Burnsville That Was

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Reprint from Burnsville 1976 Some additions/changes).

by Bea Nordstrom (1976)

Originally the village of Burnsville consisted of a store, a church and a cemetery at the present junction of County Road 34 and Judicial Road near the Scott County line. William Byrne donated the hill for the cemetery and the land on which the first St. John's Catholic Church was built in 1854. John Berrisford operated the General Store built on the south-west corner of that junction. The church was directly west of the store with its cemetery across the road to the South and East.

It was a promising location for the aspiring town on this ridge overlooking the Credit River valley which joined the bigger Minnesota River valley. Only a short distance away toward the West, the Eagle's Head band of Indians wintered near Teepee Hill providing impetus for the Larpenteur Trading Post near old #13 (now Scott County Road #16) and Credit River. Hamilton (now Savage) showed signs of growing but it was thought to be in an area which would be inundated during spring floods.

John Berrisford was somewhat "an onion in a petunia patch" since his parents, Tom and Ann were English immigrants settling in this concentration of Irish people on what is now known as Eagan's Acres. Worse yet, he was Presbyterian but apparently his business prospered until the church burned down and was rebuilt in 1902 at its present location in Savage. The Irish on "the hill" couldn't give him anymore business so John quit, leaving for opportunities in St. Paul.

A Mr. Garvey, local school teacher, bought the sturdy building so it could follow the parish to Hamilton. Bob Allen tells of its being quite a feat to keep it in one piece, rolling it on logs down the hill to its present location across the street and to the east of the bowling alley. It is in fine condition, housing the Razor's Edge Hair Styling Shop and an upholstering business.

What is known as the Berrisford Store has changed hands many times. Some owners included Mr. Hull, who came from Prior Lake, a Mr. Campbell, and Mr. O'Brian, whom people living there still remember. Parents were pressured to shop there because he generously gave them a striped paper bag containing candy. As was usual in general stores, farm wives brought their eggs and homemade butter to trade for staples they could not produce such as coffee, tea, sugar, spices, dried fruit, yard goods, thread, needles, lamp chimneys, matches, etc. Frequently mail was distributed in a corner of the store but later a post office was kept by Mrs. Hines in the Garvey House which is still standing at the corner of Sibley and Vine.