Tim Layeux, like many other people, regularly haunts garage sales and estate sales for treasures. While most others look to add something to their own collections, Tim keeps an eye out for items for local historical societies.
Tim has brought us books by local authors, old yearbooks, Hornet and Cougar emblazoned clothing, advertising from long-gone local businesses and more. He also is a regular donor to surrounding historical societies.
A lifelong Edina resident, Tim can spot items that have local ties, even if the connection wouldn't be immediately obvious to others.
One of his recent finds: this tweed jacket. While it's in pretty decent shape, we would have no need for it in our collection except for one teeny thing: the label inside and the story that goes with it.
The label shows that the jacket was sold at Belleson's in Edina. Men's clothing doesn't change that much, at least to my female uneducated eye, but everything from the font to the wording on the label made me believe that the jacket was more than a few decades old.
I called Belleson's, which is still going strong at 50th and France, just a few doors down from its original location where Wes Belleson opened the store in 1948. He sold the business to his employees in 1975. Staff confirmed my suspicion that the store had long since quit using Wes' first name on its labels.
My internet search and Belleson's also verified that Griffon Clothes was no longer in business. I did see 1940s and 1950s vintage Griffon label jackets for sale on Ebay -- think "Mad Men" styled suits -- but nothing more recent.
The label's "Edina Minneapolis" (rather than Minnesota) reference is also telling. Before Southdale opened in 1956, many Edina businesses listed their location as Minneapolis, in part because of areas of Edina have Minneapolis zip codes and in part because Edina was not yet well-known. Until 1949, Edina didn't even have a high school to give it a unique identity in the metro area.
In my search for information, I found out that Wes Belleson took part in the D-Day invasion at Normandy.. I knew from our files that Wes opened his store after returning from the war, but I didn't know the details.of his military record that includes more than 30 missions as a tail gunner in in B-24 bomber.
Wes is now 90 years old and living in Florida. He just gave a great interview about his war service, so I hope to chat with him soon about his Edina roots.
I'm not done with my research, but I do know that a suit is just a suit. But a suit with a story -- now that's a garage sale find worth saving.
For more reading, see:
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!
When I came across this photo, I was sure I had seen this building before but I couldn't quite place it. (I felt like I did when I ran into someone from high school in the grocery store. She looked familiar but time had changed her enough that I couldn't come up with a name.)
Do you recognize this building, which apparently housed Nolan's Salon of Beauty in 1959?
You sharp-eyed readers no doubt could immediately tell that it's the well-known building at the corner of Kellogg Avenue and Valley View Road that more recently has housed Edina Montessori and The Neighborhood Ice Cream Shoppe. (See Google street view below of 6133 Kellogg Avenue.)
I should have recognized the building sooner. While the storefronts are different, the building itself hasn't changed that much over 50-plus years, other than transforming from a treeless lot to one with giant trees on the north side.
Here's the building from the Valley View Road side, showing Kleven Valley View Drug. More recently, it housed Clancy Drug after the store moved from its 50th and France location, across from the Edina Theater.)
Here's a slightly different view of the same side.
The phone book for 1959 also tells me that the building also housed Horner's Corner Dairy Store and dental offices, a collection agency and other businesses (presumably upstairs.)
What do you remember about these businesses? Share your stories in the comments or email me.
Happy Friday, everyone!
On Mondays, I post comments submitted from readers and add a few thoughts of my own.
1. Ray's Dairy Store
Paige commented on Photo Friday: Ray's Dairy Store, 3907 W. 54th Street, 1959, My memory from the early 70's was the rotating chicken roasting in the window.
In response for requests on what other businesses to feature, I received this email: REALLY enjoy the blog. At some point you should do something on 50th and France and old merchants. There was Marty's barbershop...where they had....PLAYBOYS. Big deal when you're 11. Red Barn. Le Petit Cafe'. Gim Loong. Fanny Farmer. A Christian Science reading room. And then the apartments ABOVE the strip where General Sports was.
