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The Two Towers

By Jacob Johnson

The first thing I noticed when I first visited Minnesota State University was the two towers, Gage dormitory.  Gage was a place that always had students coming and going.  Many MSU students have called Gage home the past 47 years it was in use.  However, now the Gage two towers are ghost towers.  No longer buzzing with the energy from its occupants and now waiting for the day that it is imploded.  Gage has been the setting for many memorable stories and taking a look at its past is a good way to see how it came to be such a memorable place. 

TBT - Jeff and Mutt

While it may seem impossible for a little dog and a big cat to be best friends, that is exactly what happened in the early 1930s at the Sibley Park Zoo. Mutt the lion and Jeff the dog were inseparable from 1932 to 1942. While some worried that Mutt would harm his little friend, the two got along exceedingly well. In fact, many accounts from the 1930s bragged about Jeff controlling Mutt, such as when the dog broke up a fight between Mutt and his father.

TBT - Bierbauer Brewery

Bierbauer Brewing Company was the first brewery built west of St. Paul, MN. William Bierbauer and his brother, Jacob, had fled Germany’s 1848 revolutions and later became part of Mankato’s founding residents.

In 1862 the company opened among the hills of North Rock Street. They used the hillside caves to store and cool the Bierbauer beer kegs in the days before electricity.

TBT - Mankato's Red Cross and World War I

The United States declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917. With this declaration, many men from Blue Earth County enlisted for the Great War. For those who remained at home, there were bond drives and tin collections to raise money for the war efforts. The Mankato Red Cross was formed on April 16, 1917 and much of the organization’s work during the Great War revolved around raising funds.

A Brief History of Mankato Township

When driving through the populous township of Mankato, take note of the numerous historical sites and markers. When passing through “Old Town” you soon recognize by the lightly weathered, but articulately constructed buildings that Mankato is avidly concerned with preserving its vivid past. Mankato is famous for many things including the Historic Hubbard House, its involvement in the Dakota Conflict, Sibley Zoo, and many other specific landmarks.  It was originally a hub for resources, characterized by its close relation to the Minnesota River, and its abundance of resources such as clay.

TBT - Mankato's Old Depot

The first railroad to come to Mankato was the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha line. One of the deciding factors that brought the railroad to town was the city’s promise to build a depot. When the first train arrived in October 1868, the depot, on the corner of Fourth and Washington, was there to greet it. As more railroads came through Mankato, a second depot was built on the corner opposite of Mankato’s first depot with two more on Mulberry and Hickory Streets.

Union School, Mankato’s First School Building

The lot located at the corner of Broad and Mulberry Streets in Mankato has been called home by more than just the office buildings that occupy it today. In 1855, the very first Blue Earth County schoolhouse was erected. Built of logs, the simple, yet handsome building was used not only as a school, but also as a church and an opera house. The same year the school was built, the first school district was organized by three elected trustees; James Thomson, Theron Parsons, and A.D. Seward. The district decided to name the school “Union”.

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