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Madelia is situated along the Watonwan River in Watonwan County, Minnesota. The chief routes through the city are Minnesota Highways 15 and 60, which run together through Madelia. La Salle is about nine miles west of Madelia. Other nearby localities include Butternut, Garden City, Godahl, Grogan, Hanska, Lake Crystal, Lewisville, Linden, Perth, St. James, and Vernon Center. Founded in 1857, the town was originally named Wapaca, but its name was changed to Madelia within a year, in honor of the deceased daughter of Philander Hartshorn, one of its founders. The Madelia post office was established in 1860, and the city was incorporated in 1872. Madelia was the first city in Matonwan County, and was once the county seat. In 1876, the remaining members of the James-Younger Gang were captured near Madelia after their failed bank robbery in Northfield, and each September the town holds an event called Younger Brothers Day which commemorates their capture. The city’s population has decreased slightly since its peak population of 2,340 in 2000.

 

 

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