A Brief History of Lime Township

Mankato's Stone Quarry. 1900s

Lime Township was officially established in 1858. The township was named after lime kilns, large outdoor furnaces with chimneys used to burn limestone. The name accurately conveys Lime Townships strong ties to quarrying. In fact, the township is remembered for containing the best and largest stone quarries in Blue Earth County. Its success is largely due to its situation near malleable stone and fertile land.

In 1847 the government sent specialists to determine what kinds of plants, animals, and minerals were on the land. The first settler was James Rablin, in 1852. Years after his arrival a saw mill, post office, and railway station emerged. It was determined that this area had strong stone industry potential. In its infancy, the stones were used only for floors and paths. Eventually, it was realized this stone held great potential. George Maxfield, first a wagon maker, became the catalyst of business in Lime. After him, others realized they too could make money from the quarries. Soon the whole township was being built off stone: sidewalks, buildings, statues, etc. If you wanted to create bricks from the stone you would use a hand drill and make holes in a line, fill them with gun powder, and blast out the shape. It was a difficult endeavor but one the people of Lime perfected. The material from Limes quarries was very sought after. Stone was shipped near and far. The Philadelphia Museum of Art was made from Lime township stone. Likewise, the old Tourtolotte Hospital was built from the same material.

Because of the quarrying industry, Lime township was able to thrive in its climate. New technologies allowed the allocation of resources to be more efficient and safe. Lime Township has an interesting past shaped by quarrying and is well worth looking into. 


Thanks so much for this most interesting information about Lime Township. I had no idea how important an area it was to Minnesota and Blue Earth County history. As a child I lived very close to Tourtolotte Park. I didn't know that there was ever a hospital there. I'd be interested to learn more about it.
Catherine (not verified)
Thanks for the article on the very early history of Lime Township. I intend to forward it on to our Lime Township newsletter editor for potential use in the future. At the present we continue to have dimension stone and crushed limestone mined in the Township, and soon will have silica sand being mined. Aggregate and minerals have apparently been important in the Township for decades.
Karl F (not verified)

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