Anyone remember any of these businesses? I'll see what I find in the collection, which is incomplete for commercial buildings but still has some gems as you've seen from past editions of Photo Friday. Stay tuned....
In the mean time, check out Joe Sullivan's article in the city's quarterly newsletter About Town on the YMCA. I know he's written one on Marty's barbershop, but I couldn't find the story online. Here's a past Photo Friday on Fanny Farmer.
2. Docken's Store (Brookside, Browndale and more)
Daniel Grobani wrote following the post on The corner store: Docken's family served Brookside neighborhood: Great research! Great write-up! Great post!
Normally I view complimentary emails with some suspicion that they're spam. I never approve them for the blog because they usually link to some fraudulent web site. (For example, here's one that I'm sure must be: I have viewed so many blog post but yours are different. I like to ask how you composed your articles for it really leaves an excellent impression on me.) Besides the odd wording, it doesn't reference anything specific in the blog or Edina.
But I know Daniel (despite never meeting him). He's the out-of-state researcher who set this whole research project into motion with his questions about the Brookside neighborhood. The topic is near and dear to the heart of St. Louis Park HIstorical Society trustee Jeanne Anderson, who even created a whole web site The Brookside Timeline devoted to the neighborhood. She agreed to do the legwork and inspired me to do some online research. Together we looked through our files and compared notes. Daniel found more stuff online.
We have had a flurry of emails going back and forth about this and other topics that include:
For example, I found newspaper articles on real estate developers George Dartt and Frank Mackey (Streets bear their names in the Browndale neighborhood.)
Mackey, a Londoner, built the famous Leamington Hotel before turning his attention to developing in Edina. His wife was a Minneapolis woman whose parties and outings both at home and in London made Society column headlines. (See image at left from Feb. 6, 1910 story in the Minneapolis Tribune, via ProQuest news service.)
Given the city's current effort to identify and name neighborhoods, I am now hooked into finding out more. Thank you to Daniel and Jeanne for their contributions!
3. Biltmore Drive-in
Rick commented on Photo Friday: Biltmore Drive-in, 5001 Vernon Ave, 1959: Wow.... I remember the old Biltmore Motel off of Vernon but this was before my time!
A look through old phone books would probably confirm my hunch that the quaint drive-in didn't last that long. Our visitors typically reminisce about favorite childhood haunts, and not a one has mentioned the drive-in. I can see never hearing about an insurance company or investment firm. (No disrespect intended; they're just not places a child remembers.) But a drive-in? That sells malts and rootbeer floats? It seems strange that I have never heard about it.
4. Growing Up in Edina, 1970s memories
Brad Taplin emailed that the blog prompted a number of memories: I attended Cornelia, and Edina East and West, through the 1970s. I remember the Hedberg and Sons sand pits being a great place to off-road with my banana bike, long before mountain biking was popular.
I also remember one of my first restaurant jobs, washing dishes at Marc's Big Boy in about 1978 (now the Tavern), and other jobs at whatever TJ's was called, Roche Bobois, Karmelkorn, the YMCA, and York Steak House... all to pay for roller skating at Saints, for gas and car parts, for skiing at Hyland Hills, and for movies at the Southdale Cinema.
The best thing about Cornelia for me was math teacher Jim Fesenmeier, who realized when I was in about third grade that I needed glasses and wasn't just slow. I cried when I could finally see the blackboard and understood division.
When I emailed Brad for permission to post his stories, I told him that glasses changed my view of the world too. In third grade, I couldn't read the big E at the top of the eye chart. When I got glasses, I was surprised that trees had individual leaves instead of the big green cloud on a stick that appeared in the typical elementary school drawings. (I often wonder if Impressionistic painters weren't revolutionary as much as they were near-sighted.)
I like to hear from readers. Do you have a question about Edina history? Does this post prompt any memories? Please comment here or email me.
Here it is.... (drum roll please)...the famous Ray's Dairy Store.
If you didn't grow up in the neighborhood, you might not have even heard the name much less have ventured inside. But any kid within walking distance of the store (3907 W. 54th Street) knew Ray's was the place to go for candy. I had heard about the store from several people as we prepared our "Growing Up in Edina" exhibit, now on display.
