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In my time as director of the Edina Historical Society, I have been asked a number of times for a map showing the neighborhoods of Edina.

My answer: there isn't one.

Sure, there are plat maps showing names of subdivisions, but almost no one knows the areas by those names. (Crocker's Third Addition, anyone?)  If pressed, I can list a number of different neighborhoods (Morningside, Country Club District, West Minneapolis Heights, Cahill District, White Oaks and Highlands, among others) but I couldn't tell you the definitive borders for each or even if most residents know the neighborhoods where they live.

That will all change in the coming months. Neighborhoods will soon have names and borders as the City of Edina engages residents in defining neighborhoods and establishing City-recognized neighborhood associations. (For more on the process and upcoming meetings, see the city's Name Your Neighborhood blog.)

With all the talk about neighborhoods, I thought I would dig through the files for what we have on the historic neighborhood names. An easy one to kick off the series: Morningside. Platted in 1905, the area in the far northeast corner of Edina was a suburban bedroom community with far different concerns than rural Edina; new homeowners pushed for modern city amenities like street lights and sidewalks and progress couldn't come fast enough.

"The streets in Morningside, from the top of the hill, were just mud streets and in wet weather the mud was sticky and deep. It used to annoy the women-folk who had to wear boots. They wanted their shoes to look nice when they went shopping or just calling on their neighbors," said E. Dudley Parsons in a 1994 interview.

Tired of waiting, the neighborhood seceded from Edina in 1920 and became the smallest village in Hennepin County. Resident A.G. Long, among many who advocated for secession, wrote the rallying anthem "Morningside, My Morningside!" in 1918. He is credited with naming the new Village and was dubbed the "Father of Morningside," although he refused to run for Mayor.

Mud made the neighborhood secede, and mud influenced its choice of name for the new village. “In naming the new village (Long) borrowed a name of a district in London, England, Morningside” where there was no mud, according to Dan T. Nelson, long-time Morningside Village Clerk an undated interview with the local newspaper.

As you can see from this photo from Morningside's early days, Morningside Road looked more like gravel farm road than it did a city street.

Another theory contends that Morningside took its name from a suburb of Edinburgh. Coincidence or not, Edina is named after the Scottish town, which happens to have a suburb called Morningside.

As with many naming stories, separating fact from legend is no easy task. One thing is clear: the neighborhood continued to use the name even after it returned to the Edina fold in 1966. For evidence, look no further than the Edina-Morningside Rotary, the Edina-Morningside Women's Club and the Morningside Neighborhood Association.

In the coming months, neighborhoods may choose to keep the traditional names and borders or come up with new ones. I would be shocked if Morningside abandoned its century-old moniker that is still in use, but I've been wrong before. The point is, residents will determine the names and borders of their neighborhoods, not me. And when the work is done, I'll have an answer for anyone requesting a map of Edina's neighborhoods.
I have been asked if Morningside had an official Village logo. I haven't found any letterhead in the files, but this logo appeared in 1940s phone books published by Lydia Rogers.

Have you ever wondered about any neighborhood names or history? I'll spotlight other areas of town in upcoming posts, so email me if you have questions or ideas.
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Hello, happy belated Friday. I didn't post on the holiday weekend so I bring you this late edition of Photo Friday today. Look for another installment in the "Valley View Road chronicles" on Friday. (I found a few other gems in the file.)
George and Emma Tedman ran this little store, dubbed Wooddale Grocery in the phone book but known more commonly as just Tedman's. The Tedmans lived in the back of the store and operated a small business in the front.

I wrote more about Tedman's and Edina's other little corner stores here. I'll show you the aerial from that post once again -- because it's that awesome of a photo. Oh, and it will help show what the area looked like during the early 1950s. (For those not familiar with the area, see the Google map here.)

Photographer Dick Palen lived on Garrison Lane and he took several photographs of his new subdivision in the still predominantly rural landscape.
After Tedman's store closed, it served as a drop-off station for Minneapolis Tribune newspapers in the early 1960s. It was demolished in 1968.
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A few years ago, the Edina Historical Society created an exhibit about the history of Edina's Police and Fire Department. With the help of police officer Kevin Rofidal and retired firefighter Steve Nelson, we collected photos and stories, and objects ranging from police uniforms to mug shot cameras to 1940s firefighter gear. After a year the exhibit was taken down and a new display went up, but the stories and artifacts remain in the collection. The other day I came across one of the stories that still makes me laugh, and I thought I'd dust it off for your enjoyment today.

