I love the current "Edina on the Map" exhibit because it has helped spotlight neighborhoods that have been "too new" for the historical record to take much notice. Highlands, with its first addition offered for sale in 1948, was still being developed in 1950s and 1960s. Compared with Morningside, once a separate village and platted more than 100 years ago, Highlands seems to have a relatively short and uneventful history.
Drive through Highlands today, and you'll see historic changes taking place. Many of the original ramblers have been torn down and replaced by new construction. That's why I'm grateful to former and current residents who have donated artifacts that document the period in Edina history that will soon be lost to redevelopment.
After seeing the original real estate brochure for Highlands in our exhibit, Paul Trautman and his sister Jean offered to send photos of their family home at 5245 Lochloy built in 1952 by their parents Lucius and Jean Trautman. The home is a perfect example of what the brochure touted as the "trend home" for modern living.
The house was designed by James H. Speckmann, a Minnesota proponent of California Modernism, a design style with an "open ground-level floor plan, big floor-to-ceiling windows, and wide roof overhangs. All of that is meant to bring the outdoors in."
The Trautman home, with a new owner, still stands with the exterior design intact. The surrounding area is more developed, however, than when the Trautmans first moved here in 1952. Paul remembers the house in the background of the photo below as being "a short walk of a steep hill ... it is probably a three-mile drive to that house. The Watson lived there and they eventually took ownership of Freckles when Dad refused to bail him out from the dog catcher after several incarcerations. That was OK though because he still came and played with us and the Watsons had to feed him."
With its naturally hilly terrain, the Highlands neighborhood was well suited to ramblers with walkout basements. That's Paul and Freckles near the breezeway in the photo below.
Highlands offered high-end homes for the era. Many of the homeowners were like Lucius Trautman, executives commuting to Minneapolis jobs. Trautman was one of the owners of Minneapolis Artificial Limb Company, which has a long history in the state.
Do you have Edina home photos to share? In addition to the Trautman house, we featured Alden Drive photos from the Parsons family here. We'd love to feature your home as well. Email me or call the museum at 612-928-4577 to find out how.
Traditionally, on Photo Friday, I provide the photo and you provide the explanation. So here's a 1957 aerial photo of Southdale mall. Discuss.
Oh, all right. I'll provide a little more info. I know you all can identify the newly opened Southdale at the center of the photo, but you may not recognize the area south of the mall. Instead of the Galleria, you'll see the round Southdale Ford building, Gabbert's Furniture with the rounded arches on the roof, and at the bottom, the gravel pits. In this era when the auto was king, I see at least three gas stations and I think the Good Year tire store is at the upper right. What else do you see... or not see, as the case may be, since much of the area around the mall is still vacant.
To compare to the present day, here's the Earth view provided by Google Maps.
Okay, NOW you can discuss. Please comment here with your memories or insights about the Southdale area, then and now.
Happy Friday! The Edina History Museum is open tomorrow (Saturday), 10 a.m. to noon, if you'd like to stop in.
We have some great treasures in our map collection. (But alas, no treasure maps.)
Still, even without a big X marking the spot to buried gold, these maps are priceless. You will have a chance to see some examples of these document gems in our upcoming "Edina on the Map" exhibit that will open in mid-March. Today, I'll give you a sneak peek at some for the Highlands neighborhood.
The white map at the bottom is the registered plat, and the other two show advertising brochures from the The Spring Company realtors, which developed the property.
Highlands includes Ayrshire Boulevard, Lochloy Drive, and Duncraig Road.
If you can't quite match up the Google map above with the real estate brochure map below, take heart. North is on the left of the realtors' map instead of the top. You can see that the Spring Company realtors also emphasized the neighborhood's proximity to three golf courses (Edina Country Club, Meadowbrook and Interlachen.) Although the brochure is undated, it points out the "new high school," (now the Edina Community Center) which opened in 1949.
I love to see how neighborhoods were marketed, with sample home exteriors and floor plans. Does anyone recognize their home in this design?
"The Trend Home - The first consideration in designing the 'Trend Home' was 'What do people in this part of the country like and need?'. A plan consistent with our climate and ways of living. As the house was to be built in 'Edina Highlands,' with its large lots, beautiful views and rolling country-side, we knew the prospective owner would live a relaxed country life."
Many of the maps in the exhibit come to us from the private collection of Frank Cardarelle, a fourth generation Edina resident and a second generation surveyor. His father platted the first Highlands addition, and Frank joined him after he graduated from that "new high school" in 1951 to plat the remaining additions.
