Highland Park

Highland Park (HM1AJA)

Location: Mankato, MN 56001 Blue Earth County
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Country: United States of America
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N 44° 9.335', W 93° 59.747'

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Mankato's "First" City Park

This area (Bunker Hill) once served as a Civil War recruitment center, but this was not the primary reason for its acquisition. The Mankato City Council purchased approximately 10.2 acres at 150 dollars an acre on October 15, 1874, with the intention of providing local residents with the first, dependable, free-flowing well. The following year an attempt was made to sink an artesian well into the hillside, but the water level never reached higher than 78 feet from the surface. Despite the failure, the City retained its ownership of the property with the intention of developing it at some later date. Since it was acquired in 1874, the Bunker Hill parcel was the first city-owned land to be later developed into a park.

In 1888, a proposal was made to build Mankato's first hospital on Bunker Hill. Five years later, the plan specified a quarantine hospital to be built there. In 1896, a special ordinance was passed designating the land to be used as a city park. Despite local support for retaining the name, "Bunker Hill," the City Council chose "Highland" to be the park's official name. In 1905, the first park building was constructed. By 1909, it was ordered that all animals be removed from Highland, strongly suggesting the presence of a zoo within the park.

Highland Park served many years as a popular stop for tourist campers from all over the country. No doubt, the park's wooded ravines, tall trees and shady picnic areas inspired at least one tourist to comment, "Highland was hard to beat." During World War II, the park fell into disrepair; but after many years of improvements, the park has been upgraded with many modern conveniences, while retaining its rustic charm. It provides both the weary traveler and city dweller alike, the opportunity for rest and quiet reflection.

Erected in 2002 by Sons of the American Legion, Lorentz Squadron 11
Mankato Sesquicentennial Committee
Mankato, Minnesota

1860's: Used as Civil War Recruitment Center.
1874: Mankato City Council purchased 10.2 acres of land to provide residents with free-flowing well.
1875: Artesian well sunk into hillside — water level never reached higher than 78 feet from surface.
1888: Proposal made to build Mankato's first hospital on "Bunker Hill".
1893: Plans made to build quarantine hospital on site.
1896: Special Ordinance passed designating land to be used as city park. City Council chose "Highland" to be the park's official name instead of "Bunker Hill".
1905: First park building constructed.
1909: Animals removed from Highland Park Zoo.
1905-1941: Popular stop for tourist campers from across the country. "Highland was hard to beat."
1941-1945: Park fell into disrepair during WWII.
1945 to present: After many years of improvements, park was upgraded with many modern conveniences, while retaining its rustic charm.
Year Placed2002
Placed BySons of the American Legion, Lorentz Squadron 11, Mankato Sesquicentennial Committee, Mankato, Minnesota
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, September 6th, 2014 at 8:36pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15T E 420372 N 4889635
Decimal Degrees44.15558333, -93.99578333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 44° 9.335', W 93° 59.747'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds44° 9' 20.10" N, 93° 59' 44.82" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)507, 612
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 263-265 Weaver St, Mankato MN 56001, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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