The Edina Historical Society was invited to provide historical background for a recent City of Edina meeting on the Wooddale Avenue/Valley View Road area. Research led to a story on the neighborhood in the city’s quarterly newsletter “About Town” (Winter Issue 2015, pages 6-11) and reminiscing by Facebook followers about the area. More stories surfaced, including this one by Betty Garrison Louisiana, who grew up on the street that bears her family’s last name.
By Betty Garrison Louisiana
This is what I know...I don't have exact dates, of course. My dad was born in 1921 but not in Edina. The Garrison farm was in the vicinity of where Braemar Golf course is now. My dad and his seven brothers walked several miles to Cahill School and received a 6th grade education. (He later was the house mover who moved Cahill School to its present location at Tupa Park.)
Anyway, after WWII my dad Frank and an older brother, John Garrison, had purchased land in what I would guess as 1945-48 era. It was pretty much what may be considered then worthless land, between two swamps (now lakes) down the Wooddale Avenue hill. With Miller farm on the right, the road swung to the left and went one block to a dead end.
Between my dad and uncle they either moved in or built the homes. I know up by the Miller farm, there was an existing farm home but the rest they did. I was probably just over a year old when we moved into one of the houses (about 1947). My dad and his brother had a house moving business but they were also builders and did whatever it took to survive after the war.
They built huge garages to store stuff and maintain their big trucks. John lived across the street. Eventually all the lots were full except at the end. Then my dad built the house on 4420 Garrison Lane probably around 1950. We could see over to a huge empty lot where he stored house moving timbers. We could play, walk up to the woods and cross over as swampy patch, to where, at the time was a horse riding stable now the Edina Pool....and more swamps..and of course no crosstown highway. Garrison lane was always a dirt road until mid1960's.
Behind our house was a nice hill. The homes up there were on Valley View. All old Victorian style homes. My dad moved a few of them in also. We could ski and sled down that hill towards the swamp...and of course many hours of ice skating all winter. We always felt very safe and never worried about predators. If I remember, all of the homes had the "swamps" at the end of their back yards. Nice "lake shore" property now.
The school bus would pick us up at the top of the hill of Wooddale and Valley View. It was for me about a 2 block walk. At the top of the hill was an old general store owned by Tedmans. They would let us come into the store to wait the bus when it was bad weather.
Years later when Garrison Lane when through over to St Johns, the bus would come to the bottom of the hill to pick us up
I have fond memories of all our playing outside winter and summer. A dead end, dirt road didn't have traffic so we could play on the road. Some other fun memories are sitting in the front yard looking to the south where my uncle Joe Garrison had the "dump" where France Ave and 494 now cross. He would burn it off several times a year and it was fun to see the flames so far away. Our "coming of age" was when we finally got old enough to ride our bikes all the way up to the dump and pick out good stuff. Now that I think of it, that was from approximately 62nd all the way up to 78th Street on single lane France Ave - a long way for very young children. All I remember is almost no traffic and big cement block companies on both sides.
There are other fun memories of our area. Going down Normandale Blvd ( hwy 100) to Queen Ann Kiddie Land...not walking distance of course.
But a funny time was later in life, we found a bumper sticker and put in on my dad's Lincoln...it said " AS A MATTER OF FACT, I DO OWN THE ROAD" we laughed until we cried !!!
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