Excerpt from The Heritage of Blue Earth County by Julie Schrader, Topic 28, available in the Research & Genealogy Center.
“On June 22, 1886, a corporation was formed with a capital of $50,000 by William M. Farr, John C. Noe, J.A. Willard, Stephen Lamm, George Piper, George Clark and J.R. Jones. During the spring of 1886 construction began. The first line was laid on Front Street from Vine Street to Sibley Park and thence from Woodland Avenue to the Blue Earth River bridge. On July 23, 1886, the Mankato Street Railway was officially opened for travel with 966 passengers carried the first day, 1033 on the second day and 1455 on the third. Had Mankato residents continued to patronize the streetcar at this rate, the first street railway would have been a profitable enterprise. In hopes of making the service available to more Mankato residents and thereby increasing patronage, an extension was added in 1887. This line was laid up Liberty Street to Broad, up Broad to Center, up Center to Bradley, down Bradley to Byron and up Byron to Lewis. This extension proved to be the most unprofitable part of the line and in 1890 service was discontinued and the track taken up.
“Four horse cars were operated from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. The car barn was located near the slough on South Front Street. Among the drivers E.J. Sheldon, George E. Blake and C. Fitzgerald were residents of Mankato and James Wolverton of Garden City were foreman of the car barn. The company owned its own graders to clear the tracks of snow in winter. The line was losing enterprise from the beginning. Only on such days as fairs or circuses did it pay expenses. The men who had put their money into it were confident that Mankato would grow rapidly and the outskirts of town would build up the need for the streetcar system. However, as the years went by and the losses mounted, the men became discouraged. By September 1985 it was evident that there was little use to continue this unprofitable service.”