A powerful research tool for the serious or casual visitor.
Home > Burnsville Historical Society and other local efforts

Last additions - Burnsville Historical Society and other local efforts
Dan_patch_button_2022.jpg
Dan Patch Days 2022The design for the 2022 Dan Patch Days was introduced May, 2022.May 09, 2022
Dakota_County_Under_foot_pdf.pdf
Dakota County Under FootA map created for the floor of the Dakota County Historical Society, including Burnsville.Apr 07, 2022
Dan_Patch_Line_obit.jpg
F.G.L Hunt dies 1937November 26, 1937 - Dakota County Tribune

Burnsville Orchard Lake community will be saddened to hear of the death of F.G.L. Hunt, who lives near Los Angeles, CA. He will be remembered as the civil engineer who built the Dan Patch Electric Line through this part of the country and lived for many years on Buck Hill near Orchard Gardens Station...
Apr 07, 2022
Shades_of_Dan_Patch.pdf
Shades of Old Dan PatchMinneapolis Star article - September 8, 1966.Apr 03, 2022
Dan_Patch_closing.JPG
32 year old Dan Patch Line haults passenger service1942 - Dakota County Tribune


Passenger transportation on the Minneapolis, Northfield and Southern railroad was officially stopped...
Mar 28, 2022
Dakota_County_Tribune_article_on_Jack_Kennelly.pdf
Jack Kennelly in restless pursuit of local historyOctober 21, 2021 Burnsville Eagan Sun/Thisweek News

Jack Kennelly has collected and posted thousands of photos for the Burnsville Historical Society.


October 21, 2021 Burnsville Eagan Sun/Thisweek News

Has posted thousands of photos, documents

Jack Kennelly’s scavenger hunt for local history is restless and relentless.

He’s the chief supplier of photos, newspaper clippings and other documents on the well-stocked website of the Burnsville Historical Society.

Kennelly is a frequent poster on the “You know you’re from Burnsville/Eagan/Savage if ... ” Facebook page, where his found artifacts, such as old Burnsville newspaper ads or pictures of pumpkin patches past, often generate long comment threads.

One of his latest projects is combing, cataloging and scanning highlights from the Del Stelling collection — some 2,000 photo negatives left by the late newspaperman, who started with the Minnesota Valley Review in 1959 and finished his career with the city-sponsored Savage Review paper in 1994.

Kennelly is also doing volunteer grunt work for the Dakota County Historical Society, arranging piles of old newspaper clippings in chronological order (which in some cases starts with the 1850s).

“It sounds like, ‘Oh, God,’ but it was manageable, because I’m doing maybe two folders a week,” said Kennelly, 70. “I’m not doing them all at one time. And I’m finding things like an interview with a Civil War veteran named Lynch, from Burnsville, that we don’t have on our website. I didn’t even know of the Lynch family.”

Kennelly has done most of his historical work in the last six years, after retiring as marketing director for St. Paul-based City & County Credit Union. It accelerated during the pandemic, especially via the internet.

“Some people think it’s an obsession, and actually it isn’t,” Kennelly said. “They’re surprised at how much I can accomplish. Some of these projects I’ve been doing with the internet and finding photos — I found I can uncover 10 things a day, and that takes an hour. And in a month I’ve found 300 items.”

He’s from the self-described “Burnsville side” of the Irish immigrant Kennelly clan, which also has an “Eagan side.” The clan traces its roots to Thomas and Mary Kennelly, who settled in what is now Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Eagan in 1853 or 1854, Kennelly said.

(If you ask, he’ll patiently explain why the surname has had five different spellings in St. Paul, Burnsville and Eagan — a quirk that dates back to County Kilkenny.)

Jack is the son of John and Margaret Kennelly, who lived for his first seven years in the Lawrence Casey farmhouse that still stands at Highway 13 and Cliff Road. The family then built a home on the site of what would become the Sullivan’s Super Valu store on County Road 11 and later moved to South River Hills.

Jack’s late uncle, Joe Kennelly, had a farmhouse on the other side of Cliff Road on land now occupied by a strip mall and townhomes. The house stood for years after Joe stopped farming and became a community landmark, with pumpkin sales every fall.

“What people will remember in the end is just basically the farmhouse, the barn, and the animals and the pumpkins,” Kennelly said. “The fields are along gone by the ’70s.”

