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.

April 9, 1934 Mankato Free Press

Tangled Web of Crime – Mankato’s Gangster Ties Part 2

Julie Schrader continues the tale of gangsters and their ties with the Mankato area
Minneapolis Daily Star - August 12, 1927 describing the hunt for James Barrett

Profile of a Bootlegger – Mankato’s Gangster Ties

Jack Kooser was a Mankato area bootlegger and gangster who often found himself at the center of trouble.
Photo Courtesy Blue Earth County Historical Society — This photo from the January 6, 1928, Mankato Daily Free Press shows the building that Leon Salet purchased at the corner of North Front and Main streets.

ARTchitecture: Salet’s Department Store

From the late 1800s to the 1960s Salet's Department Store was a fixture in downtown Mankato
Photo Courtesy of Blue Earth County Historical Society - Home of Parsons King and Laura Johnson family in 1865. The house was built in 1854. L-R: Laura, Frank, Clarence, Parsons King, Charles and Julia.

Mankato’s Pioneer Women

Mankato's founding included a group of strong, influential women.
laboratory glassware

Louise Abigail Wright Mayo: An Overlooked Part of History

Usually overlooked, a large reason for the success of the Doctors Mayo was wife and mother Louise Abigail Wright Mayo
Submitted Photo - Boy in Blue statue

Living History: The Boy in Blue Memorial

Almost 30 years after the Civil War, a group from Mankato banded together to memorialize those who had fallen. In recent years, another group gathered for the self-same task.
Double Tornado

The Mankato Tornado of 1946

MankatoLIFE author, Carlienne Frisch tells the story around the events of August 17, 1946 and the tornado that wreaked havoc on the fringe of Mankato.
An antique wooden box, decorated with traditional Norwegian Rosemaling design

Keeping Norwegian Folk Art Alive

Joan Hurry, Mary Sherwood, and Nancy Sullivan have been keeping the Norwegian folk art of rosemåling alive in the Mankato area for the better part of fifty years.
Photo by Mike Lagerquist – In April 2017, restoration work began. With the added front porch gone, the house’s original construction was revealed.

ARTchitecture: Little Stone House Receives Preservation Stewardship Award

In his column, ARTchitecture, Mike Lagerquist provides insight into what is likely the oldest building in Mankato, the Little Stone House

The Gift of History:  Maud Hart Lovelace and Laura Ingalls Wilder

Carlienne Frisch offers some insight into the lives of two of southern Minnesota's favorite children's authors.