Arts & Historic
Parks
Riverway

ARTS AND HISTORIC

Mankato was originally named "Mahkato" (meaning greenish-blue earth) by its early inhabitants, the Dakota. Mankato is located at the confluence of the Minnesota and Blue Earth Rivers. In 1852, Parsons K. Johnson and Henry Jackson staked claims along these banks and founded the town of Mankato. The city was established on land purchased in a treaty between the U.S. government and the Dakota; breaking of this treaty by the government lead to the U.S.-Dakota Conflict of 1862. North Mankato, which sits just across the river, was established in 1898. The first bridge between North Mankato and Mankato was the Veterans Memorial Bridge constructed in 1880, representing an interdependence and partnership between the cities that still continues. Today, many memorials and buildings exist to commemorate the diverse and important history that has shaped the Greater Mankato area.  For more information visit:

Blue Earth County Historical Society

415 Cherry Street, Mankato, MN 56001 | 507.345.5566 | Website

Collects, preserves and promotes the history of Blue Earth County for present and future generations.


HISTORICAL SITES

Pioneer Memorial Park
1351 North Sixth Street
This is one of the oldest cemeteries in Mankato. Pioneer Memorial Park, known to Mankato residents as “Pioneer Cemetery,” was the site of two nineteenth-century burial grounds. Memorial Day services have been held at this site since the end of WWI.



Save Mor Jewelry

816 North Second Street
This building is believed to be the oldest building in Mankato. The original structure was built of Mankato Kasota stone by George Maxfield, owner of Mankato’s first quarry It served as the office for the nearby quarry. In the early days of Mankato’s history and especially in the north end of town, it was quite common for buildings to serve dual purposed, such as a dwelling and business.

Hubbard Mill
424 Riverfront Drive
Built in 1878 by R. D. Hubbard, it was the largest flour mill in southern Minnesota. It is now operated by Cargill. It was originally a water powered roller mill and then it was converted to steam power. The domination smokestack is a landmark in Mankato. It is said that machinery inside is essentially the same as when it was installed almost 130 years ago. It represents the strong agricultural industry in Mankato.

Dakota Warrior

100 East Main Street
The statue “Winter Warrior” was inspired by the “Year of Reconciliation”1987 was proclaimed the “Year of Reconciliation.” by Governor Rudy Perpich. It was a statewide attempt to foster healing and education between non-Dakota and Dakota people. The statue was unveiled on December 26, 1987 near the site of the 1862 hanging of 38 Dakota Indians. The statue was carved by Tom Miller and weighs two tons and stands six feet tall.

St. Peter and Paul’s Catholic Church

105 North Fifth Street
The church was built in 1873 as the parish church for the German immigrant community in Mankato. A grade school and a high school followed. It has the distinction of being one of the only pieces of land in Mankato owned by the original group. This immense massive Gothic structure stands as one of Mankato’s most visible landmarks.


Riverfront Drive
Plum to Vine Streets, Mankato
Along Riverfront Drive, from Plum to Vine, are 1890's to 1900's commercial buildings that showcase some of the oldest arcitecture in town.


Reconciliation Park
100 North Riverfront Drive
On September 19, 1997, reconciliation Park was dedicated. The park is the site of the largest mass execution in U.S. history where 38 Dakota Indians were hanged by the government. This was the result of trials during the U.S. Dakota Conflict of 1862. Tom Miller sculpted the buffalo from a 67-ton block of local Kasota limestone; it is surrounded by native flowers and prairie grasses. The buffalo symbolizes the spiritual survival of the Dakota People and honors the Dakota heritage of this area. The park is a site to reflect, meditate and remember.” A reconciliation for all people.” Dakota Elder Amos Owen, 1997.
   
Union School
200 North Broad Street
The original seat of education in Mankato is located on Broad Street between Mulberry and Plum at the present site of the Union Office building. On this site there have been no less than three school buildings. The earliest school in Mankato was in a one-story log building, erected in 1855. It contained one room that would likely fit into one end of a current high school gymnasium. In 1867, with enrollment increased, the log structure yielded to the first high school in southern Minnesota. By 1919, the old Union School building yielded to the wrecking ball to make way for a new grade school. Meanwhile in 1891, a new Mankato High School building came into existence on South Fifth Street. Union Grade School creased operations in recent years and the building is preserved as an office building.

