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Miller Brothers General Store (Eden Prairie Center Archaeological District)         
Site Number(s):   21HE222  
County:   Hennepin, MN  
City Township:   Eden Prairie  
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In the early 1880s Fred Miller II and his brother John established the Miller Brothers General Store on the southwest corner of the intersection of Eden Prairie Road (now County Road 4) and the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railroad line.
 
 



For nearly 80 years, the "crossroads" community around the store was the only area of Eden Prairie Township that contained a major cluster of commercial buildings servicing the surrounding farmsteads.

As a cultural and commercial hub, the Miller Brothers General Store with its upstairs town hall and attached family residence served to provide the people of the area with a place to gather, visit, shop and participate in the civic activities of the township.

Miller Brothers General Store
The front of the Miller family store in the 1920s. Photo courtesy of the Eden Prairie Historical Society.


 
 
Excavation map
Archaeological Site Map of 1997 excavations. Map courtesy of the Center for Anthropology and Cultural Heritage Education at Hamline University.

 
 



The family business closed in 1950 with the death of Fred's widow, Kate Miller, and stood empty until 1963 when it burned to the ground. Due to road construction in the 1990s, archaeological work had to be conducted on the site. These investigations culminated in a small-scale excavation in 1997.

 
 



Led by Hamline University archaeologists, 6th grade students from the local Oak Point Intermediate School in Eden Prairie excavated around the back yard of the store and adjoining houses.

Archaeological research concentrated on how the Miller Family used the back yard of the store. One feature (Feature 4) was a deep trash pit that held hundreds of fragments of broken dishes, glasses, bottles and other items meant to have been sold in the store.


Students at work
Oak Point students work on uncovering the history of their community. Photo courtesy of the Center for Anthropology and Cultural Heritage Education at Hamline University.

 
 



The archaeological work highlighted the surprisingly rich array of material goods available to farmers during the first thirty years of the 20th Century as well as the local and international origins of those materials.

 
 


 

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Updated 29 Jun 1999