Drive through the Grandview area of Edina and you'll see Jerry's Hardware, Jerry's Printing and Jerry's Foods. Owner Jerry Paulsen, who began his career behind the counter as a butcher, ended up as one of the largest employers in Edina. Beyond the businesses that bore his name, he also owned Cub Foods on France Avenue, and at one time, a women's clothing store. And that's just in Edina. His "Jerry's Enterprises" now encompasses
37 stores including Cub, County Markets, Save-a-Lot, and Jerry's Foods, as well as various other commercial and real estate interests that include a Jerry's Foods on Sanibel Island, FL. The man behind the name died April 5 at age 89. His funeral is April 10. For a complete obituary, see the Star Tribune. I wrote a story about the history of Jerry's Foods a couple of years ago, when the company donated many photos and other artifacts that trace Jerry's history from his start as a butcher behind the counter at Grandview Market in 1947 to his thriving corporation today. See the story and some great photos here. For being a man in charge of a large corporation, Jerry was just Jerry to his customers. They would find him sitting in the coffee shop or picking up a few items for the dishes he loved to cook at home. There's something so hometown about drinking coffee with the
local grocery store owner. I know his many customers and employees will miss the man who has made his mark on Edina.
Today, let's put on our Sherlock Holmes hat and investigate a little mystery that has stumped me and my colleagues at the Eden Prairie Historical Society: what was the now-destroyed building that once overlooked Garrison Pond?
Theories abound: mushroom house, cockfighting arena, gazebo, schoolhouse, teahouse, monastery....Researcher Craig Olson has heard them all as he has tried to find out more about the small ruins, now the site of Bioscrip at the southwest corner of Highways 169 and 62.
Here's the Google image below of the Bioscrip site.
Craig wrote us because he was curious about this building he remembered visiting more than 20 years ago."In the early 80's a friend of mine showed me this spot in Eden Prairie where he would walk up the hill and eat his lunch while on break at work. It was an octagon shaped building (ruins when I saw it), with only partial walls and a basement with bars on the windows. I believe the basement was made of poured concrete and the top was brick. It also had a fireplace in it with some strange carvings or impressions in some of the bricks like mushrooms.The building was probably no more than 20-25 feet wide.
I went back in the early 90's to see it, but it was almost completely destroyed by then. I have looked on HistoricAerials.com and have seen it in the photos from '57, '66 and '79.":
Here is a 1979 image from Historic Aerials.com of the location. To further peruse the area through the years and zoom in closer, see their great web site
. (I confess: I don't see an octagon shaped building on a quick perusal. Maybe you can. View it as a "Where's Waldo?" type of challenge.)
Craig asks, "My main question is what the building was used for. I have heard several opinions... but no one can actually confirm. Apparently there was a man named Larry Russell that had photos of the building when it was still standing and knew quite a lot about it, but he has passed on. Any information pertaining to this would be greatly appreciated."
I consulted Frank Cardarelle, a surveyor who has offices near the property, and he believes it was a gazebo built by a homeowner in his large backyard. He remembers it as a little retreat for the builder, who never quite finished it before the land was sold.
Really? A gazebo? That answer seems way too tame. I was hoping for wild stories about mushroom-growing monks who held cockfights on the weekend and served tea on weekdays.If you can solve this mystery, please email me or comment on this post.
a. Edina-Morningside Junior and Senior High School, as it was called when it opened in 1949?
b. Edina High School, as it was called after the villages of Morningside and Edina merged in 1966?
c. Edina East, as it was called after Edina West (below) was built in 1972?
d. Edina Community Center, as it is now?
Careful, your answer will no doubt reveal your age -- or at least your longevity in Edina. People often tell me to go to the high school, when they mean the Community Center. Believe me, I was confused the first few months on the job here.
Here's a circa 1990s aerial of the original high school.
Looking south at Edina's first high school, built in 1949. The photo, taken in the 1990s, shows the building next to Highway 100 on the right. Lake Cornelia is visible on the upper left. Other large buildings are: Concord Elementary (upper center) and South View Middle School (lower left) Kuhlman Athletic Field is the oval in the center.
A recent Photo Friday featured the Ernie Davis farm
, site of the new Edina West High School below. (Excuse me, that's now just "Edina High School." I guess I'm revealing my age a little.) So this week I thought I'd give you a closer look at the high schools, both old and new.
