On Mondays, I turn the blog over to reader comments and add a few thoughts of my own.
Ask for a list of famous people in Edina, and people quickly mention sports stars and other residents who have achieved national fame, like movie star Tippi Hedren ("The Birds"), novelist Judith Guest ("Ordinary People) and Twins owner Carl Pohlad.
There is another category of famous people, who may not be famous on a national level but who are (or were during their lifetimes) very well-known within our city limits.
I'm talking about people like:
I think these big fish in our small pond played bigger roles in shaping our community history than any national celebrity ever did. What do you think? Who are the people we should remember within the Edina Historical Society collections? Please comment here or email me.A recent reader comment had me thinking about this topic. John Shepherd wrote about public servant Harold Schwartz. While I have not yet met Harold, he's a well-known name at the museum. Inevitably, visitors reminiscing about growing up in Morningside recall the man who "was the saving grace in our community," as John put it. Thanks for writing, John!
- George Weber (above), who not only served as Morningside's lone police officer until he was about 80 years old, but also was the school janitor, water meter reader, church deacon and foster parent.
- Pharmacist Doc Gregg, who owned Gregg's Pharmacy at the northwest corner of 50th and France for several decades.
- Mildred Carlson (or better known simply as "Mrs. Carlson"), who owned Carlson's Odd Shop at Sunnyside Road and France Avenue. The store was filled with treasures -- everything from buttons and bows to paper dolls and jumping beans to antique glassware. Mrs. Carlson was famous for her ability to find any item on her overstuffed shelves. If she didn’t stock it, she would purchase it for you on one of her shopping trips to New York and Chicago.
- City Manager Wayne Courtney, who was a well-known basketball and baseball coach in addition to his role in city government. He also hosted "The Wayne Courtney Show," broadcast on local cable television.
Harold Schwartz, Morningside's Public Works employee
By John Shepherd
Time to remember Harold Schwartz. I lived in Morningside, MN, from 1954 to 1965. My parents lived at 4045 Sunnyside ave. Harold Schwartz was the saving grace in our community. He took care of snow plowing, sewers, pot holes and much, much more.
When it snowed he would lift his plow blade so that the drift wasn't left in front of your driveway. When there were garbage strikes through the years, he was there to pick up the refuse. If there was a problem during heavy rains, he was there to clean the gutters and make sure that the water flowed freely.
Harold took care of the Ice rinks in the winter and made sure you had nice clean ice, that wasn't bumpy. I don't even know if he is still living, but If he isn't I am sorry I waited to long to give him his dues for the wonderful job he did for us in Morningside.
In 1966 when we became part of Edina I was very disappointed. Even though I went through all of the Edina School systems programs and played in all the sports systems, I was sorry to see us lose our Independence from the much larger and more wealthy community. It is time that we celebrate the people that made Morningside so strong and Independent.
Harold, my hat of to you and thank you for the wonderful years of SERVICE.
Who made a big impact on Edina? Share your thoughts by emailing me
or commenting here. Help us make sure we gather information about the people who had the biggest influence on Edina.
These men are Odd Fellows.
Note the capital letters. They are not odd fellows, but Odd Fellows as in the "International Order of Odd Fellows," a fraternal organization that dates back several centuries.
These men belonged to the local chapter, Golden Link Lodge No. 167. According to the St. Louis Park Historical Society
, it "appears to be a consolidated Lodge that covered the entire metropolitan area, since officers were from Minneapolis, St. Paul, Mound, and Spring Lake Park."
The headquarters of this group was at 4388 France Avenue in Edina, the building located in the northwest corner of 44th and France. In this circa 1950s photo, Hawkins Confectionery and Morningside Grocery & Meats also occupies the building.
This is the current Google maps street view of the building. Although there have been some updates over the years, it still looks much the same as it did when it was built in 1918.
Here's a closer look at the Odd Fellows sign above the door to the stairway to their second floor meeting hall.