How great is it that we have a photo of Frank presenting a map program last year to kids who live in the Highlans neighborhood? From those enthusiastic hands in the air, it looks like these Highlands Elementary second graders love maps as much as I do. (Thanks, Marcia Friedman with Edina Public Schools for sharing this photo with us.)
Who bowled at Gus Young's? Apparently everyone, according to "Twin City Tenpin," a small newspaper on file at the Minnesota Historical Society.
The bowling alley and billiards hall at 4101 West 50th Street brought in more than 3,150 bowlers each week, said the Oct. 22, 1964 issue of the now defunct publication. Gus Young was quoted as having more than 700 teams involved in 60 leagues.
"It is Gus' belief that he has more women's leagues than any other house in the city," the story states. Perhaps because he offered child care on site.
Approximately 128 youngsters take to the lanes every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday "under the direction of four capable instructors and coaches:" Dave Goggins, Junior Boys; Grace Chelman, Junior Girls; June Nelson, Junior Girls; and Alfreda Addy, Bantam Boys. Gus also sponsored a Junior Traveling League.
The bowling alley also had a snack bar and restaurant, with everything from "just light snacks to a full course meal, prepared for you exactly as you like it. Beer and other beverages are available on order."
Gus Young was most notably a basketball coach at Gustavus Adolphus College (1949-1957), but throughout the years he also spent time bowling and owning bowling alleys.
Gus Young's entry into the bowling business began when he was head of intramural activities at Carleton College. Because he had to ferry kids to the closest bowling alley in Faribault from Northfield, he ended up being late for a date with his girlfriend Evelyn (who later became his wife.) Evelyn suggested opening up a bowling alley in Northfield, so Gus did. He was proprieter of the Varsity Bowl until 1943 when he joined the Navy during World War II.
In 1957, he bought the Austin Bowl that he later sold to open Biltmore Lanes in 1959. I haven't researched when the bowling alley closed, but I do know Gus Young died in 1977.
Thanks to Jeanne Andersen, friend and colleague at the St. Louis Park Historical Society, for bringing in the photocopied story.
Edina History Museum's next exhibit is..... drumroll please... "Edina on the Map."
If you love maps as much as I do, I know I have your attention. But for those of you yawning, recalling those map exercises in elementary school where you had to find longitude and latitude and estimate travel times, you'll still love this exhibit.
How could you not with old real estate brochures and maps like this?
La Buena Vista (Spanish for "beautiful view") is described as "120 Acres of Beautiful, rolling, wooded open countryside, that has been platted into 125 choice homesites. Some picturesque lots on spring-fed Nine Mile Creek."
The real estate brochure emphasizes the subdivision's choice location that provides "country living with city conveniences." The large map (right) shows that while Edina is in the spacious countryside, it's also close to jobs and attractions in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
For those who can't quite place where La Buena Vista subdivision is, here's a Google map of the area and its surroundings.
Subdivision names sometimes are remembered as long as it takes the ink to dry on a plat map. In fact, many residents don't know the official names of their subdivisions; instead, they reference an area landmark or street name when giving directions.
La Buena Vista is now part of "The Heights," so dubbed in the recent City of Edina neighborhood naming project. (You can see the neighborhood boundary map and learn more about neighborhood associations on the City's website.)
We're still in the development stages of the exhibit, with an expected March 2014 opening date. I now have the fun task of exploring our map collection as well as those of Frank Cardarelle, a second generation Edina surveyor. Between him and his father, they have surveyed most of Edina. The La Buena Vista brochure is just one treasure in his collection that he will share with us for the exhibit.
Look for more great maps in the weeks to come.
Meet Bob Buresh, who started as an Edina volunteer firefighter when he was just an 18-year-old high school senior and retired as the city's Public Safety Chief, heading both the police and fire departments.
Not a bad career path for someone who got involved with the Fire Department as a Boy Scout, along with his friend Bill Feck, another Edina boy who became Fire Chief. They both joined the U.S. Air Force together in 1951 but returned to the department as volunteers after the service. Bob took a job as a full-time firefighter in 1957 and then worked his way "up the ladder," so to speak, getting promoted to lieutenant in 1963, to captain in 1967, to assistant fire chief in 1968, and chief in 1975. He retired in 1987.
The history of his career -- and the Edina Fire Department -- is told through these artifacts that Buresh donated last week. The 35 items include firefighting turnout gear, his dress uniform blazer and hat, as well as badges, pins, nametags, photo ID card and Village of Edina business cards.