Kennelly was fresh from college with a journalism and marketing degree when he was recruited to work on the first of two Burnsville history books — “Burnsville ’76 — A Community History.” At the time he was marketing director for the nonprofit Community Action Council (now 360 Communities) and a freelancer for the weekly Burnsville Current.

The Mendota Heights resident is still captured by Burnsville-area history, though he hasn’t lived here since 1974.

“You just grew up with Burnsville and know it; you’re just interrelated,” he said. “My parents stayed there until they died.”

He knows local history transcends modern municipal boundaries. Until about 1964, he said, Burnsville mail had a Savage mailing address and Burnsville residents bought groceries there.

In the early 1900s, one had to go to Savage or the Nichols Station in Eagan to board a train, he explained.

“That’s why I’m actually good at this project,” Kennelly said of his history work. “When I find an Eagan photo, I understand the relationship between Eagan, Burnsville and Savage.”

His contributions to the Burnsville Historical Society quickly mounted after its defacto leaders at the time, Jeff and Pat Jerde, handed him the keys to the castle.

“One day (Jeff’s) son said, ‘Why don’t we just give Jack the password and let him put the photos on there himself?’ ” Kennelly said. “And that’s when this insanity happened.”

Since then, the site has grown from about 2,500 photos to 23,000, Kennelly said.

His sources are varied. Facebook postings generate potential photo exchanges. Aerial photos of Burnsville were donated by the city, Kennelly said. Burnsville-based Ames Construction has responded to his requests for photos, from an aerial of the Ames property that held the original Town Hall to construction photos of the County Road 5-Highway 13 overpass.

Kennelly also shoots his own photos, such as the “mirror image” shots he’s doing for the Del Stelling project on behalf of the Dan Patch Historical Society and the city of Savage. Kennelly takes photos of the exact locations Stelling shot decades ago, contrasting the streetscapes of today and yesteryear.

Before the pandemic, he visited high points in Burnsville — the Best Western Premier Nicollet Inn, Fairview Ridges Hospital, the Maven Apartments — and shot panoramic images to capture the present landscape.

Lately he’s taken to asking Realtors for their aerials of Burnsville properties.

“I don’t have a drone and I don’t know that I every will,” Kennelly said, “but I’d love to learn how.”

He’s a hunter-gatherer historian who says his finds might provide the foundation for a book, but not one he’s interested in writing.

“I try to look at it from the perspective of things that people have witnessed and be a little less biographical,” Kennelly said. “I just scanned today photos of a circus that the Jaycees did in the 1970s at Burnsville Bowl. These things can now be posted in Facebookworld and somebody’s going to respond, ‘I was at that, or this happened,’ or whatever. It’s more creating images of an event that multiple people will react to.”
Mar 18, 2022
Station_painted.JPG
Orchard Gardens StationWinter 2021 - after being repainted and signage replaced. Feb 21, 2022
Station_view_b_and_w.JPG
Orchard Gardens StationWinter 2021 - after being repainted and signage replaced. Feb 21, 2022
Station_in_B_and_w.JPG
Orchard Gardens StationWinter 2021 - after being repainted and signage replaced.Feb 21, 2022
profile_burnsville_2000.pdf
Book updates Burnsville's life and times since 1976December 17, 1999 - St. Paul Pioneer Press

Burnsville 2000 a Community History is complete and will be for sale. Last book published 1976...
Feb 11, 2022
club_house.jpg
Masonic Home Club HouseClub House at the Masonic Home, Bloomington, overlooking Savage. Once site of Marion Savage summer home.Jan 28, 2022
2019_aerial_of_dan_patch_days.jpg
Dan Patch Days 2019Aerial view of Dan Patch Days events 2019.Dec 25, 2021
2019_parade_shot.jpg
Dan Patch Days 2019Watching the 2019 Dan Patch Days parade.Dec 25, 2021
watch_parade_2019.jpg
Dan Patch Days 2019A scene from the 2019 parade.Dec 25, 2021
5d10eaa54aaed_image_2019.jpg
Dan Patch DaysDan Patch Days 2019, parade float with Mayor Janet Williams.Dec 25, 2021
2021_BU_Orchard_lose_up.JPG
Orchard Gardens Railroad StationDecember 2020 - a view of the Orchard Gardens Railroad Station after being repainted and new signage added.

