While most Edina Twins fans know that beloved player Harmon Killebrew was memorialized at Target Field with a #3 etched in the dirt by second base, they may not have noticed a tribute closer to home. Bill Hanley, full-time maintenance employee for the City of Edina, painted the number 3 on the hillside at Courtney Fields as a tribute to the Hall of Famer, who recently died of cancer. The number is seen in the background of this Babe Ruth game played in late May.
Today, in honor of Memorial Day, I am taking the day off. Instead, I will provide a link to a story I wrote earlier this year for our membership newsletter about three Edina veterans who were killed in action: Hilmer Larson, Dwight Williams and Eric Craig Egge.
This is the northwest corner of Sunnyside Road and France Avenue, the location of Bruegger's Bagels (4412 France Avenue) and Caribou Coffee today. See Google "street view" image below to compare then and now.
We don't have the date in our records, but you can tell by the cars that it's early in Morningside's history. And when I say you can tell by the cars, I literally mean you. I readily admit that car identification is not my specialty. So if it's yours, tell me the date this photo was taken.
The name on the side of the building says "Piggly Wiggly," a grocery store chain that started in Memphis in 1916. (Read their interesting company history here.) People who lived in the area in more modern times (1940s-1970s) remember these long-time businesses in this building: Burr's County Club Barbers, Miller's Hardware Store, Joyce's Bakery, Carlson's Odd Shop and Griffen Drug.
This is another view, circa 1941, on France and 44th Street looking south toward the building (partial view of the drug store sign is on the the left.) This was then an empty lot (today it's Linhoff Photo), where a memorial was erected during World War II to honor those Morningside residents in service. The photo shows residents gathering for a Memorial Day ceremony.
Previous "Photo Fridays" have included selections from the City of Edina tax assessor records. Our Morningside-Linden Hills walking tour this week and upcoming Memorial Day prompted me to use these photos instead.
The walking tour was a huge success and so much fun. (A group of 60 people walking down a street captures a lot of attention.) Thanks to our tour guide, historian Peter Sussman and the Linden Hills History Study Group for partnering with us on this event. We hope to offer more tours in the future. To get on a mailing list for future events, become a member or email us.
If you have information about these photos, please contact me. (And yes, that means you, car aficionados.)
The more things change, the more things stay the same. In the 50-some years since Constable George Weber kept a look out for speeders at 44th and France in the 1950s, police work has changed dramatically. Police now have radar, computers in their squad cars and two-way radios to connect them with dispatch. Two things haven't changed: residents complaining about speeders on their street, and speeders attempting not to get caught.
From our collection, "speed traps" now and then.
Constable George Weber
2000s:(above) “I was working on West 77th Street between Highway 100 and Parklawn. Speeds were way up, and I was getting lots of business. All of a sudden, things really cooled down until a lady pulled over to tell me someone had put up that sign for eastbound traffic near Seagate.” ~Officer Tom Mason
1950s: (left) When the Morningside Village Council urged Constable George Weber to hide behind bushes to catch speeders, he obeyed, even though it went against his usual mode of operation. (The Village's lone police officer preferred negotiation over confrontation.) He tagged one speeder, who then warned other drivers on a megaphone: “Speed trap ahead!” A photo of the scene in the Edina-Morningside Courier showed Weber chuckling behind his hand, enjoying the spectacle as much as the observers were.
A Story from Dispatch
“Oh, I had one guy one night, he called complaining about speed traps and stuff like that. That’s when they were building the Crosstown. … The squads used to sit in there and you couldn’t see ‘em because of the barricades, and they’d catch all the traffic going southbound on 100. So this guy calls, and he was really complaining that he’d been caught and it’s a speed trap and they got to have lighted squads, and all this kind of junk. Yakety, yak, yak, yakkin’. …And when I was finally able to get a word in edgewise, I says, “It’s my opinion that the only time you abide by the speed limit is when you see a squad car.” ~ from an oral history with Al Hines, dispatcher 1960s to 1980s
I should have said "three things haven't changed." Edina Police still have a sense of humor.
