Mankato HistoryVisit Mankato
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>
The Blue Earth County Historical Society is a community non-profit organization that boasts two public facilities in Mankato: the Blue Earth County History Center & Museum and Historic R.D. Hubbard House. The Blue Earth County History Center & Museum is located at 424 Warren Street and features an interactive history museum dedicated to the rich heritage of Blue Earth County, a fully staffed Research Center for historians and genealogists, and a great book and gift shop featuring unique local items such as Marian Anderson fine art prints. The History Center & Museum is open year-round Tuesday-Saturday; admission charged. The Historic R.D. Hubbard House, located at 606 S. Broad Street, is a historic house museum chronicling the life and times of Mankato flour mill entrepreneur R.D. Hubbard in the late 1800s. The Hubbard’s home was the first private residence in Mankato to have indoor plumbing, electricity and a telephone; and stands as one of the finest examples of Victorian architecture and design in Minnesota. Walk-in guided tours are available seasonally May – September; admission charged.
The brand new museum is a wonder-filled destination just waiting to be discovered. Imagine getting behind the wheel of the 1917 Little Giant sod buster, exploring six unique forts suspended in the canopy of a 30-foot “tree,” or getting your hands-on in the two level maker space. With six indoor exhibits and 12,000 square feet of outdoor space, there really is something for everyone at Minnesota’s newest Museum for families.
Minnesota Farm Interpretive Center has three equipped farmsteads plus over 240 acres of crops span the time and technology of agriculture. See first hand what it was like to break the prairie soil to grow small grains that evolved into today's commercial crop production. In addition, both heritage/heirloom crops and livestock are grown along with the most advanced genetics developed to date. You can just simply have fun, experiencing the outdoors on a farm with a picnic as you wander the time path into the past. Volunteers are always needed. It is good way to relax, feel good and learn new skills whether it be in animal care, crop production, gardening or just messing with old tractors and equipment.