Main Births etc
Mankato, Minnesota
—  City  —
North Riverfront Drive Commercial District
Nickname(s): Key City
Motto: A Little Twin Cities, A Lot Minnesota
Location of the city of Mankato
within Blue Earth, Nicollet, and Le Sueur Counties
in the state of Minnesota
Coordinates: 44°10′N 94°0′W / 44.167, -94Coordinates: 44°10′N 94°0′W / 44.167, -94
Country United States
State Minnesota
Counties Blue Earth, Nicollet, and Le Sueur
Founded 1852
 • Type City Charter
 • Mayor Eric Anderson
 • City 18.26 sq mi (47.29 km2)
 • Land 17.91 sq mi (46.39 km2)
 • Water 0.35 sq mi (0.91 km2)
Elevation 794 ft (238 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • City 39,309
 • Estimate (2013[3]) 40,641
 • Density 2,194.8/sq mi (847.4/km2)
 • Metro 98,560 (US: 353th)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 56001-56003
Area code(s) 507
FIPS code 27-39878
GNIS feature ID 0647438[4]

Mankato is a city in Blue Earth, Nicollet, and Le Sueur counties in the State of Minnesota. The population was 39,309 at the 2010 census,[5] making it the fourth largest city in Minnesota outside of the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area. The county seat of Blue Earth County,[6] it is located along a large bend of the Minnesota River at its confluence with the Blue Earth River. Mankato is across the Minnesota River from North Mankato. Mankato and North Mankato have a combined population of over 53,000, according to the 2010 census. It completely encompasses the town of Skyline. North of Mankato Regional Airport, a tiny non-contiguous part of the city is located within Le Sueur County. Most of the city of Mankato is located within Blue Earth County.

Mankato is the larger of the two principal cities of the Mankato-North Mankato metropolitan area, which covers Blue Earth and Nicollet counties[7] and had a combined population of 94,149 at the 2010 census. Mankato was designated a Metropolitan Statistical Area by the U.S. Census Bureau in November 2008.[8]

U.S. Highways 14 and 169 and Minnesota State Highways 22 and 60 are four of the main routes in Mankato.


The area was long settled by various cultures of indigenous peoples. After European colonization began on the East Coast, pressure from settlement and other Native American tribes caused different peoples to migrate into the area. By the mid-nineteenth century Dakota language–speaking four divisions of the Dakota Sioux were the primary indigenous group in the territory.

Henry Jackson (1811–1857), one of the pioneers of Mankato, served as the first Justice of the Peace in St. Paul (1843), first Postmaster of St. Paul (1846–49), and a member of the first Territorial Assembly.[9]

Mankato Township was not settled by European Americans until Parsons King Johnson in February 1852, as part of the nineteenth century migration of people from the east across the Midwest. New residents organized the city of Mankato on May 11, 1858. The city was organized by Henry Jackson, Parsons King Johnson, Col. D.A. Robertson, Justus C. Ramsey, and unnamed others. A popular story says that the city was intended to have been named Mahkato, but a typographical error by a clerk established the name as Mankato.[10] According to Upham, quoting historian Thomas Hughes of Mankato, "The honor of christening the new city was accorded to Col. Robertson. He had taken the name from Nicollet's book, in which the French explorer compared the 'Mahkato" or Blue Earth River, with all its tributaries, to the water nymphs and their uncle in the German legend of Undine.'...No more appropriate name could be given the new city, than that of the noble river at whose mouth it is located."[11] While it may or may not be true that the city was intended to be called Mahkato, the Dakota called the river Makato Osa Watapa (meaning "the river where blue earth is gathered." The Anglo settlers adapted that as the Blue Earth River.[11] Notwithstanding the above history of the name for town of Mankato - Dakota word for Blue Earth, according to Frederick Webb Hodge, in his "Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico," Volume 1, page 801, the town was named after the older of the two like-named chiefs of the Mdewakanton division of the Santee Dakota, whose village stood on or near the site of the present town.

Ishtakhaba, also known as Chief Sleepy Eye, of the Sisseton band of Dakota Indians was said to have directed settlers to this location. He said the site at the confluence of the Minnesota and Blue Earth Rivers was well suited for building and for river traffic, and yet safe from flooding.