If you think whining kids in the back seat and bumper-to-bumper traffic are unbearable, author Frederick Johnson provides a reality check just in time for your Memorial Day road trip. Our guest blogger has spent many hours at the Edina History Museum with his research for his book Suburban Dawn: the Emergence of Richfield, Edina, and Bloomington. Not only is Fred a great guy (and I'm not just saying that because he's doing my job today - thanks Fred!), he is a talented writer: Suburban Dawn and his previous book Richfield: Minnesota's Oldest Suburb were both honored by the American Association for State and Local History.
Eliza Grimes in her later years
By Frederick Johnson
Here’s a message to present day travelers who bemoan the troubles of traveling cross country with children: Read the story of Edina settler Eliza Grimes.
Eliza Gordon married well when she wed Jonathan Grimes in 1843. Jonathan was a well-born Virginian and a member of the Society of Friends (Quakers) when he and Eliza met in Indiana. An abolitionist with a hatred for slavery, Jonathan had left the south to start a new life in the Midwest. He and his Hoosier bride built the first frame house in southwestern Indiana’s Clay County and began a family. Life was good until the early 1850s when ambitious promoters and politicians began developing the Wabash and Erie Canal, a water link between Indiana and Lake Erie.
Jonathan Grimes in his later years
The waterway cut through their farm and created terrible problems for the family. They suspected a stagnant, malarial lagoon left by canal builders was behind the fevers that plagued Jonathan and also afflicted their children. Then, in 1854 the fever again swept through the Wabash valley, creating an exodus of the afflicted. Many headed for Minnesota, the fledgling northern territory nationally publicized as a health preserve. Promoters of Minnesota trumpeted claims that malaria and consumption (tuberculosis) were unknown there.
In 1855, the Grimes’ first-born son drowned in the canal, and fever, once again, threatened Jonathan’s life. When seven-month-old daughter Anna also became ill, the desperate couple decided to head to Minnesota, hopeful of a climatic cure for their misery. But they knew the route to the remote northwest was by Mississippi River steamboat, with the nearest port, Galena, tucked in the northwest corner of Illinois some 260 miles away. The only way they could reach Galena was by taking wagon roads.
Eliza Grimes faced an incredible challenge. With her husband too ill to sit up, she would need to drive their wagon on the long, arduous trip while tending her three children—two boys, 6 and 2, and the dangerously ill infant daughter. This formidable woman gathered supplies for the trip and placed a mattress in the bed of the wagon for Jonathan and little Anna. With all on board, she headed for Galena.
The Grimes did possess resources for the journey—money, education, and strength of character—but success depended upon Eliza. The trip would test her mental and physical reserves, as well as large measures of courage and determination. The dauntless Eliza managed to get everyone to Galena in a week’s time. There she loaded them onto a steamboat headed for Minneapolis. The fare for the remaining 400 miles to their destination was about six dollars per person. The family’s grim situation began to improve, both Jonathan and Anna began feeling better, and Eliza’s load began to lighten.
The Grimes family found that Minnesota agreed with them. In 1858 Jonathan and Eliza learned of a flouring mill for sale on Minnehaha Creek and, along with a partner, bought Waterville Mill, the future Edina Mill. Later, they bought land to the northeast of the mill and ranked among Edina’s leading citizens.
Modern Morningside residents may not be familiar with the Grimes family, but they will recognize their home and the street that bears their name. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Grimes home west of Grimes Avenue was built after the family had achieved some success with their business Lake Calhoun Nursery. This drawing of their home appeared in their letterhead.
The Grimes' journey would take about 11 1/2 hours today by freeway, shown above. By wagon on rutted roads, Eliza got her family from their home in Indiana (we don't have the exact location) to Galena, IL, in a week. They took a steamboat up the Misssissippi to Minneapolis where they stayed while her husband Jonathan recovered. The rowdy city environment (see previous post) prompted them to seek a quieter life in the country. They bought the mill in Edina and lived nearby in what is now the Morningside neighborhood of Edina.
For further exploration:
For more information about the book Suburban Dawn, see Johnson's web site. A limited number of books are still available for purchase at the Edina History Museum.
Find out more about the Grimes family and the development of the Edina neighborhood and Linden Hills area. Attend a May 25, 2011, walking tour sponsored by the Edina Historical Society and the Linden Hills Historical Society.
