Scenic Byway: Minnesota River Valley National Scenic Byway: Minnesota River Valley
Mankato to Belle Plaine

Discovery Sites: Mankato to Belle Plaine

Walleye Browns Valley
to Ortonville
Goose Ortonville
to Montevideo
Canoe Montevideo
to Granite Falls
Tipi Granite Falls
to Redwood Falls
Waterfall Redwood Falls
to New Ulm
Beer Stein New Ulm
to Mankato
Steamboat Mankato
to Belle Plaine

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Site 68:Lincoln Park Area
Lincoln, Pleasant, Clark Streets, Mankato MN Valley Regional Library, 100 E. Main.
This area is the setting for "Deep Valley", the town loved by many in the Betsy/Tacy children's books written by local Mankato author, Maud Hart Lovelace. The library Lovelace Wing has information and a keepsake scrapbook from the author as well as a mural depicting scenes from the stories and Maud Lovelace's life.

Site 69:R. D. Hubbard House
606 S. Broad St., Mankato.
Built in 1872, the Hubbard House is the oldest remaining example of a 19th century mansion in the area. Its cherry woodwork, three marble fireplaces, silk wall coverings, and a signed Tiffany lamp shade enhanced the French Second Empire style architecture. The fine Carriage House contains a collection of horse-drawn vehicles and antique autos. Award-winning Victorian gardens landscape the two buildings. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Site 70:Blue Earth County Heritage Center
Cherry Street, Mankato.
The Heritage Center houses a beautiful, new gallery with exhibits of all aspects of early life in Blue Earth County. The gift shop offers the work of area artists and citizens, jewelry, historical books, posters, and cookbooks.


Site 71:Williams Minneopa Learning Center
Three miles west of Mankato along TH 68.
Here visitors can explore the state's premiere accessible nature center. Two miles of paved paths connect wildlife reserves, prairie vegetation, Indian mounds, and an Indian village site.

Site 72:Minneopa State Park
Six miles west of Mankato on TH 60.
A major waterfall in southwestern Minnesota tumbles through Minneopa State Park. An old stone mill and traces of Glacial River Warren be found in the midst of the park's native prairie that is filled with wildlife. The park offers camping, picnicking, and hiking in summer and cross-country skiing in winter.


Site 73:Minnemishinona Falls
Judson Bottom Road (Nicollet County Hwy. 41) is an alternate route for the Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway.
This county park is a scenic overlook, 42' waterfalls located on the Judson Bottom Road. No facilities on site.

The trust for public land purchased the 3-acre home site containing the falls in order to enhance the falls. The home was sold and removed, which allowed the site to open to the public. The archeological investigation found overwhelming evidence of artifacts from prehistoric cultures.
40923 Judson Bottom Road

Site 73:Flood Wall Trail
Veteran's Memorial Bridge to Sibley Park.
Visitors can walk, jog, and bicycle along the scenic Minnesota River for over a mile along this trail which ends with a vita course workout or walk through the zoo at enchanting Sibley Park.

Site 74:Judge Lorin P. Cray Mansion
Mankato YWCA, 603 S. 2nd St., Mankato.
The impressive Queen Anne style mansion was built in 1898 at the cost of $513,000. The towers, side balcony, stained etched and beveled glass windows, garland designed porch trim and columns are all typical of this period structure. The exterior and interior capture the Victorian character of the home with most original features remaining. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Mankato YWCA507-345-4629

Site 75:Winter Warrior Sculpture
Riverfront Drive, Mankato.
Located at the Minnesota Valley Regional Library, the sculpture made of local stone is a tribute to the Year of Reconciliation 125 years after the U.S./Dakota Conflict of 1862. Beside it stands a special marker commemorating the death of 38 Dakota.

Site 76:Old Main Village
301 S. 5th St., Mankato.
Built in 1924, Old Main was the administration building for the Mankato Normal School, now Minnesota State University. Vacant for many years, Old Main was renovated in 1987 and re-opened as a retirement community. The site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Site 77:Carnegie Art Center
120 S. Broad St., Mankato.
Originally a library, this renaissance revival-style architecture houses a gallery of local artists' work. The library is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Site 78:Union Depot
112 N. Riverfront Drive, Mankato.
Built in 1896, the Union Depot is the only surviving railroad depot in the 13 Blue Earth County townships where railroads played a major development role. The depot is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Site 79:Fort LeHillier Marker
Two miles south of Mankato on TH 66.
This marker commemorates the fort built by French explorer Pierre Charles LeSueur in 1700.