Not only did the Odd Fellows meet here, but the rest of the neighborhood also found uses for the space. As Dudley Parsons, Sr. wrote in his Feb. 27, 1920 "Morningsider" column in Lake Harriet News
"The Odd Fellows’ Hall on France Avenue and 44th Street is a community center of increasing usefulness. Not only are the lodge meetings and social functions held there but regular Saturday afternoon dancing classes, neighborhood parties and entertainments, and the service of the Morningside Church and Sunday School. The Hall is equipped with kitchen accommodations and has a stage for amateur dramatic performances. There is a commodious reception room and there are two other rooms available. The Hall is occupied nearly every night in the week
."It was here in 1920 that Morningside residents met to discuss seceding from Edina, and later where the Village of Morningside council held its meetings.
The organization itself was "known affectionately as the 'Oofs,' wrote Parsons in his November 19, 1936, column, noting the importance of the lodge in creating a sense of neighborliness.
"For a quarter of a century it has been gathering weekly – and sometimes oftener – two score of the neighbors in pleasant social business and pastime. I suppose that fully a hundred families have been represented in these gatherings – lodge meetings, lectures or dancing parties. It is very doubtful that ever a member of these families is ill or unfortunate without the intelligent sympathy of the others, and many an hour of pain and grief has been lessened in its intensity by the comfort of this ministration. I am the right person to say this because I have never been a member of any lodge..."According to Minneapolis Tribune stories, the Golden Link Lodge met in other cities prior to 1920.
Their name is listed in local phone directories until at least 1967.
Were you an "Oof," as Parsons would say? Did you go to one of the dances or other community gatherings in the meeting hall? Please share your memories with us by commenting here or emailing me.
- While the Edina chapter is no longer, the Odd Fellows organization still exists, and includes some Minnesota chapters. For more about the group's unique history and present day activities, see its web site.
- Why the odd name? Well, there are a lot of theories. Like many of the early fraternal organizations, the group formed with guild members with a mission for charity work.
One theory is that the "original Odd Fellows were men who were engaged in various or odd trades, as there were organizations for some of the larger trades" (such as the Masons, for example.)
Photo Friday is back, after a too-long hiatus while I tried to catch up on cataloging a huge backlog of donated artifacts and photos. More about that on Monday.
Today, let's take a look back at a photo donated in 2001 of an earlier Edina. I'm guessing this dates from the 1950s, but you car aficionados may be able to get more specific. (I can't tell a 1958 Oldsmobile from a 1960 Ford, but I know many of you can.)
Any guesses of this photo's location? For those who grew up in southwest Edina, this question is a no-brainer. But the rest of you might have more difficulty, since the area looks (almost) nothing like this today.
Take a good look.
Give up? It's the intersection of Cahill Road and 70th Street, the heart of the Irish Cahill settlement dating from the 1850s.
First settled in the mid-1850s, the Irish Cahill community almost immediately built a church, school and store at this important crossroads. Nearly a century later, the same institutions stood at the same corners (although some in newer buildings.) Cahill School
was built in 1864. Although a modern brick Cahill School was built in 1948, the pioneer era school still was used for kindergarten classes until 1958. The school stood vacant for more than a decade, until it was restored in 1969 and moved to Tupa Park. Today, the Edina Historical Society runs living history programs
in the historic building. Hugh Darcy's son Moses built a general store across the street from Cahill School. Destroyed by fire in 1918, the store was rebuilt on the same site. From 1944 to 1965, retired Edina teacher John Cameron owned what was then called "Cahill Grocery" in the phone book, but was more commonly known as Cameron's Store by neighborhood residents.St. Patrick's Church, not pictured, served the community at the southwest corner of the intersection. Although the church was also destroyed by fire, the congregation rebuilt a new church at the same corner. By the 1930s, Protestant families had moved into the predominantly Irish Catholic neighborhood and, by all reports, felt welcome. They held services at Cahill School until they built Calvary Lutheran Church in 1938.
