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Aitkin, Minnesota facts for kids

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Aitkin County Courthouse
Aitkin County Courthouse
"Historic Mississippi Riverboat Town"
Location of the city of Aitkinwithin Aitkin County, Minnesota
Location of the city of Aitkin
within Aitkin County, Minnesota
Country United States
State Minnesota
County Aitkin
Incorporated August 19, 1889
 • Total 2.93 sq mi (7.58 km2)
 • Land 2.92 sq mi (7.57 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.01 km2)
1,214 ft (370 m)
 • Total 2,165
 • Estimate 
 • Density 679.33/sq mi (262.31/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 218
FIPS code 27-00460
GNIS feature ID 0639235

Aitkin ( AY-kin) is a city in Aitkin County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 2,165 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Aitkin County.


Aitkin Carnegie Library
Jaques Art Center
(Formerly Aitkin Carnegie Library)

Aitkin was founded in 1870 when the Northern Pacific Railroad was extended to that point. The city and county were named for William Alexander Aitken, a partner of the American Fur Company and chief factor of the company's regional operations in the early 19th century. Many industries had attracted people to the town. In the late 19th and early 20th century, a massive wave of immigration, most likely from present day Ireland, Germany, and Scandinavian countries, had resided into the Aitkin area to pursue the logging and riverboat industries. After the Great Depression and World War II, the logging industry has changed the town into a farming community, consisting mostly of cattle and poultry, which continued until the late 1970s to early 1980s. A creamery and a turkey plant was one of the town's major economic and industrial contributors. Not many farms are currently in operation in Aitkin and many abandoned farms could be seen throughout the county. By the 1990s, Aitkin has changed into a community for retirement and tourism, especially with the lake areas and that continues up to today. Health care, education, human services, and non-profit organizations are one of the major contributors to the modern day Aitkin economy, along with the hospitality industry.

Aitkin throughout the years in various locations had been impacted by occasional flooding of the Mississippi River. Major notable floods had reached past 20 feet (6 m) such as the 1950 flood and nearly 19 feet (6 m), such as the summer flooding in 2012. Much damage has taken place in the town because of the floods, and the 2012 flood was one of the first floods that overflowed the lake areas, flooding the cabins, since it was based on heavy rainfall instead of melting snow.

Five properties in Aitkin are listed on the National Register of Historic Places: the 1901 Patrick Casey House, the 1902 Potter/Casey Company Building, the 1911 Aitkin Carnegie Library, the 1916 Northern Pacific Depot, and the Aitkin County Courthouse and Jail (built in 1920 and 1915, respectively).


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.20 square miles (5.70 km2), all of it land.

The Mississippi River flows through at the northern edge of Aitkin. The Ripple River and Sissabagamah Creek both flow nearby.


Climate data for Aitkin, Minnesota
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 18.7
Average low °F (°C) −2.9
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.9
Source: Weatherbase


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 136
1890 737 441.9%
1900 1,719 133.2%
1910 1,638 −4.7%
1920 1,490 −9.0%
1930 1,545 3.7%
1940 2,063 33.5%
1950 2,079 0.8%
1960 1,829 −12.0%
1970 1,553 −15.1%
1980 1,770 14.0%
1990 1,698 −4.1%
2000 1,984 16.8%
2010 2,165 9.1%
2019 (est.) 1,985 −8.3%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 2,165 people, 936 households, and 483 families residing in the city. The population density was 984.1 inhabitants per square mile (380.0/km2). There were 1,097 housing units at an average density of 498.6 per square mile (192.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 95.5% White, 0.8% African American, 1.5% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 0.1% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.2% of the population.

There were 936 households, of which 27.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 33.8% were married couples living together, 13.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 48.4% were non-families. 43.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 25.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.08 and the average family size was 2.88.

The median age in the city was 44.3 years. 22.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 21.4% were from 25 to 44; 22% were from 45 to 64; and 27.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 45.3% male and 54.7% female.

Arts and culture

Annual cultural events

The city's annual festivals include:

  • Riverboat Heritage Days - in the middle of July. Starting in 2010, it will be in the first week of August.
  • The Aitkin County Fair - annually at the middle of July since 2008.
  • Moonlight Madness - around Labor Day weekend.
  • Festival of Adventures and the Mud River Music Fest - third weekend in September.
  • County Road Classics Fly-In Drive In takes place on the last Sunday in June.
  • World Famous Fish House Parade takes place on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. This event was noted in a 2003 documentary which aired on the Home and Garden Channel in the United States.


Aitkin Public Schools are part of the Aitkin Public School District. Aitkin High School educates students in grades seven through twelve in the Aitkin School District. Rippleside Elementary educates students grades preschool to sixth grade.



The Aitkin Municipal Airport is located at the northeast side of the city of Aitkin.

Major highways

The following routes are located within the city of Aitkin.

  • US 169 (MN).svg U.S. Highway 169
  • MN-47.svg Minnesota State Highway 47
  • MN-210.svg Minnesota State Highway 210
  • Aitkin County Road 1
  • Aitkin County Road 12
  • Aitkin County Road 15
  • Aitkin County Road 41

Notable people

  • Jonathan Edwards: Singer/Songwriter, best known for his hit Sunshine
  • Leif Enger: American author
  • Francis Lee Jaques: American wildlife painter
  • Jean Keene: known nationwide as the "Eagle Lady" of the Homer Spit
  • Robert Kerlan: orthopedic surgeon known for his contributions to sports medicine
  • Gordon W. McKay: Oregon businessman and politician
  • Marlin B. Nelsen, Minnesota chiropractor and politician
  • David E. Rued, Minnesota politician, farmer, and educator
  • Warren William: notable Broadway and film actor with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

American film actress and singer Judy Garland performed at the opera house in Aitkin as a young child. A small display related to Garland can be found in the converted opera house, now The Butler Building, in downtown Aitkin.

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Aitkin (Minnesota) para niños

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