Brief History of the Blue Earth County Historical Society

Mankato's Semi-Centennial

The Blue Earth County Historical Society dates back to 1901. As the Semi-centennial of Mankato and Blue Earth County was approaching, a group decided to organize a historical society as part of the event. A constitution was written and plans made to commemorate fifty years of settlement. 

For the five-day Semi-centennial event, exhibits were created and papers were read commemorating early pioneers, industries, churches and schools. Following the semi-centennial, BECHS was inactive until resurgence in interest took place during 1916. The Society has remained active ever since.

In 1938, the R. D. Hubbard House was purchased by BECHS with money donated by Judge Lorin Cray for the purpose of buying or building a permanent museum. The house was then transferred to the City of Mankato under an agreement 

Hubbard House as BECHS Museum

that the City would maintain it for BECHS to use as a museum. The City would pay the maintenance costs of heat and electricity. The Society transformed the building from a home to museum and opened it to the public on September 1, 1938.

As the Society grew, it was active in placing historical markers around Blue Earth County and working to get historically significant sites added to the national register. The BECHS newsletter began publication in 1972.

During the 1980's, the Society was continually looking at options for a better facility for the storage and display of its collections. When the Summit Senior Center began looking for a partner to share the former Catholic Newman Center building, BECHS was ready to talk. The two non-profit organizations became partners in the late 1980s and BECHS took over most of the second floor of the building. Major fund raising provided money to remodel the floor into an exhibit gallery, research center and offices. The newly named Heritage Center opened to the public in August of 1990.

Beginning in July 2014, BECHS expanded into the entire building. Work has begun to move staff offices, the Museum Gift Shop and the Meeting Room to the lower level. The main entrance also moved from the Cherry Street location 

Main Entrance to BECHS

to Warren Street which provides better parking and a handicap accessible door for the public. This expanded facility was re-named the History Center and Museum. 

Learn more about what BECHS does on a day-to-day basis.