Here's a closer look at a few of the items. Do you notice that some pins have one horn, while others have two or three? As I learned when creating an exhibit with the police and fire departments a few years ago, the horns indicate rank, with one signifying lieutenant, two for captain, three for assistant chief and four for chief. Bob accumulated quite a collection during his long career.
(Can you see Bob's height on his Village of Edina identification badge? He still stands straight and tall at 6-foot-4.)
Bob wore this hat (decorated with the three horns) when he was assistant chief. The dress blazer also indicates rank, with three stars on one sleeve.
I especially like the turnout gear -- the protective clothing worn while fighting fires. Both the coat and the hat look like they've been through a few battles.
Bob also served as head of the Minnesota Fire Chiefs Association, which worked to get a firefighter's memorial at the Minnesota Capitol. This is replica, the first in a series of 700. The firefighter wears No. 10 on his hat, the same number as Bob's when he was Edina chief.
Several years ago, one of our volunteers Bob Reid did an oral history with Bob Buresh and other fire chiefs to get a history of the department. I think it's time for another interview, this time to focus in on Buresh's childhood. Bob had some great stories to tell about ski jumping as a kid in Edina.
"You mean the one at Hyland Park in Bloomington?" I asked.
Nope, the one off Skyline Drive in Edina in the late 1930s, he said, when the area still was undeveloped countryside.
The news even surprised one of our board members Bob Kojetin, who never heard tales of an Edina ski jump while he was Park and Rec Director, albeit decades later.
(Yes, there are three Bobs in this story, in case you're counting: Bob Reid, Bob Buresh and Bob Kojetin.)
Now that you've met Bob Buresh, I'm sure you'll see more of him as we find out more about these great Edina Fire Department artifacts and hear more stories about growing up in Edina.
"Monday Mashup" is a roundup of reader comments with a few observations of my own.
The recent essay by John Reid, Streetcar days in Morningside, elicited some memories for Carole Whalen Wenborg, who wrote:
I was a Bluebird and, later, a Camp Fire Girl in St. Louis Park for several years. We used to have streetcar parties that were great fun. For a price we could rent a streetcar, fill it up with friends and food, add a battery powered phonograph and a pile of 45's and we were good to go. For an hour or more we were transported around town in a mobile party room, dancing and eating. Of course, there were adults on board and I believe they enjoyed themselves as much as we junior highers. Such fun!
I hadn't heard about the mobile streetcar parties before. Thanks for writing, Carole!
Daniel G wrote:
Wonderful article. I've been researching the early history of the streetcar in Edina, and it's easy to get focused on dates, corporate names, mile markers, and other "facts and figures." I thought this was a fascinating and refreshing perspective on how the streetcars affected real people. Thanks for posting it! (BTW, that TCRT streetcar now in San Francisco turns around at a loop right near my house).
Yes! Accurate dates and data are important in historical research, but memories really show how the culture was affected by historical events. I'd love to see your research when you're done, and in the meantime, here are some more fun memories from Edina residents, who wrote essays for our "Streetcar Memories" exhibit in 2004, 50 years after the last streetcar ran in Edina.
In the mid 1930s, our family rented a farm house on what is now North Street. The back yard abutted the streetcar tracks. The house is still there. It has been upgraded, and is now very charming. To the west of the house was a dirt road that runs along Minnehaha Creek. It didn’t have the name at that time. My Dad would catch the streetcar at Brookside Avenue to go work in a machine shop off East Hennepin Avenue. He was a machinist and worked long hours during the Depression. On the return home, he always sat on the left hand seats. Mother would send us out in the back yard to see if Dad was sound asleep leaning against the window. We would know then that he would be going all the way out to the end of the line in Hopkins and he would be about a half hour late for dinner.
– Tom Divine, Edina
Friday nights in the fall the high school football games were played at Nicollet Field and the Selby-Lake cars were loaded to the gills with kids. I remember jumping out the window to get out of paying my token when we got to Nicollet. I really did it because I thought it was daring and a sort of wild thing to do. We girls didn’t have much imagination about being wild in those days.
– Kathleen Wetherall, a former student at St. Margaret’s Academy in Minneapolis
ROCKED TO SLEEP
On many a late winter afternoon, I would be riding home on the streetcar in the early darkness. After a long day at the U and trying to read some assignment for the next day – I would succumb to the carbon monoxide fumes and fall asleep. More often than not, I’d miss my stop at 43rd and Upton only to be awakened by the conductor at the end of the line, which was 54th and France. At that point, the only alternative was to put another token in the fare box and ride back to my stop hoping I hadn’t missed supper.
