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!
The weather still might feel like winter, but baseball teams across the metro are thinking spring training.
In honor of the change of seasons, here are more photos from the American Legion collection (that I wrote about here.) You guys did such a great job of identifying all the players in those photos that I hope you can do the same for these.
As you can see, this photo is identified as the 1955 State Champions. This was a first for the Edina American Legion, whose teams also won the state title in 1969, 1982, and 1983, (when Edina also took the national title.)
I think the players are the same guys in this more formal portrait (below) that I published on the blog last March. Although the photo was not dated, readers determined that the year was 1955 based on the people in the photo.
Our readers came through with names for all the players. Back row L-R: Kent Larson, Tom Moe, Larry Johnson, Dick Siebert Jr., Bill Strout, Tom Kelly, Bill HIbbs. Front Row L-R: Don Myers, Jay Diebolt, Butch Nielsen, Dave Sehlin, Tom Mulcahy. Bat boy Fenn George. Thank you to the following for their help identifying the players: Pat Barker, Charles Brown, Tom Kelly and Ray Hibbs.
This photo (below) was marked 10th District Champs 1961. Any Edina grads from the early 1960s could probably name these guys.... I hope. If you can, please comment here or email me.
If you have team or action photos from any Edina sport that you'd like to share or donate, please email me. Sports are big in Edina, and we'd like to make sure our collection reflects that.
The Edina American Legion Post 471 entrusted the Edina History Museum with a few items for past exhibits: loaning us the national championship baseball trophy and flag from 1983 for an exhibit on Edina's early suburban years, and scrapbooks and photos for "Edina's Greatest Generation" exhibit currently on display.
The organization recently decided to hand over its entire collection because members felt we had proven we would take care of the items for future generations. I am honored by their trust, and credit our volunteers who cleaned and restored the trophy and reviewed unlabeled photos to identify former Legion officials and events.
In the museum business, we not only work to preserve the artifact, but we also spend a great deal of time preserving the story. For example, among the items were two award folders presented to the American Legion State champs. The folders include a nice black and white photograph (below) and the Code of Sportsmanship - but surprisingly no year or names of the players.
The Edina Legion web site lists state titles for 1955, 1969, 1982, and 1983. This photo has to be from 1955 or 1969. Legion members are now trying to hunt down people who remember those players and can provide names to those faces, as well as any information about the teams. If you know these athletes, please contact me.
Update: Our readers came through with names for all the players. Back row L-R: Kent Larson, Tom Moe, Larry Johnson, Dick Siebert Jr., Bill Strout, Tom Kelly, Bill HIbbs. Front Row L-R: Don Myers, Jay Diebolt, Butch Nielsen, Dave Sehlin, Tom Mulcahy. Bat boy Fenn George. Thank you to the following for their help identifying the players: Pat Barker, Charles Brown, Tom Kelly and Ray Hibbs.
I am finding all sorts of great treasures in the Legion scrapbooks. This aerial view by photographer Dick Palen (photo below) shows the 1940s Village Hall (on the right) and the American Legion hall (left). Fiftieth Street runs left to right at the top and Eden Avenue is in the foreground.
For those good with directions and maps, you will have noticed that today's City Hall is in this approximate location. (I'll save the city hall story for another day. In the meantime, you can read Joe Sullivan's column on Edina's village halls in the Summer 2003 issue of the city's quarterly newsletter "About Town.")
Isn't it a cool photo?
Here's another great photo, below. Memorial Day, year unknown, in front of the Minnehaha Grange Hall, which was just to the west (left) of the Legion hall. One of our visitors saw this photo on the wall and said, "I bet with a magnifying glass and some time, I could name most of the people in this photo."
He was a little taken aback by how quickly I suggested he do just that.
All I can say, don't make idle suggestions around museum staff with a stack of photos needing identification. We get a little desperate.
Despite the amount of time involved, I do enjoy documenting the photos. Our visitor, a former Grange member pointed something out in the photo below, that I may not have noticed. Take a look at the windows.
Did you notice the shutters? The Grange - like the Masons or the Elks and the like - were a secret society and kept the meeting hall's windows covered so that passersby couldn't see their activities. (Maybe Dan Brown could write his next book on those farmers in the Grange, huh?)
These three photos are just a tiny sample of the Legion records. We are happy to have them in our collection.
Last year, I took more than 1,000 photos at my son's baseball games. No, I didn't hold the zero key down too long. Yes, the comma is in the right place. Crazy as it may seem, I did shoot that many photos.
Just so you don't think I'm completely nuts, I hasten to add that I deleted hundreds of them and printed only a handful. But still, the 2009 baseball season is well documented for him and his teammates should they ever want to remember a mediocre finish to a pretty fun year when they were 11 years old.
If only I had a handful of photos for an amazing finish to a history-making season for the 1983 Edina American Legion team. Even though the team won the Legion World Series, the Edina Historical Society does not have one photo of their accomplishment.
And neither has anyone else, it seems. We're still trying to hunt down some photos from former players, the local newspaper and fans. If you have a great photo to share, please contact me. I hope to run a story and photo for our monthly "Last Glance" history feature in Edina Magazine.
On the plus side, we do have the October 1983 issue Edina Magazine (under different ownership) that spotlighted the team on its cover. We also have a DVD of the local cable television station's feature on the team. To make sure the 1983 season is remembered by the community, we have worked with the American Legion, which has been without a building for several years, to get the trophy and flag out of storage and on display at the Wayne Courtney baseball complex.
I'm sure that we'll eventually get photos. Even if there are no action photos, I know some mom or dad made those young men line up with their shiny World Series trophy so they'd always remember their 1983 season.
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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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