On this page you'll be introduced to historic sites in the
Burnsville area. Some of them are simply interesting points of
local interest, but many have a unique place in the history of
Minnesota or have even been deemed of National significance. Each
is well worth the trip to see in person and, hopefully, this page
will help you understand these sites and the role they played in
our rich history.
||Indicates a site with a National Register of Historic Sites
marker in place.
Location: County Road 5 and 155th Street
This small railroad station
was built in 1910 on the new Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester and
Dubuque Traction Railroad, better known as the "Dan Patch Line."
Running between Minneapolis and Northfield, the line stopped at
this area called Orchard Gardens, a subdivision of five to ten-acre
plots platted that year. The railroad constructed the trackside
shelter near the area's main road for passenger and produce service
to the Twin Cities. In 1918 the railroad was reorganized as the
Minneapolis, Northfield and Southern.
According to the National Register nomination, Orchard Gardens
farmers concentrated on onion production until 1920 when disease
damaged this crop. Eggs, milk, apples and flowers replaced onions
on the station's dock. A new commuter crowd evolved in the 1920s
and 30s after agricultural depression forced many local landowners
to find employment in Minneapolis.
In 1983, the Skyblazers 4-H club of the Burnsville-Lakeville
area renovated the station as part of their annual community
This Dakota village was located near
the current Cedar Bridge crossing on the isthmus of land between
Black Dog Lake and the Minnesota River, which is the present site
of the Black Dog Power Plant. There were an estimated 250 Indians
living there when white men first came to the area. Black Dog's
people belonged to the Mdewankanton band of the Sioux, also known
as the Dakota Indians. This band is believed to have moved to the
area from the Mille Lacs Lake area around 1750.
This piece of land provided plenty of water for drinking,
travel, fish, water fowl, and other game animals. Black
Dog's band was sometimes referred to as "the people who
didn't eat geese", because they made good trades with
the birds at Fort Snelling. They also found plenty of
customers for the fish caught in the Black Dog Lake among
the first European settlers in the area. The Dakota regularly
traded the fish for fresh pork, which was a staple among
the Irish Roman Catholic settlers except during Lent,
when they were required to eat fish for religious reasons.
The original village location and Black Dog's people are
parts of the histories for both Burnsville and Eagan.
When Louis Martin arrived to teach farming in 1837 the village
moved to his farm which was located at the present day junction of
Highway 13 and Blackhawk Road in Eagan. There they stayed until
1856 when the entire village was relocated to the reservation at
Lt. Zebulon Pike's land purchase in 1805 for Fort Snelling
included a portion of what is now Dakota County. The line ran
through land that presently includes Burnsville, Eagan, Mendota
Heights, and West Saint Paul. [ Read More about the Military Reservation
There are three known Native American burial sites in Burnville.
The one unearthed at River Hills is believed to be the oldest, as
no artifacts other than bones were discovered there. In 1943 on the
Tom Kenneally Farm another burial site was uncovered of more recent
origin. This site contained numerous artifacts from trade with the
Michigan area and the bodies were buried in wooden coffins with
glass panes - most likely built by the Pond brothers between 1834
and 1856 when they made coffins for their Indian friends. The third
burial site Teepee Hill on an eastern bluff overlooking the Credit
River. Before the consecration of St. John's Cemetary the bodies of
some early white settlers were also placed in the burial mound.
Location: Highway 101, 1 mile south of the Bloomington Ferry
The Yellow and Red Line stagecoaches came from St. Paul and Fort
Snelling along the Old Shakopee Road, and crossed the Minnesota
River on the Bloomington Ferry. From here, some stages went south
to Mankato and others served branch lines. The stages were called
"Swift Wagons" by the Indians because the coaches kept an average
speed of 15 miles per hour, requiring relief stations every10
miles. Stagecoach business boomed here until 1865 when railroads
became the main mode of travel, just as trains put an end to the
steam-boat transport on the rivers.
When the Four Mile House was still a stagecoach rest in April of
1861 when the call went out for volunteers to fight in the Civil
War. The Minnesota First gathered at the Four Mile House, from
which the men marched to the vacated Fort Snelling along the
stagecoach route. The Minnesota First is commemorated with a
monument at Gettysburg.
If you know of a local site in this area that you feel should be
acknowledged for its historic significance we'd love to hear about
it or help you to investigate and document the site. Please contact
the us at:
Dakota County Historical Society
130 Third Avenue North
South Saint Paul, MN 55075
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