This edition of Photo Friday has us back in the Grandview area at 5145 Eden Avenue. Wanner Engineering was one of the manufacturing businesses in what is now a mostly retail area of town.
Here's a look at the other side of the building.
According to the phone directory, at least two Wanner families lived in Edina and worked at Wanner Engineering: Kenneth E. (5233 Minnehaha Blvd) and William (5408 Dundee).
The Eden Avenue site, now empty, is now owned by Our Lady of Grace Church and is part of the area being considered for redevelopment in the Grandview District Small Area Plan.
There's a Minnesota Wanner Company at 7125 Ohms Avenue in Edina, and I'm guessing there's a connection, but I'll leave that research until another day. As I always say, this is Photo Friday, not Doctoral Thesis Friday. If you know more about the business, please share your knowledge with us by commenting here or emailing me.
Happy Friday, everyone!
Yes, we all know that "a picture is worth 1,000 words." But sometimes a picture still needs words.
Take this photo as an example. Part of the collection of former teachers Delmar and Lavonne Frederickson, this photo shows some activity at Edina High School. I think that's Mr. Frederickson on the floor at right. But what's the deal with the Time Magazine backdrop? What is so fascinating about their reading material? What year is it and who are they?
Here's another unknown activity. Student newspaper staff? Yearbook staff?
But this one wins my prize for most perplexing. Three boys on motorcycles, not a typical sight in a school publication -- especially when you see what's under the wheel of the Yamaha in the foreground.
Is it a photo to illustrate motorcycle safety? Or the consequences of bullying? Or what?
The Frederickson collection consists primarily of paper artifacts, with just a dozen or so mysterious photos. Some clearly relate to school plays or Homecoming, but I can't tell much about these. Do you have any captions for me, real or imagined? I'd love the facts, but you're welcome to offer a creative take on the photos. (Humor is allowed. Meanness isn't.) Please comment here or email me.
When school groups come to the Edina History Museum, I include a stop at a display of photos from Edina's huge Centennial celebration in 1988. The kids always have questions -- from "What is a Centennial?" to "Why did people wear such huge glasses?"
Keep in mind that today's 8-year-olds were born in 2004. For second-graders, 1988 seems like ancient times. (For those who lived through the 1980s rocking those glasses and permed hair, sigh with me.)
The photos show the myriad of events marking the important milestone of Edina's founding in 1888. We are in the process of updating the display, created for the year-end party but lasted 24 years. With funding from the Edina Community Foundation, the exhibit will now have archival museum quality exhibit panels.
Thanks to the efforts of Centennial co-chair (and photographer) Betty Hemstad and her daughter Judy Anderson, the display will also include a hardcover photo book with even more photos of the many events held throughout the year.
Here's a look at the cover. (Note that Pearson's restaurant is now gone.)
The ice castle was the first big event of the year.
Another popular event was a Bridal Fashion Show featuring Edina women throughout the decades and their wedding dresses .
The celebration had wide-spread community support, with many civic groups hosting dozens of smaller events.
A volunteer committee is in the midst of planning events celebrating our 125th anniversary -- our Quasquicentennial -- next year. At this stage, we're planning a historic homes tour, a Founder's Day celebration, a special exhibit and more. While this celebration will be smaller than the Centennial, which took five years of planning and thousands of volunteer hours, we still hope for community-wide participation.
And lots of photos. We will include Quasquicentennial photos alongside the Centennial display. And no doubt children of 2038 will look at these photos and learn about Edina's founding. The photos will spark a conversation about Edina's beginnings in 1888.
Maybe those children will even wonder about the fashions of 2013. And maybe, just maybe, they will admire the retro look of big glasses and permed hair of 1988.
This is what visitors saw last week when they walked into the Edina History Museum: piles of stuff.
Well, to be honest, we have piles of stuff most days, but we try to keep them somewhat under control and out of the public eye. Last week, however, we had piles on the floor and all the way down our 10-foot long table in our research library as we started organizing a huge collection of Edina High School memorabilia collected by former teachers Delmar and Lavonne Frederickson.
Here's Del from a 1988 Edina East yearbook.
Lavonne also worked for Edina schools off and on throughout their marriage (so I didn't immediately locate her photo). Their son Kent (Edina East Class of 1978) brought in the school collection he found as he was settling his parents' estate. His mother died three months ago and his father died in 1991.
