With 155 state championships, Edina clearly knows how to win. This year's state boys hockey tournament showed that the Hornets also know how to lose -- with grace and good sportsmanship.
On the way to the tournament, fans on the many local Facebook groups I follow talked about a "three peat" as the Edina boys made it to the state tourney for the ninth year in a row with back-to-back championships in 2013 and 2014. The Edina supporters talked big -- and who could blame them? Most sportswriters also predicted Edina as the tournament favorite, which predictably made them the least favorite among hockey fans outside of our community.
When Edina fell to underdog Duluth East, others gloated while Hornet fans stood behind their team -- and their opponents. The diehard Edina supporters showed nothing but respect for Duluth East. Here's a sampling of comments from the Facebook page "You know you're from Edina when...":
Edina has a proud tradition of handling defeat well. Following its 1970 loss in the state championships to Southwest, Minneapolis Tribune columnist Jim Klobuchar noted Edina's ability to deal with disappointment as well as success:
"(*I)t took Olympic restraint and an unshakeable belief in their peewee futures to smile bravely on 50th Street.
Invariably, you expect Edina to strike the right tone philosophically. Its civic character has been tempered in the swirling vats of prosperity. It has developed a spirit of togetherness, the gift of shared struggles beneath the burdens of success.
"But there does have to be a breaking point, and I would have thought that somewhere in the Edina gymnasium yesterday somebody would have crossed the line separating the Proud-and-Indomitable from the Sore-and-Disagreeable.
"But NOBODY DID. I tell no untruths to say Edina rarely harvests many of the uncommitted votes around the state. .... In the face of this general state of unlove, the villagers have responded with their traditional resort to Earnestness, Reasonableness and another league in the peewee program."
Perhaps these Edina grads show a classy response to an upset because of good role models from Edina Schools when they were growing up.
In 1970, Edina High School Principal Rollie Ring even attended victory celebrations at Southwest HIgh School, which came out on top of the championship game against the Hornets. "If we have to be No. 2, better that it should be Southwest, our neighbor, that is No. 1," he said.
Athletic Director Howard Merriman struck the same tone: "I won't say were defeated. I will say we lost. We were a great team beaten by a great team."
Those words from 45 years ago were echoed this year. Win or lose, Edina is still a great team. As Klobuchar wrote back in 1970, Edina is "still a place for happy ever-aftering."
Today we're running the first of what I hope to be a series called "My Place in History." Museum visitors often tell me about favorite spots in Edina (or near our borders) that evoke strong memories. A photo of Minnehaha Creek will prompt stories about fishing or rafting or --- in the case of a group of friends over age 90 -- skinny-dipping as boys on the way home from Wooddale School. An ad for the Biltmore hotel often starts conversations about first nights in Edina, wedding receptions and pool parties. In every case, unfortunately, I don't have a microphone or time to document those great stories.
A few weeks ago, visitor Rosemary Strobel was reminiscing about the Tastee Treet, located on the Minneapolis side of 44th and France. Many former Morningside youngsters have sighed about that summer-time institution of their childhood, but I wanted more details. Rosemary kindly agreed to write down what she remembered, and she even sent a couple of photos.
I would love to read more stories about places important to Edinans. I hope you are inspired to write about your own place in history and send us your story.
By Rosemary Strobel
The old Tastee Treet was popular with us neighborhood kids since forever. It had six red stools inside by the order counter for people to eat in the AC. Then there were the cheap seats outdoors under the awning. One year they were really old patio tables and lawn chairs.
It was open from around noon until 10 p.m. all summer from May to the start of cold weather in late September or October. It served O-rings, Fries, Grilled Burgers and all sorts of ice cream desserts and drinks. The place was usually frantic with the day's soccer or ball game crowd from Linden Hills Park. A guy named Clark owned or managed the place most of the time I knew it. In the winter, he sold Christmas trees out in front of it.
There was a big older woman who ran the antiquated 1950's flat top grill. I can still picture her dealing out cheese onto the sliders like it was a deck of cards.
At night, the place glowed like a Chinese lantern. Gaudy turquoise and red and white neon framed its rooftop sign, sizzlingly white fluorescent lamps filled the refrigerated glass enclosed room with a cold unearthly glow. Outside under the metal canopy, millers and smaller insects threw themselves at the security lights or fluttered around the ballast ends of yellow masked fluorescent bulbs under the eaves. And there was ALWAYS the happy music, usually 1950's from a local Oldies radio station, issuing from a well-placed PA speaker on the apex of the awning.
Tastee Treet closed in 1991 to another "family," who ran it as Tastee Treet for a season or two, then it was made into Big Mike's Super Subs about 2000-2002 where the only change to the building was a different sign.
