He was ‘that’ mayor of Mankato
I love interviewing folks, hearing their stories, then writing about them. I must love it, because I have been doing it a long time.
I must admit, though, some interviews are easier than others. Some are also more fun.
Interviewing former Mankato mayor and now Blue Earth resident, Stan Christ, for the Senior Citizens section in this week’s Faribault County Register was one of the fun ones.
Stan is a very interesting guy, and he loves to visit. That makes my job a whole lot easier.
I first met Stan when he had his collectible toys set up in one of the Three Sisters buildings during Blue Earth’s City Wide Garage Sale. I took his picture and we started to chat.
I was amazed to learn that he was the former mayor of Mankato and was now a resident of Blue Earth.
I wanted to know more. I wanted to know why the former mayor of Mankato was now living here. So I asked if I could interview him sometime, and he said sure.
I found out why and now you can too, by reading his story.
During our long interview session last week, we covered a lot of territory. And one of the things on the topic list was the infamous Mankato monument. You know, the one that had inscribed on it “Here Were Hanged 38 Sioux Indians – Dec. 26th 1862.”
Maybe you know the story, maybe you don’t. But it is true.
There was the Sioux Uprising (or Sioux Conflict) in southern Minnesota in 1862. Much has been written about it, and I suggest you Google it and read more about it sometime.
At the end of the conflict, there were more than 300 Sioux who were arrested and tried and sentenced to death. All but 38 were pardoned by the president.
In one of the more infamous moments of Mankato (and Minnesota) history, all 38 were hanged at one time on a large gallows in downtown Mankato, on the day after Christmas. A huge crowd attended and cheered the execution.
In 1912, that monument about the execution was erected on the very spot where the hangings occurred.
It was still there when I moved to Mankato to attend college in 1968. But I am happy to say that due to protests about the monument when I was in college there, it was removed in 1971 and put into a junk pile in a shed in Sibley Park.
It remained there until 1994, when it was discovered that this monument had disappeared and apparently been stolen.
Sometime later it was discovered that the thief was none other than the mayor of the city at that time.
Yeah, Stan Christ was ‘that’ mayor. And during our interview last week, he totally confessed to the crime.
He says that over the years there had been many very, very, negative comments about the monument. And then in the 1990s there was talk about moving the monument to somewhere where it could be on display again.
Stan says he could not let that happen. He says his great-grandfather was three-fourths Dakota Sioux, and his father’s mother’s family had Blackfoot blood in their veins.
So, about 5 p.m. one day in 1994, Christ drove a flatbed truck to the Sibley Park shed and two others used city equipment to load the 8,500 pound monument and Stan drove off and hauled it away.
To a place unknown. Unknown to everyone except Stan and two other people he says. And one of those has Alzheimer’s and probably doesn’t remember anymore. Or maybe both are dead by now he admits.
A couple of years ago a group of students at Minnesota State University, Mankato, started an investigation into what happened to the monument and where it is now.
Stan says he found out later he could not be located in 2006. But a reporter from the Mankato Free Press tracked him down in 2012 because a newspaper in Missouri did a story about him donating blood.
He says he really honestly didn’t realize he was a missing person.
But he admitted to the reporter that, yes, he took the monument, and no, he would never reveal where it might be.
He said the same thing to me. He simply says that he got rid of it.
There are rumors that he dumped it in the Minnesota River, or gave it to the Sioux tribe at Morton, Minnesota. Or smashed it to smithereens.
Stan chuckles at all of these speculations. No one knows where it is, he says, not even his family. Just him.
It is simply gone.
And, maybe that is just the way it should be.