Mankato History

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Self-Guided Tours   |   Historical Highlights   |   Betsy & Tacy   |   US -Dakota War

In 1880, Mankato was the fourth largest city in Minnesota with a population of 5,500. Today, more than 50,000 people call Mankato and North Mankato home.

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 US government and the Dakota; breaking of this treaty by the government lead to the US-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. The bridge represented 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.

Mankato and North Mankato have many historical attractions that are must-sees for visitors.

Customize your Mankato history experience with the online directory below.

The Minnesota River Valley has a national story to tell about the struggles for a home by the Euro-American immigrants and the Dakota people. Museums and historical sites encourage you to discover vivid stories from days gone by. Go>

 

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  • Blue Earth County Historical Society

    424 Warren Street | Mankato, MN 56001 | (507) 345-5566
  • Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota

    224 Lamm Street | Mankato, MN 56001 | (507) 386-0279
  • Betsy-Tacy Society

    332 Center Street | Mankato, MN 56002 | (507) 345-9777
  • Farmamerica

    MN Agriculture Interpretive Center | Waseca, MN 56093 | (507) 835-2052