Burnsville Center

Long-time residents of Burnsville still can remember when the first shopping center was built.

No, it wasn't Burnsville Center. It came in 1963 as "Jet Plaza" which almost immediately it seems was renamed "Valley Ridge." The jet age transformed very quickly in to the rocket age when NASA got busy. In any case, the name didn't matter to Burnsville residents, who were delighted to have a real grocery store, a drug store, and a post office. It was 1963.

But Burnsville Center made history when it opened in August of 1977. It was the largest Shopping Center in the entire region, with more than 100 stores under one roof! Suddenly little old Burnsville, heretofore barely noticed, was a shopping destination for all of southern Minnesota — even northern Iowa! One didn't have to cross the river to find a Dayton's, Sears, and Powers.

Why did they build a mammoth shopping center way out in the country? In 1960 Burnsville was home 2,716 people. That was more than five times the population of 1950. But by 1965 (a special census was taken) the population was 10,721.


Burnsville Center Area: 1970 and 2016

History Revealed (drag red divider left and right

Burnsville Center Area (black and white: 1970 color: 2016)