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Marie Wittenberg

Marie Wittenberg

Lifelong Eden Prairie Resident and Pioneer Days Historian

Born: Eden Prairie, MN, United States
Heritage: Irish/German

Study hard because you can do a lot when you get out of high school. You really need to go to college.

Marie Wittenberg

Lifelong Eden Prairie Resident and Pioneer Days Historian

My name is Marie Wittenberg. I was born in 1935. My mother was a Mitchell and came from Ireland. My father was from Germany. I have lived in Eden Prairie my whole life. My childhood farmhouse was red brick, built in 1860. It was where Cedar Hills Golf Course was later built. I lived there with my parents and two sisters until 1954.

I attended the Eden Prairie School. It was a grade school and high school. It was where Central Kindergarten is now. We took the bus to school. It had a wonderful gymnasium. Lots of our activities revolved around the school.

It was a safe and good childhood living on the farm. We had a loving family. We never had a lock on the door. Mother worked hard being a housewife. She made delicious meals and baked goods on her cast iron stove. Dad was an excellent bookkeeper, as well as a good dairy farmer. He worked hard in the fields, and also did chores like hauling wood and taking care of all the animals.

We grew much of our own food in the garden. Mother had a huge strawberry patch and would hire pickers and sell the berries at the market. Dad would deliver the crates to Shakopee. There was a large field where we grew cucumbers. That was when there was a pickle factory in Eden Prairie. We survived completely on our farm.

We had beautiful trees on our farm. There was an apple orchard, with beautiful blossoms in the spring. I would go there to smell them. I would pick flowers and play with my dolls. I would read by our creek. There were birds all over.

I helped with chores. I set the table, helped with cooking, hung rugs on the clothesline and beat them. I even drove the tractor.

We were dirt poor during the depression, but we had anything we wanted. We were so fortunate. We never threw anything away. We didn’t go into debt. We waited until we could afford something. There wasn’t crime, or kids running away. We had fun with our neighbors and looked forward to getting together.

I was married for 47 years, until my husband died. I have my sisters, daughters and several grandchildren. The farmhouse I grew up in was bulldozed down one night to make room for Flying Cloud Airport. My family hadn’t lived there for a long time.
I have written books about the history of Eden Prairie and am active with the Eden Prairie Historical Society. I am working hard to restore the Anderson School so people can visit this one-room schoolhouse.

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Honoring Marie Wittenberg

I Come From A Long Line Of Old Times
Honoring Marie Wittenberg

I come from a long line of old times
A long line of old times
A long line of old times
On Eden Prairie Road
I still live three miles
From where I was born
Never lived anywhere
In the world but here
The home I grew up in
Was built in 1860
A safe red brick house
They bulldozed to the ground
My folks were stay at home people
Socialized with neighbors
On a sleigh ride with horses
To church and school we’d ride
Mother was a housewife
Life was tough back then
She washed clothes on a washboard
In a wash tub with a crank
We threw rugs over the clothesline
Hit them with a rug beater
Dad hauled wood to the kitchen
To feed mother’s iron stove
Wonderful things came out of that stove
Hot fudge and apple kuchen
Homemade bread, chocolate frosting
On yellow layered cake
MMM—that’s making me hungry
We had a patch of land for cucumbers
We picked in the hot August sun
It was the worst job ever
I just hated those pickles
There was a big orchard
With children riding horses
Beautiful apple blossoms
Falling like snow in the spring
The cows knew what you wanted
Marie, Betty, Ruthy, and Daisy
They clomped into the red barn
With Dad at milking time
Thank goodness they weren’t pigs!
We really had a good childhood
We had everything and didn’t know it
We didn’t know we were dirt poor
Satisfied with what we had

Words by LARRY LONG with Ginny Leppart’s 3rd grade class of Cedar Ridge Elementary
(Eden Prairie, Minnesota)

© Larry Long 2005 / BMI