History and Art: A native of Mankato uses his love for Mankato as inspiration for creation and return Lifestyles

Many people have strong ties to their hometowns. This can encourage them to stay for life, volunteer or even run for city council.

Adam Sageng turned his love for Mankatu into contributions to the Mankato Memories Facebook page, his own page titled “Deep Valley: Mankato Art, History & Events,” and through contributions of time and treasure to the community.

“I was born in 1981 and grew up right next to Sibley Park in a beautiful neighborhood,” so he began his life story. “It was perfect for playing because there are a few dead ends … as well as railroads, rivers and lots of woods to build forts or climb trees.”

He lived at 505 W. Second St., one of the oldest houses in Mankat, for several years, across from the old Lewis athletic field. The plots were used as barracks for veterans returning after World War II, and is now home to Habitat for Humanity.

At the start of the pandemic, he began researching the family on Familysearch.com – a free version of Ancestry.com run by the Mormon Church – and found out why he was attracted to certain things.

This connection helped spur some of his projects. And maintain a personal renaissance.

“I have been battling alcoholism and all the damage that comes with it for over 15 years,” he said. “And thanks in large part to these projects and my photographic art, I’ll be sober for four years this June.”

His photographic art has several forms. An example of one can be seen at the top of his personal Facebook page in an old black and white photo of his great-grandfather Harry Earle on his 1912 Excelsior Henderson motorcycle. He painted it, giving new life to the painting and, more importantly, giving him an insight into what the scene really looked like.

“I’ve always been involved in time travel, so my next project was great. I would find old photos of downtown locations, set the exact location of the original camera, take a current photo, and then edit them into a split screen for a past / present effect, ”he said.

“I feel like it’s capturing what was photography in abstract place and time and grounding it in our reality. It could just be a spark of curiosity that someone is looking for. ”

He said his photo really became popular two years ago when he took his mom’s old 35mm camera to California and took an early morning shot of the long exposure on Highway 101. He eventually found his 1981 Canon AE-1, completely mechanical, which he forced to learn to use manual mode … and spurred another trend.

“I really enjoy night photography and plan to get some creative light photography this year.” He often publishes early-morning shots of a long exposure from downtown Mankata, capturing mood and color as well as a deep historical sense.

Anyone who visits the railway depot on the Main and Riverfront may have seen another of his projects. A few years ago, he said, he noticed a large green garbage container that distracted attention from the classic “Mankato” sign and the architectural style of the historic depot.

And then family history jumped in again.

“I learned that my great-grandfather Harry Earle worked as a baggage guard and that he was there to send troops to the First World War. I decided to try to do something in line with the electrical boxes that have been customized throughout the area by the CityArt program, ”he said.

He contacted colleague Daine Fisher of Fisher Group Realty’s property manager. There he came up with the idea and got approval for a garbage container that looks antique. He then went to Waste Management, the company that provided the container. The company has since become HR Waste Solutions.

“I visited a lady in the main office and personally put forward this idea. Luckily, she was intrigued enough to send me emails to corporate (offices). That process took about a month to get approved, and then I was ready to find an artist. ”

Acting locally, he contacted Mankato Makerspace and was referred to Kendrick Daum, who is known for his artwork “Look at this project”. The offer was $ 1,000. Through his Facebook page “Deep Valley” he started fundraising and in a few hours got what he needed.

“It was easy for me to recognize this talent in Adam and I was happy to offer him funding for the project about two minutes after he published the inquiry,” said Justin Ek, a local artist and one of the owners of Bellisimo Paint & Coatings. “It was easier knowing that I was going to help my friend and co-founder of Makerspace, Kendrick.”

As someone working to improve the cultural aspects of the Old Town neighborhood, Ek may also have found a soul mate.

“Seeing an individual citizen taking the initiative to improve our city center is an absolute cure. We need creative people who create a place (like Adam) with passion and respect for history who bring modern creative energy to our community, ”said Ek. “Adam really showed those qualities.”

Another place where Sageng demonstrates these qualities is the Blue Earth County Library. Although fundraising to purchase a full license for the scanning software has stalled, he hopes to eventually get it so he can continue scanning, turning it into a searchable format and uploading PDF copies of the first few years of The Free Press. people could access them.

Library Director Kelly McBride gave him several copies of the newspaper celebrating the city’s centenary and other important events. To encourage people to read these articles, Sageng made them part of the table.

“Adam made the library a really great desk,” McBride said of it. “He painted old Free Press articles on the table, and we got a bunch of questions and compliments about the table.”

Sageng recently completed three more tables using the remaining articles.

The conversation with Sagenga brings a torrent of other memories and connections to his hometown: his Uncle John, who worked at Sibley Park Zoo as a keeper of a talking bird, many remember calling it “Hello, Bob”; his second uncle, Billy Ray, known for being an “advertising runner” for The Free Press in the 1950s and ’60s; and his great-grandmother Anna, who worked at the Saulpaugh Hotel and then as an egg candle at Madsen’s Wave Center.

The history of his family is the history of the city, which is woven into a fabric that is both comforting and inspiring to him.

“I like to find as many ways as possible to spread that same joy, pride and curiosity to as many people as possible, while having fun and being an eccentric artist,” he said, summing up why he does what he does.

“What really excites me – at 4:15 every morning – is that I always have a list of hobbies and projects to choose from for the day. And there is always something new to learn. ”

Leave a Comment