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)
You may not recognize this neighborhood in its infancy in the early 1950s, shown with new tree plantings instead of its shaded boulevards of today.
This is the neighborhood of Richmond Hills. (See map below.) Yvonne Terrace and the edge of Melody Lake is in the foreground.
Here's a closer view of 56th Street, marked by someone else long ago.
Here's a closer view of Yvonne Terrace.
You may not be familiar with the Richmond Hills neighborhood even today because you probably don't drive through the area unless you know someone who lives in one of the 47 houses there. Richmond Hills is unusual in that it can be entered only using Sherwood Road via the portion of Eden Avenue that runs between the Edina Public Library and Vernon Avenue.
As a result, the neighborhood has been deeply interested in the future development of the Grandview District, centered around the intersections of Eden Avenue, Vernon Avenue, and Highway 100. I have followed the Edina Citizen's Engagement blog discussions on this topic (see more here) and have been interested to find out more about the neighborhood's history.
I would love to hear more about the neighborhood's history. If you have photos or information to share, please contact me or comment here.
The Crier, the monthly newspaper for the Country Club District from 1930 to 1941, provides a great record of the early years of Edina's historic neighborhood. The first July 4th parade. The neighborhood's plans to secede from Edina. The first police officer hired.
But in addition to "hard news," The Crier covered things like weddings, births, vacations abroad and parties at home. Whether residents went downtown to see a play or next door to visit with the neighbors, the news was reported in the paper's Society section.
See just one page (of almost three pages) of Society news in the 16-page publication below.
Researchers chuckle at some of the mundane things reported. Some characterize the Society news as a snooty upper class practice, but in fact, many small town newspapers had popular Society columns. Granted, a farm town newspaper might report on quilting bees instead of "canapes and cocktails" but newspapers across the country carried society news.
Big city newspapers might assign a reporter to write about lavish parties or weddings of the area's movers and shakers, but small town newspapers relied on the public to send in their own news. If you wanted people to know about your social life, you sent in a few sentences to the local paper.
In other words, the Society column was a lot like Facebook, with a little more restraint. (No photos of drunk people at college parties, for example.)
Society news provides a more complete view of family members for genealogists, who discover their parents' or grandparents' interests and accomplishments. Whether they were on the honor roll at college or belonged to the women's club, their news was reported in The Crier.
Because the Country Club resident had some famous residents, the Society news makes for some interesting reading for even non-relatives. Read about the Odells, makers of Burma Shave, or about the Lilleheis, reknown surgeons, or the Bridgemans, who owned the ice cream shop chain.
Thanks to a meticulous Edina Historical Society archivist (not me), the names are easy to find. We have a card catalog (remember those?) of names and the issue date and page where they appeared.
You're welcome to come in during regular museum hours and browse The Criers, or look up your relatives. If you or your family lived in the Country Club during the 1930s, you're almost guaranteed find something, even if it's only a few lines about a vacation or party.
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.
Edina High School was built at 6754 Valley View Road in the fall of 1972 on the Ernie Davis farm.
The farmhouse, 6740 Valley View, stood on the north side of the road (see below).
Here was the house.
And the barn.
Here's a closer look with what looks like a police or fire vehicle on the left side of the photo. I don't know more without further research, but it looks like the farm was not operating at the time these photos were taken (estimated 1970). The Davis's are not listed in the phone books of that time period, either.
Edina's student population grew rapidly in the 1960s, and overcrowding forced the district to build a second high school. Because the the original 1949 high school was located on the east side of town (5701 Normandale Road), the district looked for land on the west side and selected the Davis property. Logically, the schools were named Edina East and Edina West. (Or for you sports fans, the Hornets and the Cougars.)
The old school closed in 1981 and became the Edina Community Center and Edina once again had one high school.
Clarification: 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. The photos were most likely taken prior to the construction of Valley View, not circa 1970.
Anyone who has driven along 66th Street and passed Lake Cornelia has probably wondered, "Why was a road built in the middle of a lake?"
I know this because many of those people call the Edina History Museum and ask me the very same thing.
I didn't know the answer when I was first asked, but I knew who would: Frank Cardarelle, a fourth generation Edina resident and surveyor. The Class of 1951 graduate is too young to remember a time before the road was built, but he pointed out that planners (and landowners) generally like roads to run along section lines. And yes, 66th Street is on a section line.
Lake Cornelia, even today, is very shallow. Just 6.5 feet at the deepest. So while 66th Street runs through a lake, it's not like road builders had to dig the English Channel. Frank speculated that the road was probably built during the drought years of the 1930s.
How low did Lake Cornelia go?
Can you find the lake in the 1937 aerial photo above? Look at the upper left.
Give up? Here are the major landmarks labeled.
Here is a Google map of the area to help a little more.
As you can see in this close up, Lake Cornelia was actually two ponds in 1937. It even looks like crops were planted in Lake Cornelia that year.
