History Stories

Our region has a rich history. Some of it’s fascinating and inspiring, some of it not so much. Here you’ll find Greater Mankato Area history stories so you can judge for yourself.

Submitted Image - Blue Earth County Historical Society History Center and Museum

BECHS: Sharing History in New Ways

The Blue Earth County Historical Society has been the curator of the Mankato area's history for almost 120 years. Learn the history of the history keeper!
Photo from The Mankato Free Press - The Immortal Trio - L-R: Frances Kenney Kirch (Tacy), Maud Hart Lovelace (Betsy), and Marjorie Gerlach Harris (Tib). This photograph was taken outside Lincoln School (now Lincoln Community Center) in October 1961 when the three attended “Betsy-Tacy Days” in Mankato.

A Special Homecoming: Mankato Residents Share Memories of Author Maud Hart Lovelace’s Visit to...

Mankato residents share memories from nearly 60 years ago, when author Maud Hart Lovelace returned to her hometown of Mankato.
Photo from The Mankato Free Press - The Immortal Trio - L-R: Frances Kenney Kirch (Tacy), Maud Hart Lovelace (Betsy), and Marjorie Gerlach Harris (Tib). This photograph was taken outside Lincoln School (now Lincoln Community Center) in October 1961 when the three attended “Betsy-Tacy Days” in Mankato.

A Special Homecoming: Author Maud Hart Lovelace Honored in Mankato in 1961

After moving away from her hometown 51 years prior, beloved author Maud Hart Lovelace returned to Mankato for a special "Betsy Tacy Days" event in 1961.
Photo by Mike Lagerquist - Closeup of Fred Kron monument.

ARTchitecture – Mankato’s Calvary Cemetery Chronicles the Town’s Growth

Mankato's Calvary Cemetery has a history that extends back 130 years and the space to continue serving Mankato for at least another 150 more.
Submitted Photo - This bird’s eye view of Mankato shows Main Street leading up the hill to the edge of town, circa. 1906

What’s in a Name: The History of Mankato’s Streets

Local historian Julie Schrader digs into how some of Mankato's streets received their names.
Submitted Image - The Kato Ballroom

Save the Last Dance – The Kato Ballroom

The Kato Ballroom has seen a lot of music since its founding in 1942. Flexibility and adaptation have been the keys to being one of the few surviving ballrooms in Minnesota
Photo from the Library of Congress - General William T. Sherman, center, leaning on the breach of a cannon, with his staff at Federal Fort No. 7 near Atlanta, Georgia in this stereopticon slide.

A Civil War Hero’s Gift to Mankato – John Eaton Tourtellotte

John Eaton Tourtellotte served admirably in the Civil War and was on of Mankato's first benefactors
Photo by Rick Pepper - Madsen's/Randall's last days

Madsen’s Had Everything You Needed – a One of a Kind Store

From 1946 to 1976 Madsen's Foods was a fixture in Mankato. From 1975 to 2001 the store continued as Randall Foods until the room collapsed and it was razed to make way for Cub West.
Photo Courtesy of the Minnesota American Legion Archives - American Legion Auxiliary spring conference at the St. Paul Hotel March 27, 1931.

Dr. Helen Hughes Hielscher – Founder of the American Legion Auxiliary

Dr. Helen Hielscher was a trailblazer. She was one of Minnesota’s first female surgeons, the first female doctor in Mankato and the founder of the American Legion Auxiliary
Photo courtesy Muriel Kuebler Berndt - Muriel and Barbara Kuebler in “50 Miles from Broadway,” one of the “short” pictures produced by Pathe Films to run in theaters between newsreels and the main feature. Barbara is third from the left and Muriel is to the immediate right of the tuba player.

Mankato’s Vaudeville Stars – The Kaye Sisters

Mankato natives Muriel and Barbara Kuebler were once known as the Kaye Sisters, a sister dance act that performed with the famous traveling Pantages circuit during the days of vaudeville.