Lincoln Park was a pie-shaped wedge of lawn with a giant elm tree and a fountain on it. Quote from Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill
Maud Hart Lovelace, grew up several blocks from Lincoln Park. In an article written for the “I Remember Mankato” series published in the Mankato Free Press in 1952, Maud wrote, “As we grew older we made more trips downtown, pausing to play by the fountain at Lincoln Park or rest under the big elm there.” The little park and the fountain was an important landmark in Maud’s Betsy-Tacy books.
The memorial fountain had long been gone from Lincoln Park, but on May 30, 2015, a replica of the fountain Maud Hart Lovelace referred to in the Betsy-Tacy books was dedicated to the memory of Blue Earth County Civil War Union soldiers. Hundreds of people packed the little park for the ceremony and to witness the unveiling.
The ceremony, planned by the Boy in Blue Memorial Project committee members (of which I am a proud member), closely followed the original dedication ceremony that occurred on May 30, 1893 when Maud was just one year old. Imagine, Mr. and Mrs. Hart probably attended with their two young daughters, Kathleen and Maud.
A military parade began at the corner of Lewis and Center Streets in front of the Betsy and Tacy houses and marched to Lincoln Park. Costumed Civil War living history members from the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th MN Volunteer Infantry Regiments and the New Ulm Battery were led by a fife player and drummer. They were followed by veterans from subsequent wars and the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Civil War era patriotic music was played by Schell’s Hobo Band Quartet, and soloist Barb Dunker and the Mankato Children’s Chorus sang several songs that were performed at the 1893 ceremony. Following several speeches, the red, white and blue drape was removed from the Boy in Blue statue and the water began to flow from the fountain. Nearly 100 years later, the “Boy in Blue” has returned to his post in Lincoln Park.
A paver walkway surrounds the fountain pool. Engraved pavers will continue to be sold until the walkway is filled. The Betsy-Tacy Society purchased a paver in honor of Maud’s grandfather, Solomon Palmer, a Civil War veteran. All funds raised continue to go toward the cost of the memorial and future maintenance.