Both churches have since moved. The old St. Patrick's church is gone, but Calvary's first church still survives as a single family home and the only reminder of a bygone era.I like this photo because it shows an important crossroads, both the physical location and the moment in time. By the late 1960s, new retail and housing had transformed the formerly rural landscape forever.
- For more photo fun, look at historic aerials of the area at (called appropriately enough) historicaerials.com. Here's a link to 70th and Cahill images.
- To see the intersection as it looks today, see the Google map satellite view here.
- For another view of Cameron's Store, see this old post here.
- What do you remember about this area? Did you frequent Cameron's store? Were you one of the last students at Cahill school? Share your comments here or email me with your stories.
The Edina Historical Society co-sponsored a walking tour of western Morningside and Browndale Park on Tuesday (July 10). I love walking tours. Let me count the ways. Here are just a few reasons:
1. The people. Oh, I know. Historic walking tours focus on houses, but I love talking to the people who show up:
People who grew up in the neighborhood. People who live here now. People like Burt Grimes, whose ancestor Jonathan Grimes owned nearly all of Morningside in the late 1800s. People like Kate Q. who grew up in one of the first homes built after Grimes' property was platted.
2. The publicity. Forty people walking down the street captures the entire neighborhood's attention -- much more so than a 40-person event inside a building. I felt like our tour guides were the "Pied Pipers" of history, as their talk brought people out on their lawns to hear about the history of their home and neighborhood. On past walking tours (with cooler temps), our tour group grew as more and more people joined in.
3. Special access. This beautiful house is partially obscured by hedges and tall catalpa trees (built by Grimes as a horticultural experiment to introduce non-native shade trees.) With permission from the current owner (an Edina Historical Society member), our tour walked onto the private yard to get a closer look at the private residence of Browndale Park developer George Dartt.
4. The great outdoors.
Let's face it, history work often means sifting through research files and cataloging and cleaning dusty old artifacts. Walking through a beautiful neighborhood on a sunny summer evening makes a nice change of pace. I've read about George Dart's home here
in the historic Minneapolis Tribune, but seeing the showcase home in person adds another dimension of knowledge.
5. The partnerships.
We worked with the Edina Heritage Preservation Board
on the tour. Architect Peter Sussman (light blue shirt below) from the HPB Board led the tour....
... along with HPB consultant Bob Vogel (baseball cap below).
St. Louis Park Historical Society
provided research materials and support as well. The Morningside Neighborhood Association and the Edina-Morningside Women's Club helped publicize the event. Everyone brought a different area of expertise, and I loved hearing their perspectives. 5. Spontaneity
. This lovely home was not a scheduled stop on the tour, but the owner happened to be outside and graciously answered our questions. During the last tour, one homeowner provided an abstract to their property. Another offered lemonade.
I suppose I could have categorized each one of these reasons under the first one: "the people." While walking tours do focus on houses, people really make the difference between a good tour and a great one. Thank you to those who led the tour, provided information, allowed us access, participated, and spread the word.
We're working on future walking tours. If you would like to be put on our event email list, please email me
with "walking tours" in the subject line.
This is the second post in a series on the history of neighborhood names in Edina. (See the first on Morningside here.) The City of Edina has formed a Neighborhood Identification Steering Committee to determine neighborhood names and borders. For more on that group, see the city's Name Your Neighborhood Blog.
City's blog icon
I've booked a hotel room on Lakefront Avenue and never glimpsed water. I've seen a Pleasant View Road without one. And, I've noticed, many flower-named streets don't have blooms lining the boulevards. Let's face it, many streets and neighborhoods don't live up to their names.
White Oaks neighborhood in Edina does. White Oaks actually has white oaks. The woods, marsh and hilly terrain in the area north and west of 49th and France give the neighborhood a character much different than its neighbors: Country Club District to the west and Morningside to the north.
