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Helen Anderson

Helen Anderson

Eden Prairie Historian

Born: Aiken, MN, United States
Heritage: European American

Take time to read and forget about the televisions and enjoy books and be selective on books you pick. Enjoy reading and it will make you happy your whole life.

Helen Anderson

Eden Prairie Historian

My name is Helen Anderson. I was born on July 23rd, 1911 in a town called Aitkin, Minnesota. I married Calvin Anderson and moved to Eden Prairie 65 years ago. At one time you couldn’t step on any land east of Eden Prairie where there wasn’t an Anderson living there.

When you go out in Eden Prairie today you see houses, churches, schools, apartment houses and business buildings; all the land is taken up except for land saved for parks which we are fortunate to have.

One hundred and seventy-five years ago this was the home of the Mdewakanton Dakota Sioux people. There were wild strawberries, blueberries, wild raspberries and cranberry bogs here. The Dakota called it Wa-shi-sha, “land of plenty.” It was as beautiful as the Garden of Eden. They didn’t realize something would happen to change their way of life.

Fortunately there was Mary Jane Hill Anderson, one of the first settlers in Eden Prairie, who wrote down about her journey in Eden Prairie. How lucky we are that she did that.
There was a potato famine in Ireland. Times were hard, so Robert Anderson and his wife, Mary Jane Hill, took a boat across the Atlantic Ocean. To get to Eden Prairie they had to come up the Mississippi River. When they got to St. Paul they piled all their things on a wagon and an oxen took them here.

I thought, if you don’t have it written down people in the future won’t know anything about it in the future. I wrote a book, Eden Prairie: The First 100 Years. In sixth grade you’ll be studying this book.

I have one daughter, Mary Ellen, a biologist who teaches at the University, and one son, Paul Anderson, who is a judge on the Minnesota Supreme Court. One of my granddaughters, Uvania Anderson, teaches in this building. I love being a grandmother.

Notation: Download PDF

Honoring Helen Anderson

Eden Prairie, I Love
Inspired by Helen Anderson

She was born in Ireland far away
From across the Atlantic she came
Up the Mississippi
Her great grandson married me
In this land of Eden Prairie, I love

With her husband on a sailing ship
In the midst of a storm
they almost flipped
The Lord’s good hand did lead
Them in times of need
In this land of Eden Prairie, I love

From New Orleans to Galena, Illinois
With two sons,
and a three-week old boy
With one sheep and seven cows
Oats and seeds, and a sow
In this land of Eden Prairie, I love

Down trails worn by the Dakota
To this land of plenty, Wa-si-sha
To stake family homesteads
Through mounds of the dead
In this land of Eden Prairie, I love

Wild rice, and cranberry bogs
Homes and barns in those days
made of logs
While the men squared logs in place
A feast the women made
In this land of Eden Prairie, I love

To make sure no child did without
They built a one room school house
With one teacher for all grades
A spelling bee, a Christmas play
In this land of Eden Prairie, I love

On a horse along Highway 5
Her great-great-great
granddaughter did ride
Where the prairie grass stood tall
There’s now a shopping mall
In this land of Eden Prairie I love

Take time to read and forget
About looking at your TV set
You can do anything you
Set your mind to do
In this land of Eden Prairie I love

Music by LARRY LONG with Mark Brown 4th grade of Eden Lake Elementary School
(Eden Prairie, Minnesota)

© Larry Long 2004