Sunday, April 28, 2013

Walking in Mankato

Yesterday dawned to be a lovely spring day, so I jumped in the car and headed for Mankato. I lived in Mankato for three years while working for the Minnesota Department of Health. However, I've not really been in the town since, only have driven through on the highway when making a trip to Nebraska or northwest Iowa.

This walk started from the City Center Hotel, a hotel and whole area that didn't exist at the time I lived here. At the beginning I walked by Reconciliation Park. I had heard of this but this was my first time I had seen it.

Mankato has the unfortunate history to be the location of the largest public execution in the United States. Thirty eight Indian men were executed here after the U.S. -Dakota War.

In the small park along the Minnesota River there are two monuments. The first looks like parchment.
 On the side facing the street (shown above) are the names of the men who were executed. On the opposite side is a poem and prayer. The poem, by Katherine Hughes is powerful. She wrote:

Remember the innocent dead
Both Dakota and white
Victims of events that they could not control.

Remember the guilty dead
Both white and Dakota
Whom reason abandoned. 

Regret the times and attitudes
That brought dishonor 
To both cultures. 

Respect the deeds and kindnesses
That brought honor
To both cultures. 

Next to this monument is a buffalo. 

The walk route took me along a street with old buildings on one side and railroad tracks and agri-industry businesses on the other. 

 Eventually I turned to the left walking by an industrial type sculpture.

Then I turned to the left and there was the Minnesota River.

This river begins on the Minnesota-South Dakota border at the point where Minnesota has a bit of a bulge to the west. The Minnesota River flows south through Minnesota and at Mankato starts to curve back north to end up joining the Mississippi River about 5 miles upstream from where I live.

Often this river is at flood stage when the snow melts, but the strange weather of the past year prevented that. Last summer most of the area drained by the Minnesota was experiencing a drought -- the soil went into winter very dry. The lingering winter meant the the snow melted quite late, with the frost out of the ground, and thus the melt soaked into the soil.

The walking route took me on a trail that is between the river and the flood wall.

When I came to the Main Street opening on the flood wall, the walking route took me through the downtown business area.

Again I found an old Carnegie Library.

 This is now used as an Art Center.

Turning a corner I found a coffee shop-- hurrah! I was ready for a coffee and had a nice bagel, too. Then I was off along residential streets, but a bit confused about the route. I ducked into the portico along the Lutheran Social Service Building in order to use the shade to help me use the GPS on my phone.

Continuing down the street I came upon this grand house.

A sign beside the house identified it as the Cray House and noted it was now in the Historic Register of Historic Places. The conical tower feature is repeated in other houses within this neighborhood.

Soon I was heading by east towards the public library. There is found a monument honoring those who served in the Korean Conflict.

 I stepped into the present city library to explore a bit and found this lovely fountain.

Nice walk in my old home town.

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