The area were Winona is now began as a Native American village but white settlers began living in the area by 1851 and installed the layout for the establishment of a town by 1852-53.  The original settlers were mostly from New England.  By 1855, the population grew to 815 people and by 1856, German settlers also began living in the small settlement.  In the years, 1859-60 around five thousand Polish migrants settled there and around 80% were Kashubian Poles.  With the establishment of the railroad and steamboats, Winona grew into a small city and business boomed in the wheat milling and lumber industries.