Execution of the thirty-eight Sioux Indians at Mankato Minnesota, December 25, 1862

On December 25, 1862, the US Army carried out the largest mass execution in U.S. history at Mankato following the Dakota War of 1862. Thirty-eight Dakota Native Americans were hanged for their parts in the uprising. A military tribunal had sentenced 303 to death. President Lincoln reviewed the record and pardoned 265, believing they had been involved in legitimate defense against military forces. Episcopal Bishop Henry Benjamin Whipple had urged leniency in the case, but his position was not politically popular in Minnesota. Lincoln's intervention was not popular at the time. Two commemorative statues are located on the site of the hangings (now home to the Blue Earth County Library and Reconciliation Park).

In 1880, Mankato ranked fourth in size in the state. The population was 5,500.[12]

Former Vice President Schuyler Colfax died while traveling in Mankato on January 13, 1885.

Cultural references[]

Mankato served as the basis for the "Deep Valley" of Maud Hart Lovelace's Betsy-Tacy series of children's books and novels. The children/young adult wing of the Blue Earth County Library is named in her honor.

In Sinclair Lewis' 1920 novel Main Street, heroine Carol Milford is a former Mankato resident. Lewis describes Mankato as follows: "In its garden-sheltered streets and aisles of elms is white and green New England reborn." (based on its many migrants from New England, who brought their culture with them.) Lewis wrote a substantial portion of the novel while staying at the J.W. Schmidt House at 315 South Broad Street, as now marked by a small plaque in front of the building.[13]

In the Little House on the Prairie television series, Mankato is a trading town that the citizens of Walnut Grove visit. It does not appear in the Laura Ingalls Wilder books.

The 1972 film The New Land, a sequel to The Emigrants (1971), both by Swedish director Jan Troell, depicts the mass execution of the 38 Dakota Indians at the end of the 1862 Dakota War.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.26 square miles (47.29 km2), of which 17.91 square miles (46.39 km2) is land and 0.35 square miles (0.91 km2) is water.[1] The Minnesota, Blue Earth, and Le Sueur Rivers all flow through or near the city.


Climate data for Mankato, Minnesota
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 62
Average high °F (°C) 23
Average low °F (°C) 6
Record low °F (°C) −38
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.96
Snowfall inches (cm) 7.5
Source: National Climatic Data Center[14]


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1870 3,482
1880 5,550 59.4%
1890 8,838 59.2%
1900 10,599 19.9%
1910 10,365 −2.2%
1920 12,469 20.3%
1930 14,039 12.6%
1940 15,654 11.5%
1950 18,809 20.2%
1960 23,797 26.5%
1970 30,895 29.8%
1980 28,651 −7.3%
1990 31,477 9.9%
2000 32,427 3.0%
2010 39,309 21.2%
Est. 2013 40,641 25.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[15]
2013 Estimate[16]

2010 census[]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 39,309 people, 14,851 households, and 7,093 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,194.8 inhabitants per square mile (847.4 /km2). There were 15,784 housing units at an average density of 881.3 per square mile (340.3 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 89.9% White, 4.0% African American, 0.3% Native American, 2.8% Asian, 0.8% from other races, and 2.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.9% of the population.

There were 14,851 households out of which 22.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.0% were married couples living together, 9.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 52.2% were non-families. 30.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.91.

The median age in the city was 25.4 years. 16.3% of residents were under the age of 18; 32.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.8% were from 25 to 44; 16.6% were from 45 to 64; and 10.6% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 50.0% male and 50.0% female.

2000 census[]

As of the census of 2000, there were 32,427 people, 12,367 households, and 6,059 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,132.5 people per square mile (823.2/km²). There were 12,759 housing units at an average density of 839.1 per square mile (323.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.55% White, 1.90% African American, 0.34% Native American, 2.81% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 0.94% from other races, and 1.36% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.22% of the population.

There were 12,367 households out of which 23.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.7% were married couples living together, 8.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 51.0% were non-families. 32.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.90.

