It's almost 8 p.m. but it's still Friday and time enough for our weekly "Friday Photo." This week, the city's tax assessor files show part of the 4900 block of France Avenue. (Zipoy's grocery is at 4948 France Avenue, Edina Hardware is 4944 France.) The buildings are still the same, I think, judging from the roof line, but all the businesses have changed since this photo was taken in 1959.
What strikes me most is the size of the businesses. Instead of a warehouse food store, Zipoy's is just a little storefront. Instead of the megastore Home Depot or Lowe's, area residents had Edina Hardware. These are just small Mom and Pop businesses, where Mom and Pop lived in your neighborhood.
Can anyone tell me more about these businesses or the people who ran them? I'd love to hear from you.
Yesterday, we heard from Martha (Mattson) Johnson. Today, her friend Ted Brouillette takes a turn, revealing the scrapes he got into with Martha's brother Peter. "Growing Up in Edina: A Show and Tell Exhibit" opens this Saturday, Oct. 29, at the Edina History Museum.
By Ted Brouillette
In spring 1944, my parents bought 4804 Sunnyside when I was finishing fifth grade at Breck. That fall I started sixth grade at Edina Morningside because Wooddale had reached its enrollment limit. After a few weeks, I convinced Peter Mattson, who lived at 4912 Sunnyside and attended Wooddale, to skip school with me. Pete usually toted a glass-bottomed bucket so he could peer down at bugs, leeches, toads, and frogs in Minnehaha Creek. I preferred to hunt ducks and geese with my shotgun and .22 rifle which we wrapped in oilcloths and hid nightly under the canoe that been put up for the winter. But we would paddle the canoe up Minnehaha Creek to Skunk Hollow for our shore lunch. Pete was the much better cook.
Our adventure lasted for six to eight weeks, until my grades slipped so badly that my parents finally discovered my truancy. My sixth grade teacher was also busy as the school principal, and she had no administrative assistant to track errant students. Smarter than I, Peter ditched school only about two days a week, always turned in his homework, and took tests. As far I know, his parents never found out about his part in our escapade. When my parents found out, I had a very lean Christmas that year.
On Saturday afternoons, our mothers would give us 11 cents (later 12) to see the matinee at the Edina Theater. I usually went with Peter Mattson and the Kelby boys from next door. If we didn’t have enough money, we would pool our resources and send one guy in who would open the side exit doors for the rest of us. We had to save some money for popcorn (a dime) or thin mints, Chuckles, or Good & Plenty (a nickel each). The movies were a series of 15-minute shorts, such as: The Green Hornet, Lone Ranger, Jack Armstrong the All-American Boy (a fictitious athlete and adventurer from Hudson High), Bobby Benson of the B-Bar-B Ranch, Terry and the Pirates, and Our Gang. We also learned about current events from newsreels about WW II put on by Pathe News.
One early summer day in 1946, when I was 12, the Simpson boys and the Meyers boys, and I had asked the day before to borrow James Leck’s canoe. But the canoe was gone by the time we came to pick it up. Searching along Minnehaha Creek, Evan Meyer saw Karin Mattson and Mary Johnson using the canoe in the creek. We yelled at them, but they didn’t hear us
We got to the Highway 100 bridge over the creek before they did. The bridge had been widened and chunks of cement from the old guardrail were lying on the shoulder of the road. Our plan to fix them for taking “our” canoe was to drench the girls in their crisp white blouses by tossing these cement chunks (five to fifteen pounds each) either in front or behind the canoe. The younger boys hauled them over, and we older guys did the throwing. Midway through, I realized that we could really hurt these girls if we weren’t careful. As soon as the girls were completely sopped, we let them escape.
Later that day, I went over to see Peter. Mrs. Mattson met me at the door and said, “Teddy, what you did was socially unacceptable.” I was foolish enough to go home and ask my mother what “socially unacceptable” meant. I found out. I got a licking and ate my dinner standing up to the mantel.
By Martha Johnson
Ice skating on the mill pond
Growing Up in Edina I remember walking from my house on Sunnyside Road. to the Mill Pond skating rink, with skates slung over the shoulder. Often it was sub-zero in those days, but parents did not care. One time the hockey players were practicing there and it was definitely 20 below, with the players complaining and putting their feet close to the potbelly stove, steam rising from wet clothes. There were no fancy boards and flooded rink. We all played crack the whip on the side the hockey guys were not near. With all the cracks in the river ice, we often tripped and knocked our helmetless heads in the ice. I did not see parents picking up the kids after play – we walked home, in spite of the cold. We survived. I also played with the Kelby boys and Ted Brouillette, who lived down the street. Then we scraped off a rink right by the Hy 100 bridge off Sunnyside Rd. One time I tripped on a crack and saw stars. Then Ted asked: are you all right?
