It’s not just on ‘Fargo’ that people confuse their Edens
The population of Eden Valley, Minn., was 1,042, according to the 2010 census.
According to the TV show, “Fargo,” though, it’s a little lower.
Eden Valley and Eden Prairie figure into the third season of the show, which revisits the atmosphere and mood of Joel and Ethan Coen’s Oscar-winning 1996 movie (St. Cloud’s in there, too). This season features lame-duck Eden Valley Police Chief Gloria Burgle (Carrie Coon) diving into a maze of murder and robbery that kicked off with a hapless hitman killing the wrong person: a man named Stussy who lived in Eden Valley, rather than a man named Stussy who lived in Eden Prairie, which is about 90 miles southeast of Eden Valley.
The Eden Valley slogan — “Prairie, People and Progress” — certainly doesn’t help clear up the Valley/Prairie confusion. But — at least if you live in Eden Valley — you need to get used to the idea that people are going to get mixed up.
“A long time ago, I lived in the (Twin) Cities and my husband now said he was from Eden Valley and I said, ‘Oh, yeah. I know where that is,’ ” recalls Darla Kerzman, now the deputy clerk of Eden Valley. “He said, ‘Nah. I bet you’re thinking of somewhere else.’ ”
She was. And she’s not alone.
“Sophomore year in college, I brought two friends home and we got there and one of the girls was looking around, bewildered. She thought we were going to Eden Prairie. She was expecting a much larger town,” says Julie Haag Bulau, who teaches in Eden Valley.
Inspired by the show, Haag Bulau asked Facebook friends for similar stories and received several: UPS drop-offs that went to the wrong city. A bicyclist who veered 90 miles off course. And this from fellow teacher Kimberly Lusti Solo:
“My first year at (Eden Valley-Watkins High School), they took out the wall between the band room and gym, because of asbestos, and ordered new wall panels. The panels didn’t come for six months because they were delivered to Eden Prairie High School and sat in a warehouse until someone finally figured it all out.”
Over in Eden Prairie — the actual one — Pat MulQueeny can’t think of similar examples.
“We don’t get many people who confuse the two,” says MulQueeny, president of the Eden Prairie Chamber of Commerce. “Thanks for letting me know about this, though. I’ve been meaning to catch up on ‘Fargo’ and now I have a reason to.”
He should hurry. There are only two remaining episodes of what reportedly could be the last season of the TV series, which airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on FX.
If you’re catching up on “Fargo,” have some wall panels to deliver, or are thinking about murdering someone, here’s a guide to help you keep the Edens straight:EDEN PRAIRIE
- Population: 60,797
- Location: Hennepin County, southwest of Minneapolis (Third congressional district)
- Murders? Several in the last few years, including a double-murder last month.
- Previous connection to show biz: “Mall Rats” was filmed at Eden Prairie Center.
- Named by: According to Wikipedia, a Mrs. Elliot, who thought the prairies in the area were beautiful.
- Population: 1,042
- Location: Meeker and Stearns counties, northwest of Minneapolis (7th Congressional District)
- Murders? An Eden Valley woman stalked and killed an ex-boyfriend in 2012.
- Previous connection to show biz: None known, but the late Gig Young, who won an Oscar for “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?,” was from St. Cloud, half an hour away (and also the site of murders in the third season of “Fargo”).
- Named by: Officers of the St. Paul, Minneapolis and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad.