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Solar earth shelter home is ready 1979April 12, 1979 Dakota County Tribune features the Earth Sheltered House located at the corner of Sumac and Scenic Lanes.
Southcross Homes 2017These rental homes are located at 14802 County Road 5.
Southcross Homes 2017These rental homes are located at 14802 County Road 5.
South Cross HomesFebruary 21, 1993 Minneapolis Star Tribune:

Built by Marv Anderson Homes, located south on I 35W to County Road 42, west to County Road 5 and south to Southcross Drive...
South River HillsHere is the start of south River Hills at Galtier and Perrot.
South River HillsHere is the start of south River Hills at Galtier and Perrot.
South River HillsHere is the start of south River Hills at Galtier and Perrot.
South River HIlls Day keeps on keeping on 2018May 18, 2018 Burnsville Sun/Thisweek News reports on the 45th anniversary of the housing developments annual garage sale day.

Annual garage sales are June 2

It’s not as big as it used to be, but South River Hills Day is a Burnsville tradition that refuses to die.

June 2 marks the 45th anniversary of the day when swarms of shoppers roam dozens of garage sales in South River Hills, the northeast Burnsville neighborhood bounded by Cliff Road, Highway 13 and the Eagan border.

The event’s charitable component has always infused it with extra community spirit. Households are encouraged to donate 5 percent of their proceeds to local causes, and volunteer organizers provide envelopes for that purpose.

Participation is well below its peak among the neighborhood’s 400-plus single-family homes, according to Bill and Tress Gladhill, who first volunteered for the event in 1990, were head coordinators for four years and this year are helping to break in new leaders.

The number of garage sales used to top 125, Bill said; in recent years it’s been about 75.

And more than once, it appeared shaky leadership successions could have made South River Hills Day a memory, Bill said.

Yet it continues, every first Saturday in June (hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 2). When the Gladhills announced last April their pending departure as leaders, a neighborhood institution stepped up to replace them.

It’s Detlefsen Insurance, the State Farm agency owned by longtime civic booster and 1969 Burnsville High School graduate Kirk Detlefsen, who opened his office building at Cliff Road East and River Hills Drive in 1978.

Detlefsen’s office manager, Sara (Papendick) Albrecht, also has roots in the community and is as eager as her boss to continue the tradition. The two became head coordinators this year.

“It was like, ‘We can’t let this die.’ I grew up over on the other side of Cliff Road, over by Red Oak Park,” said the 1997 Burnsville High School graduate, who still lives in town.

“We used to ride our bikes from over there over to the garage sales and then stop at Tom Thumb and get candy, too,” Albrecht said. “I went to William Byrne (Elementary), I went to Metcalf (Junior High), I graduated Burnsville High School, too, so it’s near and dear to my heart. It’s part of what we grew up doing. It was a lot of fun.”

The South River Hills neighborhood was launched by the Pemtom development company in the mid-’60s after it finished building North River Hills north of Highway 13.

“There was a group called the Sweet Sioux Garden Club. They’re the originators of South River Hills Day,” Bill Gladhill explained. “I don’t know if it was all women — maybe it was — and they’re the ones who thought we should have a community event to get to know your neighbors better and do a little charity and help out the community that way, and clean out our houses while we’re at it.”

The Gladhills raised two sons in their 1966 rambler on River Hills Drive, across the street from William Byrne. Between them, the couple have volunteered as block captains, treasurer and mapmaker before taking over leadership from their predecessor, Howard Heino.

“We’re just the band-aid,” Tress Gladhill said. “We’re just there to make sure that it didn’t end.”

The event became a focus of neighborhood culture, and the anticipation of mass bargain-hunting drew impressive crowds. By the city’s order, parking is limited to one side of the street on all streets but River Hills Drive. Portable toilets are brought in so shoppers don’t ask the homeowners to use theirs.

At their first sale, the Gladhills took a neighbor’s advice and opened before the scheduled 8 a.m. start time.

“We’d had regular garage sales before and didn’t have any idea what it was going to be like until we opened that door, and it was like ants coming into the garage,” Tress said. “After that, we never opened the garage door until we were ready. And we had a food booth for probably 10 years. It went from one side of the garage to the other, and you would order here and pick up here.”

The day is still an occasion for adults who grew up in the neighborhood to come back and visit, she said. Out-of-town relatives have been known to bring their own stuff for sale and spend the weekend.

“I would be sad if it went away,” said Tress, who suspects the decline in sales is at least partly explained by some younger homeowners who’ve found “ways to sell your merchandise other than your garage.”

Albrecht is already at work on that front, launching a social-media campaign for South River Hills Day and working on an interactive site to spotlight some of the merchandise.

“But we still need the neighborhood to help us,” she said. “I’m happy to help with those things and just try to push it out, but it really falls to the residents to choose to still have the sales.”


Organizers estimate the sales have generated more than $110,000 for local causes over 44 years.

Organizers always recommend donations to four local nonprofits: William Byrne Elementary; Metcalf Junior High (now middle school); the Kennelly House, a Burnsville residence for developmentally disabled adults; and the B. Robert Lewis House, a local shelter for women and children. Participants can also designate another recipient.
South River Hills ParkFall 2022 view of South River Hills Park signage.
South River Hills ParkPlayground area of South River Hills Park 1973.
Spyglass TownhomesAnother Burnsville's housing developments.
Home builder Clyde PemblePemtom's Clyde Pemble and Bob Engstrom in December 1965 with the first of their Windsor Green townhomes.
Pemtom developed River Hills, Birnamwood and other developments in the Burnsville area.
Birnamwood TownhomesA 1971 profile of Birnamwood Townhomes.
Vista View HomesApril 24, 1955 Minneapolis Tribune ad for Vista View Homes.
Vista View HomesApril 29, 1956 Minneapolis Tribune ad for Vista View Homes, sale price $12,500.
1963 home toursThe 1963 Parade of Homes included these two in Burnsville...
Vista View HomesAugust 14, 1955 Minneapolis Tribune ad for Vista View Homes.
Tuxedo Park HomesAugust 23, 1987 MInneapolis Star Tribune ad for Tuxedo Park Homes off Burnsville Parkway (now Crosstown) and Kennelly Road.
The Village of RiverwoodsAugust 26, 1973 Minneapolis Star Tribune ad for the Villages of Riverwoods.
Vista View homes 1958August 3, 1958 Minneapolis Tribune ad for the new housing development Vista View. They began building in 1956.
Wood ParkDecember 1977 ad for new housing development Wood Park.
Vista View 1956One of Burnsville's first housing developments - Vista View - 1956.
River Hills housing development 1963January 6, 1963 Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper ad for River Hills.
Southwind VillageJanuary 2002 ad for Southwind Village, 15001 Greenhaven Drive. Townhome style apartments...
Early Skyline Drive ad1965 ad for a home on Skyline Drive, Burnsville. Directions reference the Lucky 13 drive-in rootbeer stand.
Heather Hills Townhouses 1973June 17, 1973 Minneapolis Star Tribune ad; Homes starting at $23,950...
Highland ViewJune 28, 1959 Minneapolis Tribune ad for Highland View Homes, Highway 13.
Timberland Knolls AcresJune 9, 1963 Minneapolis Tribune:

High on the Riverbluffs overlooking the Twin cities...
Directions: Drive south on new Freeway 35W, go east on #13, half mile to Nicollet Avenue...
Vista View HomesMarch 23, 1958 ad for Vista View, in the Minneapolis Tribune.
Orchard GardensMay 12, 1912 ad for Orchard Garden's.
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