These images come from a series of aerial photos that were shot during 1937. This was the first year that the Department of Agriculture took aerial photos in flyovers of the entire nation. We have images from 1951 and 2000 as well, and the changes in Edina over the years is astounding. You can practically see history in the making.
As we have with the other sets, we paid for the aerials to be professionally transformed into a full size poster graphic of Edina and will place it on our research library wall next to the other two. It was a hefty price: $845, without framing fees. If you would like to help support this project, please send your tax deductible contribution to the Edina Historical Society, 4711 West 70th Street, Edina, MN 55435. Or click on the GiveMN link below to pay by credit card.
Come in and see how your neighborhood was transformed. The aerial photo is the big topic of conversation lately for volunteers and visitors, old timers and newcomers alike. Regular museum hours are Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to noon.
1. Tippi Hedren slept here. Tippi Hedren is probably best known for her role in the Alfred Hitchcock film The Birds. But many longtime residents remember her as a cute little blond girl from Morningside. When we did an exhibit on the Edina neighborhood in 2005, Jim Grunnet gave me this copy of his class photo at Morningside School; he believes that Tippi is the blond girl in the center of the front row with the darker socks.
Tippi's return to Minnesota last week, to promote the showing of another Hitchcock movie Marnie, had Facebook pages buzzing.
One point of contention: where did Tippi live in the Morningside? Phil Murphy remembered that some of Tippi's belongings were found in the attic when his parents bought the home at 4311 Morningside Road. The Hollywood star visited her childhood home when she came to town in the 1980s.
Others recalled that she lived on Alden Drive, and that her house was torn down.
Both are right. The Edina Historical Society has a limited number of Morningside phone directories. The 1944 phone book has Ben and Dorothea Hedren at 4311 Morningside Road. The 1940 book has them at 4231 Alden Drive. (By the way, if anyone has saved any Morningside directories, we'd love to have them at the museum.)
I tried to get tickets to Tippi's talk and movie showing at the Heights, but it had sold out. Phil Murphy had an opportunity to talk to her before the show and heard great stories about Tippi's childhood in Morningside. He wrote on the Morningside alumni Facebook page:
Morningside Girl Made Good... Was the introduction by Leonard Maltin Of Ms. Tippi Hedren at the Heights Theater - I had an opportunity to talk to Ms Hedren - She regaled myself and my dad with great stories of growing up in Morningside - Mr Maltin with there - gleaning info to use in his wonderful intro - including the fact she went to Morningside School, and lived there until she was 17! - She told us, stories of how she played football in our front yard as a youngster, played the violin in our sunroom, and actually would sleepwalk - out the front door of the house - in the winter in nothing but her nightgown!
..Folks make their own luck - She started modeling in HS at Donaldsons - The rest as they say... Is history! She is a pretty amazing, and most gracious lady..."
For more on Tippi's visit, see these stories:
Love the website! I was born at Fairview Southdale in 1968 and lived in Edina 'til 1994. I come back to visit every year. My Mom and sister still live there. My sister has lived in 8 different houses in Edina - I wonder if that's a record. Also, I wonder when phone numbers in Edina adopted the current format of XXX-XXXX...
The answer: In 1965, phone numbers in the local director reflected a change from exchange names to all numbers, according to our friends at the St. Louis Park Historical Society. (See phone history on the great SLPHS website.)
Those of you who didn't dial a phone until the 1970s might think that phone numbers always had numbers. But back in the beginning, phone numbers were described by name (like Whitter, Walnut or Mohawk) and then four digits. For example, if your phone number was Walnut 1234, the phone book listed the number as WA-1234, with the W dialed as 9 and the A as a 2. (If you look at your phone, each number has letters on it.)
For someone who grew up dialing seven numbers, the name method seems confusing. Why not just say 92-1234? I'm guessing it was just a memory aid, so that learning six digits was easier. Before the advent of auto dial, people memorized phone numbers. Many visitors have fond memories of their old phone numbers with the names and can recite their own number along with several friends' numbers.
Fast forward to today: I asked my son's friend for his home number and he had no idea. His parents have cell phones and they change numbers often enough that he just uses auto dial.
3. Queen Anne Kiddieland: Ron Diger commented on The Valleyfair of yesteryear: Queen Anne Kiddieland.
Wow, today a friend of mine brought up the name Q.A.K. We were talking about this place and birthday parties as kids. So I googled to so what was out there and came across this site. My dad took 8mm movies of this place, and I still have the film somewhere in the many many feet of film and reels. :)
Fun fact: "Queen Anne Kiddieland" is often the most searched topic on our website. It's a bit ironic, considering that the popular kids' amusement park technically had a Bloomington address, but we include it in Edina history because it was just over the border and featured prominently in many residents' childhood memories.
If you come across anything in your childhood treasures that your kids don't want, we're happy to consider them for our permanent collection.
4. More comments.. We have received a few more comments about potential events for the city's 125th anniversary, comments on faculty photos and more. I will try to do a second installment of comments later this week.