Site 80:Blue Earth County Courthouse
294 S. 5th St., Mankato.
Built in 1889, the building makes elaborate use of local Mankato stone in French and Haitian Renaissance architecture. The courthouse, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, has recently been completely renovated.

Site 81:Red Jacket Trail
Riverfront Drive in Mankato to Rapidan
This 5.5 mile trail is between Riverfront Drive in Mankato to Rapidan. Trail maps available from the Mankato Chamber of Commerce


Site 82:Akota Wokiksuye Makoce (Land of Memories) City Park
Off of US 169/MN 60 just west of Blue Earth River Bridge
Off of US 169/MN 60 just west of Blue Earth River Bridge where the Blue Earth River flows into the Minnesota River, this park offers camping, hiking, river access, fishing, and an annual Pow Wow.

Site 83:Kasota Prairie Scientific & Natural Area
South of Kasota on Co. 21 to Co. 101, west 1.5 miles.
Located on an extensive rock terrace 70 feet above the Minnesota River Valley. Wet meadow, oak woodland, and lowland hardwood plant communities thrive in the thin soils of this prairie once covered by the Glacial River Warren. This SNA protected area is another all natural area (no facilities) known for its palette of wildflower color, varying throughout the seasons.

Site 84:Kasota Stone
The Kasota Prairie contains large deposits of this yellow limestone used first for area construction and now throughout the continent. The mining operations are very active and you can see the equipment from the road. Stone from here adorns the outside face of the Norwest Tower in Minneapolis.

Site 85:Seven Mile Creek County Park
Four miles south of St. Peter and seven miles north of Mankato on US 169.
Seven Mile Creek runs throughout this scenic park area. A trail system through the wooded valley and hills is available for hiking, biking, or horseback riding. Picnicking, picnic shelter, sanitation facilities, and running water are available. River access.

Site 86:City of Kasota
This small town lies on the limestone deposits that when quarried are referred to as Kasota Stone. There is evidence of this heritage with old quarries and stone blocks in the city park. The town also features an establishment known for its venue of blues music.


Site 87:Gustavus Adolphus College Arboretum and Sculpture Garden
800 W. College Ave., St. Peter.
A private, liberal arts college with Swedish and Lutheran heritage overlooking the city of St. Peter and Minnesota River Valley from its west bank location. Christ Chapel is the focal point of the campus with its soaring spire. The Linnaeus Arboretum includes a collection of nature representative of our Minnesota and Scandinavian heritage. The Grandlund Welk walking tour views the many sculptures created by Paul Grandlund.


Site 88:E. St. Julien Cox House
500 N. Washington Ave., St. Peter.
Built in 1871, this fine example of Carpenter Gothic/Italianate architecture has been restored according to original blueprints. Furnished today in late Victorian fashion. Costumed guides conduct tours here. Serves as the setting for "Christmas at the Cox House" in December.

Site 89:Traverse des Sioux Treaty Site History Center
1851 N. Minnesota Ave., St. Peter.
The home of the Nicollet County Historical Society, the History Center museum was built next to the site where the Treaty of 1851 between the Dakota People and the federal government was signed. The museum contains three exhibit halls, audio-visual room and archives. A variety of changing and traveling exhibits are featured throughout the year.

Site 90:Traverse Des Sioux Park
One mile north of St. Peter on US 169.
Park offers hiking and historical interpretation. The Treaty Rock on the west side of highway marks the 1851 Traverse des Sioux Treaty signing site. On the east side of the highway is the old abandoned city, the 1850 steamboat landing and the "Crossing of the Sioux" (Fr. Traverse des Sioux).

Site 91:City of St. Peter Historic District
Chamber of Commerce Visitors Bureau, 101 S. Front St., St. Peter, MN 56082.
St. Peter is a very historic community with 13 sites on the National Registry. Founded by Captain William B. Dodd in 1853. St. Peter is one of the oldest cities in the state. Gustavus Adolphus College is also here, which adds to the cultural and educational diversity of the city.

Chamber of Commerce Visitors Bureau1-800-473-3404
Site 92:Riverside Park
on the Minnesota River, near the St Peter Chamber of Commerce
This 215 acre park on the Minnesota River, near the St Peter Chamber of Commerce, offers an artesian fed pond with fishing for children under 16 and senior citizens, trails, picnicking, camping, rest rooms, playground, a sliding hill and river access.