Jeff Thompson wrote: "I grew up in the sixties near 60th and France Avenue and our "corner store" was Ray's Dairy Store on 54th Street just west of France. It was operated by Ray (Carlstedt) and his wife Dorothy. I remember Ray always seemed fond of us kids but his wife did not seem very happy whenever we came in. Ray was a small man but his wife was a rather large woman who with one look told us we had better behave while in the store. They lived in an apartment above the store. The building still stands today as a craft or needle point shop."
Sherry Ott also fondly remembered biking to the store. "Ray's Dairy Store on 54th and France had the best selection of penny candy in town. If you were lucky, you might hear the sounds of Ray's daughter, Susanne, playing piano upstairs." Bob Herman also included Ray's among his happy childhood memories.
Children's author and illustrator Nancy Carlson turned her childhood memory of shoplifting a candy bar from Ray's into a picture book, Arnie and the Stolen Markers. Although Arnie steals markers instead of candy, Nancy said her drawings of the store with its myriad choices of penny candy are true to what she remembers of Ray's.
The book is out of print, but is part of a display on Nancy Carlson as part of the "Growing Up in Edina" exhibit.
For more on Nancy's childhood in Edina, see previous blog post here or check out her web site.
Of course, Ray's sold more than just candy. Parents also picked up necessities at the little market between trips to the larger grocery stores in town.
What businesses would you like to see featured on Photo Friday? Supply an address, if possible, to make look-up easier. We don't have photos of every business, but if we do, I'll post the photo on a future Friday. Make your wishes known by commenting here or emailing me.
When I was growing up, my mom would send my brothers and me to the little corner store to pick up a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread if she ran out between her weekly trips to the bigger supermarket downtown.
"The Little Store," as we called it (although that was not its real name), stocked the necessities along with penny candy and pop for the youngsters enlisted for the marketing errands. The store looked like a house, but the owners lived upstairs and operated the business on the first floor.
What store am I talking about?
Brookside area residents would probably say Docken's store, but those near Cahill might think of Cameron's. Tedman's might come to mind for those living near Valley View Road (although the owners lived behind the store, not above it.) Those who lived near the Minneapolis border might venture to Ray's Dairy store, while Morningsiders had Morningside Grocery near the northwest corner of 44th and France.
The answer: none of the above. I didn't grow up in Edina, but as you can see, the description fits nearly every little corner store that operated until 1970s or so, when two-car families became the norm and Mom could run her own errands or Dad could pick up the essentials at the gas station on his way home from work.
Docken's Community Store (as it is named in the Edina phone directories) was in a house at 4356 (later renumbered to 4360) Brookside Avenue, just north of the streetcar tracks that ran along 44th Street, making it an easy destination for commuters coming home after work. Arthur and Lila Docken operated the store from at least 1926 to 1949, when it was purchased by Jon and Eloise Garner. (Many customers pronounced the name "Gardener's" or "Gartner's," having only heard the name and not seen it spelled.)
Now the site of the Brookside Court condominiums (built in 1965), the house/store was located on the northwest corner of Brookside Avenue and 44th Street.
Jeanne Anderson from the St. Louis Park Historical Society researched the Dockens and the store, which was important to the Brookside neighborhood on both sides of the SLP-Edina border. She writes, "The Dockens reportedly owned all the land behind the store, down to the creek. People could pay a fee and picnic on the site and swim in the swimming hole upstream from the CP Rail trestle over the creek. The Dockens also kept horses on the property. The undated photo above shows two houses side by side on the property. The store itself is not pictured and would have been toward the left. Edina directories list six separate addresses on the block, although one or more of the buildings may have been a duplex."
The Garners closed up shop in 1957 or 1958, perhaps as a result of a loss of business following the end of the streetcar operation in 1954.
Unidentified woman, possibly Mickey Docken.
Those are just the highlights of the story. Prompted by questions from a researcher, Jeanne recently came over to the museum and we looked through directories and our files, as well as online newspapers to find more.