Al Hines
For 20 years, Al Hines was the voice of the Edina Police Department. The police dispatcher, known as “Uncle Al,” led a young group of officers with a benevolent but firm hand. Or, as Al put it: “I didn’t take any crap from anyone.”

Mention Hines and most people laugh and say, “What a character.”  A Navy veteran when he started at Edina in the mid 1960s, he was older than most colleagues and “brought balance and discipline to a somewhat undisciplined group of officers,” recalled former officer Doug Madsen.

Hines started as a dispatcher when communications was “very, very simplified,” said Hines, who began dispatching after one afternoon of training. “There was one receiver…we sat at a desk that was right along the front counter.  And there (were) books, and garbage and junk in that counter.”

One day, Al heard a radio call somewhere in the “junk.” “There’s a receiver way in the back, stuck there, so I dug it out.  Come to find out they were experimenting with, in the case of an armed robbery, or something like that, they put out a call on this particular radio and they could have up to 400 police officers at predetermined spots, so that they would cover get-aways, and stuff like that. Good thing I found out what that was.”

Al loved his job. “To me, it was interesting.  No two days were the same.  I don’t know.  I just enjoyed it.” He died in June 2007 at age 83.

Police dispatch didn't exist when the Village of Edina hired its first police officer in 1930. Residents reported crimes by calling police officer Percy Redpath's home and talking to his wife Mary Lena. With no radio in his car, Redpath had to stop in at resident's homes or at the Country Club Garage at 50th and France to call home for messages. In today's cell phone world, we take instant communication for granted, but it wasn't until 1955 that Edina police cars had two-way radio.

For more fun stories and the major milestones in Edina's dispatch history, see the timeline below or find the link to the document here.

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On Mondays, I post comments submitted from readers and add a few thoughts of my own.

1. Ray's Dairy Store
Paige commented on Photo Friday: Ray's Dairy Store, 3907 W. 54th Street, 1959My memory from the early 70's was the rotating chicken roasting in the window.

In response for requests on what other businesses to feature, I received this email: REALLY enjoy the blog. At some point you should do something on 50th and France and old merchants. There was Marty's barbershop...where they had....PLAYBOYS. Big deal when you're 11. Red Barn. Le Petit Cafe'. Gim Loong. Fanny Farmer. A Christian Science reading room. And then the apartments ABOVE the strip where General Sports was.

Anyone remember any of these businesses? I'll see what I find in the collection, which is incomplete for commercial buildings but still has some gems as you've seen from past editions of Photo Friday. Stay tuned....

In the mean time, check out Joe Sullivan's article in the city's quarterly newsletter About Town on the YMCA. I know he's written one on Marty's barbershop, but I couldn't find the story online. Here's a past Photo Friday on Fanny Farmer.

2. Docken's Store (Brookside, Browndale and more)
Daniel Grobani wrote following the post on  The corner store: Docken's family served Brookside neighborhood: Great research! Great write-up! Great post!

Normally I view complimentary emails with some suspicion that they're spam. I never approve them  for the blog because they usually link to some fraudulent web site. (For example, here's one that I'm sure must be: I have viewed so many blog post but yours are different. I like to ask how you composed your articles for it really leaves an excellent impression on me.)  Besides the odd wording, it doesn't reference anything specific in the blog or Edina.

But I know Daniel (despite never meeting him). He's the out-of-state researcher who set this whole research project into motion with his questions about the Brookside neighborhood. The topic is near and dear to the heart of  St. Louis Park HIstorical Society trustee Jeanne Anderson, who even created a whole web site The Brookside Timeline devoted to the neighborhood. She agreed to do the legwork and inspired me to do some online research. Together we looked through our files and compared notes. Daniel found more stuff online.

We have had a flurry of emails going back and forth about this and other topics that include:
  • Browndale Park neighborhood and its ever-changing border. The neighborhood just north of Edina Country Club District  shows up in Edina AND St. Louis Park in the 1913 atlas.
  • Emma Abbott Park, another neighborhood near Brookside.
  • Maps, aerial photos, researcher resources, etc
In the midst of researching, I found cool things I didn't even think about pursuing.

For example, I found newspaper articles on real estate developers George Dartt and Frank Mackey (Streets bear their names in the Browndale neighborhood.)

