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.
Drive through the Grandview area of Edina and you'll see Jerry's Hardware, Jerry's Printing and Jerry's Foods. Owner Jerry Paulsen, who began his career behind the counter as a butcher, ended up as one of the largest employers in Edina. Beyond the businesses that bore his name, he also owned Cub Foods on France Avenue, and at one time, a women's clothing store.
And that's just in Edina. His "Jerry's Enterprises" now encompasses 37 stores including Cub, County Markets, Save-a-Lot, and Jerry's Foods, as well as various other commercial and real estate interests that include a Jerry's Foods on Sanibel Island, FL.
The man behind the name died April 5 at age 89. His funeral is April 10. For a complete obituary, see the Star Tribune.
I wrote a story about the history of Jerry's Foods a couple of years ago, when the company donated many photos and other artifacts that trace Jerry's history from his start as a butcher behind the counter at Grandview Market in 1947 to his thriving corporation today. See the story and some great photos here.
For being a man in charge of a large corporation, Jerry was just Jerry to his customers. They would find him sitting in the coffee shop or picking up a few items for the dishes he loved to cook at home. There's something so hometown about drinking coffee with the local grocery store owner. I know his many customers and employees will miss the man who has made his mark on Edina.
Today, let's put on our Sherlock Holmes hat and investigate a little mystery that has stumped me and my colleagues at the Eden Prairie Historical Society: what was the now-destroyed building that once overlooked Garrison Pond?
Theories abound: mushroom house, cockfighting arena, gazebo, schoolhouse, teahouse, monastery....Researcher Craig Olson has heard them all as he has tried to find out more about the small ruins, now the site of Bioscrip at the southwest corner of Highways 169 and 62.
Here's the Google image below of the Bioscrip site.
Craig wrote us because he was curious about this building he remembered visiting more than 20 years ago.
"In the early 80's a friend of mine showed me this spot in Eden Prairie where he would walk up the hill and eat his lunch while on break at work. It was an octagon shaped building (ruins when I saw it), with only partial walls and a basement with bars on the windows. I believe the basement was made of poured concrete and the top was brick. It also had a fireplace in it with some strange carvings or impressions in some of the bricks like mushrooms.The building was probably no more than 20-25 feet wide.
I went back in the early 90's to see it, but it was almost completely destroyed by then. I have looked on HistoricAerials.com and have seen it in the photos from '57, '66 and '79.":
Here is a 1979 image from Historic Aerials.com of the location. To further peruse the area through the years and zoom in closer, see their great web site. (I confess: I don't see an octagon shaped building on a quick perusal. Maybe you can. View it as a "Where's Waldo?" type of challenge.)
Craig asks, "My main question is what the building was used for. I have heard several opinions... but no one can actually confirm. Apparently there was a man named Larry Russell that had photos of the building when it was still standing and knew quite a lot about it, but he has passed on. Any information pertaining to this would be greatly appreciated."
I consulted Frank Cardarelle, a surveyor who has offices near the property, and he believes it was a gazebo built by a homeowner in his large backyard. He remembers it as a little retreat for the builder, who never quite finished it before the land was sold.
Really? A gazebo? That answer seems way too tame. I was hoping for wild stories about mushroom-growing monks who held cockfights on the weekend and served tea on weekdays.
If you can solve this mystery, please email me or comment on this post.
What do you call this building, located at 5701 Normandale Road?
a. Edina-Morningside Junior and Senior High School, as it was called when it opened in 1949?
b. Edina High School, as it was called after the villages of Morningside and Edina merged in 1966?
c. Edina East, as it was called after Edina West (below) was built in 1972?
d. Edina Community Center, as it is now?
Careful, your answer will no doubt reveal your age -- or at least your longevity in Edina. People often tell me to go to the high school, when they mean the Community Center. Believe me, I was confused the first few months on the job here.
Here's a circa 1990s aerial of the original high school.
Looking south at Edina's first high school, built in 1949. The photo, taken in the 1990s, shows the building next to Highway 100 on the right. Lake Cornelia is visible on the upper left. Other large buildings are: Concord Elementary (upper center) and South View Middle School (lower left) Kuhlman Athletic Field is the oval in the center.
A recent Photo Friday featured the Ernie Davis farm, site of the new Edina West High School below. (Excuse me, that's now just "Edina High School." I guess I'm revealing my age a little.) So this week I thought I'd give you a closer look at the high schools, both old and new.
I should have noted in the original post that Edina West was the second school building constructed on the Davis farm. Valley View Middle School (square lighter building at left) was built in 1964. West was built in 1972. (See current map of buildings here.)
Happy Friday, everyone!
Free tours of Edina's historic buildings: St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Minnehaha Grange and Cahill School on Tuesday, May 8. For more information, see our home page. Hope to see you there!
Remember this movie theater?
Although it wasn't quite a "blink and you'll miss it" business that opened one year and closed the next, the Southdale Cinema (6901 France Aveune South) certainly didn't have the longevity of the Edina Theater at 50th and France (more than 75 years and still going strong) or even the Westgate Theater that lasted more than 35 years at Sunnyside and France.