I loved taking the streetcar, when I was about 9 years old. I would go from Mackey stop to 9th Street in Hopkins. I was always afraid we would tip as we went over a bridge with no railings. My grandma would be right there when I got off in front of her house. Later we would go downtown, especially to the library, and then hope we could catch the Como Hopkins on the way back, as it would be directly to my Mackey stop. Often we had to take the Como Harriet instead, since by the early 50’s they had cut down on the service of the Hopkins to just once an hour. In that case, I would have to walk from 44th and France, even in the dead of winter. Chauffeur service was not the norm in those days.
44th and France
Forty-fourth and France was the “corner” for me, whether in waiting for a Como Hopkins streetcar or taking my bike in the younger days and browsing through Carlson’s Gift Shop or Griffin’s Drug Store. Both were a delight, and I always felt safe. I would get special erasers for school at Carlson’s. It was sort of hard to slide through the very narrow aisles. I have never seen so much “junk” – some of it very good. Mrs. Carlson and her helper were always friendly, even though I seldom bought much there. I would go next door to Joyce’s Bakery and pick up a loaf of bread for my mother, put it in my Schwinn bike basket, forget it there, and go to the drugstore to look through comic books (never buy them) and have a chocolate malted milk for 25 cents. When I went out, the bread was still there, and so was my unlocked bike. (It was also unlocked at the Wooddale Grade School, too).
Before we go any further, I just want to note the accidental alliteration, brought to you by Photo Friday and Fanny Farmer, with credit to 50th and France.
Anyway... on to this week's photo taken from our collection of City of Edina's tax assessor files.
Youngsters won't recognize the name Fanny Farmer candies, which later became Fanny Mae, which became bankrupt. But in 1959, there were three Fanny Farmer stores in Edina -- two in Southdale mall and one at the southwest corner of 50th and France (5000 France Avenue South).
The corner has been redeveloped: Sur La Table retail store occupies the corner now.
When I first started working for the Edina Historical Society, a man called to sell a carousel (if I remember correctly) that was displayed in the window. Since we don't have a budget to purchase artifacts, and he wasn't willing to donate the item, we missed out. What do you remember about Fanny Farmer candy store? I know many a hostess received a box of Fanny Farmer candies at Christmas time... what else can you tell me?
Julie and Beth Nelson are lifelong friends.
Note: Story and photos submitted for "Growing Up in Edina: A Show and Tell Exhibit" that opens Saturday, Oct. 29, at the Edina History Museum.
By Julie Reid Bliss
I loved being a part our Brownie and Girl Scout troops at Highlands Elementary School. Our meetings were right away after school in the cafeteria, and we were allowed to wear our uniforms to school, which was a big treat, and made us feel so important!
I remember having our “fly up” ceremony on a spring day. It was a big deal to leave being a Brownie behind and become a Girl Scout. We walked across a small bridge and had a lovely little ceremony in the back yard of another girl’s house. My “big sister,” who acted as our guide for the ceremony, was my best friend Beth Nelson (now Gibbs) and that meant so much to me. To this day, she’s my dearest friend and my daughter’s godmother.
We earned a special badge (right) in 1976 for making a cradle and blanket for the Art Godfrey House in St. Anthony Falls, which was being restored at the time. My mother, Elie Reid, had been involved with the restoration through her membership with The Woman’s Club and our troop was able to help with this small contribution.
Do you remember the kids who were in your kindergarten class? Today, most school photos are done by companies that specialize in school portrait photography and the class photo is printed with every child's name. Heck, even elementary schools have yearbooks these days. But in 1948, class photos were not that fancy: just line the kids up against a classroom wall, try to get them to look at the camera and hope they keep their eyes open and their fingers out of their mouths.
Bonnie Ott England submitted this photo of her 1948-49 Morningside kindergarten class for our "Growing Up in Edina" exhibit -- that opens on Oct. 29 -- along with her nap-time blanket. This was a time when children weren't expected to know their colors, numbers and letters before they walked in the door. They went to school just a couple of hours a day, and part of the day's activities included a nap. (Makes you want to go to kindergarten again, doesn't it?)
She and her sister Sherry could come up with many of the names of her classmates. If you can help identify these youngsters, please comment here.