In the city the population was spread out with 16.9% under the age of 18, 32.5% from 18 to 24, 23.9% from 25 to 44, 15.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 25 years. For every 100 females there were 96.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $33,956, and the median income for a family was $47,297. Males had a median income of $30,889 versus $22,081 for females. The per capita income for the city in 2010 was $25,772.[17] About 8.5% of families and 19.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.6% of those under age 18 and 11.8% of those age 65 or over. In 2010, the Unemployment Rate was 5.7%.[17]


Mankato is located in Minnesota's 1st congressional district, represented by Mankato high school teacher Tim Walz (DFL). Mankato is located in Minnesota Senate district 23, represented by Kathleen Sheran (DFL), and Minnesota House district 23B, represented by Kathy Brynaert (DFL).


The major daily newspaper in the area is the Mankato Free Press. The only local broadcast television network is KEYC-TV, Channel 12, a CBS affiliate. KEYC also carries a Fox affiliation on its digital subchannel and on local cable television.

Local radio stations are:

  • KATO-FM, 93.1 FM
  • KDOG, 96.7 FM
  • KEEZ, 99.1 FM
  • KFSP, 1230 AM
  • KMSU, 89.7 FM
  • KMKO-FM, 95.7 FM
  • KTOE, 1420 AM
  • KXLP, 94.1 FM
  • KYSM-FM, 103.5 FM


Top employers[]

According to the City's 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[17] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Mayo Clinic Health System 2,200
2 Minnesota State University 1,700
3 Independent School District 77 1,400
4 MRCI WorkSource 1,240
5 Mankato Clinic 682
6 The Thro Company 656
7 Verizon Wireless 540
8 County of Blue Earth 415
9 MTU Onsite Energy 342
10 City of Mankato 322


Old Main, Bethany Lutheran College

The Mankato Area Public Schools are consolidated to include the cities of Mankato, North Mankato, Eagle Lake, and Madison Lake. There are ten elementary schools (Franklin, Eagle Lake, Kennedy, Washington, Roosevelt, Jefferson, Monroe, Hoover, Rosa Parks, and Garfield); two middle schools (Dakota Meadows Middle School and Mankato East Junior High); and two high schools (Mankato West High School and Mankato East High School).

Mankato has three parochial schools: Loyola Catholic School, serving grades K-12 with Good Counsel and Fitzgerald campuses, Immanuel Lutheran Grade School and High School, and Mount Olive Lutheran School. There are also two public charter schools: Bridges Elementary and Kato Public Charter School.

Another option available to the community with regards to education is an alternative school: Central High which is located on Fulton St. in Mankato.

It is served by the Blue Earth County Library part of the Traverse des Sioux Library System, which is based in the city.

Higher education institutions[]

  • Minnesota State University
  • South Central College
  • Bethany Lutheran College
  • Rasmussen College

Major events[]

  • Minnesota State University is home to the Minnesota Vikings summer training camp.

Places of interest[]

  • The Verizon Wireless Center, formerly operated under the names Midwest Wireless Civic Center and Alltel Center, is an arena in downtown Mankato.[18]
  • The Betsy Tacy Houses are restored homes that celebrate the writing of Maud Hart Lovelace.
  • Franklin Rogers Park, home of the Mankato Moondogs of the Northwoods League, a collegiate summer baseball league
  • Minneopa State Park is located west of Mankato.
  • Sibley Park is a city park located along the river in Mankato.
  • The River Hills Mall
  • Happy Chef original restaurant and company headquarters. Mankato also is home to the last 40-foot Happy Chef statue, which used to be found at most of their restaurants.
  • Good Counsel Hill
  • Blue Earth County Courthouse
  • The Hubbard House Blue Earth County Historical Society - French Second Empire style built in 1871.

Notable people[]