Dakota County Historical Society:

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.
Dec 24, 2021
2021_BU_Orchard_Gardens_entry.JPG
Orchard Gardens Railroad StationDecember 2021 - sometime the past year the depot was repainted signage added to the historic structure.

Dakota County Historical Society:

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.
Dec 24, 2021
2021_BU_Side_view_of_Orchard_Gardens~0.JPG
Orchard Gardens Railroad StationDecember 2021 - sometime the past year the depot was repainted signage added to the historic structure.

Dakota County Historical Society:

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.
Dec 24, 2021
2021_BU_Orchard_Gardens_signs_return.JPG
Orchard Gardens Railroad StationDecember 2021 - sometime the past year the depot was repainted signage added to the historic structure.

Dakota County Historical Society:

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.
Dec 24, 2021
Fall_2021_Dan_Patch.pdf
Dan Patch Newsletter - Fall 2021Dan Patch Historical Society Newsletter - Fall 202 1-

International Stock Food Farm
A tribute to George Augustinack
Remembering When: Savage's Notorious Past of gambling, gaming and guzzling
Dec 14, 2021
Fairway_store_1973.jpg
Dan Patch Days 19731973 - Originally Kearney's IGA, then Bob's IGA, now Valley Foods Fairway.Nov 25, 2021
Razors_Edge_1973.jpg
Dan Patch Days 19731973 - ad for Razor's Edge Barbershop at 121 Vine Street (now Ottawa Avenue).Nov 25, 2021
vfw_1973_location.jpg
Dan Patch Days 19731973 ad - Savage VFW, location across the street from the Municipal Liquor Store (Next to the Vine Street Bar).Nov 25, 2021
Mark_Egan_1973_ad.jpg
Dan Patch Days 1973Ad for Mark Egan's Texaco at Highway 13.Nov 25, 2021
updated_history_piece.pdf
Burnsville Historical Society 2021 - 2022The Historical Society updates its informational flyer for the coming year.Nov 12, 2021
jack_kennelly_award.pdf
Jack Kennelly's Community Builder Award 2019September 17, 2019 from the City of Burnsville.


Jack Kennelly

I'm pleased to inform you that you were nominated by Marty Doll for a Community Builder Award and that your nomination was approved by the City Council.

The City Council will present the awards Tuesday, October 22 at 5:30 p.m. at the City Council meeting at city hall....

The afford was for historical projects, photography and this website....
Nov 10, 2021
History_update.pdf
City of Burnsville has a rich historyA history of Burnsville, including a photo of Buck Hill, published by the Sun/Thisweek News 2020 - 2021 (date on printed page incorrect).Oct 30, 2021
2019_-2020_history.pdf
Burnsville History provides contextA history of Burnsville, including a photo of District 16 students, published by the Sun/Thisweek News 2019 - 2020.Oct 30, 2021
2018_-_2019_history.pdf
City of Burnsville has a rich history A history of Burnsville, including a photo of School District 15, published by the Sun/Thisweek News 2018 - 2019.Oct 30, 2021
Jack_Kennelly_local_history_project.pdf
Jack Kennelly is in restless pursuit of local history 2021October 21, 2021 Burnsville Eagan Sun/Thisweek News

Has posted thousands of photos, documents

Jack Kennelly’s scavenger hunt for local history is restless and relentless.

He’s the chief supplier of photos, newspaper clippings and other documents on the well-stocked website of the Burnsville Historical Society.

Kennelly is a frequent poster on the “You know you’re from Burnsville/Eagan/Savage if ... ” Facebook page, where his found artifacts, such as old Burnsville newspaper ads or pictures of pumpkin patches past, often generate long comment threads.

One of his latest projects is combing, cataloging and scanning highlights from the Del Stelling collection — some 2,000 photo negatives left by the late newspaperman, who started with the Minnesota Valley Review in 1959 and finished his career with the city-sponsored Savage Review paper in 1994.

Kennelly is also doing volunteer grunt work for the Dakota County Historical Society, arranging piles of old newspaper clippings in chronological order (which in some cases starts with the 1850s).

“It sounds like, ‘Oh, God,’ but it was manageable, because I’m doing maybe two folders a week,” said Kennelly, 70. “I’m not doing them all at one time. And I’m finding things like an interview with a Civil War veteran named Lynch, from Burnsville, that we don’t have on our website. I didn’t even know of the Lynch family.”

