St. Charles is a city in Winona County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 3,735 at the 2010 census. It promotes itself as the gateway to Whitewater State Park, which is located 7 miles (11 km) north of the city on Minnesota State Highway 74. St. Charles was laid out in 1854, and named for Saint Charles Borromeo (1538–1584), an Italian saint and cardinal. A post office has been in operation at St. Charles since 1855. St. Charles was incorporated in 1870.The city was evacuated on April 17, 2009, when a large fire at North Star Foods, a poultry processing plant, threatened anhydrous ammonia tanks. Residents were allowed to return the next day.
Three properties in St. Charles are listed on the National Register of Historic Places: the 1874 Trinity Episcopal Church, the 1876 St. Charles City Bakery, and the 1890s Whitewater Avenue Commercial Historic District.According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.86 square miles (10.00 km2), all of it land.U.S. Highway 14 bisects the city from east to west, as does the Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern Railroad. Minnesota State Highway 74 goes through the city from south to north, running along Whitewater Avenue, also known as Main Street. A freeway entrance to Interstate 90 is immediately south of the city. The Whitewater River runs through the northern part of the city.
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