I don't need to give you the borders of the neighborhood; you can easily guess them by looking at the Google aerial view (below). Surrounded by a grid of streets, White Oaks is distinct with its winding roads and woods.
When Samuel Thorpe purchased land to develop the Country Club District in 1922, he reportedly was not interested the wooded, hilly land to the east because it was much harder to develop than the level open fields of Browndale Farm on the banks of Minnehaha Creek.
This map depicts how Nancy Wallace Wild recalled the area when she was growing up on 50th Street before her neighborhood was developed.The "big hill for sliding" and the swampy area made great play areas for children, but not great residential lots.
By 1936, construction equipment had advanced enough that J. Frank Ecklund, a Sears Roebuck executive who dabbled in real estate, purchased the land for development. He made a key decision: instead of leveling the hills and clear-cutting the trees, he created a plan designed to "preserv(e) the area's rugged topography, mature trees and natural feel," according to History of the White Oaks Neighborhood.In 1940, Ecklund
and his wife Catherine (Kay) took further steps to ensure that the open meadow and lowlands remain natural. First, the Ecklunds encouraged the creation of a non-profit volunteer-based White Oaks Improvement Association (WOIA). They then deeded 3.5 acres circled by Meadow Road and 48th Street to WOIA for a park and also deeded 1.5 acre marsh near the Sunnyside Road entrance to the Village of Edina with the stipulation that it remain undeveloped.In 1986, when an empty lot adjacent to the
marsh was slated for development, the neighborhood rallied with a "Save the Marsh" campaign. They raised $20,000 to purchase the property from the developer, and the City of Edina contributed another $20,000 to preserve the land.At the
neighborhood association's 50th anniversary in 1990, Kay Ecklund was honored for her "preservation and foresight in the development of one of the earliest and most beautiful plattings utilizing natural rugged topography and trees." The White Oaks Improvement Association continues to plant trees.Photos of the neighborhood from our collection show the rolling terrain and trees. Look behind the children in the photograph below and you'll see the mature trees in the new neighborhood. This photo was taken in 1941 (about five years after White Oaks was platted)
of residents Mary MacPhail, Richard E. Larson, Margaret Schimer and Phillip Larson. As you can see, the trees provided plenty of leaves for play.
The Schimer family's first house in White Oaks was at 4704 Townes Road. Pictured here in 1939, the land has towering trees in the front yard.
- For more on the history of White Oaks, see Joe Sullivan's story on the neighborhood for the Spring 2001 issue of About Town, the city's quarterly newsletter.
- Neighborhood residents compiled a history of White Oaks. See their great efforts here. Please consider writing a history of your own neighborhood, or contributing photos and other artifacts to the Edina Historical Society for preservation.
Dear Wooddale School students,
I pulled these out of our photo collection after a few visitors mentioned the school murals after exclaiming over the Wooddale auditorium door, front doors, auditorium seats and other pieces from the now-demolished Edina school that are now housed in our exhibit rooms.Tell me more about these paintings. We probably have info in the files, but since it's PHOTO Friday, I'll provide the photos and you provide the text.
The school, torn down in 1985, was located at the northwest corner of 50th and Wooddale, the site of Wooddale Park
today. Opened in 1926, Wooddale -- along with Morningside School -- were the only schools in Edina for many decades. Although generations of residents fondly remember Wooddale, younger residents have no knowledge of the school, which has been gone for more than 25 years. Keep the memory alive and please comment here or email me. Happy Friday! Enjoy the first weekend of summer vacation.Please support the blog by becoming a member and/or joining us for the Peterson Family benefit concert on June 14.
If you need more visuals to prompt your memories, see this 11-minute YouTube video uploaded by former Wooddale student Juli Wunder Simmons. The murals appear around the 4:15 mark.
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 (u
nless 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
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.