Site 93:St. Peter Regional Treatment Center Museum
100 Freeman Drive, St. Peter.
This was the first psychiatric treatment facility of its kind in the state. The facility houses a museum that includes artifacts representing the treatment center during the late 1800s. Tours by appointment.

507-931-7270 or 507-931-7182

Site 94:Minnesota Square Park
In the heart of St. Peter on Minnesota Ave.
A 10 acre park that has a recently remodeled pavilion, basketball court, sand volleyball court, playground, tennis courts, picnic tables, and rest rooms.

Site 95:Greenlawn Cemetery
One mile west of St. Peter on MN Hwy. 22, north 1/2 mile on Cty. Hwy 20
Second oldest, 1854, Minnesota platted cemetery. Contains graves of missionaries to Dakota Indians, 13 Civil War veterans, plus 1 of War of 1812 and early pioneers.

Site 96:Norseland
West of St. Peter on MN 22.
There is the Norseland general store, founded in 1858, that still serves the community and a marker commemorating those lost in an Indian attack during the U.S./Dakota conflict of 1862.

Site 97:Trout Ponds
Located off of Le Sueur Co Rd 23 (Ottawa Road).
A former DNR fish hatchery. Currently, stocked by DNR with trout providing family fishing in the little freshwater ponds fed by springs coming out of the hills in the area.

Site 98:Ottawa Bluffs Preserve (Bluffs and Fen)
Two miles south of Ottawa on Co. 23, five miles from St Peter
Purchased by the Nature Conservancy in 1975 to protect a remnant of the Minnesota River bluffs. It's tallgrass prairie, wildflowers and hardwood forest is home to pheasants, wild turkeys, deer and many species of small mammals, song birds and reptiles.

Site 99:UNIMIN Silica Mines
One mile south of Ottawa on Co. Rd 23 (Ottawa Road).
In addition to sand and gravel extraction, a unique silica sand is extracted from two sites along the byway. This private facility is an example of the valley's resources that continue to be viable for enterprise. Also, the ongoing reclamation offers a good example of reuse of mining sites.

Site 100:Burr Oak Park
Platted with the original plat for the village of Ottawa in the 1850s and dedicated for public use forever. Picnic and play areas provided.

Site 101:Ottawa Village
Le Sueur County 23 (Ottawa Road)
This State Registered Historic District dates back to 1853. The platted village is a long narrow tract of land along the Minnesota River. Ottawa progressed in the 1860s and 1970's but by the late 1890s had fallen into decline. Ottawa's eight properties on the National Register of Historic Places are locally quarried limestone buildings and stand like markers of the birth, life and passing on of this once busy townsite. One of the sites, the Ottawa Methodist Church was built in 1869 and is one of the oldest Methodist stone churches in Minnesota.

Site 102:Chamberlain Woods Scientific & Natural Area (DNR)
Three miles south of LeSueur on Co. 36, then .25 mi W. on Twp Rd. (just north of Ottawa).
An SNA is a protected area intended to be representative of, and to preserve, the natural heritage of an area. These 254 acres of deciduous woods include a mosaic of vegetation types fronting the Minnesota River. This all natural area (no facilities) is best visited in the spring to observe the dynamics of the river & floodplain forest, or in the fall when the area is open and dry enough for a long walk along the river's edge.

Site 103:River Park
1/4 mile west of LeSueur on State Hwy 93
Includes 80 acre nature park, trails, picnic area, rest rooms, camping.
Site 104:W. W. Mayo House
118 N. Main St., LeSueur MN 56058
Costumed history interpreters explore the life and time period of Dr. William Worrall Mayo and family in the home hand built by the "little doctor" in 1859. Birthplace of Dr. William James Mayo. The Doctors Mayo founded the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota in 1903. Between 1874 and 1920, the home was lived in by a founder of the Green Giant Company, C.N. Cosgrove. His son and grandson, who became company presidents, were born in the home. From 1936-1967, the Le Sueur Public Library was housed in the home. It has been restored and warmly furnished to the 1860 period. It is a Minnesota Historical Society Site.

507-665-3250 &
Site 105:LeSueur Museum and Green Giant Room
709 N. 2nd St., LeSueur.
Exhibits, videos and archives tell the story of the Green Giant Company along with displays old time Drug Store with veterinary display, Agriculture Room, One Room School, Post Office, Art, Radios, Military, LeSueur History and Family Research Center.

