Mar 15, 2016

A Stagecoach Discovery: History of Mantorville and The Hubbell House

Try to imagine taking a road trip by stagecoach in the 1800's. Riding along treacherous terrain, withstanding the weather elements and dealing with unforeseen hazards along the way.  

It was during the time our nation was expanding west and stagecoach travelers were made up of many different individuals like merchants, miners or entrepreneurs that would ride in confined and tiresome conditions to get to their destination.  Some were on board to discover distant lands and build new dreams. 

Our road trip to Mantorville, MN was far cushier in comparison to what Frank Mantor and John Hubbell may have experienced. They took a stagecoach road trip across the Great Plains from Winona to St. Peter and somewhere between rolling through river towns and the dusty trails, they staked claim on the land that is now the town of Mantorville.

Our travels to Mantorville didn't include the danger of bandit attacks or the uncomfortable rocking and jolsting motion of the stagecoach. We weren't snugly seated just inches from unfamiliar passengers and our coach wasn't horse driven by a reinsman named One-eyed Charlie or Sage Brush Bill

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Our present day trip took us a little over an hour from St. Paul, MN to arrive at this historic town and restaurant called the Hubbell House. Built originally as a hotel in 1854 by John Hubbell, it soon became an important stopping place along the trail from the Mississippi River to St. Peter. The small town is situated just 20 miles north west of Rochester, MN and approximately 70 miles south of the Twin Cities

Our discovery came to life when we entered the historic Hubbell House on a quiet Friday afternoon. It was in the saloon that we enthusiastically bellied up to the bar for a cold one and to grab some lunch. 

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The saloon is where you can really get to the heart of the action, meet the locals and find out the real town scoop. We were not disappointed. 

Our bartender was a young lady (this is NOT her pictured) who grew up in the area and was more than excited to share the history of the Hubbell House.

Over the years of operation, they've had many guests that have been well known actors, politicians and sports players. Including Ulysses S. Grant, Micky Mantel, Roy Rogers and a visit from Minnesota native, Marion Ross from the "Happy Days" television series. Click this link to the Hubbell House history page and see other celebrity names from the guest list. 

Past and Present Notable Minnesotans Framed at The Hubbell House, Mantorville, MN

The Hubbell House today is known for their superb cuisine and historic decor. If interested here is a link to their menu options.  

Personally, I remember coming here as a kid with my parents for the great chicken and ribs. However, at that time I hadn't realized the interesting roundup of events that took place to make this a notable destination.

The Hubbell House is on the official "Best Landmark Restaurant" in Minnesota. If you're in the area, it's a lovely day trip from the Twin Cities and I can attest that the Walleye Fish Sandwich was a keeper!

The little town of Mantorville offers a lot of historic charm along with antique shops, gift stores, Mantorville Opera House and, of course, I couldn't resist getting a couple Cashew Chocolate Turtles at The Chocolate Shoppe.

The Chocolate Shoppe - Mantorville, MN

Luckily, transportation is much better and the drive to Mantorville is far more pleasurable then back in the stagecoach days. 

I must admit, the chance to meet and be chauffeured by One-eyed Charlie would have been an unforgettable encounter!  

Want to know more about the stagecoach experience? Read "What is it like to ride a stagecoach?"

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Laurie O

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