Heather Harren's blog
The Saulpaugh Hotel, once located on the corner of Front and Main Streets, opened in 1889 to a grand affair. The festivities include a banquet and ball with many influential and famous people in attendance, including Minnesota Governor William Merriam. Another famous guest was President William Taft, who stayed at the hotel during his 1911 visit to Mankato. It was also rumored that gangster John Dillinger spent a night at the Saulpaugh in the 1930s.
By Win Grundmeier
Split by the Maple River and bordered by Sterling is Lyra Township. Abundant in its stock of timber and fertile land, Lyra quickly drew in many settlers during its early days. Before it was opened to white settlement in 1863 it was a part of the Winnebago reservation and called “Tecumseh.” After the Winnebago were removed there was a scramble for the plentiful land. Three years after its vacancy officials were elected. The same day the township's name was also changed to Lyra after Reverend Jesse M Thurston’s hometown. The word Lyra comes from the Greek folk instrument, the Lyre.
The Mankato Post Office first opened in 1853 in a small building located on Front Street across the street from the Old First National Bank. The post office moved a number of times in the following years, quickly outgrowing each new location. In 1891 the search started looking for yet another location to house Mankato’s post office.
The Mankato Winter Carnival began on January 19, 1920. It started with a parade down Front Street with Mankato Mayor Watters as grand marshal. Watters, along with the city council members, rode through the parade on a float pulled by 100 horses. Many other organizations and businesses from Mankato joined in the parade as well.
By Win Grundmeier
Truly a light of the first magnitude in southern Minnesota. She was a medical doctor and a very active worker in social welfare in an era in which the “woman’s place was in the home.”
Prior to 1880, in order to cross the Minnesota River from Mankato to Belgrade Township, people had to use a ferry. In 1878, the state legislature approved the building of a bridge across the river. Funds were raised and the cornerstone was laid in October 1879. Because the river was important for steamboat traffic, the bridge construction included a section that would pivot to allow large boats to pass through. The bridge opened in 1880 for both pedestrian and horse traffic.