Kennelly has done most of his historical work in the last six years, after retiring as marketing director for St. Paul-based City & County Credit Union. It accelerated during the pandemic, especially via the internet.

“Some people think it’s an obsession, and actually it isn’t,” Kennelly said. “They’re surprised at how much I can accomplish. Some of these projects I’ve been doing with the internet and finding photos — I found I can uncover 10 things a day, and that takes an hour. And in a month I’ve found 300 items.”

He’s from the self-described “Burnsville side” of the Irish immigrant Kennelly clan, which also has an “Eagan side.” The clan traces its roots to Thomas and Mary Kennelly, who settled in what is now Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Eagan in 1853 or 1854, Kennelly said.

(If you ask, he’ll patiently explain why the surname has had five different spellings in St. Paul, Burnsville and Eagan — a quirk that dates back to County Kilkenny.)

Jack is the son of John and Margaret Kennelly, who lived for his first seven years in the Lawrence Casey farmhouse that still stands at Highway 13 and Cliff Road. The family then built a home on the site of what would become the Sullivan’s Super Valu store on County Road 11 and later moved to South River Hills.

Jack’s late uncle, Joe Kennelly, had a farmhouse on the other side of Cliff Road on land now occupied by a strip mall and townhomes. The house stood for years after Joe stopped farming and became a community landmark, with pumpkin sales every fall.

“What people will remember in the end is just basically the farmhouse, the barn, and the animals and the pumpkins,” Kennelly said. “The fields are along gone by the ’70s.”

Kennelly was fresh from college with a journalism and marketing degree when he was recruited to work on the first of two Burnsville history books — “Burnsville ’76 — A Community History.” At the time he was marketing director for the nonprofit Community Action Council (now 360 Communities) and a freelancer for the weekly Burnsville Current.

The Mendota Heights resident is still captured by Burnsville-area history, though he hasn’t lived here since 1974.

“You just grew up with Burnsville and know it; you’re just interrelated,” he said. “My parents stayed there until they died.”

He knows local history transcends modern municipal boundaries. Until about 1964, he said, Burnsville mail had a Savage mailing address and Burnsville residents bought groceries there.

In the early 1900s, one had to go to Savage or the Nichols Station in Eagan to board a train, he explained.

“That’s why I’m actually good at this project,” Kennelly said of his history work. “When I find an Eagan photo, I understand the relationship between Eagan, Burnsville and Savage.”

His contributions to the Burnsville Historical Society quickly mounted after its defacto leaders at the time, Jeff and Pat Jerde, handed him the keys to the castle.

“One day (Jeff’s) son said, ‘Why don’t we just give Jack the password and let him put the photos on there himself?’ ” Kennelly said. “And that’s when this insanity happened.”

Since then, the site has grown from about 2,500 photos to 23,000, Kennelly said.

His sources are varied. Facebook postings generate potential photo exchanges. Aerial photos of Burnsville were donated by the city, Kennelly said. Burnsville-based Ames Construction has responded to his requests for photos, from an aerial of the Ames property that held the original Town Hall to construction photos of the County Road 5-Highway 13 overpass.

Kennelly also shoots his own photos, such as the “mirror image” shots he’s doing for the Del Stelling project on behalf of the Dan Patch Historical Society and the city of Savage. Kennelly takes photos of the exact locations Stelling shot decades ago, contrasting the streetscapes of today and yesteryear.

Before the pandemic, he visited high points in Burnsville — the Best Western Premier Nicollet Inn, Fairview Ridges Hospital, the Maven Apartments — and shot panoramic images to capture the present landscape.

Lately he’s taken to asking Realtors for their aerials of Burnsville properties.

“I don’t have a drone and I don’t know that I every will,” Kennelly said, “but I’d love to learn how.”

He’s a hunter-gatherer historian who says his finds might provide the foundation for a book, but not one he’s interested in writing.

“I try to look at it from the perspective of things that people have witnessed and be a little less biographical,” Kennelly said. “I just scanned today photos of a circus that the Jaycees did in the 1970s at Burnsville Bowl. These things can now be posted in Facebookworld and somebody’s going to respond, ‘I was at that, or this happened,’ or whatever. It’s more creating images of an event that multiple people will react to.”
Oct 29, 2021
967 files on 33 page(s) 1