Where is this building in the 50th and France area? Give up? Yeah, me too. I had to look at the phone directory for 1959 to find out that the Edina Bowling Center was at 5030 France Avenue South, around the same part of the block as Salut (5034 France) and Edina Grill (5028 France) are today. The building was demolished in the late 1960s, I've been told. This was the only (bowling) game in town before Gus Young opened Biltmore Lanes at Highway 100 and Vernon. Avenue. And much earlier than the newest bowling business, Pinstripes, which not only has bowling, but also bocce, a huge wine list and an extensive menu. Betcha couldn't get linguine and clams at Edina Bowling Center.
What are your Edina bowling memories? Do you have any photos of your bowling league, or the inside of the this building? Help record the history of Edina bowling - please contact me or comment on this post.
As I was watching the Sound of Music recently, I wasn't thinking about raindrops on roses, or whiskers on kittens, or even Do Re Mi.
I was thinking of the Bridgman family of Morningside.
Weird, huh? I haven't met most of the family members, but I feel I know them through photos in our collection. As the Von Trapps biked en masse by lakes and down country roads, I immediately thought of the photo below.
The Tribune caption read: "It's quite a safari when all eight members of the Donald Bridgman family bike together, as they are doing here along Lake Harriet. Ordinarily they can't ride abreast like this but the road was barricaded and there was no traffic. From right to left are attorney, Donald E. Bridgman, Mrs. Bridgman, George, 22, Katherine, 20; John, 18; William, 16, Thomas, 14, and Arthur, 12."
Not so weird, huh? I mean, how many photos have you seen of a large family biking together? So I got to wondering whether the Bridgmans were inspired by the movie when they posed for this family portrait.
I would have bet yes. (Good for me I never gamble real money.) But in response to my email query, Katherine Bridgman Ellgen sent me the newspaper article where the photo first appeared. Dated Sept. 30, 1962, the story appeared in the Minneapolis Sunday Tribune's Picture Magazine almost three years before the movie premiered.
The one page feature was headlined "Biking Bridgmans Wheel Along"
The story read: "There's a garage full of bicycles and a house full of cyclists at the Donald E. Bridgman residence, 4306 Grimes Av., Morningside. All eight members of the family own bikes and ride them as often as possible. The whole family can rarely ride together any more, however, but such an occasion arose recently (above) when one daughter, Katherine, a junior at her parents' alma mater, Hamline University, returned home after a summer of leading American Youth Hostel bike tours in New England and Canada. Bridgman, an attorney, and his wife both biked before their marriage 25 years ago. They have continued to bike since and passed their interest on to their children. In 1938, Donald and Betty Bridgman biked 1,000 miles in England and in 1941 they rode bicycles to La Crosse, Wis., to promote the American Youth Hostel movement in Minnesota. Last spring, Kathie Bridgman talked her mother and two youngest brothers into biking 75 miles or so to Balsam Lake, Wis."
The photo was taken by Powell Krueger, who also lived in the Morningside neighborhood. (For more about the Tribune photographer, see previous post.)
I didn't think to ask Katherine if their family was musically inclined. I'd like to think of them whistling a happy tune while they wheeled along. But I'm taking no bets - as this story shows, odds are I'd be wrong.
DIck Siebert, University of Minnesota photo
The strength of the game of baseball in Minnesota today, from the little leagues to the high schools to American Legion programs and to colleges, is attributable to Dick Siebert’s preaching his "gospel of baseball” in countless clinics and seminars. ~ Rich Arpi, The Baseball Biography Project, Society for American Baseball Research
Dick Siebert is best known for his illustrious career coaching Gopher baseball. After playing professional ball intermittently over seven years, Siebert was hired in 1948 at the University of Minnesota and became the winning-est coach in Gopher history with a 754-361-6 record and a .676 winning percentage. His teams won three NCAA titles (1956, 1960, 1964) and 12 Big Ten titles. No wonder the U of M Baseball Stadium was named after him in 1979.