As he pointed out, he and his family have no reason to keep programs for Coronation Balls, theater productions and award banquets that occurred before they were born. While he values the stuff from his own high school years, his parents kept everything from their entire careers advising student council, theater, prom and other school activities.
I love the prom mementos, like this (complete with a tiny pencil so students could record the names of their date, their favorite song, the time they got home and other details of the big night.)
Thanks to the Fredericksons, we now have commencement programs from the first in 1951 to 1988.
Kent assured us that we could recycle or give away what we didn't think was useful, and I assured him that I thought we would keep everything. In fact, many school reunion groups ask for items just like these. While they may have saved their "stuff," they often can't find anything 25 or 50 years later among their boxes in storage, attics, basements or still at their parents' home.
We are beyond happy to get the collection, although we do have some work ahead of us, sorting like items with like and putting them in chronological order. We also have a small stack of photos (and one large framed Homecoming court portrait) to identify. (If you know what year this photo was taken, we can probably find the names in the yearbook.)
The collection has already grabbed the attention of every visitor, who first exclaims over the many piles of stuff when they first walk in the door. And every person who takes a closer look sees treasures.
Do you have "treasures" that you no longer want but are too good to throw away? The Edina Historical Society values anything that tells Edina's story, from old phone books to election flyers to Little League uniforms to... the list goes on and on. Call me at 612-928-4577 or email me with questions.
You may remember Olson Brothers Pharmacy at its last location in the same building as Jerry's Foods on Vernon Avenue.
Olson Brothers Pharmacy began here in 1955 at 5008 Vernon Avenue (the north side of Vernon Avenue, near Interlachen.) Brothers Roy and Doug Olson took over space occupied by the Grandview Market, the original grocery store owned by Jerry Paulsen.
(Yes, the same Jerry who goes on to own 35 stores in four states and employ more than 4,500 workers at Edina businesses that include Jerry’s Foods, Jerry’s Printing, Jerry’s Hardware, and Cub Foods on France Avenue. In addition, the national corporate headquarters are located at 5101 Vernon Avenue, anchored by Jerry’s Foods.)
Jerry and the Olson Brothers would have a long relationship in real estate. The Minneapolis brothers, who attended Washburn High School and the University of Minnesota, would move twice more – all less than a couple blocks away from the original site. In 1961, the pharmacy relocated next to Jerry's Lucky Dollar grocery store across the street. Three years later, they would make their final home next to the current Jerry’s Foods.
The brothers retired and sold their business in 1994, but the store still carried their name until recently.
Next to the original Olson Brothers Pharmacy was Wong’s Grandview Cafe and Grandview Direct Service gas station.
As you can see from the 1959 phone directory ad, Roy and Mabel Wong specialized in "authentic Chinese and American Dishes" and offered "speedy take-out service on Chow Mein."
I didn't find the Wongs in the residential listings for Edina, so they likely didn't live in town. I don't know much more about the little cafe. If you dined on Wong's chow mein or other food, please share your memories with us. Tell us what you remember about any of these three businesses by commenting here or emailing me.
Happy Friday, everyone!
Arguably there is no catchier, kitschier symbol of the American spirit than a lemonade stand. It represents not only a way of life, but a way of making a living. It is capitalism and leisure, refreshment and resourcefulness, enterprise and summer skies all squeezed together — stirred in with lemons and sugar and water — and sold by the glass for whatever the market will bear.
~National Public Radio, reporter Linton Weeks, July 19, 2011
Ever since there were lemons and kids with an entrepreneurial spirit, there have been lemonade stands. Ron Shirk (seated), with his friend Leighton Johnson spent a summer afternoon selling the cold beverage to his neighbors on Casco Avenue in the late 1930s. His gross earnings for the effort? 35 cents, his mother Lala recorded in the family scrapbook.
Here's a closer look at the young CEOs.
About 40 years later his daughters Diane and Lisa (pictured below with friends) followed in his footsteps, selling Kool Aid from their home at 4512 Parkside Avenue. They don't recall their earnings, but at 2 cents per glass they couldn't have turned a profit.
But making money is hardly the point of kid lemonade stands. Sipping cold drinks, sitting in the shade and hanging out with friends on a hot summer day is all the reward any kid needs -- regardless of the decade they set up shop. Getting a few coins from indulgent passersby is a bonus.
I should create a bumper sticker that says, "I Brake for Lemonade Stands." Because even when the liquid is lukewarm and watery, I always buy a glass. There's no cheaper way to make a child happy.
