Blue Earth County (pop. 64,013), west of Waseca County, was named for the 108-mile-long Blue Earth River; the river was named for the blue-green clay that was once found on its banks.
The county seat is Mankato (pop. 39,309), located where the Blue Earth River joins the Minnesota River.
Minnesota State University, Mankato, has about 15,000 students. It was founded in 1868 as the Minnesota Normal School.
The Blue Earth County Courthouse was built in 1889.
The First National Bank of Mankato was built in 1913 in the Prairie School style.
The Happy Chef chain of restaurants is headquartered in Mankato; the first Happy Chef opened in 1963 in Mankato.
Minneopa State Park is just west of Mankato.
The park contains the Seppman Mill, a stone windmill that was built in 1864.
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