But Seibert became just as well-known throughout the state for his popular clinics. "Siebert and a number of his coaching colleagues began to hold clinics for coaches and players throughout the Upper Midwest. Coaches flocked to these clinics since many of them had played with and/or against Siebert and respected his baseball knowledge. While occasionally he spotted a player at these clinics who could help the Gophers, his real goal was to improve the level of play throughout the region," according to the SABR web site.
Seibert "brought the gospel of baseball" to Edina, as seen by the 1957 flyer (above) from our collection. Because Siebert lived here, his influence was even more pronounced.
His sons Dick Jr. and Paul both excelled at the game, and they helped their Edina teams complete great seasons. While in high school, Dick Jr. managed and pitched his Edina American Legion team to the state title in 1955. (He's pictured in the dark jacket below). He pitched for his father's Gopher teams and lettered in the 1957, 1958, and 1959 seasons. He didn't pursue a baseball career; instead, he became a prominent neurosurgeon.
Back row L-R: Kent Larson, Tom Moe, Larry Johnson, Dick Siebert Jr., Bill Strout, Tom Kelly, Bill HIbbs. Front Row L-R: Don Myers, Jay Diebolt, Butch Nielsen, Dave Sehlin, Tom Mulcahy. Bat boy Fenn George. Thank you to the following for their help identifying the players: Pat Barker, Charles Brown, Tom Kelly and Ray Hibbs.
Siebert’s younger son, Paul, was highly recruited as a high-school pitcher and decided to attend Arizona State University. Paul was drafted in the third round by the Houston Astros in the 1971 amateur draft. He had a brief major league career (87 games) with the Houston Astros, San Diego Padres, and New York Mets between 1974 and 1978.
Siebert was part of the infamous "Saturday Night Massacre" in New York. On June 15, 1977, the Mets traded Dave Kingman to the San Diego Padres for Siebert and Bobby Valentine, sent Tom Seaver to the Cincinnati Reds for Pat Zachry, Doug Flynn, Steve Henderson and Dan Norman, and Mike Phillips to the St. Louis Cardinals for Joel Youngblood. Siebert split the rest of that year as well as 1978 between the Mets and the minor league Tidewater Tides.
Dick and his son Paul are among more than 100 father-son players in the Major Leagues.
Do you remember the Siebert family? Did you attend any of Dick Siebert's clinics? Did he coach or assist any of his son's teams? I'd love to hear from you. Please contact me if this post prompts any memories.
The University of Minnesota Athletics web site has great info about Dick Siebert, including this video showing Siebert teaching baseball techniques.
Richard Jamieson donated this sign and photo last year for our latest exhibit Edina's Greatest Generation: On the Home Front and the Front Line. A closing event, featuring speaker Michael Hansen, will be held 7 p.m., Thursday, May 19.
"Milton T. Jamieson, his family, and accompanying dog Duchess, lived in the Village of Morningside, just north of the City of Edina, MN.
It was 1943. World War II was happening, and Victory Gardens were in vogue. Milton Jamieson worked for the local power company NSP (Northern States Power), which encouraged employee Victory Gardens and provided an appropriate sign properly adorned by the company's corporate image builder, Reddy Kilowatt. Several other public gardens adjoined the fertile bog land, which was located just across the road from what is now Weber Park (link to map).
While the U.S. was at war, this garden supplied several years of super fresh vegetables for the Jamieson family and neighbors.
The above sign has survived sunshine, rain, tornadoes and squirrels for more than 75 years."
I was surprised to hear so many visitors comment on the mascot Reddy Kilowatt, the lightning bolt mascot for NSP. The cartoon character was more than just a company spokesman (or spokesthing, as some have joked.) He appeared in comic books, coloring books, educational films and more. As familiar to children of the 1940s as Ronald McDonald is for kids of today, Reddy Kilowatt fell out of favor during the energy crisis of the 1970s. It wasn't as cool to encourage more electricity use during the sharp rise in energy prices.
You might be able to tell from the seamed swimming suits that this photo was taken in the late 1950s. But who are these bathing beauties, with their toes pointed so elegantly? Make your guess (or share your knowledge) in the poll below. I'll tell you the answer next Friday.
Better yet, tell me the names of these young women. Email me or comment below. Anyone who submits a correct name will win an Edina Mill t-shirt.