Mackey, a Londoner, built the famous Leamington Hotel before turning his attention to developing in Edina. His wife was a Minneapolis woman whose parties and outings both at home and in London made Society column headlines. (See image at left from Feb. 6, 1910 story in the Minneapolis Tribune, via ProQuest news service.)

Given the city's current effort to identify and name neighborhoods, I am now hooked into finding out more. Thank you to Daniel and Jeanne for their contributions!

3. Biltmore Drive-in
Rick commented on Photo Friday: Biltmore Drive-in, 5001 Vernon Ave, 1959: Wow.... I remember the old Biltmore Motel off of Vernon but this was before my time!

A look through old phone books would probably confirm my hunch that the quaint drive-in didn't last that long. Our visitors typically reminisce about favorite childhood haunts, and not a one has mentioned the drive-in. I can see never hearing about an insurance company or investment firm. (No disrespect intended; they're just not places a child remembers.) But a drive-in? That sells malts and rootbeer floats? It seems strange that I have never heard about it.

4. Growing Up in Edina, 1970s memories
Brad Taplin emailed that the blog prompted a number of memories: I attended Cornelia, and Edina East and West, through the 1970s. I remember the Hedberg and Sons sand pits being a great place to off-road with my banana bike, long before mountain biking was popular.

I also remember one of my first restaurant jobs, washing dishes at Marc's Big Boy in about 1978 (now the Tavern), and other jobs at whatever TJ's was called, Roche Bobois, Karmelkorn, the YMCA, and York Steak House... all to pay for roller skating at Saints, for gas and car parts, for skiing at Hyland Hills, and for movies at the Southdale Cinema.

The best thing about Cornelia for me was math teacher Jim Fesenmeier, who realized when I was in about third grade that I needed glasses and wasn't just slow. I cried when I could finally see the blackboard and understood division.

When I emailed Brad for permission to post his stories, I told him that glasses changed my view of the world too. In third grade, I couldn't read the big E at the top of the eye chart. When I got glasses, I was surprised that trees had individual leaves instead of the big green cloud on a stick that appeared in the typical elementary school drawings. (I often wonder if Impressionistic painters weren't revolutionary as much as they were near-sighted.)

I like to hear from readers. Do you have a question about Edina history? Does this post prompt any memories? Please comment here or email me.

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Here it is.... (drum roll please)...the famous Ray's Dairy Store.

If you didn't grow up in the neighborhood, you might not have even heard the name much less have ventured inside. But any kid within walking distance of the store (3907 W. 54th Street) knew Ray's was the place to go for candy. I had heard about the store from several people as we prepared our "Growing Up in Edina" exhibit, now on display.

Jeff Thompson wrote: "I grew up in the sixties near 60th and France Avenue and our "corner store" was Ray's Dairy Store on 54th Street just west of France. It was operated by Ray (Carlstedt) and his wife Dorothy. I remember Ray always seemed fond of us kids but his wife did not seem very happy whenever we came in. Ray was a small man but his wife was a rather large woman who with one look told us we had better behave while in the store. They lived in an apartment above the store. The building still stands today as a craft or needle point shop."

Sherry Ott also fondly remembered biking to the store. "Ray's Dairy Store on 54th and France had the best selection of penny candy in town. If you were lucky, you might hear the sounds of Ray's daughter, Susanne, playing piano upstairs." Bob Herman also included Ray's among his happy childhood memories.

Children's author and illustrator Nancy Carlson turned her childhood memory of shoplifting a candy bar from Ray's into a picture book, Arnie and the Stolen Markers. Although Arnie steals markers instead of candy, Nancy said her drawings of the store with its myriad choices of penny candy are true to what she remembers of Ray's.

The book is out of print, but is part of a display on Nancy Carlson as part of the "Growing Up in Edina" exhibit.

For more on Nancy's childhood in Edina, see previous blog post here or check out her web site.

Of course, Ray's sold more than just candy. Parents also picked up necessities at the little market between trips to the larger grocery stores in town.

What businesses would you like to see featured on Photo Friday? Supply an address, if possible, to make look-up easier. We don't have photos of every business, but if we do, I'll post the photo on a future Friday. Make your wishes known by commenting here or emailing me.

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Today is a perfect day to go to an amusement park, don't you think? Beautiful blue Minnesota skies, high 70s, cool breeze... If only we all could play hooky and ride on a roller coaster or four and eat a funnel cake for lunch.

