Wacouta was settled nearly as early as Red Wing. George Bullard arrived in 1850, He had been a trader and worked closely with Dakota Indians, so when he platted the village in 1853 he chose a name to honor Chief Wakuta, one of the last Dakota chiefs in this area.
The founders of the village of Wacoutah (as it was initially spelled) had high hopes for their town. In 1853, they went head-to-head with Red Wing for the county seat. Wacouta’s proprietors pinned their hopes on getting votes from the lumbermen across the river who were regular customers at the village’s hotels and businesses. Red Wing, still a small community at the time, imported 20 men to town, ostensibly to work for the village but, in reality, just to vote in the county seat election. Red Wing won.
Wacouta didn’t grow much after losing the election. It had a station on the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul railroad and a post office, but no major industry. The village was officially platted in 1893 and was a decent, small place to live. Over time, though, it became primarily a residential area, beginning with the plat of Wacouta Beach in 1920. Wacouta today is a small residential community.