Unfortunately, the sign atop the new business still had the ice cream image from the Tastee Treet. The only problem: ice cream was not on the menu. Very confusing for customers and irritating for staff. Eventually, the ice cream cone was painted over.Sadly, when Milio's came, they clad the entire cute little building in its current drabness and removed the ice cream cone signboard on the roof in favor of the current neon signage. I was once inside, just before Big Mike's became Milio's. It was still like Tastee Treet, but the interior had been opened up and painted white, the stools removed, the ice cream machine was replaced by a self-serve pop fountain machine and the kitchen was closed off from the order area and presumably also remodeled inside.
My dad is a rail fan, and we went to lots steam trains and transportation museums when I was growing up. We visited ruined mills, power dams and South Dakota ghost towns. We hung out in the same pine woods that greeted George Washington and picked berries by the old iron forges. Of course, dad was a motorman at Lake Harriet, and I played on the old section of tracks that used to be in the alley the near Xerxes Avenue. I really got into old neighborhood history 1979 with the columns Mr. Dudley Parsons wrote on Edina and the stories the old streetcar guys told in their magazine.
Just an ordinary person who likes to find out what was here and learn about the places I pass every day, until they are sold, remodeled or levelled and built brand new.
Rosemary Strobel grew up in southwest Minneapolis in October 1974 and attend St. Peter's Lutheran at 5401 Fuller Ave. and Minneapolis Lutheran High, which had newly moved into the second floor of the Edina East building.
We played New York and Los Angeles and so many small college towns in between. We had a joke at the time -- "that town's so small John Denver's never played there." - Bill Danoff, friend and part of Denver's opening act Fat City
John Denver performed at Edina High School in the 1969-1970 school year.
Before you think that's so stereotypical Edina to book one of the top-selling artists in history, keep in mind that in 1969, John Denver was barely known. He most likely performed for free or for the opportunity to sell his albums. And based on yearbook coverage, Edina kids apparently didn't think it was a big deal at the time. The concert merited one photo (below) with no caption or further explanation.
By 1971, Denver was a household name -- in part because he played in so many small towns to build an audience in 1969 and 1970. Edina High School was hardly unique in hosting John Denver, according to this source:
"Although RCA did not actively promote Rhymes & Reasons with a tour, Denver himself embarked on an impromptu supporting tour throughout the Midwest, stopping at towns and cities as the fashion took him, offering to play free concerts at local venues. When he was successful in persuading a school, college, American Legion Hall, or local coffee-house to let him play, he would spend a day or so distributing posters in the town and could usually be counted upon to show up at the local radio station, guitar in hand, offering himself for an interview."
Edina does have one small role in Denver's career. On his way to stardom, Denver lived in Edina and wrote much of the material for his first three albums here, including his first No. 1 song, "Sunshine on My Shoulders," according to Denver's obituary written by StarTribune writer Jon Bream.
For those who weren't around in the 1974 when this song hit No. 1 on the charts, here it is. (From the John Denver Archives on YouTube) For those who were around in the 1970s, this song is no doubt burned in your memories because of its constant play.
Minnesota weather inspired the song, Denver told Bream. "It was one of those late-winter early-spring days. It was one of those cold, dreary days where everything is gray," he said. "Spring is in fact happening. That's why the song is slow and melancholy."
Several sources say that Denver and his wife Ann Martell Denver made an Edina apartment their home base while Denver was on the road from 1968 to 1971. Our phone directories from that period don't list Denver, Martell or Denver's birth name Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr., so I'm guessing that he had an unlisted phone number even though he hadn't hit super stardom yet. Anyone know where he lived? (I've heard several theories.)
How did Denver, who is most associated with his adopted state of Colorado, happen to live in Minnesota?
He married a St. Peter girl Ann Martell, whom he met while on tour in 1966. "After a concert at Gustavus Adolphus College, he spotted a pretty sophomore in the student union. 'I wore blue jeans, lumberjack shirt and penny loafers. John later told me he fell in love on the spot,' recounts Annie. But it wasn't until a year later, when John was giving a concert 10 miles away, that they had their first date," People magazine reported in 1979.
The interview with the couple revealed that their years in Minnesota were not easy because of John's long absences while he toured. On top of that, John went from "obscure folkie" when they first met to an artist with gold albums, TV specials and even a part in a movie.
The change was not without benefits - the couple built their dream house in Colorado and started a family. While Annie kept the home fires burning, Denver returned to Minnesota several times for concerts. This time, instead of high school gymnasiums or college student unions, he filled the St. Paul Civic Center five times in one year, the Minneapolis Tribune reported on May 11, 1975.
