The weather still might feel like winter, but baseball teams across the metro are thinking spring training.
In honor of the change of seasons, here are more photos from the American Legion collection (that I wrote about here.) You guys did such a great job of identifying all the players in those photos that I hope you can do the same for these.
As you can see, this photo is identified as the 1955 State Champions. This was a first for the Edina American Legion, whose teams also won the state title in 1969, 1982, and 1983, (when Edina also took the national title.)
I think the players are the same guys in this more formal portrait (below) that I published on the blog last March. Although the photo was not dated, readers determined that the year was 1955 based on the people in the photo.
Our readers came through with names for all the players. 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.
This photo (below) was marked 10th District Champs 1961. Any Edina grads from the early 1960s could probably name these guys.... I hope. If you can, please comment here or email me.
If you have team or action photos from any Edina sport that you'd like to share or donate, please email me. Sports are big in Edina, and we'd like to make sure our collection reflects that.
1. Memories of a Creston Hills kid: A 2010 post on the Nelson dairy farm located near today's 78th Street and Highway 100 had Jeff Strate remembering growing up in the Creston Hills neighborhood in the 1950s.
For me, this photo is hip and cool because it shows a landscape that was part of my youth. We rode bikes to the ends of Dewey Hill Road, Cahill Road and Bush Lake from our Creston Hills neighborhood. I recall the cornfield where Southdale was constructed. Thank you for posting it. Keep 'em comin'.
Jeff also commented on the gas station post from last week.
I recall this Pure station and the one kitty corner from Clancy's Drugs. We lived closest to the one pictured here. My dad John would stop there for gas and air. In the background on the right side of the station to the west is the Southdale residential subdivision. Further west and of sight was the Creston Hills subdivision. Note the display piles of new tires for sale and the S&H Green Stamps sign ... both common enticements offered by local gas stations back when the price of a gallon of regular was posted for years on signs at 29.9.
For anyone reading this post years from now, today's gas station prices are between $3.49 and $3.55 per gallon.
Jeff wrote a short memoir "Paradise Lost" about growing up in Creston Hills. The Edina Sun Current published an excerpt (a hilarious story about Jeff's encounters with a bull in his newly built subdivision) in its Oct. 27, 2010, issue.
3. Trading stamps history. Most Generation X and younger folks probably don't remember trading stamps. Like the "Buy 10, get one free" type punch cards, trading stamps were designed to build customer loyalty, but on a bigger scale. Spend more money, get more green stamps and get free gifts like sewing machines and row boats. (At least, a Brady Bunch episode from 1970 had the boys wanting the boat and the girls wanting the sewing machine. They compromised and traded their stamps in for a television set. However, I remember my mom earning only enough to buy a few place settings of dishes.)
Edina's Curt Carlson, who began his entrepreneurial career as a newspaper carrier in the Morningside neighborhood, created Gold Bond trading stamps. His success with the business helped him launch the multinational Carlson Companies and make him one of the richest men in Minnesota.
For more on Curt Carlson, see this transcript of an interesting MPR interview with him. For more on trading stamps history, see this article from Studio Z-7, a publishing company in Minneapolis.
3. Ray's Dairy Store. In response to this post on Edina's corner stores, 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 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.
From Jeff's description, it sounds like the store is now the Picket Fence, 3907 West 54th Street, Edina. Am I right?
Did you know: Author Nancy Carlson, who grew up in Edina, wrote Arnie and the Stolen Markers, based on her childhood experience of shoplifting a candy bar from Ray's Dairy Store. (Perhaps Ray's wife had her reasons to give kids the stink eye, huh?) The book is currently out of print, but is available through the Hennepin County Library system and is on display in our current "Growing Up in Edina" exhibit.
I would love to have photos and more information about the owners of Ray's Dairy store, as well as the other many small mom and pop stores in Edina (Tedman's, Cameron's, Docken's, etc.) If you have information to share, please email me or comment here.
Let's play a game called "Name that Gas Station."
Okay. I'll do the first one. Here is a Pure gas station by the Edina water tower next to Southdale.
According to the 1960 Edina Directory, this is the Southdale Pure Service at 3500 West 69th Street (not to be confused with the Edina Pure Oil Service at 50th and France (4049 West 50th Street), which was located across from what was then Clancy Drug.
The 69th Street address puts the gas station right on the Southdale mall property. There is no gas station there today, so I wondered if the address numbering system had changed. I was curious enough to look at aerial photos and determine that a structure that looks like a gas station stood at the same location in the 1950s. Anyone remember?
This one is harder to determine, for me anyway. So now it's your turn.
I can hear the crickets chirping. Without a name on the building, it's difficult to definitively identify the business, isn't it?
Here's what I can figure. The photo number places the building near Southdale, and the only other Southdale area gas station listed in the 1960 phone directory is Howard's Standard Service (3901 West 70th Street), where the BP gas station is today. This photo must have been taken shortly after it was built, judging from the "Open for Business" signs displayed. Look in the background of the photo and you can see a few new houses on treeless lots.