This article first appeared in the Spring 2005 issue of the Edina Historical Society newsletter. I thought of it again after my seven-year search for the Santrizos of the Convention Grill came to fruition. Here's the back story on how this journey began.
I’m no Indiana Jones. I don’t travel the world, swing over pits of poisonous snakes, and machete my way through a jungle to find ancient artifacts. But nonetheless, I am a treasure hunter.
Sure, many times people just walk in our door and give us great things. But sometimes, we have to hunt down things we want. Okay, so I’m never in any danger… I just search the Internet or the Edina directory, pick up the phone and simply ask (or sometimes gently nag) to get treasures for our collection.
To get items for our (2005) Morningside exhibit, we sent out flyers to the Morningside neighborhood, made personal pleas at Edina-Morningside Women’s Club meetings sent emails, and called dozens of people.
In response, we got several photos, Boy Scout and Edina-Morningside Church items (on loan), a Morningside phone book, papers from the re-annexation vote, and Constable George Weber’s handgun. (That's George with the gun in the photo at left. Yes, I know the quality of the photo is horrible. I scanned it from an creased newspaper clipping, undated and unnamed, but I'm guessing the source is the Minneapolis Tribune.)
While it seems un-Minnesotan to be so forthright, I also ask exhibit visitors to add to our collection.
As a result, Susan Linhoff Peck (whose parents started Linhoff Photo in Morningside) brought in a 1914 Morningside color map she found at a St. Cloud auction, and Betty Helmerichs O’Neil donated her 1939 Morningside Girl Scout uniform. Wendy Anderson sent us the mayoral badge and a photo of her grandfather Oscar Seidemann, former mayor of Morningside who “never left the house without his hat.”
We knew we wanted more information and photos about the Morningside businesses, so we tried to find the original owners. Finding women is especially difficult because their names change with marriage; some names like Carlson are just too common to be useful.
EHS volunteer Martha Johnson went to school with Marilyn Carlson, whose mother ran Carlson’s Odd Shop on Sunnyside and France Avenue. After some digging Martha found her, back in Edina after living in other states for several years. Marilyn was happy to share her photos with us.
I also wanted childhood photos of Curt Carlson, (not related to the Carlsons of Carlson’s Odd Shop) one of Minnesota’s wealthiest men who started his business career as a Morningside paper boy. I called Carlson Companies and was promised a call back. When I didn’t hear anything, Martha contacted the Carlson family, her former neighbors in the Country Club neighborhood. We got a photo of Curt and neighborhood friends at one of his birthday parties (see below), as well as his parent’s wedding photo.
Carlson’s parents ran a Morningside grocery store that they later sold to Lars Belleson.
(Belleson's grocery is now the new co-op, but you might know the name from the 50th and France men's clothing store founded by son Wes Belleson.)
And yes, sometimes great stuff just walks in the door. One man asked why we didn’t have any photos of Joyce’s Bakery.
When I said we were looking for the former owners, he said, “Well, that’s me.” Stan Rice bought the bakery from the Joyce family in the 1950s, and kept the name because of its fame in South Minneapolis and Edina. He turned out the same great breads and little cherry pies as his predecessor. He’s going to sort through his business stuff and return with items for our collection
.Flash forward to today: I spoke (wrote) too soon regarding Joyce's Bakery. Stan did not return with photos and it should come to no surprise to you after reading this post that I didn't leave it at that. I called him and found he had been having health issues. Understandably, looking through old business files didn't fall at the top of his list but he planned to get to it when he felt better. After some time, I called his number again and found it disconnected.
I've called a few Rice families since then, all very nice, but not related to the Joyce's Bakery owner. The search continues.....You might notice that the 2005 story didn't mention the Santrizos or the Convention Grill. At that point, we had some photos of the Convention in our collection so I wasn't looking for more necessarily. It wasn't until people talked so warmly about the former owners that I started my search for the photos of Pete and Christine Santrizos that were published on the blog yesterday - seven years after my quest began. You can help!Join us in our treasure hunt. See our wish list below,
or look through your own boxes of memorabilia for anything that tells Edina’s story. These are just a few of my many wants for the museum:
- Edina neighborhood history. I would love to document every neighborhood in Edina as well as we have the Morningside neighborhood.