Do you know where John and Annie Denver lived in Edina? Were you in the audience when Denver performed at Edina High School? Was it a bigger deal than the yearbook coverage suggests? If you can fill in the gaps of John Denver's Edina history, please email me or comment here.
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.
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.
Don't be fooled by the "Minneapolis" in the Biltmore Motor Hotel's advertising literature. The Edina motel was actually located on today's Vernon Avenue (now the site of condominiums at 5250 Vernon) Built in 1954, the hotel served many Edina newcomers, who stayed at the Biltmore while they waited for their new ramblers to be built during the village's suburban boom.
After the Vikings and Twins came to town in the 1960s, the Biltmore also advertised its convenient location to Met Stadium, as you can see in the advertising brochure below.
Here's another page of the brochure that shows the interior: rooms, coffee shop and convention facilities.
Harold Adolphsen, who later owned Hopkins House, attributed the success of his motel to consistent advertising with brochures like these. He and his wife Carolyn, who ran the hotel's gift shop, donated this brochure and other artifacts to us several years ago.
The Biltmore closed in 1984, but with 30 years as a Edina mainstay, many generations remember dining, dancing and swimming at the Biltmore.
In honor of the NFL season opener tonight, here's a great story from our files about former Vikings great Fred Cox, when he moved to Edina next door to Maggie Smith (now Stewart). If you have a great story to tell, submit yours by Oct. 1 to the Edina Reads writing contest, which is part of the official events for the city's Quasquicentennial, marking Edina's 125th year.
By Maggie Smith Stewart
Watching sports got us through the winter in Edina. My dad was a Sports Fan. Our family of five had four season tickets for every Minnesota sports team. We had tickets to the Minnesota Kicks before anyone in Edina knew what soccer was.
But my Dad’s true love was the Vikings.
These were the Fran Tarkenton years; the Bud Grant dynasty, and we didn’t miss a home game. Dad would have us loaded into the car for the short ride to the Met Stadium an hour and a half before the game so we could watch warm ups. Whoever was sitting out the game, went to a friend’s house to watch on TV. My mom always offered to stay home.
Our seats were in the middle of the Vikings’ office staff seats. This was a rowdy group, who talked and cheered the entire time. Being a kid, I didn’t listen to the gossip from the office. It must have been priceless. I do remember the sound of the massive down snowmobiling mittens the man in back of me wore. When the other team had the ball, he would start a slow, steady clap with these mittens that would incite the entire Met Stadium to start clapping along and screaming “DEFENSE!”
Maggie Smith and her two brothers.
By November, my brothers and I started offering to stay home with a friend. Winter games, it seemed, were better on TV. Trekking up the ramps to our seats was like walking up Everest. We carried “stadium bags” that most likely were purchased from some government Antarctica expedition catalog. Even the steam and the smell of the boiling brats couldn’t keep us warm. At home, before being rounded up into the car, we developed “Stall Techniques.”
My older brother, Martin, was good at walking slow. He’d meander out of his room while the rest of us waited, sweating profusely in woolens inside the Riviera, breathing in the exhaust fumes inside the garage. My younger brother, Paul, would hum the Mission Impossible theme song. Dad would pull out and start down the block when Paul would say he forgot the binoculars. We’d drive back and pull into the garage. I’d say I had to use the bathroom about the time we’d get to France Avenue.
The warmer games were great, even if we had to watch through binoculars to get a good look at the boy’s gym teacher, Mr. Fisher, who had a weekend job as a line ref.
Then something wonderful happened in Edina. Fred Cox, the Vikings’ kicker, moved in across the street.
At the time, he had three young kids and I was just at babysitting age. I had a job. I suppose I watched those kids while the Cox’s went to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid with Alan Page, or maybe when they dined at Perkins with Gene Washington. The boys I knew at Southview Junior High were more than envious.
I remember the youngest Cox, little Freddy, had a passion for taking off his clothes and running out of the house and down the street. I would chase after that cute little naked toddler for what seemed like all night. Eventually, I lost the job to my neighbor, Sue Trussel. Apparently Sue would take the Cox kids up to the Valley View Drug Store and let them pick out any candy they wanted.
One day Mrs. Cox called me over and asked if I would like to do Fred’s fan mail for him. I was paid three cents a letter. I’d “autograph” the 8X10 of Freddy the Foot, put it in a big manila envelope and address the letter to the fan. Sue Trussel might have been an entrepreneur, but I was a budding writer. I would read letters that Fred Cox received from fans and I couldn’t help write back. It seemed I was a sucker for a kid’s scrawling, misspelled print and story.
