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Mankato, Minnesota
North Riverfront Drive Commercial District
North Riverfront Drive Commercial District
Nickname(s): 
Key City
Motto(s): 
Mankato - Now Playing
Location of the city of Mankatowithin Blue Earth Countyin the state of Minnesota
Location of the city of Mankato
within Blue Earth County
in the state of Minnesota
Country United States
State Minnesota
Counties Blue Earth, Nicollet, and Le Sueur
Founded 1852
Government
 • Type City Charter
Area
 • 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)
 • City 39,309
 • Estimate 
(2015)
41,044
 • Density 2,194.8/sq mi (847.4/km2)
 • Metro
99,134 (US: 355th)
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
56001-56003
Area code(s) 507
FIPS code 27-39878
GNIS feature ID 0647438
Website www.mankato-mn.gov

Mankato is a city in Blue Earth, Nicollet, and Le Sueur counties in the State of Minnesota. The population was 41,044 according to 2015 US census estimates, making it the fifth largest city in Minnesota outside of the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area. The county seat of Blue Earth County, 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 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.

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

History

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.

HenryJackson1855
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.

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. 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." 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. 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.

TotallyFreeImages com-205114-Standard-preview
Execution of the thirty-eight Sioux Indians at Mankato Minnesota, December 25, 1862

On December 26, 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).

Minnesota canneries historical marker
Historical marker stating Mankato as having nation's first carp cannery.

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

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

Geography

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. The Minnesota, Blue Earth, and Le Sueur Rivers all flow through or near the city.

Climate

Mankato has a humid continental climate, type Dfa (hot summer subtype). Winters are cold, with snow cover (continuous most winter seasons) beginning typically between mid-November and mid-December, ending in March most years. However, Mankato often receives less snow than areas to its north and east. For example, Minneapolis, 75 miles northeast of Mankato, averages over 54 inches of snow per winter season, compared to Mankato's seasonal average of 35 inches. The coldest month, January, has an average monthly temperature around 14 degrees F. A significant hazard during winter is dangerously low wind-chill temperatures, as Arctic air outbreaks rush into the area from Canada, borne on high winds; this can bring ground blizzard conditions, especially in nearly rural areas. Summers are warm, with occasional but usually brief hot, humid periods, often interspersed with pushes of cooler air from Canada, often preceded by showers and thunderstorms. The warmest month, July, has an average monthly temperature around 73 degrees F. Precipitation falls year round, but falls mostly as snow from December to February, sometimes March, and as showers and thunderstorms during the warmer season, from May to September. Mankato's average wettest months are from June to August, with frequent thunderstorm activity. Mankato lies on the northern fringe of the central United States' main tornado belt, with lower risk than in Iowa and Missouri to the south. The highest-risk months for severe thunderstorms and (rarely) tornadoes, are May through July. However, a very unusual early tornado swarm affected areas within 20 miles of Mankato on March 29, 1998, when an F3 tornado hit St. Peter, 13 miles to Mankato's north.

Climate data for Mankato, Minnesota
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 62
(16.7)
64
(17.8)
84
(28.9)
94
(34.4)
106
(41.1)
105
(40.6)
106
(41.1)
107
(41.7)
100
(37.8)
91
(32.8)
82
(27.8)
66
(18.9)
107
(41.7)
Average high °F (°C) 23
(-5)
30
(-1.1)
41
(5)
57
(13.9)
71
(21.7)
80
(26.7)
83
(28.3)
81
(27.2)
73
(22.8)
60
(15.6)
41
(5)
27
(-2.8)
55.6
(13.1)
Average low °F (°C) 6
(-14.4)
11
(-11.7)
23
(-5)
36
(2.2)
48
(8.9)
57
(13.9)
62
(16.7)
59
(15)
50
(10)
37
(2.8)
24
(-4.4)
11
(-11.7)
35.3
(1.85)
Record low °F (°C) −38
(-38.9)
−33
(-36.1)
−27
(-32.8)
−3
(-19.4)
22
(-5.6)
31
(-0.6)
39
(3.9)
34
(1.1)
20
(-6.7)
−1
(-18.3)
−18
(-27.8)
−32
(-35.6)
−38
(-38.9)
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.96
(24.4)
0.78
(19.8)
1.94
(49.3)
2.88
(73.2)
4.13
(104.9)
5.02
(127.5)
4.88
(124)
5.31
(134.9)
3.18
(80.8)
2.49
(63.2)
1.80
(45.7)
1.05
(26.7)
34.42
(874.3)
Snowfall inches (cm) 7.5
(19.1)
6.2
(15.7)
7.9
(20.1)
1.6
(4.1)
0.1
(0.3)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.1
(0.3)
4.5
(11.4)
7.4
(18.8)
35.3
(89.7)
Source: National Climatic Data Center

Demographics

Historical population
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. 2015 41,044 4.4%
U.S. Decennial Census
2015 Estimate

2010 census

As of the census 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. 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%.

Major events

  • Minnesota State University has been home to the Minnesota Vikings summer training camp for the past 50 years.

Places of interest

HappyChef
The original Happy Chef Restaurant and corporate offices on U.S. Highway 169
WPA Minneopa Latrine
Latrine building built by the Works Progress Administration in 1939 in Minneopa State Park
  • The Betsy & Tacy Houses
  • Blue Earth County Courthouse, listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP)
  • Federal Courthouse and Post Office (NRHP)
  • First National Bank of Mankato (NRHP)
  • First Presbyterian Church (NRHP)
  • Franklin Rogers Park, home of the Mankato Moondogs of the Northwoods League, a collegiate summer baseball league
  • Good Counsel Hill
  • Happy Chef original restaurant and company headquarters; Mankato also is home to the last 36-foot Happy Chef statue
  • The Hubbard House Blue Earth County Historical Society - French Second Empire style built in 1871 (NRHP)
  • The Lorin Cray House (NRHP)
  • Minneopa State Park is located west of Mankato (two NRHP listings)
  • Mount Kato
  • The River Hills Mall
  • Sibley Park is a city park located along the river in Mankato.
  • The Verizon Wireless Center, formerly operated under the names Midwest Wireless Civic Center and Alltel Center, is an arena in downtown Mankato.
See also: National Register of Historic Places listings in Blue Earth County, Minnesota

Transportation

Public transportation in Mankato is provided by the Mankato Transit System. The city is served by Mankato Regional Airport which has no commercial flights. Under MnDOT's 2015 State Rail Plan, Mankato is listed as a Tier 1 Corridor for regional rail service from Minneapolis and/or St. Paul.

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
  • MN-66.svg Minnesota State Highway 66

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