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Fast facts about your Eden Prairie

  • 9 min to read

You live in Eden Prairie. You love Eden Prairie. It's good to know your city like the back of your hand, but it can be difficult gathering all those hometown factoids and details.

That's where your trusty newspaper comes in. We do the legwork, so you don't have to. This week, Editor Tim Engstrom and Reporter Patty Dexter tracked down answers about Eden Prairie. Here is the Q&A that ensued.

Highest Point in Eden Prairie

The parking lot of Lifetime Fitness and part of Highway 62 are visible from the highest point in Eden Prairie. Trees and bushes block most of the views.

Where is the highest point in Eden Prairie?

The hillside southwest of the intersection of Highway 62 and Interstate 494 is the highest point in town, with an elevation of 1,036 feet, according to the city of Eden Prairie. There is a transmission line tower on the hill, along with a few bushes and trees. From its top, people can't see much except the parking lot of Lifetime Fitness with Highway 62 in the distance.

Stoplight at Dell Road and Pioneer Trail

Wires contrast with a gray sky on Saturday, March 25, at the corner of Dell Road and Pioneer Trail in Eden Prairie.

What is the longest street in Eden Prairie that is not a highway?

If you include Scenic Heights Road and Anderson Lakes Parkway, this street is about 6.3 miles. The longest single street with one name is Dell Road at 5.96 miles, according to the city.

Grass Lake

Grass Lake, the biggest lake in Eden Prairie, is visible south of Flying Cloud Drive opposite from C.H. Robinson.

Which lake is the biggest?

Grass Lake is the largest by area at 320 acres, according to the city. It is in the Lower Minnesota River Watershed District. It is aptly named is the lake appears to have a fair amount of vegetation as a result of being shallow.

The maximum depth is 3.5 feet. Bryant Lake, in contrast, is the deepest in the city, at 45 feet.

Grass is the last of the chain of lakes fed by Riley Creek. The others are Riley Lake, Rice Marsh Lake, Lake Susan, Lake Ann and Lake Lucy.

Grass Lake's surface area can be as large as 467 or as small as 213, depending on water levels near the river and when the measurement was taken. To the west, Rice Lake (not Rice Marsh Lake) can reach 517 acres at times, but it is not considered in the city limits.

Whatever happened to the Township of Eden Prairie?

The book "Eden Prairie The First 100 Years" by Helen Holden Anderson said the township held its first meeting on May 11, 1858, the same day Minnesota became a state. The total expenses for the town that first year were $55.04.

In 1962, township residents voted to incorporate the township into the Village of Eden Prairie. The Village of Eden Prairie took over the government for the 36-square-mile area on Jan. 1, 1963. According to the city's website, Eden Prairie became a statutory city in 1974.

Optum

One of the buildings in the Optum Corporate Headquarters campus is the tallest in Eden Prairie. The campus is in the northeast portion of the city.

What is the tallest building in Eden Prairie?

The 15-story Optum tower at 11000 Optum Circle, is the tallest building in Eden Prairie with a height of 238 feet. The adjacent Optum twin towers are each eight stories and 138 feet in height.

The next tallest building in Eden Prairie is the nine-story office building at 7500 Flying Cloud Drive with a height of 136 feet, according to the city.

How many square miles is Eden Prairie?

Eden Prairie is 35.1 square miles, according to the Metropolitan Council. It is shaped like a typical American township — 6 by 6 miles — but with a curvy southern border due to the Minnesota River.

How many square miles of water are in Eden Prairie?

There is a total of 1,893 acres of lakes in Eden Prairie. This total is just from the 17 named lakes and does not include the area of all the small ponds and creeks, according to the city.

Which Native American tribe resided in Eden Prairie?

According to the Eden Prairie Historical Society, the Dakota Nation was the Native American tribe of Eden Prairie and descendants of the Woodland Indians that lived here 10,000 years ago.

Were there any battles in Eden Prairie?

On May 27, 1858, a battle was fought between the Dakota and Ojibwe tribes near Murphy's Ferry in the southern part of the town.

County Road 4 — Eden Prairie Road and Spring Road — used to be called Murphy's Ferry Road because it went down to the landing. Today, it stops at Lions Tap, but if you were to be able to drive down to the river, that's where the battle happened. What's more, it happened in the same month the township government was formed. (See above.)

The Dakota, led by Chief Shakopee, numbered around 60 or 70 while there were about 200 Ojibwe. The Ojibwe ambushed the Dakota near the settlement of Shakopee, but the Dakota crossed the ferry quickly, and the battle began in earnest on the Eden Prairie side.

Many local white settlers watched the battle from the bluffs overlooking the Minnesota River, and it could be heard miles away, according to the Eden Prairie Historical Society.

Despite inferior numbers, Shakopee and his band won the battle after killing a young chief of their foe, according to the book "Eden Prairie" by Marie Berger Wittenberg.

It was the last fight between the two Upper Midwestern tribes, and it became called the Battle of Shakopee.

2017 Home, Landscape & Garden Everything Spring Expo

The Eden Prairie Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Home, Landscape & Garden Everything Spring Expo in March featured more than 100 exhibitors ranging from chiropractors and builders to landscaping companies and local watershed districts that provided information about their services.

