Creek Station, North Dakota's largest coal-fired generating plant, owned and operated by Rainbow Energy of Bismarck, ND. The Falkirk Mining Company operation located nearby provides lignite coal to the plant. Between the two operations, hundreds of jobs provide a solid economic base for the community and region.

Today, the city of Washburn is a vibrant and active community of about 1,300 residents. The city has an excellent school, many parks, and a community swimming pool. There are many outdoor activities to take advantage of including bicycling, hiking, golfing, hunting, and fishing and boating on the scenic Missouri River. The city also boasts many thriving businesses, churches, and two museums. 


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City of Washburn
907 Main Ave.
Washburn, ND 58577