Besides the summer like weather, I can attribute my mood to the serendipitous coincidence of finding out that Valleyfair is now open for the season on the same day I saw this 1948 ad for Excelsior Amusement Park in our files.

I wasn't researching Excelsior, but the ad appeared alongside a news clipping from the June 17, 1948 issue of the Edina-Morningside Suburban Press.

If you grew up between 1925 and 1968 in the Twin Cities, you probably went to Excelsior for summer fun (unless you were the children of my parents, who thought the place was too run down in the late 60s for little kids.)

They may have been right. Excelsior was a teen hangout in the 1960s, thanks in no small part to its Danceland, that booked such big name acts as the Beach Boys and the Rolling Stones. You can read more about the history on the sites listed below, but let's just say cops were called out to the place with some regularity to establish order.

Even if you can't sneak out this afternoon, why not take  a virtual trip to the bygone days of Excelsior Amusement Park by checking out these links:
Presumably, if you're still reading, you decided to stay at your desk today, in which case, I'll leave you with the legendary words of Mr. Jimmy, "You can't always get what you want." See Official Rolling Stones video from live 1975 concert at the LA Forum below.

As always, I love to live vicariously. Tell me about your fun days at Excelsior Amusement Park or any other memory this story brings to mind. Comment here or email me.
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Docken's property (store not pictured). Photo courtesy St. Louis Park Historical Society.
When I was growing up, my mom would send my brothers and me to the little corner store to pick up a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread if she ran out between her weekly trips to the bigger supermarket downtown.

"The Little Store," as we called it (although that was not its real name), stocked the necessities along with penny candy and pop for the youngsters enlisted for the marketing errands. The store looked like a house, but the owners lived upstairs and operated the business on the first floor.

What store am I talking about?

Brookside area residents would probably say Docken's store, but those near Cahill might think of Cameron's. Tedman's might come to mind for those living near Valley View Road (although the owners lived behind the store, not above it.) Those who lived near the Minneapolis border might venture to Ray's Dairy store, while Morningsiders had Morningside Grocery near the northwest corner of 44th and France.

The answer: none of the above. I didn't grow up in Edina, but as you can see, the description fits nearly every little corner store that operated until 1970s or so, when two-car families became the norm and Mom could run her own errands or Dad could pick up the essentials at the gas station on his way home from work.

Docken's Community Store (as it is named in the Edina phone directories) was in a house at 4356 (later renumbered to 4360) Brookside Avenue, just north of the streetcar tracks that ran along 44th Street, making it an easy destination for commuters coming home after work. Arthur and Lila Docken operated the store from at least 1926 to 1949, when it was purchased by Jon and Eloise Garner. (Many customers pronounced the name "Gardener's" or "Gartner's," having only heard the name and not seen it spelled.)

Now the site of the Brookside Court condominiums (built in 1965), the house/store was located on the northwest corner of Brookside Avenue and 44th Street.

Jeanne Anderson from the St. Louis Park Historical Society researched the Dockens and the store, which was important to the Brookside neighborhood on both sides of the SLP-Edina border. She writes, "The Dockens reportedly owned all the land behind the store, down to the creek.  People could pay a fee and picnic on the site and swim in the swimming hole upstream from the CP Rail trestle over the creek.  The Dockens also kept horses on the property.  The undated photo above shows two houses side by side on the property.  The store itself is not pictured and would have been toward the left.  Edina directories list six separate addresses on the block, although one or more of the buildings may have been a duplex."

The Garners closed up shop in 1957 or 1958, perhaps as a result of a loss of business following the end of the streetcar operation in 1954.

Unidentified woman, possibly Mickey Docken.
Those are just the highlights of the story. Prompted by questions from a researcher, Jeanne recently came over to the museum and we looked through directories and our files, as well as online newspapers to find more.

Turns out the Dockens have a long history in Edina. A society note in the Minneapolis Journal dated August 18, 1905, lists a Miss Docken as a guest at a party given by Miss M. Blanche Craik for bride-to-be Mabel Millam.  Craik and Millam were names associated with the Edina Mill. 

Arthur Docken had a feed store in Hopkins prior to opening his Brookside market. His children attended St. Louis Park Schools. During her junior year at the University of Minnesota, daughter Lila Agnes "Mickey" Docken was selected to be a stewardess for American Airlines. She died on January 10, 1945 in a plane crash five miles north of Lockheed Air Terminal in Burbank, California. She and the pilot, along with 21 passengers, all members of the armed forces, lost their lives.

