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President Taft Visits Mankato

In what was a western circuit of President William Howard Taft’s campaign for re-election, the GOP incumbent stopped for part of a day on October 24, 1911, in Mankato.  His special train arrived at 11:28 a.m. from Omaha at the Milwaukee depot.  Besides the president, there were United States senators and congressmen, judges of federal and state courts, military men and those prominent in private life. 

History of Salet's Department Store

In 1896, Russian immigrant Leon Salet opened a store called L. Salet and Son in Mankato. Salet had come to Minnesota in 1892 with his wife and two sons. Salet sold goods off a horse-drawn cart from farm to farm before opening his store in 1896 on Front Street near its intersection with East Main Street.  In Mankato he sold only menswear.

A Brief History of Garden City Township

Originally called Watonwan, Garden City Township lies on the edge of the beautiful Watonwan River. The first settler, S. Titus Mills, arrived in 1854. Mills, along with his family, opened a small hotel that served travelers passing through the township.  Being the only place of lodging until Lake Crystal was re-established, he attracted many visitors. He continued to run the inn until his death in 1873.

1920 Mankato Winter Carnival

The Mankato Winter Carnival was a grand event held in Mankato in 1920 over the course of 5 days, and then never happened again in the city. During the celebration, there were several contest held and the people of the city could cast their votes for the winner. One contest was for the Queen of the Carnival, in which Miss Pauline Koke won the title. The city also held the homeliest man contest in which Pete Ferguson won the title.

A Brief History of Rapidan Township

In 1854, Basil Moreland rounded a bend in the Blue Earth River and staked a claim on the land at the top of the east bank. Aware that the land was part of the Winnebago Indian Reservation, but recognizing the potential water power available at the falls, Moreland built a house. However, others, and Moreland, were soon evicted by the government and settlers were barred from settling in the area until 1863, when the government removed the Winnebago Indians from the area, and opened the area for settling.

Christmas Advertising

By Hilda Parks, BECHS Volunteer

Wondering what to buy your loved ones this Christmas?  How about a cracker jar or a gold fountain pen.  Those are gifts advertised in The Free Press in 1900.  A Victorla or a Hoover were suggested gifts in the 1920’s.

Studying the newspaper for Christmas gifts in 1860 would have given you no ideas.  But you would learn you could purchase Bragg’s Arctic Liniment [sic] or Wright’s India Vegetable Pills for your mid-winter aches and pains. 

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