Post Office
401 S. Second Street, Mankato
The Post Office was built in 1895 and remodeled in 1933 to the structure seen today. It is constructed of Mankato Kasota stone. The second floor was used for Federal offices and courts.

Mankato  Courthouse
204 South Fifth Street
The Blue Earth County Courthouse on South Fifth Street, built of Mankato stone and limestone in the French-Italian Renaissance style, was completed on October 1, 1889, 35 years after the land was surveyed and almost $50,000 over its original $75,000 budget. The new courthouse was considered the finest in the state.

 Old Main Village
301 South 5th Street
Old Main sat at the center of the original Mankato Normal School (now Minnesota State University, Mankato). This building was built in 1922 after a fire destroyed the original building. Several of the buildings that surround Old Main were once part of the original campus. The Government Center served as Lincoln Library and the Nichols building, Cherry Ridge and Colonial Square apartments were Searing, Buck and Cooper dormitories. As the University grew they expanded on top of the hill in 1958 operating a “highland campus” and “valley campus” (also Known as lower campus) until 1980.

Sinclair Lewis’ Summer Home
315 South Broad Street
The J.W. Schmitt home was Sinclair Lewis’ family residence during the summer of 1919. The author wrote much of his novel Main Street in the house and was fond of taking a horse and buggy out into the bluffs to enjoy views of the Minnesota River valley. Lewis once stated about Mankato, “I am here in this Minnesota town… and I like it; like the friendliness, the neighborliness and the glorious sweeps of the country round about.” Main Street was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Hubbard House
606 South Broad Street
Rensselaer D. Hubbard built this house in 1871.  A major remodeling of the house was done in 1888. The house is French Second Empire style. It is constructed of brick and wood on a basement of cut stone. The main house is three stories with a Mansard roof of colored slate shingles. During the remodel, the servants’ quarters, fireplaces, a bay window and office were added and all the woodwork was replaced. The house was described as one of the finest homes in Mankato. It had one of the first telephones, indoor plumbing, electricity and the most modern conveniences of the time.

Lincoln Park
200 Lincoln Street
Lincoln Park was a gift to Mankato from John H. Ray in the 1890’s. In 1893, a bronze statue of a Civil War union soldier atop a fountain was added to the park. The fountain and statue were replaced by a stone tablet honoring civil War Veterans in 1935. In 1900, a Spanish American War cannon was dedicated as a memorial. In 1909 the cannon was loaded and fired by a group of kids; the blast broke house windows on all sides of the park. A 300 year old elm tree, affectionately known as the Lincoln Elm, stood proudly at the park until 1984. With a quality blend of 19th-and early 20th century architecture, the Lincoln Park neighborhood was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. As it remains today, it is one of the most intact late 19th and 20th century will-maintained residential neighborhoods in outstate Minnesota.
 
Carnegie Art Center
120 S. Broad St. | 507.625.2730 | Carnegie Art Center | Google Map
The Carnegie Art Center is the largest visual art center in south central Minnesota, and was added in 1981 to the National Register of Historic Places.  The art center hosts monthly gallery exhibitions featuring the work of regional artists, sponsors art education programs and runs the Broad Street Gallery Gift Shop located in the art center.
Hours: Wednesday-Saturday 1-4 p.m. and Thursday 1-7 p.m.

betsy tacy books | betsy tacy societyBetsy-Tacy in Historic Lincoln Park
333 Center Street | Website
Betsy’s House is the childhood home of Maud Hart Lovelace (1892-1980), beloved author of the famed children’s series of Betsy-Tacy books. The author is the real-life character of “Betsy” and the books are historical fiction based on her childhood memories of growing up in Mankato, the fictionalized “Deep Valley.”  With over a million and a half books sold, they have drawn national as well as international attention to Mankato, Minnesota.