Some kids would send football plays drawn out in crayon, complete with X’s, arrows, and lines. There were detailed instructions for Mick Tingelhoff and Lonnie Warwick and for Fred to play out.
“Great idea!!,” I’d write back, “I will show this to Bud.” (Thinking that Fred Cox probably was on first name basis with Bud Grant.)
One kid wrote that there was a mean kid at his school. He said that this mean kid told him “Fred Cox could care less about you. He’ll never write you back.” I sent him two autographed pictures (one for the bully) and told him to tell the kid that he was wrong.
On vacation one summer in El Paso, Texas, I saw the autographed photo “Fred” had sent to my little cousin, Timmy. It was framed and on his bedroom wall.
The years went by and I kept that job and my secret. But the highlight of having the Viking’s all time leading scorer across the street from us came one late August day when I was outside playing football on the street with my brothers and a couple of their friends. It was a typical game for the only girl in the neighborhood in the 70’s. No one was throwing to me. And then, out came Fred. Everyone froze and muttered shy “hi’s.”
He asked, “Can I play?”
Someone screamed, “You bet!!”
He said, “I’m on Maggie’s team. The rest of you over there.” And he pointed to the other side.
“We kick off," he said. Everyone lined up and I went up to the ball. He signaled for me to throw it to him. I passed it underhand and Fred Cox kicked. The ball rocketed over the boy’s heads. In slow motion, television style, it sailed down the block past three houses and the intersection. The boys laughed and turned to chase it. It took a bounce at the end of Ashcroft Avenue, and headed down the steep hill on 62nd street.
As I lost sight of the boys running down 62nd, I turned and looked at Fred. He smiled, nodded, and walked back into his house.
Who remembers going to Mr. Steak and not eating steak?
Probably any kid dining out with their parents chose something off the children's menu instead. At least, Ron and Linda Shirk's three daughters did when they were growing up in Edina in the 1970s and 1980s. Then, they brought home the menus and played restaurant at home with their neighborhood friends.
The Shirks donated the menus, saved for more than three decades, when we created the "Growing Up in Edina" exhibit last year.
The menus reflect their time. The Steak and Ale art looks like the popular arcade game Pac-Man, and all the girls in the artwork seem to be wearing skirts or dresses.
Even the food has changed. While hamburgers and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are staples on these menus, none featured the ubiquitous chicken tenders of today (although Mr. Steak offered fried chicken and Byerly's had a chicken drumstick.)
And of course, kids' menu prices -- while still the cheaper option on today's menus -- have risen a bit from the $1.09 hot dog meal or the $1.89 spaghetti and meat sauce.Cindy Nein Twistol noted onour Facbook page that children's menu items "were the free employee meals when I worked at the Lyndale (Mr. Steak) for 5 years, too. Yum - makes me hungry."
What about you? What were your favorite children's menu foods? Where did your family go out to eat when you were growing up? Comment here or email me.
Edina bought its first police car in 1930 -- all black (because that was the only option available.). After authorization from the Village Council, first police officer Percy Redpath spent extra money to have "Village of Edina" lettering on the doors.
Eighty-three years later, Edina's police squad design will feature a black car body with lettering on the door, a throwback to its origins after many years brighter colored accents and a white roof.. Edina Police Chief Jeff Long announced the change in the city's blog, noting, "From the mid-1940s all the way to 1990, our squad cars had only a patch or badge on the door. In keeping with history, we have chosen to return to our roots and place a simple patch on our car."
Long also showed photos of past car designs: "Department history is very important to those of us who work here. If you have ever taken a tour here you have noticed the incredible job that department historian Officer Kevin Rofidal has done to keep our history alive."
So true. We worked with Kevin a few years back in creating an exhibit about Edina Police and Fire Departments' history and put together this timeline of squad design and technology history. Besides some great old photos, it also contains some fun facts like:
You couldn't open a newspaper in early April without seeing a story about the death of Jerry Paulsen, owner of several Edina businesses including Jerry's Foods, Jerry's Hardware and Jerry's Printing.
But unless you're one of Jerry's 3,700 employees, you probably missed one of the most in-depth looks at Jerry's long life and involvement in the Edina community: a full issue of the company newsletter was devoted to the man who gave his life and his name to so many businesses.
"I felt I couldn’t do him justice with just an article in the newsletter so decided to devote the entire edition to him," said Carol Jackson, Jerry's Foods Corporate Manager.
The newsletter is in our collection, but I've had so many requests to see more Jerry's photos that I asked Carol for a pdf for our online audience. See the photo pages below, and you can read the full newsletter here.
These are just a few of the stories written about Jerry Paulsen, who died April 5, 2013, at age 89.
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