I am still on the lookout for photos of the Sinclair station, Edina's last full service station, which closed in December to make way for a retail development. See story in Edina Sun Current here.
Please note that our residential housing records are in address order and easy to locate. However, we do not have complete commercial tax records, just a limited number of photos in plat and parcel order. You can help: do you know more about the gas stations of Edina? Email me or comment here.
When the dark comedy “Harold and Maude” opened in mid-1972 at the Westgate Theater (4500 France Avenue), no one in the audience suspected that they would have another 1,956 opportunities to see the popular film that achieved a cult following.
For more than two years, “Harold and Maude” played at the Westgate – what seemed like a lifetime of missed Disney movies for a Morningside kid.
By the beginning of the third year, disgruntled neighborhood residents picketed the theater with signs reading, “Our plea to Westgate. Your neighbors want variety” and “Two Years Too Much.”
Robert Owen was at the protest. "My mom and two of her neighbor friends organized it. She said the protestors consisted of the husbands and kids of the three women," he wrote, in answer to a query I posted on Facebook. "I remember booing at Ruth Gordon and the other actor when they showed up. My mom told me to stop that; the protest was not against the movie or actors but to get the theater to run some other films."
The Morningside record-breaking run of “Harold and Maude” brought it – and the movies’ stars Ruth Gordon and Bud Cort – national acclaim. Cort would say later that notice from the Minnesota run would boost his career.
In fact, both stars visited the Westgate Theater: Ruth Gordon attended the first anniversary showing, and both came for the second anniversary. (Picket signs protesting the movie’s long run can be seen in the background of one newspaper photo.)
In all, the movie played for a total of 1,957 showings from mid-1972 until June 1974 setting a new record for number of showings for any movies in the Twin Cities.
Another cult film, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” would break that record in the late 1970s, but the Westgate began the strategy of finding a market to stay alive in a time when multi-plex theaters took most of the movie business from small single-screen operations like Westgate.
"Harold and Maude" merely postponed the inevitable, and the Westgate finally closed in 1977. The building now houses Edina Dry Cleaners.
"Harold and Maude" showing to mark 40th anniversary of record run
If you didn't see "Harold and Maude" one of the more than 100 weeks it showed at the Westgate Theatre, now is your chance to see the movie cult classic on the big screen.
The Heights Theater in Columbia Heights will mark the 40th anniversary of Harold and Maude's historic run at the Morningside theater. Don't procrastinate: the movie will be showing only once on Wednesday, March 21 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $8.
Go to see a cool restored movie house, even if you aren't a fan of the film. The theater opened in 1926 and is (according to its web site) "the Twin Cities' longest continuously operated show house."
See The Heights' web site for more information about the theater's history, location and movie schedule.
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.
Welcome back to the newest edition of the Edina Historical Society blog, which was on a brief hiatus while I was on vacation. This is my first day back, so I'm digging out from the emails, Tweets and Facebook messages as well as the USPS mail, phone messages and notes from visitors and volunteers.
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming:
1. Gravel pit memories: A couple of readers commented on our post Photo Friday: Gravel pits of Edina. Martha Decker writes:
Thanks for posting this, but I guarantee you there were more than just "a few" girls up there! Every girl that I knew who grew up in the far west end of Richfield was up there on bikes and on foot all the time. The day that I looked up from my busy high school schedule and saw that "the pits" had been plowed under was a sad, sad day!
My brother and I rode our bikes over to Hedberg from 86th and Queen and drove/ran around, caught skinks to bring back to our house. I haven't seen a skink in years. I am 53, he is 57. Great memories.
I'm glad two females wrote about the gravel pits. I have to admit that I based my comment that boys and "a few girls" played in the gravel pits primarily because the tales were told by only our male visitors. No women had 'fessed up to their trespassing crimes... until now. Thanks for writing in, Martha and Christina.
I remember skinks from my childhood as well, and there's good reason that Christina hasn't seen a skink in years. The small lizard's numbers fell dramatically with the loss of habitat. For more information about the skink, see this Minnesota Department of Natural Resources page.
2. A little more about Littel. Jeanne Andersen commented on A street by any other name: Little or Littel Street? A little history about Littel:
We live on the one-block 42 1/2 Street (in St. Louis Park) and old maps show that this street was also called Littel. Wish we knew how to pronounce it.
Good question. I've been saying LitTEL with the accent on the second syllable, but I have been known to be wrong before (as the Littel Street post shows.)
3. A look back as the Galleria looks forward. The Galleria shopping center has made headlines lately as it shifts its retail mix to attract customers. (See Feb. 19 Star Tribune story.) Schmitt Music, an original tenant, has left, and other tenants are expanding or changing their spaces.
The 38-year-old mall has made many changes over the years. Take a look at its beginning below:
Hard to believe, isn't it?
To be fair, this isn't the actual shopping mall. The Galleria didn't open until 1974, but Gabbert's Furniture, the anchor tenant, began in 1959. Here the city's tax assessor photo shows the store under construction. I encourage you to visit the Gabbert's web site to see a cool photo of the completed 1959 building. The unfinished structure (above) looks a bit like a garden center, I think. The actual store looked pretty hip and must have made quite a design statement back in the day.
