Sites Along the Byway: Mankato to Belle Plaine

Browns Valley to Ortonville Ortonville to Montevideo Montevideo to Granite Falls Granite Falls to Redwood Falls Redwood Falls to New Ulm New Ulm to Mankato Mankato to Belle Plaine

Swan Lake Wildlife Management Area

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Kasota, MN
Birding/Wildlife, Discovery Site, Natural History

Minneopa State Park and Minneopa Falls

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Minneopa State Park-cascading waterfalls

A major waterfall in southwestern Minnesota tumbles through Minneopa State Park. An old stone mill and traces of Glacial River Warren can 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.

Biking, Birding/Wildlife, Camping, Destination, Geocaching, Golfing, Hiking/Skiing, Interpretation, Natural History

Minnemishinona Falls

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Minnemishinona Falls -summer

This county park is a scenic overlook, 42' waterfalls located on the Judson Bottom Road. No facilities on site. The waterfall does not run at all times. 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
Mankato, MN 56003
Birding/Wildlife, Discovery Site, Natural History

Mankato Historic Districts

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Old Train comes to the Mankato Depot

The Union Depot was build in 1896 and is the only surviving railroad depot in the 13 Blue Earth County townships where railroads played a major development role. The Blue County Courthouse was built in 1889 and makes elaborate use of local Mankato stone in French and Haitian Renaissance architecture - which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Old Main Village - built in 1924, was the administration building for the Mankato Normal School- listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Betsy Tacy House, Carnegie Art Center, Hubbard House, Reconciliation Park, Riverfront Park and many others.

Mankato, MN 56001
507-345-5566
Eating, Historic Town, Interpretation, Shopping

R.D. Hubbard House Museum

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Hubbard House

Built in 1871, the Hubbard House was declared by the newspaper to be one of the finest homes of its day. The high level restoration has returned the home to its former splendor. Its oak and birch woodwork, three marble fireplaces, silk wall coverings, and Tiffany and Quetzal lamp shades enhance the French Second Empire style architecture. The fine Carriage House contains a collection of horse-drawn vehicles and antique autos. Victorian gardens landscape the two buildings. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

606 South Broad Street
Mankato, MN 56001
507-345-5566
Discovery Site, Interpretation, Museum

Betsy-Tacy House Museums

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Betsy Tacy House

Betsy’s House is the childhood home of Maud Hart Lovelace (1892-1980), beloved author of the famed children’s series of Betsy-Tacy books. The author is the real-life character of “Betsy” and the books are historical fiction based on her childhood memories of growing up in Mankato, the fictionalized “Deep Valley.”With over a million and a half books sold, they have drawn national as well as international attention to Mankato, MN. The Betsy-Tacy Society has spent the past decade preserving the legacy of both the author and her books. Tacy’s House serves as its headquarters, gift shop and interpretive center. Open Saturdays from 1-3pm; reservations required during the week.

332 Center Street
333 Center Street
Mankato, MN 56001
Destination, Interpretation, Museum, Shopping

Blue Earth County History Center and Museum

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Blue Earth Heritage Center

The museum highlights items from the Society's collection and reflects the rich heritage of Blue Earth County. Exhibits feature people, places, and events that shaped this county including: Native American tools and artifacts, Remembering Front Street exhibit, a diorama of downtown Mankato in the 1880s, and an interactive children's area with a pioneer cabin.

424 Warren Street
Mankato, MN 56001
507-345-5566
Destination, Interpretation, Museum, Shopping, U.S. – Dakota War of 1862

Reconciliation Park, Winter Warrior and Memorial Marker

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Reconciliation Park-sign

Dedicated on September 19, 1997, the park is the site of the largest mass execution in U.S. history in which 38 Dakota Indians were hanged by the government as the result of trials following the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. Tom Miller sculpted the buffalo from a 67-ton block of local Kasota limestone. The buffalo symbolizes the spiritual survival of the Dakota People and honors the Dakota heritage of this area. The park is a site to reflect, meditate and remember.

209 N Riverfront Dr
Mankato, MN 56001
Biking, Destination, Interpretation, U.S. – Dakota War of 1862

CityArt Walking Sculpture Tour

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Mankato City Art Tour-sculpture of dancers

City Art is an exciting exhibit of outdoor sculptures displayed year-round in the City Centers of Mankato and North Mankato, Minnesota. Artists place their sculptures in the program for one year. The sculptures are promoted to the public for sale. Artists are eligible to win cash awards; as well as the possibility of having their piece be voted The People’s Choice and purchased by the City Center Partnership for permanent installation.

Biking, Discovery Site, Eating, Shopping

Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota

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The Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota is full of opportunities for discovery, development, and hands-on play. The Museum is many things: a mission, a place, and an organization -- but it is entirely devoted to serving children, families, and the greater community. Newly opened at its fantastic, and permanent location in Mankato, Minnesota, the Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota features exhibits, activities, and spaces to engage all ages.

224 Lamm Street
Mankato,, MN 56001
507-386-0279.
Destination, Eating, Interpretation, Museum, Natural History

Carnegie Art Center, Mankato

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Carnegie Art Center-art displayed

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.