For more information, see the St. Louis Park Historical Society web site. Jeanne also was kind enough to share her research for our files, so come on in if you want to know more. Our research is a "work in progress" and we can always learn more. Help us out. Do you know more about the Dockens or the Garners? Share your knowledge by commenting here or emailing me.

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Does anyone know Carl? This was his gas station.
At least that's how it is named in the 1960 Edina phone directory: Carl's Edina Cities Service, located at 5241 Eden Avenue.

For all I know Carl could have been Ms. Carl, but this was 1959, so I'm betting on a Mr.

There isn't a gas station in the city today that matches the same address, but there are a couple that are close on Vernon Avenue. Because the area was redeveloped, the address numbering system could have changed. Maybe the gas station has survived under a new name. Maybe it has not. I'm letting you do the work this week to find out. (It's not like I didn't try. I just couldn't see a similarity in the roof lines with the existing stations.)

Is this building still around in the Grandview area? Did you know the owner or do you remember the business? Inquiring minds want to know. Share your knowledge by commenting here or email me.

Happy Friday, everyone!

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Dr. Walter Bonnett opened Edina Pet Hospital in 1958 at 5237 Eden Avenue. In this August 1959 tax assessor photo, it looks like landscaping is still on the "To Do" list, judging from the pile of dirt off to the left side.

But maybe not. This was a different Edina, after all, with this end of Eden Avenue being home to industrial buildings like Danen's excavating, Wanner Engineering, Roto Press and a taxi company instead of retail shops, condominiums, library and senior center. Look at those wide open spaces around the clinic -- quite different from the address today.
1960 Edina phone directory ad
In 2001, the City of Edina acquired the land by eminent domain for redevelopment, and the Edina Public Library and the Edina Senior Center were built there.

At that time, Edina Pet Hospital was owned by Dr. Dan Shebuski, who had worked with Bonnett at both his Edina and Southdale practices. Edina Pet Hospital, now in its 53rd year. still endures in Edina  at 7701 Cahill Road.

Dr. Bonnett died in 2010. His obituary (published in the June 27, 2010 Minneapolis Star Tribune) noted that he founded the Edina, Southdale, Eden Prairie, and Eagan Pet Hospitals.

Magnolia boys, Cedric and Walter
As a side note, Bonnett was born in Magnolia, MN, the same small town as another Edina resident, Cedric Adams, popular radio host and owner of Cedric's restaurant in the same Grandview area. With Magnolia's population at 261, it can't be a coincidence that Bonnett and Adams both moved to Edina and set up businesses within blocks of each other. They weren't classmates, though, by any means; Cedric was born in 1902, while Dr. Bonnett was born in 1921. Hmmm.... a mystery to be solved on another day. Does anyone know more? If you remember Dr. Bonnett and the early days of Edina Pet Hospital, please comment here or email me.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Note: Because I've posted only twice this week, I will publish a bonus Photo Friday later this afternoon.

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The Edina Historical Society and the Heritage Preservation Board sponsored free tours of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Minnehaha Grange Hall and Cahill School on Tuesday. Here is one highlight from the tour.

Founding members of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Edina clearly wanted to honor the past with the design of their new church building in 1938. The almost 75-year old building looks like it has always stood at the corner of Wooddale and 50th Street in part because it is based on a medieval church in Wales, Old Radnor Parish Church.

One would almost be surprised if Country Club residents hadn't built a church steeped in old Episcopal traditions. What did surprise (delight, intrigue) me was the inclusion of Edina history in the church.

Take a look at this section of one of the church's beautiful stained glass windows:
Yes, it depicts Minnehaha Grange No. 398, which originally stood at the St. Stephen's site. The 1879 building was moved after Samuel Thorpe purchased the land as part of his Country Club District development. Doesn't the stained glass image look remarkably close to the photo below of the building when it stood at 50th and Wooddale? [Please ignore the slightly distorted angle of the window. I am height challenged.]
I think it's interesting that relative newcomers to the community chose to honor its past in a medium traditionally reserved for the sacred not the secular. 

The church, built during the Depression, was originally built with clear glass windows. As the congregation raised enough funds, they purchased stained glass windows, created by nationally acclaimed Connick studios in Boston, MA.

Thanks to parishioner Keith Freedy and Larry Reynolds, Minister of Worship, for their great information on the stained glass windows, and to architect Chuck Liddy of Miller Dunwiddie for leading the tour at the church.
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