Left to Right:
Top row: (1) ? (2) Kathy McKeon? (3) Dick Hanson (4) ? (5) Mark Rogness (6) Ann Fenger (7) Mark Hanson
2nd row from top: (1) ? (2) ? (3) Nancy Hallberg (4) Vicki Dahlberg (5) ? (6) Carolyn Tews (7) Jacque Simpson (8) Bonnie Ott (9) Jerry Spande
3rd row from top: (1) ? (2) ? (3) ? (4) Cindy Strachauer (5) Bruce Bennett (6) Sarah Hawthorne (7) Rodney Brown
2nd row from bottom: (1) Carole Blandin? (2) ? (3) ? (4) ? (5) ? (6) Bruce MacPhail (7) Pat Kennedy?
Bottom row: (1) Danae Edwards (2) ? (3) Richard Nelson (4) ? (5) Marilyn Holtze? (6) Kirk Nelson (7) ? (8) Jane Parker
We have several class photos in our collection; volunteers are working on putting some on poster board for exhibit visitors to view as part of the exhibit. Thanks to retired teacher Bernice Amacher, we also have several faculty group photos from Cornelia and Cahill Schools. At this point, most have only the school and year identified. We'd like to ID the people in the photos with visitors' help.
Update 7/2/2012: Kirk Nelson identified himself (bottom row, number 6) and some of his classmates. I added the names to the list above. If anyone can help identify the rest of these cute kindergartners, please email me or comment here.
This article originally ran in a Fall 2004 Edina Historical Society newsletter. We're dusting off the story in honor of apple season and to dispel a few myths still circulating about Edina's contribution to the apple world.
Jonathan T. Grimes
What apple did Edina pioneer Jonathan Grimes develop?
D. A and C
E. None of the above
Although a local newspaper once quoted Grimes descendants as crediting Jonathan Grimes as the developer of the Jonathan apple, horticultural sources say otherwise.
“I think that’s some family folklore that just isn’t correct,” said Grimes' great-grandson Boyd Phelps. The claim is not substantiated by any source, including Jonathan Grimes’ daughter Ella Grimes Eustis, who wrote a memoir Out of My Mind.
“My grandmother was a stickler for detail, and she never mentioned the Jonathan apple,” Phelps said.
The fact that Jonathan Grimes shares the name of the above apple breeds is a confusing coincidence, especially since Grimes was a prominent Minnesota horticulturalist and apple grower. From 1866 to 1883, he owned the Lake Calhoun Nursery, (later subdivided into the Morningside neighborhood.)
Although Grimes did grow apple trees, he achieved his greater fame developing shade trees hardy enough to withstand Minnesota winters.
As his daughter writes, “My father’s evergreens and shade trees were sold and planted in many parts of Hennepin County. The large shade trees that adorned Nicollet, Hennepin, Lyndale and University Avenues came from his nursery.”
Grimes imported some exotic – for the times – tree varieties, including the ginkgo tree from China. “Only one of these trees survived,” Eustis writes. “… (The tree) was only a few blocks from Central High School, and for many years the botany classes came to study it. It grew about fifty feet high... Now ginkgo trees may be found in nurseries but they are scarce.”
If Jonathan Grimes did indeed create any new apple variety, Ella Grimes Eustis had the perfect opportunity to mention his accomplishment when she writes of Peter Gideon, a fellow horticulturalist who bred the Wealthy apple.
But she mentions only Gideon’s well-known eccentricities.
Peter Gideon and the Wealthy apple
“In connection with his nursery and his experiments with new and hybrid shrubs, trees, etc., my father became acquainted with Peter M. Gideon, later the originator of the Wealthy apple. He lived on the west side of Gideon’s Bay, Lake Minnetonka, where he had his orchard. With horse-drawn vehicle it was a long, slow trip to Minneapolis from his home, so he planned his trips very nicely by arriving at our house always just before supper and staying overnight with breakfast included.
“Mr. Gideon was a great talker and bragger, and a strong spiritualist. Mother took his all too frequent visits in her stride, but, having been brought up in a strictly orthodox faith, she did not relish his enthusiastic harangues on spiritualism – especially with children of impressionable ages sitting around with their ears wide open. The last straw came when he claimed he could cure anybody or anything by laying his hands on the individual and calling up on the Spirits. Father had had a prolonged case of rheumatism, so at the height of this emotional discourse my mother said, ‘Mr. Gideon, if you can cure anybody, I wish you could cure Mr. Grimes of his rheumatism.’ This came as a surprise, and Mr. Gideon’s reaction was terrific. He jumped up and down in a combination of excitement, hysteria, anger, and apparent insult; and uttering a tirade of unprintable words, he flew out the door and down the road. Mr. Gideon never returned – but the rheumatism never returned either….