- Morningside phone directories. We have a complete Edina phone directory collection, but we have only a couple from Morningside when it was a separate village from 1920 to 1966.
- Photos by Edina professional photographers, including Don Berg, Dick Palen, Powell Krueger, and Dwight Miller. We would especially like any taken of Edina news events.
- Southdale businesses over the years. And we'd love to know where the original bird cage went. (See lower left in the 1963 postcard below.)
- Other Edina businesses, whether they are retail shops at 50th and France, restaurants, or industry like the southwest area gravel pits and the dump.
- Edina's history-making teams, such as the first girls' sports teams or our many state champions. I'd like to have all the state tournament programs, team photos, action photos, jerseys, etc.
For more information on donating, please email me
or call me at the museum at 612-928-4577.
Map drawn by Nancy Earle Wild, (nee Wallace) from her memoir of her sister "Allie," published 1997 by Vantage Press. Edina Historical Society collection
Nancy Wallace Wild drew this map of her world as she saw it in 1922 when she grew up on 50th and Halifax in Edina. Instead of boutiques at 50th and France, there was a blacksmith. Where movie-goers now line up to see art films at the Edina Theater, farmers came to drop off their milk at a creamery. Where the bank parking lot is today, the Wallace home graced an expansive lawn several feet from the dirt 50th Street. (Long-time residents may remember the Wallace home, which served as Edina's first standalone library in the 1950s and 60s.
)In a few short years, the rural village Wild describes would change dramatically when Henry Brown's cattle pasture would transform into upscale homes of the Country Club District, which was platted in 1924.
The "new Edina School," (which residents now refer to as Wooddale School) would replace the much smaller 1888 brick school
on the other side of the creek.The Grange, a meeting hall for a farm organization, would move to make way for St. Stephen's Episcopal Church at 50th and Wooddale.I love this map because it shows in detail an Edina that no longer exists and as no properly surveyed map could. No other map would designate a "big hill for sliding" or a "bag swing," things that rank as significant landmarks for kids, but not so much for official mapmakers.I did learn from her map that the area had a block factory, which appears to be on 49 1/2 Street, then just wheel tracks behind the
Wallace home. Wild describes it in Allie
, her 1997 memoir about her sister, not because it was an important Edina industry but because it was a gathering spot for children."What normally would not be considered a playground was the block factory and its two sand pits, located a short distance from our house, accessible by way of the wheel tracks behind our property. Its main attraction was the huge, flat stacks of finished cement blocks of finished cement blocks. The stacks, three or four parallel to each other, must have been about 100 feet long, a fourth as wide and 10 or 12 feet high. They served as our play 'palaces.' To get on top we just had to find a place of unevenly stacked blocks, places also
where secret inner stairways formed, and climb up, often scraping ourselves on the rough cement but not minding. Once up there we could walk and run along the flat, slightly uneven surface, always on the lookout for the 'holes' where the inner stairways were. The two nearby sand pits provided another kind of sport; we made running leaps into the sand, leaving many a shoe or sock behind. Even the factory itself had playtime possibilities, like climbing the conveyor belt and then sitting on the side of the square funnel at the top and peering down to where the loose sand blended with the powdered cement. That was scary!"
Wild isn't the only one who drew a map of their childhood haunts. I will include more child's eye views of Edina in upcoming blog posts as well as in our upcoming exhibit, "Growing Up in Edina."Assignment Edina: Draw a map of your own childhood landmarks. Who were your neighbors? Where did you play? How far did your world extend - could you bicycle miles away or did could you only go as far as you could hear your mother's whistle to come home? I'd love to see what you come up with.