Historic Hubbard House hosts Old Fashioned Independence Day celebration

The event also commemorated Mankato history during the Civil War and the 1912 presidential election.
(KEYC News Now)
Published: Jul. 2, 2022 at 5:36 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - American history lovers and volunteer-actors celebrated the 4th of July during the Old Fashioned Independence Day Celebration on Saturday.

“The 4th of July, celebrating Independence day, something that unites us throughout all of American history. We thought it would be very necessary to not only learn about the past but to celebrate it,” event organizer and actor for president William Howard Taft Jonathan Soucek said.

The event was held at the historic Hubbard House, which has been owned by the Blue Earth County Historical Society since 1938. The event was free, but regular admission prices applied for tours on the site.

“The other things that we’re looking at today have to do with summer traditions and the things that people would’ve done on the fourth of July,” volunteer and actor for Elizabeth Cannon Susan Hynes said.

Attendees and characters celebrated Independence Day with popular games of the time, such as lawn games like croquet, marbles and hop-scotch, as well as popular in-door card and board games.

“It’s just fun, and its a fun way to learn about history to see people reenact it,” Hynes said.

The event also commemorated Mankato history during the Civil War and the 1912 presidential election. All attendees were greeted by historical characters picked by event organizer Jonathan Soucek. According to Soucek, he wanted to immerse audiences into the year of 1911, a historic time in which 27th president William Howard Taft visited Mankato.

“People were so divided back then. When Taft visited here, the Republican party was divided, and Taft was trying to unite people. And I think that message can resonate with people today,” Soucek said.

Other prominent characters at the event were the Hubbards, Eugene Debbs, and Elizabeth Cannon, played by volunteer actor Susan Hynes. According to Hynes, Elizabeth was married to James Cannon, the first man from Mankato to enlist in the Union army during the Civil War.

“He was saved at First Bull Run by a younger man named Hank Wykoff, who went on to fight at Gettysburg. The Minnesota first, on this day- July 2, 1863- did a sacrificial run where over 80% of the men died. So, its with gratitude that we look back on our connection to the Civil War,” Hynes said.

“We’re trying to both to unite and inform people about history,” Soucek said.

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