“Mr. Gideon had to find another free lodging to take the place of ours. He selected the Hankes’ on the Excelsior road. As it was late and dark when he knocked on their door, Mr. Hanke opened a window to ask who was there. The answer came. ‘I’m Gideon.’ ‘Who?’ ‘Gideon!’ Whether or not Mr. Hanke wanted to understand I do not know, but his reply was, ‘No, you don’t gid in.’ ‘Don’t you understand – I’m Gideon!’ whereupon Mr. Hanke (a German) said in his broken English, ‘You tank you gid in, but you no gid in!’ And down went the window. Where Gideon went from there, we never knew.”
Despite their disagreements, Jonathan Grimes praised Gideon in his eulogy to colleagues of the Minnesota State Historical Society , saying Gideon would be “known by his fruits” and his perseverance in creating a hardy Minnesota apple, the Wealthy. “…This tree alone would stand as a monument to his memory.”
Minneapolis Tribune, March 25, 1885
Addendum: "An Orange Social"
As for Jonathan's daughter Ella, she was more intrigued by a strange new fruit: the orange. In 1876, she attended an "Orange Social," a gathering of more than 200 people who saw an expert demonstrate how to peel the exotic citrus.
She was not alone in her fascination: the Minneapolis Tribune reported on several such functions during this period.
For more information on Peter Gideon, see MNopedia website created by the Minnesota Historical Society.
Lunds grocery store, at 50th and Halifax, has deep roots in Edina, dating back 70 years in the 50th and France business area.
The store, opening in 1941 at 3940 W. 50th Street (across the street from its current location), was then owned by the long-established Hove's chain and managed by an enterprising young man named Russell Lund.
Lund, who had worked for the Hoves since 1922, introduced “self service,” where customers selected their own groceries instead of relying on clerks to fetch them. It was a bold move (Lund worried about how customers would react to using a cart), but the manpower shortage brought on by World War II forced him to be creative.
Lund eventually bought out Hove's; see the Lunds & Byerly's web site for a brief company history.
By Richard A. Willson, M.D.
Edina High School 1954
My sisters (Marianne and Nancy) and I were born in Edina and lived at 5440 Normandale Road (the house was moved in the late 1960s for the expansion of Highway 100). Our parents were Mildred and Edwin Willson. Our mother was a housewife and our father was an executive with Northern States Power.
On the north side of our property was the Willson farm at 5340 Normandale Road. (See Google maps). Our grandparents (Mabel & Fred) lived on the farm. It was largely a vegetable farm that provided produce for Minneapolis.. We often played around the farm buildings and watched our grandfather milk the cows. The large farm property at one time extended to the Edina Country Club golf course (currently, Willson Road passes along the golf course), and part of the original property is now Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church and School.. The remainder of the property was divided into a housing development west of Normandale Road.
Our grandparents were very active in the Grange, and we often attended Christmas gathering at the Grange Hall located at 50th and Normandale Road.
Our grandmother's father (George Millam) was a miller at the old Edina Mill on Browndale. He was part of a group of Scotsmen who emigated to this region from Edinburgh. Their home was near 50th and Wooddale, not far from the original location of the Grange Hall.
On the south side of our property at 5444 Normandale Road lived George and Mary Emma Willson (George was our grandfather's brother). George helped my grandfather run the farm, and was also very active for a number of years on the Edina Village Council.
In the 1930s and 40s, this part of Edina was mainly rural and there were not many houses in the neighborhood. Some friends we played with include: Arvid and Tom Anderson; Bob and Gloria Bodlund (Windsor Ave. area), as well as, John Cardle, Paul Schmitt, and Bob and Kent Larson (Golf Terrace/Harvey Lake area).
We built forts in the woods, played "war games" in the vacant fields, and swam in the Larson pool. Harvey Lake was not a place for swimming, but we did ice skate a lot there in the winter. We would make a bon fire out of old Christmas trees and skate at night. We went to Edina Elementary school at 50th and Wooddale from kindergarten through 6th grade, and then onto the new Junior-Senior High school at 57th and Normandale Road.
During grade school, we took the school bus from our home. The ride in the morning was very short as we were the last ones picked up, but the ride home in the afternoon was long and more exciting.. The bus went through Rolling Green, Indian Hills, Hansen Road out to ValleyView Road, and then back to Normandale Road. School mates dropped off on the way were Blanche Cooper, Lynette Borey, and Irma Young.
