Mankato is a major regional center that has been designated as the 14th Most Livable Micropolitan City in the Nation. Mankato has a population of 36,240 with a contiguous population area of 49,175. There is a trade area population of more than 300,000 and there are 1.6 million people who live within 60 miles of Mankato. The City of Mankato is renowned for great parks and trails. Rivers, lakes, ravines, bluffs, natural prairies and forested areas offer breathtaking landscapes and provide a scenic backdrop for an area steeped in historic significance. At the same time, Mankatoans enjoy the peace of mind and quality of life often associated with smaller towns.
The city blends activities for all ages and interest levels. Mankato’s civic center has hosted nationally touring ice shows, music concerts and theatre productions as well as supporting local events. Recreational opportunities abound in the Mankato area for most sports or interests for every season of the year.
Rosa Parks Elementary
Saints Peter & Paul Elementary
Prairie Winds Middle School
Dakota Meadows Middle School
Mankato East High School
Mankato West High School
Mankato Township was first settled by Parsons King Johnson in February 1852, and the city of Mankato was organized on May 11, 1858. The city was organized by Henry Jackson, Parsons King Johnson, Col. D.A. Robertson, Justus C. Ramsey, and unnamed others. The city recently celebrated its sesquicentennial. 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 Mrs. P.K. Johnson and Mrs. Henry Jackson, who selected the name 'Mankato,' upon the suggestion of 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, it is true that the Blue Earth River was called Makato Osa Watapa by the Dakota Indians, meaning "the river where blue earth is gathered."
It is said that the location of the city of Mankato was selected by Ishtakhaba, also known as Chief Sleepy Eye, of the Sisseton band of Dakota Indians. Ishtakhaba directed the settlers to a site at the confluence of the Minnesota and Blue Earth Rivers which was well suited for building and for river traffic, and yet safe from flooding.
On December 26, 1862, the largest mass execution in U.S. history occurred in Mankato following the Dakota War of 1862. Thirty-eight Dakota Native Americans were hanged for participation in the uprising; a total of 303 were sentenced to be hanged but President Lincoln pardoned 265 at the urging of Bishop Henry Benjamin Whipple. 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).
The Dakota name is retained, with slight change, by the township and city of Mankato. On the earliest map of Minnesota Territory, in 1850, it appeared as Mahkahta for one of its original nine counties, reaching from the Mississippi above the Crow Wing west to the Missouri.
MANKATO JUNCTION, a station of the Chicago and Northwestern Railway, Lime Township, named from its nearness and relationship to Mankato.
MANKATO Township was established April 6, 1858, and was organized in connection with the present city of Mankato, May 11, 1858. The city charter was adopted March 24, 1868, and the first election of the township, separate from the city, was held April 7, 1868. The first settlement of Mankato and of this county was in February 1852 by Parsons King Johnson, and on the 14th of that month the Blue Earth Settlement Claim Association was organized in St. Paul by Henry Jackson, P. K. Johnson, Col. D. A. Robertson, Justus C. Ramsey, brother of the governor of the territory, and others. Hughes writes of their choice of the name for the settlement to be founded, as follows: "The honor of christening the new city was accorded to Mrs. P. K. Johnson and Mrs. Henry Jackson, who selected the name 'Mankato,' upon the suggestion of 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."
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