The Central Minnesota
Sustainable Development Plan



Our Story

Population:  48

Median Age:  50.5

Median Income:  $9,911

Area:  0.47 square miles  

Top Three Industries:  Manufacturing; Wholesale trade; Other services, except public administration



Aldrich, located on the banks of the Partridge River, has the distinction of being the first permanent settlement in Wadena County, home of the first railroad, first post office (1877), and first Catholic Church in the county.  It was also the site of the last Indian uprising in 1872; the militia from Camp Ripley helped to restore peace at that time.   After the town was settled, the Railroad was built through town and helped transport lumber from the local lumber yard. Rich in agricultural lands, Aldrich was known an active dairy farming town.  The old Creamery (now torn down) served up fresh milk and cheese provided by local farmers.  In 1883 the school was organized and a one-room schoolhouse was built across from 1st Congregational Church.  It burned down in 1961.  The original Catholic Church built in 1870 has recently been renovated to its former glory. 

The city was incorporated as a village on March 4, 1938. ALDRICH Township and city were named by officers of the Northern Pacific Railroad company in honor of Cyrus Aldrich, who was born in Smithfield, R.I., June 18, 1808. He came to this state in 1855, settling in Minneapolis, and engaged in real estate business; was a representative in Congress, 1859-63; a member of the state legislature, 1865; and postmaster of Minneapolis, 1867-71.


This close knit community has a multi-generational history that continues into present day.  In the 1980’s the population was higher, there were more businesses and younger children.   According to the 2000 Census 52.9% of residents were of German decent, 15.7% Norwegian, 7.8% Swedish and 5.9% were of Irish ancestry.  Farming continues to be an important part of this community with local farmers and Amish neighbors providing local foods using both standard and organic practices for potato, buckwheat and other crops. 

 While some of the original businesses have gone away, the community still thrives with new businesses like popular Ted and Gen’s BBQ, which has the largest open pit barbeque in Minnesota and features an all-you-can-eat buffet.  Other entrepreneurs, like Jim Mench who provides customized installations for patrol cars, contribute to the one-stop shopping in town.

Community spirits shows at the well-attended pot luck dinners held annually at the historic Community Center.  Halloween is celebrated as a community wide event, and with the help of the local Lion’s Club, the community is growing.  Projects completed include building a playground at the community park, which was done in collaboration with the local 4-H Club and the Lion’s Club sponsors a recycle program.  The local Post Office remains a convenient meeting place for young and old alike. 

The community supports their farming roots and they direct market various produce.  Some farms are certified organic and Buckwheat farmers have a high presence in the community. The environment is of some importance to the residents and consideration is taken when addressing these issues.

The snowmobile trail runs right along Highway 10 and provides easy access to the business district and inter-county trail system.


Natural Assets

Woods and forests

Partridge River connecting to the Crow Wing River

Agriculture land- dairy and agriculture



Cultural Assets

Generations of families

Close-knit community 


Human Assets

Local Veterinarian



Service Organization

Amish Population



Social Assets

Post Office-meeting place

Service organization – Lions Club

Congregational Church

Geo Cache Site

PAWS- Pets Abandoned Wanting Support, run by local vet

Community dinners – pot lucks continue


Political Assets

Community center

County commissioner

State representation



Financial Assets


Lions Ordinance 15 – Gambling profits

City Taxes



Built Assets

Location convenient on Hwy 10

Community Center- historic building

Catholic Church originally built in 1870

Post Office

Local businesses

Ted and Gens  - one of the largest open bbq pits

Railroad through town




 Community Goals:

  1. Keep post office open – for service, convenience and social interaction
  2. Maintenance and improvement of the community center - Renovate the Community Center  to accommodate visitors as an “Active Transportation” rest stop
  3. More community involvement – better collaboration between city and community clubs Infrastructure road repair- city streets need upkeep and repair