I should have noted in the original post that Edina West was the second school building constructed on the Davis farm. Valley View Middle School (square lighter building at left) was built in 1964. West was built in 1972. (See current map of buildings here
.)Happy Friday, everyone! Reminder: Free tours of Edina's historic buildings: St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Minnehaha Grange and Cahill School on Tuesday, May 8. For more information, see our home page. Hope to see you there!
Mondays are the day I turn over the reins to our readers. I publish comments written about past posts, which in turn seem to generate more comments. This week, people are talking about Cinema 4 theater, Queen Anne Kiddieland and Richmond Hills neighborhood.
1. Cinema 4 movie theater
- Last week's Monday mashup: Movies in the Southdale area
brought back memories for several readers. Zeke Rice's photos of the movie theater at today's Galleria site generated some discussion among museum visitors and these two blog comments.
Tammy Rodriguez wrote, I fondly remember seeing many great movies at the Southdale Cinema when I was in Elementary School in the early 70's. This was back when it had the original two screens.
I also remember going to Yorktown when it opened, possibly 1973? It was much smaller than Southdale, but they had great movies there, too. I'd love to see some photos of Yorktown.
Thanks for the memories!
Chris wrote: Last night I was watching a special about the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan and my wife and I were discussing where we were when we first heard. So weird that I was trying to explain that I was coming out of a movie at Cinema 4 where the Galleria stands today. Had not thought about that place in years, and now 2x in 2 days…..very fun!
Pony ride photo courtesy of Gwen Thomas.
2. Queen Anne Kiddieland
- I wrote The Valleyfair of yesteryear: Queen Anne Kiddieland
more than a year ago, but we still get comments from folks who recall the small amusement park and search to find out more about the place that brought them so much childhood fun.
Mark Johnson wrote: My dad Dr. Angelo Johnson (Oxboro Clinic) would take us kids there on weekends. In the south end of the park was a dirt quarter midget race track and we had two of the little racers and would compete with other kids for trophies. I remember a kid named Jim Hall had a turquoise car that was faster than everybody else's car and he would win many of the races. The flagman always wore sunglasses and would jump high in the air when he dropped the green and checkered flags. When we weren't racing we were riding the ponies and other rides and drinking those little wax bottles of juice they sold at the concession stand. My recollection is that the park was located approximately where the old Lincoln Del was situated between France and Normandale. I remember there was a swampy pond in the back area of the park where frogs would peep and birds would fly in and out. Tall bulrushes hid the actual water, but I knew it had to be there because I could hear frogs. I miss those times. I love the stories about QAK, and I hadn't heard about the midget race track before. Thanks for writing, Mark. I've been trying to nail down exactly where QAK was located. I've heard the southeast corner of what is now Highway 100 and Interstate 494, but the roadways and buildings there have changed so much over the years that everyone picks a different "modern" building as the site.So you tell me. Take a look at the aerials posted on www.historicaerials.com for that intersection, and see how it has changed over the years. My guess is that the Queen Anne Kiddieland site is essentially in the middle of Interstate 494 today.
Use the Compare feature, and slide the aerial view between today and 1957 and tell me what you think.
3. Photo Friday: Aerial of Richmond Hills neighborhood
- Chris Rofidal kindly provided a photo of the Richmond Hills neighborhood, and I neglected to credit the original donor, Bill and Doreen Just. Chris provided additional information on the background of the photo: Thanks for posting the picture. As I mentioned the original was given to me by Bill & Doreen Just at last years Edina Night to Unite block party. I then had it scanned so it can be saved. I was told by the Just's that a former Star Tribune photographer would fly around and take aerial shots. He did this a lot, but I don't recall his name. Seeing that we are just south of the GrandView District our neighborhood will be impacted with the new development so thanks for making reference to that topic and directing people there."
I know the main focus of the Night to Unite
is crime prevention, but I like that neighbors talk about the history of their homes and neighborhoods as they get to know each other better. If you discover interesting neighborhood history, please share your stories with us. Email me
or comment here.Night to Unite is Tuesday, Aug. 7 this year. For more information, see the Edina Police web site.
4. Edina man helps save Minnesota's oldest manufacturing plant
- Chuck Mooty of Edina and his cousin Paul Mooty have revived a business that dates back from 1865. Normally, I don't write about anything outside of Edina, but this piece of history (with its small Edina connection) is too interesting to pass up. The Mootys have re-opened the Faribo blanket mill that closed in 2009 in the economic downturn, and the story has captured the attention all over, including a story in the Star Tribune today and an segment on the CBS Early show last year. (See video below)
Remember this movie theater?
