Hugo is a commuter town north of downtown Saint Paul in Washington County in the U.S. state of Minnesota. The population was 13,332 at the 2010 census. The city lies north of White Bear Lake on the border of the metropolitan boundary. Hugo and nearby suburbs comprise the northeast portion of Minneapolis-St. Paul, the sixteenth largest metropolitan area in the United States.
Originally settled by French Canadians, Hugo early on established itself as a refueling station for the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad (later the Northern Pacific Railway). Located in Oneka township, the community was first named Centerville Station and finally Hugo. The village incorporated in 1906 and was officially incorporated as a city in 1972. After 2000, Hugo had absorbed significant suburban growth and development to become the thriving city it is today.
The city's largest lake, Oneka Lake, is named for the Dakota word "onakan," which means "to strike or knock off," rice into a canoe. Just south is Rice Lake where Mdewakanton Dakota from Mendota gathered wild rice.
The origin of the name Hugo is consistent with the city's French Canadian history and the community's knowledge of France's famous writer Victor Hugo. In 2012, the National Archives in Washington, D.C. discovered original documents from 1882 showing the new office established by the U.S. Postal Dept. at Centerville Station (Hugo) was named "Hugo" Post Office in 1882 by Michael Houle, its first postmaster and a man of French-Canadian heritage.