I very well remember the recesses at grade school playing with Peter Purdy and Betts Dvorak. Betts Dvorak's home was right next to the school play yard and Peter Purdy's home was next door to hers. My favorite teachers were Miss Bemis (Kindergarten), Mrs Schneider (4th grade), and Mrs Barkla (6th grade). I certainly had favorites in between, but my memory has faded there.
At age 10, I started being a paper boy and had a route that extended from 54th and Normandale out to 57th, including neighborhoods on both sides of Normandale Road. Over time the route included 75-100 homes. Some houses that I delivered papers to were homes of Jim Joslin and Lee Pertl, as well as, the Anderson home on Harvey Lake ( Anderson Windows).
Growing up in Edina was a very special time. I left Edina and Minnesota in 1962 after graduating from the University of Minnesota Medical School. My postgraduate training took me to many locations, but I have been living in Seattle, Washington for 39 years, and am now retired from the faculty of the University of Washington Medical School.
By James Aaron Magoffin, (A.K.A Jamie, Jim, and Jay)
When WWII started Dad (John Willard Magoffin) had enlisted in the Army Air Corps hoping to become a pilot. As it turned out he was color blind and was “washed out” of flight training. He spent the war as an officer in Newfoundland. It was while he was in transit that he and some other servicemen were invited to a party. It was at the home of a girl who was one of Mom’s classmates at Radcliff. It was “love at first sight” and they were married soon after. Dad had graduated as a business major from the University of North Carolina and when Mom (Frances Chapman) graduated in art history from Radcliff she moved to Minnesota where her parents were living.
I was born March 16, 1945 in Minneapolis and Mom and I lived with her parents until she found a nice little house in Edina on Thielen Avenue, which was purchased, sadly, with money inherited when her father died. This was the ideal place for me to grow up. Thielen Avenue is a short street that ends on the St Louis Park border at one end and 44th Street on the other.
When my Dad returned at the end of the war we were finally a real family. In the early years, before I learned to walk, things were relatively calm at home. Mom could wash, clean and have some quiet time. She would read to me and take me outside to get some sun and I would crawl around in the grass.
Things changed when I started walking and I found I could go outside all by myself. It was on one of these outdoor jaunts that I met Joey, the Collie who lived next door. He became my friend and watch dog. Joey would follow me around and if I left the yard he would “tell” my Mom.
Sometimes I would be across the street catching frogs or tadpoles in the creek that ran behind the houses. One of the nice things about growing up in the 40’s and early 50’s was that things were safer for children. My friends and I could roam around the neighborhood and if we behaved everything was fine. I could knock on a door and as long as I was not covered in dirt I could get a drink of water or even use their bathroom.
Dad had a job with the Honeywell Regulator Co. working in the marketing department. Their offices were located on the Como Harriet street car line which ran east & west parallel to 44th and into Minneapolis just south of the Honeywell Corporate offices. Sometimes Mom and I would take the street car down to the office and pick up Dad. Mom was always doing fun things with me.
Edina was growing, new streets were being created and houses were going up; I could hear a steam shovel or road grader blocks away. Time permitting, I would get on my tricycle and Mom and I would be off to find the latest project so I could supervise.
Things changed when I was old enough for school; I got to ride on a school bus and meet new friends. The class was for the most part “war” babies and one school could not accommodate all of us. Some went to Morningside and others to Wooddale, which was located at Wooddale & 50th; I went to Wooddale.
One of my new friends was Bruce McFadzean. We met for the first time in the nurse’s office. It was in the winter and both of us were so wet we could not go back to class until our pants were dry. We played together during summer vacations, but we lost contact after graduation. We met again years later at the Edina Theater. Both of us were on leave, I was on leave from the Marine Corps and Bruce from the Air Force. We both had been in Vietnam and were being transferred to new duty stations. Thanks to my involvement as a volunteer with the Edina History Center I have enjoyed meeting many other friends from my years of growing up in Edina.
Theilen Avenue neighborhood kids, Spring 1952 at Chuckie Olson's birthday party (far back row, left to right) Peter McGee, John Pfeifer, (Middle row) Kathy Peterson, Patty Peterson, Dana Hauton, Mary Hauton, Patty Mack, David McGee, Jay Magoffin, Mike Hanlon, Kathy Crone (facing back), George Crone, (unknown first name) Mack, Bobby Mack. Chuckie Olson is kneeling in front.
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