– Joe Sullivan, Edina
Note: You may know Joe Sullivan as the author of the great history features in the City of Edina's quarterly publication "About Town."
A MEN'S ONLY STRONGHOLD
When the 1950s started and I was nearing the end of grade school, there was a streetcar way to mark the passage to manhood. More and more I would pass by empty seats to stand on the back platform. It was a men’s only stronghold where guys of all ages would lean against the circle of windows, smoking, talking and importantly hanging out. At the time, I had no idea that this culture, along with the whole experience of trolley, was about to be uprooted.
– Tom Clark of Edina
It would not come as a surprise to me if ten years of my first 20 were spent on the Como-Harriet streetcar. (It was not known as a trolley!) Travels to church, downtown, the ‘U’ for the Youth Symphony Series, the state fair and college. At least twice a week trips were the norm for a one-car family who lived two miles from the end of the line.
Never to be forgotten were trying to get the seat with the heater on the floor during the winter, the open back platform for the smokers and the clink of that 10 cent token hitting the silver dome in the coin counter.
– Mary Westerberg Fenlason, Edina
Summer and winter we went about our business in any weather. I love to think about the ride along the “freeway” by Harriet and Calhoun in summer when the Motorman would open the throttle full bore. The car would rock and the wind felt so good on a hot night. That was air conditioning of the day.
I even used the car to go from home to home on my Public Health rotation during nursing school. That was COLD to wait for the car as we didn’t have such nice warm clothes as we have now. Wool in the wind offered little protection. In winter, the car was warm and welcoming after the wait on some corner.
– Lila Borst Larson, Edina
WAITING IN BELLESON’S
In 1933 we moved to Morningside about a block west of the Westgate Theater site. There we had a choice of services with the Como Hopkins running along its own right of way on the South side of 44th Street, the Como-Harriet to 54th and France coming down France Avenue and the Como Harriet ending at its own loop just east of 44th and France.
The favorite place to wait for the streetcar was initially inside (or just outside) the front door of Lars Belleson’s Country Club Market.
This store was the forerunner of the Country Club Market chain formed when Lars sold out to go into the haberdashery business on 50th Street. We could see the Como Hopkins coming far enough in advance to run across the street if it arrived first.
– James Grunnet, Edina
Did these stories prompt any memories? We'd love to hear from you. Please comment below or email me. Happy Monday, everyone!
Most school children today have dined at tables that fold up and roll away when lunch time is over. But, back in the 1950s, it was a revolutionary new concept invented by Edina resident Kermit Wilson.
Wilson envisioned a need for space-saving equipment in schools that would soon be overcrowded by the exploding post-war “baby boom.” His response was a foldable table that freed school lunchrooms for additional uses.
Wilson also made bleachers, including those installed at Edina’s first high school that lasted more than 50 years. Edina firefighters also slept on foldaway Murphy beds designed by
Wilson moved his infant company SICO Manufacturing to Edina in 1954, and leased space at a 33,000 square foot at 5215 Eden Avenue in the Grandview Area. The company broke ground for a new building at 7525 Cahill Road in 1967.
Today, the company makes portable dance floors, foldable stage platforms, foldable conference tables and more sold throughout the world.
Wilson was involved in local organizations and helped form the new Edina Community Foundation.
Some of the "Then and Now" photo pairings showcased in "EdinaScapes" exhibit, now on display at the Edina History Museum. Current scenes photographed by Chip Jones.
Photographer Chip Jones clearly remembers his first camera: a Minolta XG-1 purchased from Southdale Dayton's photo department when he was attending Edina East High School.
In his mind's eye, he still sees Southdale as it looked during his childhood, with a film counter at Dayton's and the bird cage in the Garden Court.
So when I asked him to shoot the present day scenes of historic photos in our collections, he willingly volunteered for the task. The resulting paired "Then and Now" photos are part of our current "EdinaScapes" exhibit on display at the Edina History Museum until Dec. 21.
We originally envisioned a short-term display, but we both liked the images so much that the photos are nicely framed and part of our permanent collection. You can have a piece of Edina history too: the framed pairs (see right) are available to order for $120 each.
As you can see, Chip shot the present day scenes from the same angle and distance as the historic photos. Linhoff Photo worked with us to print and crop the photos to the same scale to get the look just right..
I love the display. And so have our visitors, who immediately can see what has changed -- and what has stayed the same -- over time.
