Getting to know our landmarks

·3 min read

Jul. 10—We Minnesotans apparently don't know our state landmarks as well as we should.

A marketing agency called Cherry Digital quizzed more than 3,000 Minnesotans and provided sets of four landmarks — three located here and one in another state. People were asked to identify which landmark was not in Minnesota.

Half the time, Minnesotans got it wrong.

Still we did pretty well comparatively. The worst state overall was Illinois, where only 7% of people correctly identified that the handsome, terracotta-tone Central Railroad Terminal is actually in New Jersey, not the Prairie State.

At the opposite end of the rankings when it came to knowing (almost) everything in their state was Connecticut, where 79% of their landmarks were correctly identified.

One of the Minnesota landmark questions listed was: The International Wolf Center, Salvation Mountain, Soudan Underground Mine and the Museum of Quackery and Medical Frauds.

The Wolf Center and Soudan Mine are pretty easy to identify as Minnesotan, but a lot of people got tripped up on the other two. About half the respondents said Salvation Mountain was here. It's a giant folk art mountain made of discarded tires, windows and car parts in California.

The Medical Fraud museum is part of the Science Museum of Minnesota.

It's pretty subjective to decide what a "landmark" is. Some, like Mall of America or Canal Park are easy to agree on as landmarks, but many others may only be local or regional landmarks.

The Mankato area is rich in history and has plenty of landmarks. Here's a list I came up with and you can see how many you know the location of. If you've lived here a long time you likely know where most of them are, but newer residents may not and even longtime residents may not know some. (Answers below.)

A: E. St. Julien Cox House

B: Geldner historic saw mill

C: North Mankato's WWII memorial

D: Seppman Mill

E: Traverse des Sioux river crossing

F: Dakota Winter Warrior Memorial

G. Harkin General Store

H. Dr. William Mayo House

I. Minnesota Hospital for the Insane

J. Carson H. Cosgrove House

K. Church of the Holy Communion

L. Frederick W. Kiesling House

M. Hofmann Apiaries

Answers:

A: In St. Peter, the Gothic-style house was built for the city's first mayor.

B: The old saw mill is near the southern shores of German and Jefferson lakes.

C: Wheeler Park.

D: In Minneopa State Park, overlooking the bison range.

E: At the Minnesota River just north of St. Peter.

F: By the library in Mankato.

G. Sioux Trail Road north of New Ulm

H. Le Sueur

I. St. Peter

J. The stately home in Le Sueur, on the National Register, was built for the founder of the canned food company that would become Green Giant.

K. The 1870 Gothic Revival church on the National Register is on the main drag in St. Peter, near Highway 99.

L. The 1861 house in New Ulm survived the battle of New Ulm during the U.S.-Dakota War.

M. Near Janesville, the apiary is the only bee colony in the country on the National Register.

Anyone coming up with a similar list would have many other sites they find significant. New Ulm alone has several dozen landmarks.

Whether you're a die-hard history buff or just someone curious about the area you live in, looking up some historic homes, bridges, and buildings and taking a drive to visit them is enriching.

Plus you can have some good dinner conversation with friends, telling them how you found the Strangers Refuge Oddfellows Lodge in New Richland. Now the town's library, it is on the Historic Register.

Tim Krohn can be contacted at tkrohn@mankatofreepress.com or 507-720-1300.