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Wahpeton is located in southeastern North Dakota in Richland County (of which it is the county seat) about 50 miles south of Fargo at the headwaters of the Red River of the North.

The area started to become colonized in 1869 by settlers from Wisconsin who quickly recognized the fertile soil as a basis for a prosperous lifestyle. The railroad came through the in 1872 spurring further growth. Cargo from the train was offloaded to flat-bottomed boats for deliveries along the river all the way north to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Outdoor recreation can be found at Lake Tewaukon and Tewaukon National Wildlife Refuge about 50 miles southwest of town and Fort Ransom State Park about 80 miles to the west-northwest. In addition, golfers enjoy their rounds at Bois de Sioux Golf Course, a full 18-hole layout which is about 6,700 yards long from the Championship tees and plays to a par of 72.

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