We have a population of 1,740. We are a small town, with many conveniences of a larger city and close to the I-94 freeway. We have a grocery store, a hardware store, coffee shop, bowling alley, dog grooming, car sales locations, specialty shops and many eating facilities. Two convenience stores with fuel, bait and food. We have care facilities for both young and old. We have a medical clinic, assisted living/independent living a nursing home and a memory care facility, 2 chiropractors and accountants and much more!
The Osakis School District has a long tradition of quality education. Osakis is proud to have all levels of education located here in one building centrally located in the heart of town. The school also has an upstanding athletics program.
We have parks with great playground equipment, ball fields, tennis courts and the Wobegon bike and walking path running through town.
Naming of Osakis
The naming of Osakis has always been a matter of controversy among local people. Some subscribe to the story of the Indian brave who swam the narrows of the Lake shouting “Oh save us!” Others point to a camp of an Indian scout. He called his camp Sakis meaning place of danger. This, many claims, is the source of the naming Osakis.
The Dakota called the lake by the name, O-Za-Tee meaning fork in the road or river. The Ojibwe called the Lake Oh-za-kees which means “place of the Sauk”. The Sauk Indians roamed the area for a short time. When they left the Sauk Valley, five renegades were left behind on what is now known as Didiers Corner.
Osakis City Hall
The present City Hall building has been in use by the City Government for 85 years and was built in 1936 by the WPA, (a program of the US Government to employ out of work people during the depression that hit the country during the 30's). In 1962 the shelves in the back of the main part of City Hall were stacked with newspapers to help keep the warmth in. The only lighting was a bulb hanging by a cord in the center of the room. It was heated by a wall furnace located in the ceiling. It was so cold during the winter months that the City Clerk sat with a large cardboard box cut to fit tightly around her waist extending to the floor around her to keep her warm. In 1980 a hot water heater was installed and in 1989 a natural gas furnace was put in along with central air conditioning. The ceiling was lowered to put in new florescent lights making a much more pleasant place to work. The cardboard box was no longer needed. The City Hall has also housed the Osakis Police Department since the building was built. There have been many updates over the years with the latest being completed in 2021.
There is a mural in the building that was carved by out of work artists of the Minneapolis area in 1936 as part of the WPA project and is a beautiful piece of art work portraying the history and development of this area.