Look at these young boys from Morningside's Cub Scout troop. Do you see even one store-costume? Or one that took yards of material purchased from craft stores and required hours of sewing?
Nope. These all look like they were made from their parent's clothes, twine and creativity. Kids in the mid-1940s made do with what they found around the house.
I'm not judging those of you who buy your child's costumes; I've done the same for my kids nearly every year because I thought my other alternative required more sewing skills than I possess. Somehow I forgot the year I was a football player for Halloween (wearing my brother's uniform) or a gypsy (wearing my grandmother's costume jewelry, my mom's old dress and a lace tablecloth for a shawl) or a scarecrow (wearing my own bib overalls stuffed with straw.)
This photo was donated by Bill Larson, who grew up in Morningside and graduated from Edina-Morningside High School. He's in the center of the photo as one-half of the two-headed man (he's the right half, pictured on our left.)
I'm not sure if the above photo was taken on Halloween or at another scouting event. The boys look like characters from a circus, with a bearded lady, a sword swallower, and a strong man, among others.
The photo at left shows another homemade costume by Edina youngster Nancy Carlson, now an author and illustrator of more than 50 children's picture books.
Nancy’s real-life Halloween inspired her book Harriet’s Halloween Candy, which also became one of seven original live stage plays based on Nancy's books and characters.
I'd love to see your childhood Halloween costumes, whether they were elaborately created, homemade or store bought. Please submit your photo and share your stories about trick or treating and school parties. Who had the best treats? Were you responsible for any tricks? Now is your time to 'fess up - the statute of limitations has run out, I'm sure, on any pranks from the past.
Tell your stories here or on our Facebook page, or email your photos and comments to me.
I'll publish the stories here on the blog on Monday. So after you eat your Snickers and candy corn, look through your old photos and tell us what Halloween was like when you were a kid.
1. Memories of Gus Young's Biltmore Lanes
A regular reader (who preferred not to be named) emailed me with some great details about Biltmore Lanes, following last Monday's post. He writes:
I love the yellow page ad for Gus Young's Biltmore Lanes. I seem to remember that the sign rotated... the bowling ball rotated in a circle and the pin (on top of the ball) twirled at a faster rate. Not sure why I remember this, but it was a pretty neat sign. Love to know where it ended up.
I do recall that the small restaurant inside the bowling alley had great hamburgers... kind of on-par with Convention Grill today.
I was too young at the time to remember everything, but I do recall that my Mom would take me up to Biltmore Lanes while she bowled in a league during the day. I don't recall the T.V. in the nursery room (mentioned in the ad), but I do recall being at the nursery.
In the early 70's my friends and I would go to Gus Young's on weekend nights. It wasn't a big hangout, but it always seemed to be busy, until later years... bowling kind of fell out of popularity and that's probably what ended the Biltmore Lanes. I have a distinct memory of the smell inside the bowling alley which was a combination of Juicy Fruit chewing gum and wood oil.
In the early 1970's a 3.2 pub was placed in the bowling alley. I don't remember the name of it, but I think it replaced the small restaurant. Southdale Lanes (owned by Gus Young at a later date?) had a similar 3.2 pub called the "Black Swan Pub". The small pub at Biltmore tried live music, but it was too small. The Black Swan Pub was larger and had pretty good live music... John Prine played there at least once. The Black Swan Pub was more of a hang out than the one at Biltmore Lanes.
Collections wish list: Doesn't the sign sound cool? I don't know where the sign is today, but I wish it were in our collection. I'd also like the birdcage from Southdale mall, the random patrol roulette wheel created by the Edina Police and the waterball used by Edina Fire Department. I have a few other things on a collection wish list. What do you think should be in the Edina Historical Society collection? Please share your ideas by commenting here or emailing me.
2. Maps of Odd Fellows Lodge
Daniel Grobani commented on last week's post on the Odd Fellows Hall in Morningside.
I enjoyed reading your Odd Fellows post today.
It reminded me that while examining a 1926 Highway 100 right-of-way map, I saw a notation indicating that an Odd Fellows Lodge was located at Highway 100 and Motor Street (44th Street). It looks like Hwy 100 was built over it...I've attached a detail of the map in case you're interested.
Thanks, Daniel. I love old maps, especially ones like this one that show buildings, fruit trees, property owners and other details. As surveyors marked the route for a proposed highway, they needed to make note of what stood in its path.
Here's the map section Daniel sent me:
Before I zoom in to get a closer look at the Odd Fellows property, let's get oriented, shall we? (Do you get as confused as I do when a map doesn't show north at the top? North is on the right side of this map.)