Ron Shirk and Lisa and Diane Shirk are among the children of various generations featured in our current "Growing Up in Edina: A Show and Tell Exhibit." Museum hours are Thursdays, 9 a.m. to noon, and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to noon. Admission is free. We will continue to add stories to the web site and the exhibit, so please share yours with us. For more information, email me or comment here.
This is the second post in a series on the history of neighborhood names in Edina. (See the first on Morningside here.) The City of Edina has formed a Neighborhood Identification Steering Committee to determine neighborhood names and borders. For more on that group, see the city's Name Your Neighborhood Blog.
City's blog icon
I've booked a hotel room on Lakefront Avenue and never glimpsed water. I've seen a Pleasant View Road without one. And, I've noticed, many flower-named streets don't have blooms lining the boulevards. Let's face it, many streets and neighborhoods don't live up to their names.
White Oaks neighborhood in Edina does. White Oaks actually has white oaks. The woods, marsh and hilly terrain in the area north and west of 49th and France give the neighborhood a character much different than its neighbors: Country Club District to the west and Morningside to the north.
I don't need to give you the borders of the neighborhood; you can easily guess them by looking at the Google aerial view (below). Surrounded by a grid of streets, White Oaks is distinct with its winding roads and woods.
When Samuel Thorpe purchased land to develop the Country Club District in 1922, he reportedly was not interested the wooded, hilly land to the east because it was much harder to develop than the level open fields of Browndale Farm on the banks of Minnehaha Creek.
This map depicts how Nancy Wallace Wild recalled the area when she was growing up on 50th Street before her neighborhood was developed.The "big hill for sliding" and the swampy area made great play areas for children, but not great residential lots.
By 1936, construction equipment had advanced enough that J. Frank Ecklund, a Sears Roebuck executive who dabbled in real estate, purchased the land for development. He made a key decision: instead of leveling the hills and clear-cutting the trees, he created a plan designed to "preserv(e) the area's rugged topography, mature trees and natural feel," according to History of the White Oaks Neighborhood.
In 1940, Ecklund and his wife Catherine (Kay) took further steps to ensure that the open meadow and lowlands remain natural. First, the Ecklunds encouraged the creation of a non-profit volunteer-based White Oaks Improvement Association (WOIA). They then deeded 3.5 acres circled by Meadow Road and 48th Street to WOIA for a park and also deeded 1.5 acre marsh near the Sunnyside Road entrance to the Village of Edina with the stipulation that it remain undeveloped.
In 1986, when an empty lot adjacent to the marsh was slated for development, the neighborhood rallied with a "Save the Marsh" campaign. They raised $20,000 to purchase the property from the developer, and the City of Edina contributed another $20,000 to preserve the land.
At the neighborhood association's 50th anniversary in 1990, Kay Ecklund was honored for her "preservation and foresight in the development of one of the earliest and most beautiful plattings utilizing natural rugged topography and trees." The White Oaks Improvement Association continues to plant trees.
Photos of the neighborhood from our collection show the rolling terrain and trees. Look behind the children in the photograph below and you'll see the mature trees in the new neighborhood. This photo was taken in 1941 (about five years after White Oaks was platted) of residents Mary MacPhail, Richard E. Larson, Margaret Schimer and Phillip Larson. As you can see, the trees provided plenty of leaves for play.
The Schimer family's first house in White Oaks was at 4704 Townes Road. Pictured here in 1939, the land has towering trees in the front yard.
This is what the sky looked like yesterday when I drove to the museum.
Just before 9 a.m. the sky looked ominous. Bad weather doesn't scare me.on a regular museum day. Even if nobody braves the storms to research or see the exhibits, I can work on my backlog of archiving and head to the basement if the emergency siren sounds.
But yesterday was not a regular day. We had planned our first big fundraiser concert featuring the Peterson Family. I chewed my nails as I listened to meteorologists predict nickel-sized hail, potential tornadoes and severe thunderstorms moving through the area about the time we wanted a crowd of customers walking through the Edina Performing Arts Center door for the concert.
I fretted all afternoon. Just before the concert, predictions changed. The front had stalled south of us and we would have calm weather until after the concert ended. We still had a slightly smaller crowd than anticipated, but we enjoyed a fabulous performance. (And here I had envisioned spending the evening in the basement with the other ticket holders.)
