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.
Often train passengers had to change trains and depots as they passed through Mankato. One such passenger was former Vice-President Schuyler Colfax. In 1885, Colfax was passing through Mankato on his way to a speaking engagement. He left the Hickory Street depot and walked to the depot for the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha line. After purchasing his ticket, he sat down on a bench where he suffered a fatal heart attack.
The Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha lines consolidated with the Northwestern Line and had a new depot built, this time along Front Street. This depot opened in 1896 and still stands today.
For more information about transportation, attend Surrounded By History on April 28.
TBT, or Throwback Thursday, is done in partnership with KEYC News 12 in Mankato. To view this segment live tune into the Noon News on Thursdays.