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.

Blacksmith forge

Takara Olson – Fire forged

Very few people know what they want to do at a young age. Takara Olson knew she wanted to be a blacksmith and that's exactly what she's doing.
Ice on pond

Ice Cold History – The Era of the Ice Harvesting Industry

Ice harvesting was an important winter crop in southern Minnesota during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Julie Schrader offers insight into this key industry.
Submitted Photo - Lonesome Ron Affolter

Lonesome Ron – The King of the Valley Yodelers

Lonesome Ron Affolter, The King of the Valley Yodelers, is at the center of a large number of history and old west driven events. In the unlikely event that you haven't met him, Grace Brandt provides an introduction.
Photo by Mike Lagerquist - Security Apartments in Mankato. View from intersection of S Broad and E Hickory Streets

ARTchitecture – Security Apartments

The Security Apartments building in Mankato has been standing since 1894 but has seen significant changes over the years.
Photo Courtesy of Blue Earth County Historical Society - R.D. Hubbard House in Mankato

Keepers of the Past – Blue Earth County Historical Society

The Blue Earth County Historical Society specializes in bringing the past to life for the education and enjoyment of the people of the Greater Mankato Area.
Photo by Mike Lagerquist - Detail from "Grace" the mosaic on Grace Lutheran Church at the corner of 4th and Main Streets in Mankato, MN

ARTchitecture – Grace Lutheran Church Mosaic

Mike Lagerquist provides some detail for a piece of public art that many of us drive by on a regular basis but few have taken the time to actually see.
Photo courtesy of Bob Kreuzer - The North Mankato Lift Station, nicked named "Gilligan's Island," surrounded by sandbags to hold back Minnesota River flood waters as the waters were beginning to recede.

Gilligan’s Island, Bob Kreuzer, and the Flood of 1965

During the Mankato and North Mankato Flood of 1965, workers manned shifts twenty feet below ground while sandbagging teams above made an island for the Mankato and North Mankato history books.
Photo by Rick Pepper - The Horses of the 2012 Dakota 38+2 riders pastured at the farm of Sylvester "Ken" Ziegler

2012 Dakota 38+2 Arrival – 150th Anniversary Photo Album

Rick Pepper publishes some photos of the Dakota 38+2 riders arriving in Mankato taken on December 26th, 2012, the 150th anniversary of the executions
Yaeger School House, ca. 1900 (Photograph courtesy Cindy Slater).

Mystery of the Yaeger Schoolhouse Ghost

In 1897 the Yeager Schoolhouse just outside of Rapidan had a real mystery on its hands. Could it be a ghost?
Photo courtesy of Julie Schrader - Harmonia Hall, later called the Mankato Opera House.

The Mankato Opera House – 19th Century Cultural Center

Julie Schrader introduces us to Harmonia Hall, later The Mankato Opera House which became Mankato's 19th Century Cultural Center