Site 106:Green Giant Marker
Commerce and Dakota Streets In Le Sueur
Marks the location of the original Minnesota Valley Canning Company (Green Giant Co.)

Site 107:Mayo Park and Arboretum
Located along the Highway 169 exit northeast of LeSueur.
The landscaped park has places for visitors to picnic, play horseshoes or volleyball and enjoy an arboretum with flowers, shrubs, rose gardens and a gazebo.

Site 108:Rest Area
One mile NW of Le Sueur on US 169
Includes rest rooms, telephones, picnic tables and water.

Site 109:River Lakes
south of Henderson
The area south of Henderson between MN 93 and the river contains a series of bottomland lakes. In addition to recreation potential, the area is rich in history. Most of the land is in private hands but the public road right-of-ways and public waters offer scenic viewing and excellent bird watching opportunities.

Site 110:Sibley County Rush River Park
One mile SW of Henderson on MN 19. From Henderson take Highway 19 west 1.2 miles. Turn left onto County Rd. 62 for .2 mile. Turn left onto 335th Avenue (gravel) for 1.0 mile to T road, turn left onto 300th Street for .5 mile. Turn right on to Rush River Park Road for .5 mile to entrance to park.
Component of the Minnesota Valley Trail system. A 315 acre wooded site with rolling hills next to the Rush River. Contains a large picnic area, a picnic shelter, hiking trails, rustic sanitation facilities, and running water. 1


Site 111:Ney Environmental Area and Learning Center
Located 2 miles east of Henderson on MN 19 at top of the hill (watch for deer, wild turkeys and bald eagles) turn right onto Nature Center Lane.
A 366 acre parcel of land given to Le Sueur County by the Ney family. Currently, plans are underway to develop on this site an environmental learning center where schools, children, and other interested groups can come to study the environment. The site offers a variety of environmental study opportunities from wildlife to vegetation for visitors.


Site 112:East Henderson
Located 1.3 miles east of Henderson on MN 19 to Henderson Station Road/Cty Rd. 34, turn right mile to East Henderson and Henderson Station river access (Le Sueur County Park).
Remnants of the village of Clarksville established in the 1850s is known today as East Henderson. All that remains of the village is an old elevator, a couple of old frame structures which once housed businesses and a home presently lived in.

Site 113:Sibley County Museum
700 Main Street, Henderson
Housed in an 1884 brick mansion, this museum was established in 1948 when the August Poeler home was purchased. Exhibits include the remnants of early pioneer life in Minnesota.

Site 114:Joseph R. Brown Minnesota River Center and Joseph R. Brown Research Library
600 Main Street, Henderson.
An interpretive center telling the life story of this exceptional man who shaped Minnesota history and of early Minnesota history.

Site 115:City of Henderson (Henderson Historic District)
Historic river town with historic sites, parks and events such as Sauerkraut Days. Henderson's main street is a nationally registered historic district, comprised of stately buildings of locally made brick.


Site 116:High Island Scenic Area and County Park
Two miles north of Henderson on Co. 6.
Hill and woods with the creek on its course to the Minnesota. Contains camping, hiking, picnic area and horse trails.

Site 117:Jessenland Town Hall
The present town hall was erected in 1905 as a schoolhouse to replace the old District 12 building. The township was organized in 1858 with early meetings held in a log home.

Site 118:St. Thomas Catholic Church
(Jessenland Township) located 5 miles north of Henderson on County Rd # 6
The present church was built in 1870 replacing previous structures built in 1855 and 1862. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and national documentation calls it the first Irish agrarian settlement in Minnesota.

Site 119: Avenue of Trees to Blakeley Bridge
Located 2.5 miles past St. Thomas Catholic Church at the intersection of Sibley Cty Rds #6 & #5
A stately row of cottonwoods guards the frequently flooded Sibley County #5 leading to the Blakeley Bridge. Built in 1925, replacing the ferry, the bridge was dedicated as a memorial to Sibley and Scott County Veterans of World War I. The original 1925 Blakeley Bridge was torn down and replaced by a modern bridge a few years ago, but the avenue of trees is still there.

Site 120:Sand and Gravel Pits
Sand and gravel deposits lie along the bluff above the river.
The first pit was opened in the 1950s. Later Sibley County acquired property here for a source of road gravel.


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