Wawina Township is a township in Itasca County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 77 at the 2010 census.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 36.5 square miles (94.7 km²), of which 36.5 square miles (94.6 km²) is land and 0.03% is water. Wawina sits at an elevation of 1,270 feet, and has a population density of 2.1/square mile. The only lake is Dry Lake, deriving its name from its draining in 1910. The MN DOT flooded it in 1990 for wetlands mitigation.
Wawina has the distinction of having America's smallest telephone company. Northern Telephone Company of Minnesota (Area Code 218-488) serves fewer than 40 subscribers.
It gained brief fame as the last place in the continental United States to use a trunking system (inter-office circuits) that was called "N2 Carrier", an analog system that utilized Multi-Frequency (MF) tones and the infamous 2600 Hz control tone for answer supervision and idle trunk condition. This system was much loved by phone freaks as it was the same system which the now infamous John Draper made famous. The era ended in June 2006, when the privately owned exchange switched to a digital trunk. Phone hacking attempts from across the nation had placed a large burden on the extremely small telephone company serving the township.
Wawina is the most southeastern township of Itasca county. Wawina received the name of its earlier railway village. Its name derives from an Ojibwe word meaning "I name him often, . . . mention him frequently," as defined in Baraga's Dictionary. Some claim the area was named after the legend Indian princess Wawina.
The village in section 27, settled primarily by Finnish immigrants, began as a station of the Duluth and Winnipeg Railroad called Siding No. 6. It once held a post office for one year in 1912 in the store of postmaster George T. Johnson. It had a depot built in 1915. Courtesy Minnesota Historical Society
Wawina got its first schoolhouse in 1901, that later burned in 1907. It was rebuilt in the same location. The West Fork School was built by the Wawina Creek in 1907 for settlers farther north. In 1915 the Maki School was built to serve the population of southern Wawina Township. By 1917, the number of total children warranted the building of a consolidated school, which was further expanded in 1929. Wawina closed its school in 1947.