Mackey Avenue (near the lower right) is a north-south street. All the lines in the middle of the map indicate a proposed route for Highway 100 (also north-south). And Motor Street as pictured was today's 44th Street, not just the short street it is today. The streetcar line (marked Twin City Rapid Transit) was adjacent to Motor Street.
Here is the current Google map of the area.
Now that you have the bigger picture, let's zoom in.
Sure enough. There's "Odd Fellows Lodge" marked on the map. News to me. Granted, I haven't read everything in our collection, but I had not heard or read of the local chapter of the Odd Fellows being located anywhere but its 44th and France building.
Here's my theory: I don't see a building marked on the property, even though trees, garages and other structures in the proposed route are. I'm wondering if the Odd Fellows owned the land, but had not yet built a meeting hall.
I'm no map expert, so I always like to compare notes with Frank Cardarelle, one of our board members who is a surveyor. I'll consult him and report back.
Thanks to our readers for writing!
The photo Christmas card, once a popular trend, is dying.
USA Today reported last year that the US Mail no longer handles as many pieces of mail at Christmas. As to why, the newspaper quoted Randall Martin, Jr. who wouldn't give a thought to sending greeting cards the old-fashioned way.: "Why send a card through snail mail? There's an app for that," says Martin, who runs a Birmingham, Ala., technology business and extends his holiday wishes, as he did this comment, digitally.
When you can share your family photos immediately to your entire social network, some people find the annual mailing redundant. Why send a photo postcard updating your friends and family on your past year when they already know everything about your life, thanks to Instagram, Facebook, or other networking sites.
But I hate to see the end to the Christmas tradition of photo postcards that began more than a century ago. Here's an image from Morningside at the beginning of the personal photo postcard craze.
Harriet Emerson and son Waldo stand before their new home at 4232 Grimes Avenue in 1910. Harriet's husband Byron presumably stood behind the new Kodak camera that allowed ordinary citizens to document their lives. The film was printed on a special postcard format paper, so the photographer could send his photo to friends and family.
For my younger readers, think of it as Intagram of the previous century.
As you can see, postage was only one cent. (For some perspective, regular mail cost two cents.)
I don't know why "July 1910" is written on the back. If that's the receipt date, you can see why the postal service has been called "snail mail."
The address seems incomplete by today's standards. However, there is a 1612 Hillside Avenue in Minneapolis, so perhaps that's what "City" means.
We can give you a better look at the happy couple. Thanks to their grandchildren's donations to our collection, we have this wedding photo as well as Harriet's wedding dress.
Byron, or B. T. as he was better known, actively took part in the new neighborhood. He opposed Morningside's proposal to secede, speaking against the idea at community meetings and this letter to the editor that ended with this paragraph:
"Therefore – Morningside should not separate from Edina because: 1st, it has been treated well as a part of that village; 2nd, no guarantees have been given as to the cost of running a new village, nor of its initial cost; 3rd, the school situation is much better as the village is now; and 4th, the area of the proposed new village is too small."
His will did not prevail, and Morningside did secede in 1920 and remained an independent village for almost 50 years. His neighbors apparently bore him no ill will, since they later elected him to serve on the school board. Emerson was a chemistry teacher at Central High School in Minneapolis.
Real photo postcards of the past century provide a glimpse into the everyday lives of a city's residents, and I'm happy to have the Emersons' 1910 Christmas greeting in our collection. We'd be happy to have yours as well, whether its from from 1910 (near the beginning of the postcard craze) or 2010 (possibly near the end?) Put us on your Christmas card list or bring in your favorite photo postcard, especially if it shows an Edina scene like this one. If you have questions, please email me.
My apologies for talking about Christmas before Halloween. Normally, I don't think about Dec. 25 until after Thanksgiving, but I made an exception for this great photo postcard. Happy Friday, everyone!
These men are Odd Fellows.
Note the capital letters. They are not odd fellows, but Odd Fellows as in the "International Order of Odd Fellows," a fraternal organization that dates back several centuries.
These men belonged to the local chapter, Golden Link Lodge No. 167. According to the St. Louis Park Historical Society, it "appears to be a consolidated Lodge that covered the entire metropolitan area, since officers were from Minneapolis, St. Paul, Mound, and Spring Lake Park."
The headquarters of this group was at 4388 France Avenue in Edina, the building located in the northwest corner of 44th and France. In this circa 1950s photo, Hawkins Confectionery and Morningside Grocery & Meats also occupies the building.
This is the current Google maps street view of the building. Although there have been some updates over the years, it still looks much the same as it did when it was built in 1918.
