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Walker
City
Photo: Erlend Bjørtvedt
Photo: Erlend Bjørtvedt
Location of Walkerwithin Cass County and state of Minnesota
Location of Walker
within Cass County and state of Minnesota
Country United States
State Minnesota
County Cass
Area
 • Total 2.56 sq mi (6.62 km2)
 • Land 2.56 sq mi (6.62 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
Elevation
1,316 ft (401 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 941
 • Estimate 
(2019)
934
 • Density 365.41/sq mi (141.11/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
56484
Area code(s) 218
FIPS code 27-67792
GNIS feature ID 0658881
Website walker.govoffice.com

Walker is a city in Cass County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 941 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Cass County.

Walker is part of the Brainerd Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Minnesota State Highways 34, 200, and 371 are three of the main routes in the city.

History

Walker, Minnesota 1901
Walker, 1901

The area was inhabited for thousands of years by succeeding cultures of indigenous peoples. Before European settlement, the Ojibwe moved into the area from the Great Lakes, pushing out the historic Dakota peoples, such as the Assiniboine and Hidatsa. European American settlers followed the early fur traders and trappers, and encroached on Native American territories.

Following the construction of the railroad to the area, Patrick McGarry founded Walker in 1896. He named the settlement after the logging giant Thomas B. Walker, in hopes of luring construction of a sawmill. Thomas B. Walker instead chose to found and set up operations in nearby Akeley, because of his wife's moral objection to the bars in Walker, a rough frontier town. Walker developed with business, jobs and other services generated by four other logging companies.

Tourism later grew as a service industry. In the twentieth century, people from urban areas came to more rural areas for recreation associated with lakes, fishing, hunting and water sports. The city reached its peak of population in 1950.

In 1907, Walker became the home of the Ah-Gwah-Ching Center, first constructed as a residential facility for tuberculosis (TB) patients, who at the time could be treated only with good nutrition and rest. By 1927, it had 300 patients. The large facility had its own farm and dairy herd, the patients and staff put on skits and produced a newspaper, and it had its own railroad depot at one time. During the Great Depression, it was a site for display of art produced by artists paid by the Works Progress Administration, and has the largest WPA art collection in the state. In 1962, the facility was adapted as a state nursing home for psychiatric patients. The complex is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Geography

Walker is located on the southwest corner of Leech Lake, the third largest lake in Minnesota. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.47 square miles (6.40 km2), all of it land. Nearby cities and towns include Hackensack, Akeley, Whipholt, Laporte, Bemidji, and Onigum. The latter is one of eleven communities that make up the Leech Lake Indian Reservation.

Climate

Climate data for Walker, Minnesota
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 17
(-8.3)
24
(-4.4)
33
(0.6)
51
(10.6)
64
(17.8)
73
(22.8)
78
(25.6)
75
(23.9)
66
(18.9)
53
(11.7)
35
(1.7)
23
(-5)
49.3
(9.63)
Average low °F (°C) −2
(-18.9)
3
(-16.1)
15
(-9.4)
30
(-1.1)
41
(5)
51
(10.6)
57
(13.9)
55
(12.8)
44
(6.7)
35
(1.7)
21
(-6.1)
5
(-15)
29.6
(-1.34)
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.7
(18)
0.6
(15)
1.2
(30)
2.0
(51)
2.9
(74)
4.0
(102)
3.7
(94)
3.4
(86)
2.7
(69)
2.0
(51)
1.2
(30)
0.8
(20)
25.3
(643)
Source: weatherbase.com

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 500
1910 917 83.4%
1920 785 −14.4%
1930 618 −21.3%
1940 939 51.9%
1950 1,192 26.9%
1960 1,180 −1.0%
1970 1,073 −9.1%
1980 970 −9.6%
1990 950 −2.1%
2000 1,069 12.5%
2010 941 −12.0%
2019 (est.) 934 −0.7%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 941 people, 452 households, and 205 families living in the city. The population density was 381.0 inhabitants per square mile (147.1/km2). There were 605 housing units at an average density of 244.9 per square mile (94.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 88.0% White, 7.2% Native American, 1.1% Asian, 0.5% from other races, and 3.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.3% of the population.

There were 452 households, of which 21.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 33.4% were married couples living together, 8.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 54.6% were non-families. 48.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 23.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.93 and the average family size was 2.82.

The median age in the city was 49 years. 19.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 20.9% were from 25 to 44; 24.9% were from 45 to 64; and 30.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 44.5% male and 55.5% female.

Education

Walker Public Schools are part of the Walker-Hackensack-Akeley School District. Schools in the district include Walker-Hackensack-Akeley Elementary School and Walker-Hackensack-Akeley High School (WHA). Boyd McLarty is the interim Superintendent of Schools. The Walker-Hackensack-Akeley district was formed by the 1990 consolidation of the Walker and Akeley districts.

Walker is home to Walker-Hackensack-Akeley High School and Immanuel Lutheran School.

Notable people

  • Jimmy Darts, social media personality
  • Mary Welsh Hemingway, journalist, wife of Ernest Hemingway
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