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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Wagon Wheel Cafe

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Mankato's Wagon Wheel Cafe

wagon wheelthe bullshippers

In his book The Great Good Place, Sociologist Ray Oldenburg explores what he terms Third Places. Defined as those informal gathering spots between our first place, home, and our second place, work, a third place is characterized by its playful atmosphere, lack of attention to social distinctions, and cast of regulars. A third place might be a neighborhood tavern and it might be a beauty shop. Whatever form it takes, a third place is dominated by good old fashioned conversation and, as Ray Oldenburg writes, “…is remarkably similar to a good home in the psychological support and comfort it extends.” In a third place, everybody really does know your name (or will soon), and if somebody sings you happy birthday it's not because the manager told them to do so. Here in Mankato, Minnesota, the Wagon Wheel Cafe is one of the oldest and most unique third places.

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