Here's a closer look at the Odd Fellows sign above the door to the stairway to their second floor meeting hall.
Not only did the Odd Fellows meet here, but the rest of the neighborhood also found uses for the space. As Dudley Parsons, Sr. wrote in his Feb. 27, 1920 "Morningsider" column in Lake Harriet News:
"The Odd Fellows’ Hall on France Avenue and 44th Street is a community center of increasing usefulness. Not only are the lodge meetings and social functions held there but regular Saturday afternoon dancing classes, neighborhood parties and entertainments, and the service of the Morningside Church and Sunday School. The Hall is equipped with kitchen accommodations and has a stage for amateur dramatic performances. There is a commodious reception room and there are two other rooms available. The Hall is occupied nearly every night in the week."
It was here in 1920 that Morningside residents met to discuss seceding from Edina, and later where the Village of Morningside council held its meetings.
The organization itself was "known affectionately as the 'Oofs,' wrote Parsons in his November 19, 1936, column, noting the importance of the lodge in creating a sense of neighborliness. "For a quarter of a century it has been gathering weekly – and sometimes oftener – two score of the neighbors in pleasant social business and pastime. I suppose that fully a hundred families have been represented in these gatherings – lodge meetings, lectures or dancing parties. It is very doubtful that ever a member of these families is ill or unfortunate without the intelligent sympathy of the others, and many an hour of pain and grief has been lessened in its intensity by the comfort of this ministration. I am the right person to say this because I have never been a member of any lodge..."
According to Minneapolis Tribune stories, the Golden Link Lodge met in other cities prior to 1920. Their name is listed in local phone directories until at least 1967.
Were you an "Oof," as Parsons would say? Did you go to one of the dances or other community gatherings in the meeting hall? Please share your memories with us by commenting here or emailing me.
Some people know the name "Gus Young" only because of the street named after him in Edina. Lately, I have received a couple of emails from people asking who the man is behind the name. Here's one research request: Wondering if there is much information in the archives about the life and career of Gus Young, for whom Gus Young Lane in Edina is named. I'm aware that Gus Young's Biltmore Lanes (bowling alley) stood at that site for many years, and I would be interested in any additional information you might have.
Let's start by looking where Gus Young Lane is today, courtesy of Google maps.
And here's the area when Gus Young owned the Biltmore Lanes in the 1950s.
(I wrote about this area for our regular monthly feature, "Last Glance," in Edina Magazine. See article here in the June 2012 issue.)
And here is an ad from the 1959 Edina phone directory.
I wrote a little about Gus Young for a past exhibit on early suburban Edina:
The name on the sign might have been “Biltmore Lanes” but the Grandview area bowling alley was more commonly known as Gus Young’s. Gus made his claim to fame first by coaching at several high schools, as well as Carleton College and the University of Minnesota. He finished his coaching career at Gustavus Adolphus by dethroning the Hamline Pipers and winning MIAC basketball championships in 1954-1956.
“Biltmore Lanes was one of the most modern centers in the Twin Cities at the time,” according to Minnesota Bowling web site, with 32 lanes, automatic pinsetters, and lighted telescores. In the late 60’s and early 70’s, Biltmore Lanes included a Pro Shop operated by Twin Cities bowling legend, Leo Mann.
“Gus was a decent bowler, but his contribution to the sport went beyond his skills. Gus believed in the value youth sports, whether it be bowling, basketball, baseball, and since it was the 60’s in Edina, I suppose I should mention hockey… Gus Young died on Halloween, October 31, 1977. The next year he was inducted into the Gustavus Adolphus Hall of Fame. The school’s basketball court is named after him, as well as an avenue in Edina. His legacy lives on…” Randy Ooney, writing for www.mnbowling.com.
Unfortunately, that was about all we had in our files. We don't even have a photo of Gus. So with a little intrepid investigation, I found one of his daughters, Margie Sampsell, who told me her parents also ran Southdale Lanes in Edina. She gladly agreed to find photos and other information about her parents and their businesses. I'll update you with any additions. If you can share any photos or memories about bowling in Edina, please comment here or email me.
2. Operation (Photo) Identification
I posted a few photos from the donated collection of former teacher Del Frederickson, and I'm happy to say most people are now identified.
Thanks to Jim Taylor for providing the names for this photo:
Dennis Hughes was president of the 1969/1970 Edina High School Student Council, and Steve Precht was vice-president. Also in this shot are Betsy Murphy, who was secretary, and Pete Spokes, who was treasurer (both class of 1971). I believe the fellow who is diligently writing is Drick Boyd, who was also a member of this Student Council.
