MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Mankato’s longest continually operating restaurant, the Wagon Wheel Café has been a staple of downtown since the 1940s.
Author David Engen and photographer John Cross discussed their book, “The Wagon Wheel Project”, which explores a concept called third places, a place between home and work for people to create and celebrate community.
“Where people can come together with from various walks of life to interact with one another to build community to alleviate loneliness and just simply have fun through conversation and the Wagon Wheel was a really, well the Wagon Wheel is a really strong example of that and we tried to bring that to life in the book through the characters who make the Wagon Wheel what it is and what it was," author David Engen said.
“Used to go to wagon wheel when I worked at Siezemore motor and that was in 46 and 47. Feels like a long time ago amazing that it’s still there compared to some of the other restaurants that are no longer around,” Mapleton resident Betty Alleven added.
“It’s a gathering place and it was kind of a great equalizer for people that didn’t matter, it was kind of the kings and the paupers didn’t matter who you were what your statute was in the community, it was a place for conversation and a little political discourse once in a while, lotta sports and it was a place that wasn’t that way by design it just kind of evolved that way," photographer John Cross said.
As of this year, the Wagon Wheel Café has been in business for almost 80 years.