How many businesses and households are in Eden Prairie?

According to the Met Council, there were 24,856 households in 2016. The U.S. Census Bureau in 2015 put the figure at 25,193.

The number of businesses varies depending on the source. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development's quarterly census of employment and wages indicates there were 2,146 total businesses in the third quarter of 2016. The Eden Prairie Chamber of Commerce estimates there are more than 2,800 businesses in the city.

The U.S. Census said there were 7,213 firms in 2012. Its figure includes self-employed people with receipts of $1,000 or more.

What is the median household income in Eden Prairie?

The median household income from 2011 to 2015 is $97,600, according to the Met Council. This is similar to the U.S. Census figure.

Birch Island Woods Plant Sale 2

The Birch Island Woods Plant Sale is known for offering what isn’t found at stores. It happens at the Picha Heritage Farm, 6649 Birch Island Road in Eden Prairie.

Marshall's Farm Market products

A variety of fruits and vegetables as well as naturally raised meats and eggs are available for purchase.

Are there any farms still in Eden Prairie?

According to the city, there are five remaining farms or properties producing farm products in Eden Prairie. They are:

  • Picha Farms: at Birch Island Road.
  • Marshall's Farm: at the intersection of Eden Prairie Road and Pioneer Trail.
  • An 11-acre parcel on Hiawatha Avenue and Village Woods Drive.
  • A 14-acre parcel on Spring Road.
  • Peterson Farm holdings: includes several properties in Eden Prairie.
Graffiti Bridge

Steve Lucas photographed the mural painted on Graffiti Bridge in Eden Prairie in honor of the movie, “Graffiti Bridge.”

Jason Lee

“Alone on the set, actor Jason Lee studies his lines in an upcoming scene of the film, ‘Mallrats,’ currently in production at Eden Prairie Center,” the caption said.

Was Eden Prairie ever featured in any films?

The 1995 film "Mallrats" starring Jason Lee, Jeremy London, Shannen Doherty, Ben Affleck and Kevin Smith was filmed at Eden Prairie Center.

The 1999 film "Drop Dead Gorgeous" and 2017 film "Wilson" were partially filmed at the mall.

The name of Prince's 1990 film, "Graffiti Bridge," was named for a former iconic Eden Prairie landmark. A 19-foot railroad bridge crossed Valley View Road but allowed only a single lane at a time. It was torn down in 1991 to make room for increasing traffic as the city continued to grow.

Today, the Minnesota River Bluffs LRT Regional Trail crosses Valley View at the same location, but without the paint.

What is the population of Eden Prairie?

The estimated population of Eden Prairie in 2016 was 63,163, according to the Met Council. The Census Bureau offers a 2016 estimate of 63,914. 

It can be hard to believe that, in 1960, the population was 3,233.

Where does Eden Prairie rank in the list of biggest cities in Minnesota?

Eden Prairie was the 13th largest city by population in Minnesota in 2016, according to Minnesota State Demographic Center estimates. It is the sixth largest city in Hennepin County. 

Are there more men or women?

According to U.S. Census estimates, there were 31,711 males and 30,915 females in 2015.

What is the daytime population of Eden Prairie? 

Daytime population is a city's population during a typical workday, because some of the residents leave to work in other cities while residents from elsewhere come to the city to work. Bedroom communities, for example, have low daytime numbers.

While the Census provides daytime populations by county, it takes some calculating to arrive at city figure. One gazetteer-style website placed the daytime population for Eden Prairie at 80,000. Another had 82,000.

Either way, it's on the plus side, which means EP is not a bedroom community. Quash that notion.

What is the busiest road altogether and the busiest street in Eden Prairie?

According to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Interstate 494 is the busiest road in Eden Prairie, with 102,000 cars daily between Prairie Center Drive and U.S. Highway 169. The busiest city street is Prairie Center Drive with 33,000 cars daily near its intersections with Technology Drive.

Button

The city of Eden Prairie had buttons available on Sept. 19, 2016, as the news was announced that the city was No. 2 on Money magazine’s list of the Best Places to Live in America.

Why does Eden Prairie keep getting selected as a great place to live? And who selects?

Eden Prairie has been rated one of the "Best Places to Live" by Money Magazine multiple times with a ranking of No. 1 in 2010, No. 3 in 2012 and No. 2 in 2016. In 2016, Money’s online entry on Eden Prairie describes it as, “Where the great outdoors meets a great job market.”

The survey highlighted Eden Prairie’s new Eden Gardens neighborhood, large employers like Optum and C.H. Robinson, the low unemployment rate, diversity and “outdoor splendors.”

What is the average commute times for EP residents? 

The U.S. Census provides a mean travel time to work. For Eden Prairie residents, it says the mean is 22.4 minutes. It says it is 23.5 minutes for men and 21.2 for women. 

It says 10 percent of EP people have a travel time of less than 10 minutes, and 28.2 percent commute for a half hour or longer.

