Q: Dear Ask Us Guy,
Do you have any way of checking your facts before you put things in your column?
A: Not without doing a bunch of additional work.
The question, by the way, was in response to the Jan. 4 Ask Us, where it was incorrectly speculated that Adams Street was named after an early American president.
Now, in Ask Us Guy's defense, that Jan. 4 question was a two-parter, and he dug up accurate information about the local physician who was the man behind Doc Jones Road. And Ask Us Guy clearly stated that he couldn't find anyone at the historical society or the city who knew the origin of Adams Street, and it was only a guess that the street's name was presidential in origin.
Ask Us Guy, who minored in history while going to journalism school, thought it made sense that the street was named after America's fourth president, Samuel Adams. After all, other nearby streets also appeared to be honoring the first residents of the White House such as President Madison and President Franklin (think of Madison Avenue and the former Franklin Hill road) or early American First Ladies (Ann Street, May Street, Mabel Street and Minerva Street).
Turns out, as a reader informed him the following week, Adams Street was actually named after early Mankato City Councilman John Adams.
As always, readers are encouraged to write or call on those extremely rare occasions when Ask Us Guy allows inaccuracies to slip into the column.
Q: This Adams business ... What I vaguely remember is between 1967 and 1971, Mankato had a mayor named Cliff R. Adams. And if I recall, that's about the time they changed it.
A: OK, Ask Us Guy gives up. ... President Adams, Councilman Adams, Mayor Adams, Morticia Adamms — who knows, but Adams Street was most likely named after somebody named Adams.
Q: I just finished reading your Jan. 11 column. When I moved to an apartment on what is now Madison Avenue in 1968 it was called Rhine Street. It later became Madison Avenue. I do not know when it was Windmiller Hill.
A: These memories, who came from the same woman who chastised Ask Us Guy about not checking his facts, were prompted by some earlier discussion of the changing names of roads traveling out of the valley in Mankato.
Others also recalled that the road now known as Madison Avenue once had sections called Rhine Street, as well as the Windmiller Hill road that led to an early farm owned by a guy named Oswald Windmiller.
"Somewhere between Windmiller Hill and Madison Avenue, the street was Rhine Street," another reader wrote. "The law firm of Johnson (Charles C.), Harten (James C.) & Corbey (John F.) bought the property at 121 Rhine Street in the very early 70's for its office ... . It was located next to Hilltop Florist and kitty-corner across the street from Fat's Liquor Store (subsequently Mr. Steak, then Charley's). I know this because I was the only very busy legal secretary in the office."
That original street-name-focused column also prompted memories of Orville "Doc" Jones. A former nurse talked of once being required, along with performing her health care duties in Dr. Jones' Front Street office, to help round up Doc's horses when they got loose — doing the corralling in her pristine white nurse's uniform.
Another reader mentioned that the man who purchased Doc Jones' house lived in an apartment above his office as a baby because his father was a tow truck driver. That apartment was reserved for drivers of the local towing company which, as a supplemental business, also provided ambulance service in Mankato. (Ask Us Guy assumes the company used different vehicles for each task.)
As always, local trivia is welcome. But please, PLEASE, don't ask who Rhine Street was named after ... .
Contact Ask Us at The Free Press, P.O Box 3287, Mankato, MN 56002. Call Mark Fischenich at 344-6321 or email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org; put Ask Us in the subject line.