5. Upcoming events: See our home page for some great upcoming events, including summer day camp at Cahill School and a May 8th event that includes tours of St. Stephen's church, Minnehaha Grange and Cahill School.
First Southdale National Bank opened in September 1956, as one of the original tenants of Southdale Mall.
Here is an exterior image of the bank, with its drive-up window.
Here is an ad from the 1960 Edina phone directory, published by Minnesota Suburban Newspapers.
Seriously, it's all you this week, my friends. I can't write anything more without further research, and my "To Do" list is too long for that today. I'd love hear more though. Comment here or email me. Happy Friday!
When I worked for newspapers, we called the group photo a "stand 'em up and shoot 'em down." Die-hard newsmen hated to see a newspaper loaded with posed photos instead of action shots that depicted real news events. If a football team wins a conference championship, a news editor prefers to run an image of a player scoring the winning touchdown over a group shot showing the entire team.
Readers, on the other hand, would probably pick the portrait. It shows everyone who contributed not just the guy who ran across the goal line. It shows their kid, kids from the neighborhood and helps people put faces to the names in the community.
I have proof that people like portraits. Every time I run a group photo, web traffic spikes. Whether we run faculty photos, American Legion team photos or class photos, people visit -- and tell their friends, who tell their friends... and so on and so on and so on.
(Quick, name that commercial. Sorry, couldn't resist. Back to the main topic...)
So, from time to time, I will publish group photos as I get around to scanning them. Today, we're back to the 1940s and 1950s, brought to you by the Class of 1951, Edina's first high school graduating class.
This photo shows some of them as second graders in May 1941. Children who see this photo are surprised that all the girls are wearing dresses. Some think everyone is dressed up only because it was a special occasion. When I tell them girls were required to wear dresses, they think I'm joking. They're horrified when I point out that kids back then didn't wear tennis shoes to school either.
The photo below shows the Class of 1951 on the front steps of Edina School (known as Wooddale in later years) when they graduated from eighth grade in 1947. At the time, Edina schools ended in 8th grade. Then Edina kids went to St. Louis Park High School or one of the Minneapolis schools. Some went to a private school like Blake (then all boys) or Northrup (Blake's all girls school counterpart).
These young men and women are now 79 or 80 years old. But when they were middle school age, they could be as silly as kids today. Look at that front row posing like Napoleon Bonaparte.
By the way, those distinctive arched doorways were saved when Wooddale School was demolished in the 1980s and they are now the entrances to our exhibit rooms at the Edina History Museum.
This is Miss Ardus Towler's homeroom class.
In 1949, Edina's first high school opened without a senior class because, understandably, most people wanted to finish out their high school career where they started. The Class of 1951, as juniors, were the leaders at the combined junior and senior high school. (The building now houses Edina Community Education.)
This is Edina's first high school football team. Even without a senior class, the school managed to have enough players to field a full team. For many, this was the first time they competed in an organized sport (in contrast to today, when kids compete on sports teams even before they start kindergarten.)
These photos are courtesy of Frank Cardarelle (#43 in the middle row). The fourth-generation Edina resident, who grew up on a farm west of Valley View Road and today's Highway 62, is one of the children featured in our "Growing Up in Edina: A Show and Tell Exhibit" on display at the Edina History Museum through October 2012.
Now it's your turn. Are you a fan of group photos or do you share the journalism philosophy? Do you have photos to share? And most importantly, can you help identify any of the people in the photos? Comment here or email me.
Look what I found in a 1948 Edina phone directory, published by Minnesota Suburban Newspapers:
As is often the case, I was actually looking for something else when I came across this fun ad. I always love real estate descriptions: "Individual homesites of unexcelled scenic beauty. Everyone different. Winding roads with sweeping views. Natural sites for ramblers... Designed for them, in fact!"
This (approximately) is the Highlands neighborhood today. Highway 169 (Shakopee Road) listed in the ad is now called Vernon Avenue. The Belt Line is now better known as Highway 100.
I was surprised to see that lots were advertised in Highlands in 1948. If I had to guess, I would have picked sometime in the late 1950s simply because of the winding roads and "sweeping views." Developing hilly land was much more difficult (and expensive), especially in the early days of mechanized equipment.
We have a lot of information in our files about our older neighborhoods (Morningside, Country Club District, Cahill and White Oaks) and less about our "newer" subdivisions like Highlands, which is now more than 64 years old. Even those areas developed after Southdale mall was built are more than 50 years old. I am hoping the city's focus on neighborhoods (see Star Tribune article here) will encourage residents to collect and donate their own neighborhood history. Even the "young" neighborhoods have traditions and interesting histories. (Dick Crockett of the Edina Foundation wrote about some of those neighborhood activities here.)
If you have anything to share about your neighborhood, please contact me. I think it would be fun to put together an exhibit on Edina neighborhoods.
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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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Help us bring you Edina history with this web site by becoming a member or donating today. Click on the link to our GiveMN.org site to make a donation with a credit card. The Edina Historical Society is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that depends on contributions to continue operation.