Interestingly, it tracks the time people depart home, and it says — bosses take note here — that 20.3 percent leave between 9 a.m. and noon.

Must be nice.

What is the average cost of a mortgage in Eden Prairie? 

Using data from the 2010 Census, the gazetteer website USA City Facts says the median owner cost for a home with a mortgage is $2,111, with the state average at $1,549. Those figures would include mortgage, insurance, repairs and utilities.

It says 71.1 percent of homes are owner-occupied, and the rest are tenant-occupied. The monthly average on rentals, it says, is $938.

Doug Reuter

Doug Reuter of Eden Prairie explains the genesis of his board game, Sequence. In 1992, more than 80,000 copies of the game had been purchased in the 10 years it had been on the market.

Were any commonplace things invented in Eden Prairie?

The board game Sequence was invented by former Eden Prairie resident Doug Reuter. The game first hit the market in 1982 and more than 10 million Sequence games have been sold.

Did anyone from Eden Prairie ever become famous?

Katrina Radke cut her swimming teeth competing for Eden Prairie-based Team Foxjet. At the age of 17, she qualified for the 1988 Olympics. That year she placed fifth in the 200-meter butterfly.

Ben Husaby from EPHS class of 1984, was a U.S. Olympic Nordic skier during the 1992 and 1994 Olympic Games. He later founded the Bend Endurance Academy in Bend, Oregon. The academy is a nonprofit that offers students chances to learn, complete and explore the outdoors through participating in endurance sports.

Jay Foreman

As an Eden Prairie High School senior, Jay Foreman was one of the best high school football players in the state. He went on to play eight years in the NFL. In between, his Nebraska Corhuskers won three National championships.

As an EPHS senior, Jay Foreman was one of the best high school football players in the state. After graduating high school in 1993, he went on to play eight years in the NFL. In between, his Nebraska Cornhuskers won three National championships.

Adam Bartley

Adam Bartley played “The Ferg” on the Netflix series “Longmire.”

Adam Bartley, a 1997 Eden Prairie High School graduate, is an actor who has starred on television series such as "Longmire" and "This Is Us."

Mark LeVoir, a 2000 graduate of EPHS, went on to play tackle and guard during six seasons in the NFL with the Chicago Bears St. Louis Rams, New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens.

Mark Andrew Pudas

Mark Andrew Pudas is a former “American Idol” contestant.

Musician Mark Andrew Pudas (who performs as Mark Andrew), is a 2003 EPHS graduate and a former contestant on "The Voice" (2013) and "American Idol" (2015.)

Carter Bykowski

Carter Bykowski played tight end on Eden Prairie High School’s 2006 and 2007 state championship teams.

Carter Bykowski was a member of Eden Prairie's 2006 and 2007 state championship football teams. Bykowski was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the seventh round in 2013. In 2014, the Minnesota Vikings signed the offensive tackle off of the 49ers practice squad and played one season with the team before signing with the Atlanta Falcons in February 2017. He announced his retirement in March.

Nick Leddy with van Bergen brothers

The van Bergen brothers, John, Will and Luke, get their picture taken with Nick Leddy and the Stanley Cup in 2013.

Nick Leddy, a 2009 EPHS graduate and member of the New York Islanders, was drafted in the first round, 16th overall by the Minnesota Wild. As a defenseman with the Chicago Blackhawks, he brought Stanley Cup back to Eden Prairie in 2013 when the Blackhawks won NHL championship.

Rachel Bootsma

Rachel Bootsma a 2012, Eden Prairie High School graduate, earned a gold medal during the 2012 Summer Olympics for being part of the U.S. women’s record-setting medley relay team.

Swimmer Rachel Bootsma, a 2012, EPHS graduate, earned a gold medal during the 2012 Summer Olympics for being part of the U.S. women’s record-setting medley relay team. Bootsma’s preliminary swim secured a spot in the finals.

Francesca Curran Orange Is The New Black

Francesca Curran, holding a book, has starred as a skinhead inmate named Helen Van Maele in seasons 4 and 5 of the Netflix award-winning series, “Orange Is The New Black.”

Eden Prairie native Francesca Curran (a 2011 Holy Family Catholic High School graduate) has starred as a skinhead inmate named Helen Van Maele in seasons 4 and 5 of the Netflix award-winning series, “Orange Is The New Black.”

Kyle Rau

Kyle Rau (sliding across the ice) scored the game-winning goal in triple overtime to beat Duluth East in the 2011 state-championship game.

Kyle Rau led Eden Prairie to hockey state championships in 2009 and 2011 before becoming the Florida Panthers' third-round pick (91st overall) in the 2011 NHL draft. He played two seasons with the Panthers before signing a two-way deal with the Minnesota Vikings in July 2017.

Paul Anderson

Former Justice Paul Anderson poses next to the photos he appears in on the wall of the Minnesota Judicial Center. A photo is taken whenever a new justice joins the court. He has posed in 14 photos under five chief justices.

Eden Prairie native Paul Anderson served on the Minnesota Supreme Court from 1994 until 2013. He served as chief judge on the Minnesota Court of Appeals and worked in private practice before serving on the Supreme Court.

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