Turns out the Dockens have a long history in Edina. A society note in the Minneapolis Journal dated August 18, 1905, lists a Miss Docken as a guest at a party given by Miss M. Blanche Craik for bride-to-be Mabel Millam. Craik and Millam were names associated with the Edina Mill.
Arthur Docken had a feed store in Hopkins prior to opening his Brookside market. His children attended St. Louis Park Schools. During her junior year at the University of Minnesota, daughter Lila Agnes "Mickey" Docken was selected to be a stewardess for American Airlines. She died on January 10, 1945 in a plane crash five miles north of Lockheed Air Terminal in Burbank, California. She and the pilot, along with 21 passengers, all members of the armed forces, lost their lives.
For more information, see the St. Louis Park Historical Society web site. Jeanne also was kind enough to share her research for our files, so come on in if you want to know more. Our research is a "work in progress" and we can always learn more. Help us out. Do you know more about the Dockens or the Garners? Share your knowledge by commenting here or emailing me.
Does anyone know Carl? This was his gas station.
At least that's how it is named in the 1960 Edina phone directory: Carl's Edina Cities Service, located at 5241 Eden Avenue.
For all I know Carl could have been Ms. Carl, but this was 1959, so I'm betting on a Mr.
There isn't a gas station in the city today that matches the same address, but there are a couple that are close on Vernon Avenue. Because the area was redeveloped, the address numbering system could have changed. Maybe the gas station has survived under a new name. Maybe it has not. I'm letting you do the work this week to find out. (It's not like I didn't try. I just couldn't see a similarity in the roof lines with the existing stations.)
Is this building still around in the Grandview area? Did you know the owner or do you remember the business? Inquiring minds want to know. Share your knowledge by commenting here or email me.
Happy Friday, everyone!
Dr. Walter Bonnett opened Edina Pet Hospital in 1958 at 5237 Eden Avenue. In this August 1959 tax assessor photo, it looks like landscaping is still on the "To Do" list, judging from the pile of dirt off to the left side.
But maybe not. This was a different Edina, after all, with this end of Eden Avenue being home to industrial buildings like Danen's excavating, Wanner Engineering, Roto Press and a taxi company instead of retail shops, condominiums, library and senior center. Look at those wide open spaces around the clinic -- quite different from the address today.
1960 Edina phone directory ad
In 2001, the City of Edina acquired the land by eminent domain for redevelopment, and the Edina Public Library and the Edina Senior Center were built there.
At that time, Edina Pet Hospital was owned by Dr. Dan Shebuski, who had worked with Bonnett at both his Edina and Southdale practices. Edina Pet Hospital, now in its 53rd year. still endures in Edina at 7701 Cahill Road.
Dr. Bonnett died in 2010. His obituary (published in the June 27, 2010 Minneapolis Star Tribune) noted that he founded the Edina, Southdale, Eden Prairie, and Eagan Pet Hospitals.
Magnolia boys, Cedric and Walter
As a side note, Bonnett was born in Magnolia, MN, the same small town as another Edina resident, Cedric Adams, popular radio host and owner of Cedric's restaurant in the same Grandview area. With Magnolia's population at 261, it can't be a coincidence that Bonnett and Adams both moved to Edina and set up businesses within blocks of each other. They weren't classmates, though, by any means; Cedric was born in 1902, while Dr. Bonnett was born in 1921. Hmmm.... a mystery to be solved on another day. Does anyone know more? If you remember Dr. Bonnett and the early days of Edina Pet Hospital, please comment here or email me.
Happy Friday, everyone!
Note: Because I've posted only twice this week, I will publish a bonus Photo Friday later this afternoon.
Today, you will need a napkin to wipe the drool off your chin and some willpower so you don't run out to a Sonic or Dairy Queen after reading this post.
Here is a photo of the Biltmore Drive-in, located at 5001 Vernon Avenue. Although this photo was taken for tax assessing purposes, I love that the photographer captured two young customers on bicycles on what looks to be a beautiful August day.