Southdale Cinema survived about 14 years. It opened in 1966 as the first twin movie theater built in Minnesota (according to Cinema Treasures web site) and included an art gallery. In 1975, the theaters were divided to make four auditoriums.
The Southdale area business photos that we've been running on the past several "Photo Friday" posts prompted some readers recall the long gone cinema, which closed in 1990. Reader Jeff Strate gave me the link to these photos on Zeke Rice's Flickr site, and Zeke graciously granted permission for us to use them in the blog.
"My first job was at Southdale Cinema in Edina, MN, a fun mid-century theater that was built in 1966. I was working the last night it was open, August 16, 1990, and these are some pictures I took that night. The next day we had this horrible parade where the employees marched to the new theater, Centennial Lakes. Nothing like marching through a suburb in polyester uniforms. The Galleria mall expanded to this space after it was torn down. The final quality films that played: Die Harder, Air America, Arachnaphobia, Ducktales and Pretty Woman," he wrote on his Flickr site.
It was my first job, and I think I started there in 1989. At the time the fabulous mid-century design didn't stand out to me, but looking back now I just love it," he emailed.
Mid-century design is now considered pretty hip, thanks to shows like Mad Men, lights like these and the color orange has made a comeback. Zeke pointed out that movie theater seats were displayed in the lobby to promote the new location (and new comfy seating) at the Centennial Lakes theater.
Zeke took photos of his fellow employees the last night.
I wonder what the 1990 prices of concessions were?
"The day shift at the theater during the week was always pretty quiet, with only three people working (other than the manager): the box office (ticket seller), usher (ticket ripper), and concessions. The regular, day-time usher was an older man named Bill, who I remember being a little afraid of at first, but soon discovered he had a sly sense of humor - and a bit of a temper if someone tried to get in without getting their ticket ripped," Zeke continued.
"One day they was a flurry of excitement when the manager got a phone call - he told one of the employees to go to one of the back doors that exited directly from the auditorium to the parking lot. A few minutes later, I saw a rather short man and a scantily clad woman cross from one auditorium to the next - it was Prince, going to see a movie and attempting to be anonymous," Zeke wrote.
It wasn't the theater's first brush with fame; according to Cinema Treasures web site, Francis Ford Coppola screened Apocalypse Now there and got a lukewarm reception.
Centennial Lakes 8 (below) opened in 1990, and closed a couple of years after Southdale 16, another AMC theater, opened basically next door in 2001.
Zeke said he would ask other coworkers for their stories about Southdale Cinema and Centennial Lakes. What are your memories? If you have information about these theaters or any others in Edina (Yorktown Cinema Grill, France Avenue Drive-in), please comment here or email me.
Thanks to Zeke Rice for his photos and stories. Thanks also to Jeff Strate, who discovered Zeke's photos.
The more things change, the more things stay the same. In the 50-some years since Constable George Weber kept a look out for speeders at 44th and France in the 1950s, police work has changed dramatically. Police now have radar, computers in their squad cars and two-way radios to connect them with dispatch. Two things haven't changed: residents complaining about speeders on their street, and speeders attempting not to get caught.
From our collection, "speed traps" now and then.
Constable George Weber
2000s:(above) “I was working on West 77th Street between Highway 100 and Parklawn. Speeds were way up, and I was getting lots of business. All of a sudden, things really cooled down until a lady pulled over to tell me someone had put up that sign for eastbound traffic near Seagate.” ~Officer Tom Mason
1950s: (left) When the Morningside Village Council urged Constable George Weber to hide behind bushes to catch speeders, he obeyed, even though it went against his usual mode of operation. (The Village's lone police officer preferred negotiation over confrontation.) He tagged one speeder, who then warned other drivers on a megaphone: “Speed trap ahead!” A photo of the scene in the Edina-Morningside Courier showed Weber chuckling behind his hand, enjoying the spectacle as much as the observers were.
A Story from Dispatch
“Oh, I had one guy one night, he called complaining about speed traps and stuff like that. That’s when they were building the Crosstown. … The squads used to sit in there and you couldn’t see ‘em because of the barricades, and they’d catch all the traffic going southbound on 100. So this guy calls, and he was really complaining that he’d been caught and it’s a speed trap and they got to have lighted squads, and all this kind of junk. Yakety, yak, yak, yakkin’. …And when I was finally able to get a word in edgewise, I says, “It’s my opinion that the only time you abide by the speed limit is when you see a squad car.” ~ from an oral history with Al Hines, dispatcher 1960s to 1980s
I should have said "three things haven't changed." Edina Police still have a sense of humor.
Search this blog:
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:
Thank you, your message has been sent
Support this blog!
Help us bring you Edina history with this web site by becoming a member or donating today. Click on the link to our GiveMN.org site to make a donation with a credit card. The Edina Historical Society is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that depends on contributions to continue operation.