Life is One Big Road With Lots of Signs
The road names in Eagan sometimes leave you wondering what in the world was going through someones mind when they named them. We talked a while back about Pilot Knob Road but what about Yankee Doodle Road?
Roads in rural communities often bear the names of those whose farms they parallel. We see this in many cases in Eagan. North of Yankee Doodle Road there is a road called Letendre, named for a family who farmed nearby in the late 1800s.
You’ll find that it wasn’t uncommon for families to remain on the same parcel for generations, splitting their plat among their children. As was the case in this family, the latest record we have for this family was a Sig (1899-1988) and Theresa Letendre. Sig was the son of Emanuel Letendre (1852-1935) whose father, Jean-Baptist Letendre emigrated from Quebec. When they sold off their land in the late 50s the development that was built commemorated their sons Donald and Vernon with two cross streets leading to Yankee Doodle.
Around the same time that the Letendres were thriving in Eagan, there was another large farming operation nearby, not surprising as Eagan was known during this time to be the Onion Capital of the World. This family was the Schmidts, and the road running in front of their farm was named for them. Later, at the dawning of World War I as tensions ran high regarding all things German, people were being taunted for living on such a German sounding street. As the story goes, a recent German immigrant who had settled on this Schmidt Street was asked where he lived, and he said Yankee Doodle!
As far as Johnny Cake Ridge Road goes, even the research librarian at the Dakota County Historical Society is stumped. I have heard rumors from long time locals that at one time prior to development this road might have run adjacent to a formation that looked a bit like a johnny cake (i.e. corn bread). However, I haven’t found a way to substantiate any of these stories. Unfortunately, I guess this will have to remain, at least for the time, a mystery!