Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Beyond the Minnesota Zoo May 25, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Apple Valley sign


WAITING AT A STOPLIGHT along Cedar Avenue in Apple Valley, I noticed apple-shaped street-side signs. That prompted me to wonder about this south metro community’s name and history.

Mostly, I connect Apple Valley with the location of the Minnesota Zoo. And an Original Mattress Factory store; a brother-in-law is an OMF vice president.

But what about those apples? According to the city website, a builder named several of his plats Apple Valley and then planted an apple tree on each home site in some of his new developments. What a great idea. That was in the early 1960s.

In 1968, residents voted to incorporate the Township of Lebanon as the Village of Apple Valley.

As cities go, Apple Valley is relatively young. I’ve mostly lumped it with other south metro communities like Lakeville and Burnsville. Maybe it’s time to take a closer look, to explore beyond the few businesses I’ve occasionally shopped along and off busy Cedar Avenue. Does Apple Valley have an established downtown? What am I missing that would be worth seeing?

The Visit Apple Valley website uses these words (matched with photos) to describe an Apple Valley experience: serenity, luxury, ahhhhhhh, relaxation, play, indulge.

Interesting enough, it also touts Apple Valley as “the best place to stay when visiting the Mall of America” some five minutes away. That helps the local hotel business. But what about the local retailers who would prefer shoppers stay in town? I suppose, though, those MOA visitors do drop money in local shops…

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


12 Responses to “Beyond the Minnesota Zoo”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    We have stayed in Apple Valley several times so I guess the campaign worked for us. 🙂

  2. treadlemusic Says:

    Apple Valley,along with the myriad of other adjacent communities, have fallen off our radar since moving from the Metro some 40+ years ago. I look forward to your detective work on this one!!!!!!

  3. That is the area I grew up in and spent some of my 20’s in too. Love the MN Zoo and all the green spaces (the parks and the sense of community). Your photo shows that it has changed since I have been in the area, which is great and continues to give that sense of community. I actually went to college at the Mall of America. Love the part about the builder planting apple trees. Thanks for sharing – Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂

  4. I love the idea of planting an Apple tree near each house. I wonder how many of them are still there

  5. Jackie Says:

    When I think of Apple valley I think of red lamp posts that line the street. 🙂

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