44 45 MANKATO, MINNESOTA SAVING ENERGY MEANS SAVING MONEY Minnesota M ankato is a city in Blue Earth, Nicollet, and Le Sueur counties in the state of Minnesota. The county seat of Blue Earth County, Mankato is located along a large bend of the Minnesota River at its confluence with the Blue Earth River. The area was long settled by various cultures of in- digenous peoples, primarily the Dakota, who called the river, Makato Osa Watapa, meaning “the river where blue earth is gathered.” The city of Mankato was organized in 1858, by settlers who had migrat- ed from the east. Today, Mankato is a major regional center with strong econom- ic growth and a population of about 40,600. The city is renowned for its great parks and trails, with many rivers, lakes, ravines, bluffs, natural prairies, and forested areas. Of its 18.3 square miles, eight