Although it wasn't quite a "blink and you'll miss it" business that opened one year and closed the next, the Southdale Cinema (6901 France Aveune South) certainly didn't have the longevity of the Edina Theater at 50th and France (more than 75 years and still going strong) or even the Westgate Theater
that lasted more than 35 years at Sunnyside and France.Southdale Cinema survived about 14 years. It opened in 1966 as the first twin movie theater built in Minnesota (according to Cinema Treasures web site) and included an art gallery.
In 1975, the theaters were divided to make four auditoriums.The Southdale area business photos that we've been running on the past several "Photo Friday" posts prompted some readers recall the long gone cinema, which closed in 1990. Reader Jeff Strate gave me the link to these photos on Zeke Rice's Flickr site, and Zeke graciously granted permission for us to use them in the blog.
"My first job was at Southdale Cinema in Edina, MN, a fun mid-century theater that was built in 1966. I was working the last night it was open, August 16, 1990, and these are some pictures I took that night. The next day we had this horrible parade where the employees marched to the new theater, Centennial Lakes. Nothing like marching through a suburb in polyester uniforms. The Galleria mall expanded to this space after it was torn down. The final quality films that played: Die Harder, Air America, Arachnaphobia, Ducktales and Pretty Woman," he wrote on his Flickr site.
It was my first job, and I think I started there in 1989. At the time the fabulous mid-century design didn't stand out to me, but looking back now I just love it," he emailed.
Mid-century design is now considered pretty hip, thanks to shows like Mad Men, lights like these and the color orange has made a comeback. Zeke pointed out that movie theater seats were displayed in the lobby to promote the new location (and new comfy seating) at the Centennial Lakes theater.
Zeke took photos of his fellow employees the last night.
I wonder what the 1990 prices of concessions were?
"The day shift at the theater during the week was always pretty quiet, with only three people working (other than the manager): the box office (ticket seller), usher (ticket ripper), and concessions. The regular, day-time usher was an older man named Bill, who I remember being a little afraid of at first, but soon discovered he had a sly sense of humor - and a bit of a temper if someone tried to get in without getting their ticket ripped," Zeke continued.
"One day they was a flurry of excitement when the manager got a phone call - he told one of the employees to go to one of the back doors that exited directly from the auditorium to the parking lot. A few minutes later, I saw a rather short man and a scantily clad woman cross from one auditorium to the next - it was Prince, going to see a movie and attempting to be anonymous,"
Zeke wrote. It wasn't the theater's first brush with fame; according to Cinema Treasures web site, Francis Ford Coppola screened Apocalypse Now there and got a lukewarm reception. Centennial Lakes 8 (below) opened in 1990, and closed a couple of years after Southdale 16, another AMC theater, opened basically next door in 2001.
Zeke said he would ask other coworkers for their stories about Southdale Cinema and Centennial Lakes. What are your memories? If you have information about these theaters or any others in Edina (Yorktown Cinema Grill, France Avenue Drive-in), please comment here or email me.
Thanks to Zeke Rice for his photos and stories. Thanks also to Jeff Strate, who discovered Zeke's photos.
Everybody remembers their favorite teacher. Many Edina residents fondly reminisce about Miss Bemis or Mrs. Glover, their first teachers. Others credit band teacher Hal Freese for inspiring a lifelong love for music. Several visitors have pointed out teachers in these photos below and admitted that they were their first crushes.I have been surprised how much emotion these photos from our "Growing Up in Edina" exhibit have evoked. Now that I think about it, I should have expected that teachers would have a lasting impact on the children in their classrooms.
I know my teachers did for me.If you can help identify any of the teachers in the photos below, please email me or comment here. For a figurative gold star or Blues Clues sticker, give a shout out to those teachers who made a positive difference in your life.
(Above) Cahill School faculty 1965.
(Above) Cahill School faculty 1970.
Thankfully, the photography studio printed the names right on the photo in later years.We do not have a complete collection of teacher or classroom photos. Students and teachers have donated photos, usually one or two at a time, over the years. Morningside School donated
a large number before the building was demolished in the 1970s. I would love to have more photos, originals strongly preferred. (We can provide scans or copies to the donor.) For more information, call me at the museum, 612-928-4577 or email me.