All Aboard: The Railroad Comes to Blue Earth County
In 1868, The Minnesota Valley Railroad reached Mankato. It was funded in part by private loan and bonds. The second-hand locomotives were necessary for the expanding economic hub in the rural Midwest, and it arrived just in time. Horse-drawn wagons could no longer keep up with the fur trade, wool trade, and agriculture in the area. The finished tracks and train with its cars were met with a feast and celebration, topped off with the mayor, ex-governors, and the “father of railroads in Minnesota”. It was quickly followed by the Northwestern Telegraph Line. The railroad led to the creation of Lake Crystal, and connected rural Midwestern towns together, creating a bustling economic and social hubbub.