The bottom line: we made money. Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, we had paid for all of our costs up front so every ticket sold meant another $20 for our operating budget. We haven't tallied the figures yet, but I think we did well for our first venture.
Will there be a second fundraiser concert? The planning committee will weigh the pros and cons and decide in the next few months. I personally think it was a great event.
Unless someone mistakenly thinks I'm much older than I am. Then all bets are off.
Eden Avenue Grill
Tom Ries - Edina Realty
Grandview Tire & Auto
Skip Thomas ReMax/Results
Update Service Printing
Waddell & Reed
Welcyon Fitness After 50
Dear Wooddale School students,
I pulled these out of our photo collection after a few visitors mentioned the school murals after exclaiming over the Wooddale auditorium door, front doors, auditorium seats and other pieces from the now-demolished Edina school that are now housed in our exhibit rooms.
Tell me more about these paintings. We probably have info in the files, but since it's PHOTO Friday, I'll provide the photos and you provide the text.
The school, torn down in 1985, was located at the northwest corner of 50th and Wooddale, the site of Wooddale Park today. Opened in 1926, Wooddale -- along with Morningside School -- were the only schools in Edina for many decades. Although generations of residents fondly remember Wooddale, younger residents have no knowledge of the school, which has been gone for more than 25 years. Keep the memory alive and please comment here or email me.
Happy Friday! Enjoy the first weekend of summer vacation.
Please support the blog by becoming a member and/or joining us for the Peterson Family benefit concert on June 14.
If you need more visuals to prompt your memories, see this 11-minute YouTube video uploaded by former Wooddale student Juli Wunder Simmons. The murals appear around the 4:15 mark.
I spent last Tuesday afternoon watching movies and laughing hysterically. No, I didn't pay to see the latest comedy in a darkened theater. Instead, I was just as entertained watching home movies at the Peggy Kelly Media Arts Center. The only thing missing was the popcorn.
I booked time at the studio to transfer my husband's old home movies to DVD as a surprise for Father's Day. Like a lot of people with 8mm or Super 8 film, we never watch those childhood era movies. Not only do we not have a movie projector, I suspect that we wouldn't deal with the hassle of hauling it out and setting up a screen very often even if we did.
If you're wondering whether I'm ruining the surprise by blogging about this little project, it's a moot point because the first thing I did when I came home was show my kids and husband. In theory, I spilled the beans so that my husband could locate all his home movies that he had stashed away in the storeroom. But really, I couldn't wait to see his reaction.
The verdict: totally worth the time and money. Even my kids found it more entertaining than the last movie we saw on Netflix. (I can't explain it, but there's something wildly hilarious about seeing your dad eating Oreos as a toddler.)
I had intended for this post to be a "how to guide" on transferring home movies to DVD, but that part is extremely short: basically it's turn on projector, hit record on the DVD player and sit back and watch the show. Oh, and call the helpful staff for help if you run into problems.
I didn't grow up with 8mm movies, so I didn't know how to thread the projector. No problem. Staff was always around to guide me through the process.
(My dad bought a huge camcorder when I was in high school. Seriously, those early models were so big that he looked like a photojournalist from a local TV station when he hauled that thing to athletic events. Should I find myself with time on my hands, I also can transfer those cassettes to DVD at the studio.)
Because I had well-preserved film with good splices, I didn't have many issues. My father-in-law, bless his soul, was a supply sergeant with the National Guard and was extremely organized.
Family legend has it that he even alphabetized cans of vegetables in his cupboard. While that might be an overstatement, he was a confirmed label-er. This made my job easier because every canister had the reel number, date and highlights, so it will be easy for me to record the family movies in order. All. 25. Of. Them.
Yep, that's around 12.5 hours of movies. At $30 per hour of studio time, it won't be a cheap project, but it will be much less expensive than having it done professionally. I didn't research this extensively, but I found professional prices around $60 and $80 per half hour of movie time -- about four times the cost of doing it yourself. (Note: 30 minutes of movies might mean 35 to 40 minutes of studio time for setting up, saving to DVD, dealing with issues, rewinding, etc.)
Other family members are chipping in with the cost and the work, and we'll make copies of the finished DVDs for ourselves and our kids. We plan to have a movie marathon with the extended family on Father's Day -- and this time we'll include the popcorn
Reminder: Please book your tickets for our benefit concert next Thursday, featuring the Peterson Family. Your support makes this web site and our programs possible.
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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.