Although Southdale mall attracts a lot more interest from history researchers, the smaller Galleria made history in its own way. According to Gabbert's web site, the store was the first to set up furniture in vignettes, so customers could visualize the pieces in their own living spaces.
The Galleria sits on the former Hedberg gravel pits, that I wrote about here. Now that we've come full circle, I will close this edition of Monday Mashup.
More to come later this week. Stay tuned.
Cedric Adams. Photo courtesy Pavek Museum of Broadcasting.
Unarguably the most popular radio broadcaster in the Midwest after World War II was WCCO’s Cedric Adams, who also had a successful newspaper column for the Minneapolis Tribune.
His radio show was so popular that pilots claimed that they could see the lights go out all across the region promptly each night after he signed off his 10 p.m. newscast.
Cedric grew up in a very small town in southwestern Minnesota, Magnolia, with a population of 261, but as an adult, he made his home in Edina. While most other notable Edinans lived here quietly, Cedric made his adopted town famous by his columns and radio shows. He broadcast his shows several days a week from his home office and even had a show called Dinner at the Adams’, aired from his dining room table.
With an infectious chuckle and a folksy style of “good neighbor” humor that became the trademark of WCCO, Cedric talked about his children, weight, marriage, clothing, neighbors and life in the suburbs.
Who knows? Perhaps Cedric, in his way, contributed to Edina’s post-war housing boom. After all, he was an unparalleled salesman. When he advertised Purity Bread on air, sales increased 145% in the Twin Cities alone. Purity couldn’t keep up with the orders. When Cedric spoke for TCF Bank, people actually sent him money and wanted him to deposit it. One listener sent him $10,000 to deposit for him. He was a master at connecting with people and sponsors were plentiful.
His influence amazed even famed comedian Bob Hope: “It is amazing that one man can wield the power that Cedric holds on the Twin Cities and suburbia. The mere mention in his column that the nights are getting chilly and his office is flooded with a thousand bed-warmers.”
One can only guess the impact of a photo brochure "Cedric Adams' Album," celebrating the announcer's 25 years with radio and newspaper. The undated pamphlet (courtesy of the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting) features an TCF home mortgage ad with Cedric, and a feature story showing him at home with his family at 5404 Larada Lane.
Here is one page:
And here is the city tax assessor photo of the same house from the street.
The family later moved to this house:
Cedric Adams and his wife also lived at 5710 Blake Road before buying their first home on Larada Lane. His final home is at Lakewood Cemetery, Lot 203, Section 26∙5.
Cedric's also owned businesses in Edina, including Cedric's restaurant, Cedric's clothing and the Biltmore hotel. I'll post more about those on another day.
For more info:
In the early 1960s, New York Police Department and others throughout the country visited Edina to learn about its revolutionary “random patrol” method.
The idea was to keep criminals guessing by making patrols unpredictable. A spin of a handmade game wheel (see above photo from the May 1962 Village of Edina newsletter) determined where officers would patrol next. Every 20 minutes or so, a dispatcher would send a squad to a different area of town.
Police officer Kevin Rofidal, unofficial historian for the Edina police department, wrote, "In cooperation with the Indiana University Police Science Institute, Edina was divided into several small districts. The past incidents of calls and crime were calculated and mathematical values were assigned to these areas. The values were converted into percentages in relation to the overall crime in Edina. Four electric roulette wheels were adapted and locations within the small districts were assigned throughout the roulette wheels. During the shift, a dispatcher would spin the roulette wheel, which would determine where the mostly likely place a crime might occurred based on the formulas and a squad would be sent to that location. In the beginning, this was done just on the overnight dog shift 2300-0700 and later expanded to all shifts."
Chief Wayne Bennett and other law professionals pointed to the success of statistically random patrols, but the innovative program was one of the few introduced by Bennett that didn’t last.
Bennett was known as an innovator, who brought professionalism and stature to the police department during a rapid period of Edina’s growth.
“We were known nationwide. We had a reputation was number one in innovation in the entire State of Minnesota,” said retired officer Jim Crawford. “You know we are pretty proud of that.”
While many police chiefs during the 1940s and 1950s came to the job without advanced education, Bennett had a law degree and F.B.I. training. He had work experience as a patrolman and lieutenant in Albert Lea and as Assistant Chief of Staff for the MN Department of Civil Defense. In preparation for the opening of the world's first shopping mall, located in what was then a small farming community, the Village Council hired Bennett in 1955 to professionalize the department.
Bennett pioneered the beginning of many programs which are a common place in law enforcement today, such as a police liaison in the schools and a community crime fund. Bennett retired in 1975 after more than 20 years as Edina Chief of Police.
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Jennifer Adam is the Executive Director of the Edina Historical Society. She welcomes your contributions. Comment on a post or send an email (see below). Traditional mail, of course, can also be sent to:
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