Winona, Minnesota: A Great Place to Live and Do Business
Taking in the view from Garvin Heights Park, a park perched on a bluff overlooking the city, one easily understands why Winona's nickname is "Island City." Beneath you, the town of Winona stretches East to West, with the mighty Mississippi on one side and two long lakes on the other. Everywhere you look is greenery, blue water, and clear skies. If you're fortunate, you might even spot one of the city's many resident bald eagles soaring the thermals.
This beautiful vista is a big reason why so many people love to call Winona home. Other reasons include Winona's wide variety of outdoor activities, vibrant art scene, its many restaurants and local taverns, its rich history, and its friendly and hard working people.
Winona was founded in 1851 by the steamboat captain, Orrin Smith. Winona is a name derived from the Dakota Indian word "We-no-nah", which translates to "first-born daughter". Positioned on a large island in the Mississippi, the town grew to a city as it became the Midwest's primary shipping center for the wheat and lumber industry. In 1856 over 1,300 steamboats stopped at Winona, and by 1900, the city had more millionaires per capita than any place in the United States. Winona's rich history lives on in the many Victorian homes and stately buildings that are located throughout the downtown.
Today, Winona features a healthy economy with favorable conditions for business growth and development. Perfectly situated in between Minneapolis, Chicago, Milwaukee and Des Moines, Winona provides easy access to every major rail, water and roadway in the Midwest. A surprise to some, Winona is home to many global enterprises, including Fastenal, Wincraft, Hal Leonard, and the National Chemical Company. The city's unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the nation at 4%, and job growth is projected to increase 30% over the next ten years. Many have discovered that opportunity knocks in Winona; you just have to build a door. If you'd like to learn more about Winona's economic profile, you can find a wealth of information at the Winona Chamber of Commerce's website: www.winonachamber.com. Coincidentally, the Chamber's office is located in the WKM Professional Building.
For the outdoors enthusiast, Winona offers year-round fun. Each summer, the Mississippi plays host to incredible fishing, canoeing and kayaking, and all sorts of boating activities. Along the towering bluffs bordering the city are many miles of hiking trails, and also, some of the best mountain biking in the state. During the winter, one can enjoy premiere cross country skiing, a variety of hunting options, and snowmobiling. As for Winona's fall colors - I believe Nathaniel Hawthorne put it best when he said "I have come to see the nonsense of trying to describe fine scenery."
Winona also offers much in terms of art, education, and culture. During the summer, people come from hundreds of miles around for the productions of the city's Great River Shakespeare Festival, the classic car show and boat races of Steamboat Days , and the foot stomping Mid West Music Fest. Winona is also greatly benefited by not one, not two, but three centers for higher education, in Winona State University, St. Mary's University, and Minnesota State - College Southeast Technical. During the school year, the downtown is a happening place with frequent live music and college events. Other cultural highlights in Winona include the Minnesota Marine Art Musuem, home to works by Picasso, Matisse, Van Gogh, and Monet; Garvin Heights Winery, called “Minnesota’s Most Scenic Winery”, and no fewer than six stained glass studios.
So you ask, why do you enjoy life in Winona? Great scenery, great outdoor activities, great music, great restaurants, great art, great companies, and great people. In a nutshell, that's why we love Winona, and that's why you might fall in love with living here, too.