Heather Harren's blog

Mankato's Normal School

By Jacob Johnson

Minnesota State University has gone by many names since the 1800’s, but the first name the university went by was the Mankato Normal School.  The school began in 1868 and kept the name until 1921 when the name changed to Mankato State Teachers College.  The beginning of the Mankato Normal School has images of fire, new buildings and an undefeated football team. 

A Brief History of Judson Township

Stretching 38 square miles, Judson Township was the largest township until 1895 when South Bend provided some of its township to Mankato. The luscious timber snagged the attention of many incoming immigrants. The majority of settlers were Welsh people. The first to claim territory were Chester Hill, John Randolf, and Rev. John Tidland, who settled in the summer of 1853. Three short years after their arrival, Judson was administrated as a town.

President Taft Visits Mankato

In what was a western circuit of President William Howard Taft’s campaign for re-election, the GOP incumbent stopped for part of a day on October 24, 1911, in Mankato.  His special train arrived at 11:28 a.m. from Omaha at the Milwaukee depot.  Besides the president, there were United States senators and congressmen, judges of federal and state courts, military men and those prominent in private life. 

History of Salet's Department Store

In 1896, Russian immigrant Leon Salet opened a store called L. Salet and Son in Mankato. Salet had come to Minnesota in 1892 with his wife and two sons. Salet sold goods off a horse-drawn cart from farm to farm before opening his store in 1896 on Front Street near its intersection with East Main Street.  In Mankato he sold only menswear.

A Brief History of Garden City Township

Originally called Watonwan, Garden City Township lies on the edge of the beautiful Watonwan River. The first settler, S. Titus Mills, arrived in 1854. Mills, along with his family, opened a small hotel that served travelers passing through the township.  Being the only place of lodging until Lake Crystal was re-established, he attracted many visitors. He continued to run the inn until his death in 1873.

1920 Mankato Winter Carnival

The Mankato Winter Carnival was a grand event held in Mankato in 1920 over the course of 5 days, and then never happened again in the city. During the celebration, there were several contest held and the people of the city could cast their votes for the winner. One contest was for the Queen of the Carnival, in which Miss Pauline Koke won the title. The city also held the homeliest man contest in which Pete Ferguson won the title.


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