Tacy’s House is the childhood home of Maud’s best friend, Bick Kenney (Tacy) and is located just across the street from Betsy’s house. A stone bench at the top of Center Street bears the inscription, “To honor Maud Hart Lovelace, who here began the childhood daydreams that one day would be our window to the past.”

The Betsy-Tacy Society has spent the past decade preserving the legacy of both the author and her books. Tacy’s House serves as its headquarters, gift shop and interpretive center. Betsy’s house is in the process of restoration to its original condition and will serve as a museum.

Tacy’s House is open on Saturdays from 1 pm to 3 pm; reservations are required during the week. For more information on Society events or to schedule a visit, call 507-345-9777 or visit www.betsy-tacysociety.org

Sibley Park
900 Park Lane

The City of Mankato, on July 26, 1887, voted to approve $15,000 in bonds for parks. On October 3, for $13,000, the city purchased land from the givens Family estate. The park was named in honor of General Henry H. Sibley, early trader and commander of army forces that defeated Little Crow’s Dakota in 1862. Sibley camped on the mound as early as 1840 and had a log trading post located about where the Ott cabin now stands northwest of the mound.

On December 19, 1887, the city added the Southern Minnesota Stock and Fair grounds to Sibley Park. There was an oval shaped racetrack enclosed by a white fence, a grandstand and a judging stand located just south of the mound, In 1893, the buildings were sold and the City Council began converting Sibley Park into a public recreation and amusement facility. Picnicking areas and attention to flowers have long been attractions at this park. A zoo, lake, band shell, wading pool, tennis courts, and ball diamonds were added in later years to make Sibley Park the recreation spot known today.

Merely Players Theatre     

110 Fulton St., Mankato | 507.388.5483 | www.merelyplayers.com | Google Map
Merely Players, Mankato’s own theatre company, formed in 1981. The group performs several musicals, classics, and comedies at the Lincoln Community Center auditorium from October through May.


PARKS

Riverfront Park
Mankato's newest hot spot-Riverfront Park. It is a venue for a variety of events and festivals for people to enjoy. The Grand Lawn, amphitheater, canoe landing, trail head building, playground and art are just some of the items to be found Riverfront Park. The celebrates the heritage and culture of greater Mankato by providing recreational and cultural opportunities along the banks of the Minnesota River.

Download a brochure that provides a map and describes the park's amenities. Riverfront Park Brochure

Sibley Park
900 Park Lane

Sibley Park is a dynamic community park that is rich in history. The park, established in 1887, is named for Minnesota’s first Governor, Henry Hastings Sibley. In the past the park has provided a horse racing track, regional zoo, museum, community band shell, clay tennis courts and renowned gardens.

 The park currently has active recreation opportunities on the north side with softball, tennis, fishing, and sliding hill. More passive recreation is provided on the south side of the park with extensive landscape and gardens, a story book farm site, open space and picnicking areas. The hill top of the mound is being reclaimed through plantings and controlled burns to an Oak Savanna environment similar to what originally existed.

Sibley Park is suitable for organized sports, large group gatherings, amplified music, and reserved use. The picnic shelters are popular for family reunions, business meetings, company picnics, and large group gatherings. The gazebo and gardens are favorites for outdoor weddings and photography sessions. Many of these areas can be reserved for use.   

RIVERWAY

Minnesota River Trail
The Minnesota River trail is an important link that connects to the Sakatah State trail. The paved trail offers views of the Minnesota River, wild flowers and limestone cliffs. Along the way view Mankato's newest hot spot-Riverfront Park. It is  a venue for a variety of events and festivals for people to enjoy. the Grand Lawn, amphitheater, canoe landing, trail head building, playground and art are just some of the items to be found at Riverfront Park.

Riverfront Park
Mankato's newest hot spot-Riverfront Park. It is a venue for a variety of events and festivals for people to enjoy. The Grand Lawn, amphitheater, canoe landing, trail head building, playground and art are just some of the items to be found Riverfront Park. The celebrates the heritage and culture of greater Mankato by providing recreational and cultural opportunities along the banks of the Minnesota River.

Download a brochure that provides a map and describes the park's amenities. Riverfront Park Brochure


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