Historic Downtown Nostalgia
Like so many American towns, Mankato dropped the ball. It went from what seemed like a vibrant place, from the postcard and historic photos above, and it transformed into what you see below:
When you Google Image Search “Mankato Minnesota Downtown” – this is the first image that pops up. To reassure you, yes, it is a photo of a hardly-used grocery store parking lot and strip mall Blockbuster store. I’ve documented a number of the misfires of the town’s economic development, zoning plans, parking minimums and general planning follies. I’ve written a lot about it, and if you’re interested you can read about it here, here, here, here, here and here.
The town clearly has hurdles to overcome. I, in some ways, genuinely want to help out. It’s my hometown and I have affection for it. With this yearning comes with a longing for a once-present, but now long-gone, energetic city center. Yet, at the end of the day- it’s nostalgic. It’s all nostalgic – because in my twenty odd years, I’ve never genuinely experienced an “urban” small or mid-sized Midwestern American downtown moment.