120 S. Broad St.
Mankato, MN 56001
(507) 625-2730
Discovery Site, Interpretation, Museum, Shopping

Fort LeHillier Marker and Landing

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Minnesota 66
Mankato, MN 56001
Biking, Birding/Wildlife, Discovery Site, Fishing/Hunting, Hiking/Skiing, Natural History, Paddling

Akota Wokiksuye Makoce (Land of Memories) Park, Mahkato Wacipi (Pow Wow)

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100 Amos Owen Ln
Mankato, MN 56001
Biking, Camping, Disc Golf, Discovery Site, Fishing/Hunting, Hiking/Skiing, Natural History, Paddling, U.S. – Dakota War of 1862

Kasota Prairie Scientific & Natural Area and Kasota Prairie Conservation Area

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Township Road 140
Kasota, MN 56050
(651) 296-5484
Birding/Wildlife, Discovery Site, Hiking/Skiing, Natural History

Rasmussen Woods and Elk's Nature Center

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555 Stoltzman Rd
Mankato, MN 56001
507-387-8600
Biking, Birding/Wildlife, Discovery Site, Fishing/Hunting, Hiking/Skiing, Interpretation, Natural History

St. Peter Historic District

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St. Peter Historic District- biking

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.

101 S. Front St.
St. Peter, MN 56082
1-800-473-3404
Eating, Historic Town

Gustavus Adolphus Arboretum and Sculpture Garden

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800 W College Ave.
St. Peter, MN 56082
507-933-8000
Discovery Site, Natural History

E. St. Julien Cox House

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St. Peter - Cox House

Lawyer, mayor, soldier, legislator and judge, Eugene Cox built his marvelous Italianate-style home in 1871 and today it is open for tours. Special displays and activities take place year-round.

500 N Washington Ave.
St. Peter, MN 56082
507-934-2160
Discovery Site, Interpretation, Museum

Treaty Site History Center and Nicollet County Museum, Traverse des Sioux Historic Site

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Traverse des Sioux -history center building

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.

1851 N. Minnesota Ave.
St. Peter, MN 56082
507-934-2160
Destination, Interpretation, Museum, U.S. – Dakota War of 1862

St. Peter Regional Treatment Center Museum

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100 Freeman Drive
St. Peter, MN 56082
507-931-7270 507-931-7182
Discovery Site, Interpretation, Museum

Ottawa Bluffs Preserve

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Birding/Wildlife, Discovery Site, Natural History

Ottawa Village Historic District

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Ottawa Village -town hall

This State Registered Historic District dates back to 1860. The platted village is a long narrow tract of land along the Minnesota River. Ottawa progressed in the 1860s to 1890s but by 1900 was falling into decline. Ottawa’s seven locally quarried stone buildings on the National Register of Historic Places stand like markers of the birth, life and passing on of this once busy townsite. A self-guided map and tour are available at Town Hall Kiosk. One of the sites, the Ottawa Methodist Church, was built in the 1860s out of native limestone and is one of the oldest Methodist Church buildings in Minnesota.

Ottawa Village Historic District, MN 56058
507-665-2501
Historic Town, Interpretation, Shopping

W.W. Mayo House

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Mayo house

Guided tours led by 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, and the birthplace of Dr. William James Mayo. The Doctors Mayo founded the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota in 1903. Between 1874 and 1920, a founder of the Green Giant Company, C.N. Cosgrove, lived in the home. From 1936 to 1967, the Le Sueur Public Library was housed in the home. It has been restored and warmly furnished to the 1860 period and is a Minnesota Historical Society Site.

118 N. Main St.
LeSueur, MN 56058
507-665-3250
Discovery Site, Interpretation, Museum, U.S. – Dakota War of 1862

Le Sueur Museum and Green Giant Room

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LeSueur museum- green giant

Exhibits, videos and archives tell the story of the Green Giant Company along with an old time drug store with veterinary display, agriculture room, one room school, post office, art, radios, military, Le Sueur History and family research center.

709 N. 2nd St.
LeSueur, MN 56058
507-665-2050
Discovery Site, Interpretation, Museum

Henderson Historic District

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Henderson Historic District-main street

Henderson is a 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. The Sibley County Museum is located on 700 Main Street in Henderson. Housed in an 1884 brick mansion, this museum was established in 1948 when the August and Emilie Poehler home (built in 1884) was purchased. Exhibits include the remnants of early pioneer life in Minnesota.

Main St. between 5th and 6th St.
Henderson, MN 56044
507-248-3434
Eating, Historic Town, Shopping

Ney Nature Center

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Ney Nature Center

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.

28238 Nature Center Ln
Henderson, MN 56044
507-248-3474
Birding/Wildlife, Destination, Hiking/Skiing, Interpretation, Natural History

Sibley County Historical Museum

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Sibley county historical Museum

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.

700 Main Street
Henderson, MN 556044
507-248-3434
Discovery Site, Interpretation, Museum

Joseph R. Brown Heritage Society and Minnesota River Center

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Joseph R Brown MN River Center-building

An interpretive center telling the life story of this exceptional man who shaped early Minnesota history. A place to study the geographical and cultural history of the Minnesota River Valley with an exhibit called the “Minnesota River Table.” The valley carved by the Ancient RiverWarren has been home to successive waves of natives, from prehistoric people to the Dakota in the valley when white explorers, fur traders and then settlers arrived. He founded Henderson in 1852. His influence on early Minnesota government, relations with Indians and his business endeavors are explained in the Center.

600 Main Street
PO Box 25
Henderson, MN 56044
507-248-3234
Destination, Interpretation, Museum, Natural History, U.S. – Dakota War of 1862

Belle Plaine Historic Main Street

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Belle Plaine, MN 56011
952-873-6109
Biking, Eating, Hiking/Skiing, Historic Town, Shopping
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Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway