My answer: there isn't one.
Sure, there are plat maps showing names of subdivisions, but almost no one knows the areas by those names. (Crocker's Third Addition, anyone?) If pressed, I can list a number of different neighborhoods (Morningside, Country Club District, West Minneapolis Heights, Cahill District, White Oaks and Highlands, among others) but I couldn't tell you the definitive borders for each or even if most residents know the neighborhoods where they live.
That will all change in the coming months. Neighborhoods will soon have names and borders as the City of Edina engages residents in defining neighborhoods and establishing City-recognized neighborhood associations. (For more on the process and upcoming meetings, see the city's Name Your Neighborhood blog.)
With all the talk about neighborhoods, I thought I would dig through the files for what we have on the historic neighborhood names. An easy one to kick off the series: Morningside. Platted in 1905, the area in the far northeast corner of Edina was a suburban bedroom community with far different concerns than rural Edina; new homeowners pushed for modern city amenities like street lights and sidewalks and progress couldn't come fast enough.
"The streets in Morningside, from the top of the hill, were just mud streets and in wet weather the mud was sticky and deep. It used to annoy the women-folk who had to wear boots. They wanted their shoes to look nice when they went shopping or just calling on their neighbors," said E. Dudley Parsons in a 1994 interview.
Tired of waiting, the neighborhood seceded from Edina in 1920 and became the smallest village in Hennepin County. Resident A.G. Long, among many who advocated for secession, wrote the rallying anthem "Morningside, My Morningside!" in 1918. He is credited with naming the new Village and was dubbed the "Father of Morningside," although he refused to run for Mayor.
Mud made the neighborhood secede, and mud influenced its choice of name for the new village. “In naming the new village (Long) borrowed a name of a district in London, England, Morningside” where there was no mud, according to Dan T. Nelson, long-time Morningside Village Clerk an undated interview with the local newspaper.
As you can see from this photo from Morningside's early days, Morningside Road looked more like gravel farm road than it did a city street.
As with many naming stories, separating fact from legend is no easy task. One thing is clear: the neighborhood continued to use the name even after it returned to the Edina fold in 1966. For evidence, look no further than the Edina-Morningside Rotary, the Edina-Morningside Women's Club and the Morningside Neighborhood Association.
In the coming months, neighborhoods may choose to keep the traditional names and borders or come up with new ones. I would be shocked if Morningside abandoned its century-old moniker that is still in use, but I've been wrong before. The point is, residents will determine the names and borders of their neighborhoods, not me. And when the work is done, I'll have an answer for anyone requesting a map of Edina's neighborhoods.