Chip tromped all over town to scout locations. Some scenes just didn't work, because trees or other buildings obscured the view. But we see the potential in doing more "Then and Now" projects with other photos in our collection.
I'm grateful that a professional photographer volunteered his time and talents, especially someone like Chip, who specializes in landscape photography from a fine arts perspective.
His passion for photography grew while working on his BFA in painting and drawing at the University of Minnesota, from where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. He went on to receive his MFA in Film/Video from CalArts (California Institute of the Arts), a private art school founded by Walt Disney in Los Angeles, California with an advanced curriculum in Art, Dance, Film, Music and Theater.
Chip returned to Edina after college. He is married Megan Maloney, who also grew up in Ediina. He has been active on the Edina Public Art Committee, as well as the Crosstown Camera Club.
In addition to his business in internet marketing, he works with photography clients looking for artistic photos that fit a theme, such as a riverfront condominium wanting fine art photos of the river or a chamber of commerce requesting beautiful photos showing a strong business climate in their community.
His work can be seen locally at Jason's Deli at Centennial Lakes and the Town Planner calendar, as well as private offices. His website also has an Edina gallery.
Chip grew up wanting to paint and draw, but he found his art through the lens of his camera purchased from his hometown shopping mall.
We want your stories for the Edina Reads writing contest. Deadline is Oct. 1. To inspire you, here is a wonderful story from our collection. We shared Chuck Gilbertson's essay about his horse Copper with Edina Sun Current readers during our past "Growing Up in Edina" exhibit, but for those who missed it, here's a sweet boyhood tale from 1950s Edina.
By Chuck Gilbertson
I was eleven years old in 1951, and I wanted to be a cowboy. About a mile from my house in Edina was McNellis Riding Stable at 66th and France Avenue. I rode my bike out to the stables one day and asked Mr. McNellis if I could have a job. “Yes,” he said. “I cannot pay you, but if you want to go riding after you are done working, you can.”
When I got home from work the first day my mother would not let me in the house as my tennis shoes and jeans were covered with manure. Mom hosed me down. My dad asked me all about it and was pleased that I had a job.
I spent the entire summer working for Mr. McNellis. At that time, 66th and France was about the end of Edina, as far as residential communities were concerned. Southdale shopping center did not exist.
(Editor's note: See Historic Aerials website for a view of the dramatic changes at 66th and France from 1947 to 1957. Southdale and related development changed Edina from a rural area with riding stables, chicken coops and dairy farms to a thriving suburb. The image below is from 1947, but use the slider tool at the website to compare and contrast two years. This site is not affiliated with the Edina Historical Society, but it's a great resource for researching land changes over the years and you can purchase prints from them.)TV cowboy Roy Rogers in 1951
Copper was my favorite horse. He was good humored and easy to ride. Mr. McNellis taught me how to bridle and saddle the horses. Quite often he would let me go with him on trail rides. Sometimes Mr. McNellis would let me ride Copper out to the fields in the morning to bring the other horses back to the stable. I felt like a real cowboy.
Summer vacation was coming to an end. Mr. McNellis told me he was going to sell Copper for $75. I rode my bike to the bank and withdrew $75 of my paper route money. Then I went back to the stable and gave Mr. McNellis the money. Riding home down France Avenue I was proud as could be. When I turned on to Brookview Avenue where I lived, all the neighbor women came out in the yards to watch me. My mom came out the front door with her fist in her mouth, which she did when she was nervous. She said, “Oh, Chuckie, what have you done now?”
I put Copper in our one car garage and left the door open. I tied rope back and forth across the opening. A small crowd gathered by my homemade horse stall. My plan was to keep Copper in our garage and ride him to deliver papers down Lakeview Drive and Golf Terrace. When school started, I would ride him to school and tie him to the bike rack.
I am quite sure that dad must have noticed the minute he turned the car onto Brookview as he was coming home from work. He got out of the car and walked toward me asking mom what was going on. She told him.
I was sure he would be proud of me because of his farm background. Instead, he said to me, “Get on that horse this minute and take him back to Old Man McNellis. He is blind in one eye and older than the hills.” Tears started rolling down my cheeks, but I did what I was told. When I got back to the stable, Mr. McNellis was laughing. “I figured you’d be back,” he said as he reached into his pocket for my money. I never saw Copper again.
Chuck Gilbertson lived just over a mile and a half from the McNellis Stables. His trek with Copper back in 1951 took him through a much less populated area than it is today.
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