  • Daniel Akerson, investment banker and former CEO of General Motors
  • Adrienne Armstrong, record producer; married to Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong
  • Walter Jackson Bate, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer, born in Mankato in 1918
  • Frederick Russell Burnham, "father of the international scouting movement," born near Mankato on 11 May 1861
  • Howard Burnham, mining engineer and a spy for the government of France, born near Mankato on 27 May 1870
  • George Contant, outlaw of the American West, brother of John Sontag; later lectured against a life of crime
  • Marvel Cooke, African-American journalist, writer and civil rights activist
  • Craig Dahl, NFL safety, San Francisco 49ers
  • Clifford Fagan, basketball referee, member of the Basketball Hall of Fame
  • Justin Hartwig, former NFL center
  • Robert Louis Hodapp, Roman Catholic bishop
  • Ron Johnson, Republican U.S. Senator from Wisconsin
  • Sinclair Lewis, author
  • Maud Hart Lovelace, author of the Betsy-Tacy series of books
  • Bob Paffrath, professional football player
  • Melissa Peterman, actress who graduated from Minnesota State University
  • Mike Ploog, comic book and film-production artist
  • Joseph Rosser, Secretary of Minnesota Territory and lawyer
  • Chris and Adam Rupp, founding members of the a cappella group Home Free
  • Julia Sears, pioneering feminist and suffragette
  • John Sontag, outlaw, born in Mankato; crimes in Minnesota and California
  • Glen Taylor, businessman and owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx basketball teams
  • Arthur S. Thomas, Chief of Chaplains of the U.S. Air Force
  • Alma Wagen, first female guide at Mount Rainier National Park
  • Timothy J. Walz, former teacher at Mankato West High School and current U.S. Representative for Minnesota's 1st congressional district

Rankings and ratings[]

  •, 2006

Mankato/North Mankato was ranked 16th in the nation in a survey of 577 cities nationwide. The survey rates the country's "micropolitan" areas in multiple quality of life criteria.

  • America's Promise, 2005

This national youth advocacy group, founded by Gen. Colin Powell and dedicated to making children and youth a priority, named Mankato one of the top 100 communities in the nation for kids. Criteria included the presence of caring adults, transportation for children, presence of places to learn and grow, education opportunities, and opportunities for children to volunteer.

  • Rolling Stone College Guide, 2005

Rolling Stone magazine named Mankato/St. Peter one of the top 50 college towns in the country because of its rich and diverse music scene.

  • Site Selection Magazine, 2002, 2003 and 2004

For three consecutive years, Mankato/North Mankato ranked in the top 25 small cities nationwide for new and expanded corporate facility projects. The community ranked 16th in 2002(the Minnesota community to make the list), 13th in 2003, and 23rd in 2004.

  • Bizdemographics awarded Mankato an "A" in terms of business climate, a sign of excellent economic health. The study considered characteristics such as population growth, per capita income, job growth, and local educational levels.
  • Demographics Daily, September, 2000

Mankato and North Mankato placed in the top 50 U.S. cities classified as "dreamtowns". Cities were ranked according to quality of life indicators such as vitality, supply of good jobs, freedom from stress, connection to cultural mainstream, support for schools, access to health care, low cost of living, and small town character.

  • The New Rating Guide to Life in America's Small Cities, January, 1998

The City of Mankato was named the 14th most livable micropolitan in America and number one in Minnesota.

  • In 2004 Mankato was rated as the funniest city in America by Hallmark Cards.


Transportation in Mankato is provided by The Mankato Transit System.

Major highways[]

The following routes are located within the city of Mankato.

  • US 14.svg U.S. Highway 14
  • US 169 (MN).svg U.S. Highway 169
  • MN-22.svg Minnesota State Highway 22
  • MN-60.svg Minnesota State Highway 60


  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-05-28. 
  3. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2014-05-28. 
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ "2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File". American FactFinder. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 27 April 2011. 
  6. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  7. ^ MICROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREAS AND COMPONENTS, Office of Management and Budget, 2007-05-11. Retrieved 2008-07-27.
  8. ^ Mankato Free Press
  9. ^ Henry Jackson of St. Paul and Mankato. First Justice of the Peace in St. Paul (1843), first Postmaster of St. Paul (1846-1849), member of the first Territorial Assembly and pioneer settler of Mankato., Visual Resources Database, Minnesota Historical Society, accessed December 6, 2010.
  10. ^ Blue Earth County, Minnesota : About Blue Earth County
  11. ^ a b Upham, Warren (2001). Minnesota Place Names, A Geographical Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition. Saint Paul, Minnesota: Minnesota Historical Society. p. 65. ISBN 0-87351-396-7. 
  12. ^ Minnesota Place Names: A Geographical Encyclopedia, Minnesota Historical Society website.
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ "Monthly and Season Total SnowFall Amount". NCDC. 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-02. 
  15. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved September 12, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013". Retrieved May 28, 2014. 
  17. ^ a b c City of Mankato CAFR
  18. ^ Linehan, Dan (25 June 2007). "Civic Center to be Alltel Center". Mankato Free Press. Retrieved 1 June 2011. 

External links[]

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