In case you can't read the menu, here's a sampling of what you could buy. (Note that nothing cost more than $1.65.)
Broilburger 50 cents
Steak sandwich 50 cents
Cheeseburger 40 cents
Biltmore burger 50 cents
Floats 20 cents
Heavy malts 30 cents
Freezes 25 cents
1/2 Chicken in a basket $1.65
Shrimp in a basket $1.25
Egg salad 30 cents
Peanut butter sandwich 25 cents
Did that make you hungry? Sorry to do that to you. Well, it's Friday. Go out and enjoy a malt... just remember to bring more than 30 cents.
Note: Edina had a bunch of businesses with Biltmore in the title, but as far as I know, none shared the same owner. In the same way that many businesses today have Southdale in their name because of the nearby landmark mall, these businesses no doubt traded on the fact that the well-known Biltmore Hotel was in the area. Correct me if I'm wrong.
Do you know anything about the Biltmore Drive-In or any other drive-ins in Edina? Does anyone know who owned the business or how long it lasted? Share your knowledge and comment here or email me.
Happy Friday, everyone!
Many of you remember Pete Santrizos, as he is pictured in the Edina Sun photo (dated Nov. 6, 1973) below. Pete held court behind the counter of the Sunnyside and France business and knew every customer, even if they had visited only once before. "His memory is terrific," reporter Debbie Pint wrote. "When someone walks in, he can usually recall their name, who they married, what they're doing."
The photo was taken after Pete had run the business for 32 years, taking over the struggling new restaurant on Nov. 1, 1941. At that point, he had no plans of closing, but his customers urged the local newspaper to write about the grandfatherly man who dispensed wisdom behind the counter as well as juicy hamburgers.
See the menu boards on the wall behind Pete? Here's one for those famous burgers ("hamburger steak") saved by the family:
Pete pointed out that in all the years that he ran the Convention, the only thing that changed were the prices. Even now, while the ownership has changed, the Convention's decor has changed little from when Pete bought the Convention in 1941 with a $200 loan from a relative.
Here Pete is pictured about the same time he bought the Morningside restaurant.
Pete came a long way from a lonely 15-year-old boy immigrating to the United States without his family in 1911. He started in the restaurant business washing dishes and sent money back home to his parents in Greece.
His wife Christine (below) was his life partner as well as his business partner, who worked in the kitchen creating nine homemade soups and was famous for her "Christine salad." They lived in southwest Minneapolis, just seven blocks away from the Convention. Pete walked to work every day before 8 a.m. and returned home after 10 p.m. The Convention wasn't just their home away from home; it was home, where they spent nearly all of their waking hours with their three boys: Nicholas, Harry and Mario.
A 1942 photograph (below) in the family photo album shows the boys standing on Sunnyside Road with the Convention in the back ground. (You can also see the partial sign for the Westgate Dairy Store, which shared space in the building with the Convention. The dairy store, which was better known as simply Dennison's, later moved to the small building west of the parking lot. But that's another story for another day.)
"We never felt like we were working for our customers... they were our friends," Christine told Edina Sun reporter Jane Sims Podesta when the Santrizos retired in August 1976 after 35 years in the business.
Aren't these the greatest photos? I especially love the last one, with the distinct exterior of the Convention in the background. I have searched for photos of the much beloved Pete and Christine Santrizos ever since we created an exhibit about the Morningside neighborhood in 2005. Finally, seven years later, I have connected with the family, who graciously allowed us to copy photos from their albums.
I have a long wish list of photos and artifacts for our collection. Since we're on the topic of Morningside businesses, we have successfully hunted down photos of Burr Cheever's barber shop and Carlson's Odd Shop. I still want photos of the interior and owners of Morningside Hardware and Joyce's Bakery, among others.
If you know these owners or their families (or know someone who knows somebody who does), please contact me. Also, please share your memories of the Convention Grill and Pete and Christine by commenting here.
If you missed last Friday's post, check out the 1941 Convention ad here as well as two other Convention Grill posts here.
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.