3. Southdale comments
A couple of people wrote about a recent post on Southdale, From the Collection: Life Magazine on Southdale:
Nancy Hiatt commented: This certainly brought back memories. I lived in Richfield in the 60's, so Southdale was just west of us. One thing I remember was that the shopping center closed on Saturday nights at 6 pm. I loved watching the fishes and the birds!
Chris Rofidal wrote: That was great! I always thought Southdale was first, but now I know different. Thanks for the information!
Thanks to all who comment on blog posts. As you can see, readers can prompt me to dig a little deeper for information, assist us in archiving photos and provide a little validation for our work. It's always nice to know that the blog posts are read.
Happy Monday, everyone!
Last Friday, the City of Edina announced on its Facebook page the addition of a new ambulance. The shiny red ambulance made me think of Edina's first rescue vehicle, known as the "bread wagon" because it looked more like a bread delivery truck than something that could save lives.
Here is info from our exhibit a few years ago on Edina's Fire and Police Department history.
While the first ambulance may have been less than impressive, Edina quickly became a leader in providing emergency medical care to its citizens. By 1975, Chief Bob Buresh wanted his firefighters cross-trained as paramedics when statewide, most people worked as one or the other but not both. “Edina always seemed to be a progressive fire department,” said Bill Feck, who served under Buresh. “The leadership always appeared to be looking beyond."
Volunteer Bob Reid recorded much of the Fire Department history with his oral history of former Fire Chiefs Ted Paulfranz and Bill Feck. Our collection also includes donations from Feck and records kept by the department's unofficial historian Steve Nelson.
The average response time today is under two minutes, according to the department's web site.
In 1959, Calvary Lutheran Church broke ground for its current church building at 6817 Antrim Road, but the congregation began many years before in the predominantly Irish-Catholic Cahill community near 70th Street and Cahill Road..
By all accounts, the Irish settlement welcomed the new Protestant families, who met first at the one-room Cahill School in 1933. In 1938, the church built its first home, a 17' x 36' structure shown below.
You may remember a recent Photo Friday post on the neighborhood, but I'll show the photo again for those who missed it.
The original church is now a private residence, but the exterior structure remains largely the same, with the distinctive peaked windows. The congregation will celebrate its Diamond Jubilee in 2013. See Calvary Lutheran's web site for more great info on its history.
Happy Friday, everyone!
Southdale was not the first shopping mall. (To be historically accurate, we throw a few qualifiers after "first," like "fully enclosed" and 'climate-controlled.") However, it was perhaps the most influential, creating the archetype for the suburban regional shopping mall.
What's more, Southdale has (arguably) received the most national attention of any mall over the years, starting with its grand opening on Monday, Oct. 8, 1956.
The opening festivities were a "typical ribbon cutting, but mostly it was the excitement of the people, the excitement of the media, that came from all over the United States. Life was there; Time was there; New York Times; all major publications were there, as well as all the in-state newspapers, etc. We had coverage that you could not have even hoped for," recalled Marty Rud, Southdale's first public relations director, in an oral history interview for the Edina Historical Society.
Rud said that the mall opening was on the cover of Life magazine in an October issue. We don't have that issue in our collection, but we do have this one from Dec. 10, 1956, with a feature story on the new mall.
Life called Southdale "The Splashiest Shopping Center in the U.S."
"Birds, art and 10 acres of stores all fit under one Minnesota roof," the headline continued.
The birdcage, with real birds, graced the Garden Court along with sculptures by significant artists.
Southdale had a relatively small $60,000 promotions budget the first year, so Rud did what he could to "maximize free publicity."
Rud thrived on creating new events and promotions to generate media attention and new shoppers. "(W)hen Southdale was opened, there weren't any handbooks or rules and regulations that had been established so no one could tell, 'Marty, you’re doing it right or you’re doing it wrong.' I was really blessed with this because you had an opportunity to use your imagination, your ingenuity, without somebody always saying you can’t or you shouldn't do that.
"One of the big things I remember that was really fun was Bob Barker’s Truth or Consequences Show, with KSTP and the Minneapolis Aquatennial. Again, here was a show that we could never have afforded to do, but because the Aquatennial was anxious to come, KSTP was anxious to merchandise that program, we basically got it for nothing. Northwest flew them in; a hotel put them up. They were here for a week. We set up a regular television studio and did it every morning for a full week. That was a great thing."
