A Brief History of Lyra Township

Graham House, Good Thunder c. 1880s

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. This instrument originates in Greek Mythology, where it was said to have been played by the God of Music, Apollo.

Good Thunder is the only town in Lyra Township and is named after the Winnebago chief Wakuntchapinka Good Thunder. Although a peaceful tribe, the Winnebago Indians were removed in 1863 to Nebraska.  Chief Good Thunder helped numerous people throughout Lyra Township during the U.S. – Dakota Conflict of 1862, and was a land owner near present day Good Thunder. The first building in town was John Graham's general store which he relocated from Garden City. Graham later built the first hotel in town.

Through 1881-1912 Good Thunder really began to boom. Numerous stores and businesses arose almost overnight. These building included churches, a school, an opera house, a saloon, hotels, grocery stores and a music store. People who came through the town were instantly drawn to the town’s vast assortment of stores. Many people traveling to Mankato or other large cities would find themselves drawn there instead. Good Thunder remains a unique town today with a large assortment of historical and cultural sites.  

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