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.

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.
Photo from the Standard Historical and Pictorial Atlas and Gazetteer of Blue Earth County, MN, 1895 - The Bierbauer Brewery stood at the end of Rock Street in Mankato for many years. The brewery buildings are now gone. Albert and Lillie Bierbauer’s house, which is pictured on the left, still remains on the corner of 6th and Rock Streets. This photo was taken in 1895 and at the time the brewery was producing 18,000 barrels annually.

Looking Back – William Bierbauer Brewing Company

The William Bierbauer Brewing Company (later the Mankato Brewing Company) operated in Mankato from 1863-1971.
Submitted Photo - Schmidt Mansion, Mankato - It’s an interesting coincidence that the Marsh family home was located on top of a hill behind a slough (now the current West High School). Lovelace describes her house in Emily of Deep Valley as “a little house huddled against a low hill. It was old and weather-beaten” and had a “faded white picket fence.” The Marsh house was torn down in 1923 and an elegant house was built on the property by Oscar and Katherine Schmidt. The Schmidt Mansion remained in the family until 1958, when the YMCA acquired it for office space. The house was torn down in 1988 to make room for a new facility.

Marguerite Marsh and the YMCA in the Great War

Mankato native, Marguerite Marsh, served the troops with the YMCA during The Great War, WWI
Submitted Photo - “University Archives” is a photograph of the University Archives and Southern Minnesota Historical Center in Memorial Library at Minnesota State Mankato

MSU Mankato — COVID-19 Community History Project

The archive team at MSU Mankato is busy collecting the perspectives of students and community members about the Covid-19 crisis
From History of the Red Jacket Valley by Julie A. Schrader - Panoramic view of the Red Jacket Bridge and Trestle by Mankato photographer, John R. Snow at the dedication of the bridge on August 22, 1911. Snow coaxed the train engineer into backing up so the camera could capture everything. He was credited with the first panoramic photograph taken in the Mankato area. Actually, the photograph is a composite of four photographs snapped from the same spot and then pieced together.

Transportation Advances Through the Red Jacket Valley

Julie Schrader tells the tale of train and automobile advances through the Red Jacket Valley south of Mankato
Stack of books

Storybook Tour — A Literary Journey Along Highway 14

Take a whirlwind tour along Minnesota Highway 14 to explore three of our favorite children's authors: Maud Hart Lovelace, Wanda Gág, and Laura Ingalls Wilder
From History of the Red Jacket Valley by Julie A. Schrader - Post card of the Red Jacket Bridge and Trestle, circa 1912

A Brief History of the Red Jacket Valley

The Red Jacket Valley, located just south of Mankato, is well-known for biking and hiking the Red Jacket Trail system or skiing at Mount...
Photo by Mike Lagerquist - Detail of the Lineman on the Consolidated Communications building in Mankato

ARTchitecture – Telephone Lineman Bas Relief

Mike Lagerquist tells the story of the Lineman bas relief sculpture on the current Consolidated Communications building in Mankato
Photo by Mike Lagerquist - The song Face of Time, was the audience's introduction to Tucker Sweet, the adult character lead who used a group of kids to help him move west in search of gold.

Charades – Once-In-a-Lifetime Original Musical at West High School

40 years ago this month, the faculty, staff and students of Mankato West High School created an original stage musical called Charades.
Photo courtesy Maud Hart Lovelace’s Deep Valley by Julie A. Schrader - The Saulpaugh Hotel was located where the City Center Hotel sits today. This photograph shows the main entrance to the hotel as it faces South Front Street with Main Street in the foreground, circa 1925. Originally there was an entrance on the Union Depot and Minnesota River side of the hotel. At that time most patrons arrived by steamboat or railroad. The image was taken from approximately where the south entrance of the Blue Earth County Library sits today. The current City Center Hotel ramp sits where South Front Street met Main Street.

The Grand Old Saulpaugh Hotel

The Saulpaugh Hotel was, from its construction in 1888 until its close in 1964, one of the grand buildings of old Mankato