From huge fashion shows to choir performances to traveling circuses, Rud tried "to make that thing hum every day. We did have ongoing promotions and it reached the point where people would call wanting to know what was scheduled so they could plan something for their guests coming in from out of town. When you build that kind of an image, people think that it’s a great thing to do."
Southdale is still getting national press. Historians and architects recently named Southdale as one of the "10 buildings that changed America." PBS will air a special by the same name sometime in 2013.
Were you there on opening day? Edina residents got the first look at Southdale on Oct. 5 and 6 before the official grand opening on Oct. 8. Were you a "mall rat"? Please share your memories here or email me.
Thanks to Bob Moore for donating this issue of Life magazine. If you have any magazines or newspapers, photos or mall maps of Southdale, we'd love to add them to our collection.
On Mondays, I post comments submitted from readers and add a few thoughts of my own.
1. Westgate Dairy Store
Last's week's Photo Friday: Westgate Dairy (aka Dennison's) elicited a couple comments. Phil Murphy wrote: I worked at the store as stock boy after Don Meyer took over ... early 70's.
I didn't know the store continued to operate after the Dennisons retired. I would like to talk with Don Meyer, as well as the Dennisons, so I have a written record to go along with our photographic one. Please contact me if you can put me in touch with either owner.
Patty Murphy said, "You were absolutely correct about everything! We used to go to the Convention and Dennisons when we went to Southwest High school the year it opened. (We were on our way to the Hopkins streetcar, just the other side of the original Griffen Pharmacy, now, I think, a barber shop?)"
I included a bonus photo this week (see above). I'm guessing this photo was taken looking west on Sunnyside... what do you think?
2. History Mystery: Strange building at EP border
The mystery I wrote about a couple of weeks ago remains unsolved, but researcher Craig Olson offered a couple of more clues in the form of photos.
"This is a photo (above) that someone sent me of the building looking at the south wall from the inside. This was taken in early 80's," Craig wrote. "(The photo below) taken from in the basement looking out. Seems kind of odd to me to have a gazebo with a basement and bars on the windows! Excellent work on the latest "History Mystery" by the way! I look forward to seeing peoples comments!"
3. Edina Theater marquee
The post Photo Friday: 'cool' snapshot of Edina Theater made Nancy Robeson remember, "I was working at the drug store on 50th and France when a tornado took down a good portion of this sign in the late 70's. Does anyone have a picture of that?
I know photos ran in both the Minneapolis Tribune and the Edina Sun-Current, but those newspapers hold the copyright on their images. Did anyone else take photos of the downed sign? If you're willing to share your pictures, please contact me.
4. Growing Up in Edina exhibit
Several people have called or emailed to find out when our current exhibit, "Growing Up in Edina" closes. You still have some time: we're planning on keeping the exhibit up until at least the end of 2012, possibly longer. Please keep in mind that our hours are limited. I wish we could offer more public hours; unfortunately, a limited non-profit budget means limited public hours. With some notice, volunteer docents may be able to accommodate group tours. Please call 612-928-4577 or email me with questions.
Our next big exhibit in honor of the city's Quasquicentennial will be out in the community, not in the museum. "History Happened Here" will put the historic photos in the places they were taken. An art exhibit showing Edina landscapes will be in our gallery space. More details coming soon!
This is The Woodshop of Avon, at 3918 Sunnyside Road. Even if you've never been inside, you no doubt have noticed it, if you're a patron of the Convention Grill. The Woodshop is just west of the Convention, with the parking lot in between.
Compare the modern Google image above with this undated photo below when the Dennisons ran the Westgate Dairy store here.
And here's what the building looked inside when Elmer and Gerry Dennison owned it. As you can see, they sold a variety of groceries, not just dairy products.
The dairy store originally was located inside the Convention Grill building. I heard from several people disputing that fact after I wrote that the Convention opened with the dairy store in the east half of the building (where the current mirrored dining room is now.)
Not to gloat or anything, but here's the proof. The Westgate Dairy Store sign hangs outside the Convention. Morningside Hardware (with the sign visible in the background) is just to the east. If you look carefully, you can see the reflection of the Westgate Theater marquee in the store's window.
And here is an Ives Dairy truck making deliveries at the rear of Convention Grill. (Okay, maybe I'm gloating a little bit, but I also readily admit when I'm wrong.)
We have several photos of the store donated by the Dennison family, but I didn't find much more about the family or the business in an initial sweep through the files. I'll dig a little deeper as I have time, but I'd love to talk to the family of Elmer and Gerry Dennison to find out more.about this little Morningside business. If you know where I can find them, or can share any memories, please
comment here or email me.
Have a fabulous Friday, everyone!
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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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