Minnesota (www.state.mn.us) is a U.S. state located in the north central region of the United States, on the U.S. – Canadian border. It is the twelfth largest state, with 5.3 million residents. It was admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state on May 11, 1858. Minnesota is known as the land of 10,000 lakes, and nearly 60% of its residents live in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area, known as the Twin Cities. The remainder of the state consists of western prairies, now given over to intensive agriculture; deciduous forests in the southeast have been cleared, farmed and settled; the less populated North Woods area is used for mining, forestry, and recreation.
Mansfield is a township in Freeborn County, Minnesota (www.freeborn.mn.us). It is in the Albert Lea metro area, which is the county seat of Freeborn County (www.cityofalbertlea.org). Albert Lea is a city at the junction of Interstates 35 and 90, about 90 miles (140 km) south of the Twin Cities and on the shores of several lakes.
Mansfield is in the south eastern part of the State, very close to the border with Iowa. At the time of the 2000 census its population was 289, with 114 households and 90 families living in the township. According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 36.1 square miles (93.6 km²) which is virtually all land with only 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of water.
The area’s economy was based on agriculture, farming support services (such as meat packing plants) and manufacturing, for example of barn equipment, ice machines, store fixtures, and milking machines. However, much of its manufacturing base has diminished.
The following information provides an interesting insight into Mansfield Township, Minnesota. It was provided by Rhona Pieczka, from Mansfield England, who visited Mansfield Minnesota in 2002 as part of a tour of several ‘Mansfields’:
‘Our longstanding friends Jack and Lynn had told us that they had found Mansfield Minnesota and would be happy to accompany us on a visit there. This time the drive was only fifty minutes from where we stayed at Faribault. We arrived at the Mansfield Store, the centre of the community of Mansfield Minnesota, the population a total of 27. We met Curt Olson. His family have run the store in Mansfield for over 50 years. I presented him with a copy of our Mansfield Guide, together with a Commemorative Golden Jubilee Medallion.’
Information about Mansfield Township was also received from Clinton Meyer, who lives in the area:
‘I am currently sitting in Mansfield, Minnesota USA at the ‘hub’ of activities, the Mansfield Store. Mansfield is not an incorporated village, but simply the intersection of two roads, where a few houses and businesses have been over the years. Currently the Mansfield Store is a farm (agricultural) service center, which provides seed, fertilizers, crop chemicals and customer application services, along with LP. It employs 6 to 8 full time people and also seasonal help. The owner is Curt Olson and his father was the person who started the business. Mansfield Meats is a meat processing facility that butchers, processes and packages meat for its customers. It is a family owned business with about 3 full time employees. Mansfield Meats is in the building that used to be the creamery and there also used to be an automotive repair and gasoline station here. There is an active congregation at Mansfield Lutheran Church. There are 7 houses in Mansfield and the countryside around is agricultural, raising corn, soybeans and a significant number of hogs. I live 2.5 miles from here and am active at the Lutheran Church.’