|— Town —|
A street corner in the small town of Wadena
|Named for||Wadena, Minnesota|
|Elevation ||794 ft (242 m)|
|GNIS feature ID||445342|
Wadena was founded by John Swan and named after Wadena, Minnesota, a town Swan had recently visited and found pleasing. The name derives from an Ojibwa term meaning "little round hill". The town was situated along a north/south rail line constructed through Benton County in the 1880s, originally operated as the Chicago and Great Southern Railway and later as the Chicago and Indiana Coal Railway, the Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad, and ultimately the Chicago, Attica and Southern Railroad which maintained the line until its abandonment in the 1940s. The line was also commonly known as the Coal Road and the Dolly Varden Line.
In the early 20th century, four Wadena residents gained national repute as professional baseball players:
Wadena currently consists of several private residences and a defunct Baptist church. A monument east of town commemorates Wadena School, which served the township's students from 1895 to 1961.
Wadena is located atalong Benton County Road 600 North in Union Township, midway between 200 East and 300 East.
Big Pine Creek Ditch begins in the fields just west of town and flows southeast approximately six miles to Big Pine Creek. Carpenter Creek, which meets the Iroquois River about 14 miles to the north, begins northeast of Wadena. Mount Nebo, the highest point in Benton County, stands a little less than two miles to the east.