Photo Friday is back, after a too-long hiatus while I tried to catch up on cataloging a huge backlog of donated artifacts and photos. More about that on Monday.
Today, let's take a look back at a photo donated in 2001 of an earlier Edina. I'm guessing this dates from the 1950s, but you car aficionados may be able to get more specific. (I can't tell a 1958 Oldsmobile from a 1960 Ford, but I know many of you can.)
Any guesses of this photo's location? For those who grew up in southwest Edina, this question is a no-brainer. But the rest of you might have more difficulty, since the area looks (almost) nothing like this today.
Take a good look.
Give up? It's the intersection of Cahill Road and 70th Street, the heart of the Irish Cahill settlement dating from the 1850s.
First settled in the mid-1850s, the Irish Cahill community almost immediately built a church, school and store at this important crossroads. Nearly a century later, the same institutions stood at the same corners (although some in newer buildings.)
Cahill School was built in 1864. Although a modern brick Cahill School was built in 1948, the pioneer era school still was used for kindergarten classes until 1958. The school stood vacant for more than a decade, until it was restored in 1969 and moved to Tupa Park. Today, the Edina Historical Society runs living history programs in the historic building.
Hugh Darcy's son Moses built a general store across the street from Cahill School. Destroyed by fire in 1918, the store was rebuilt on the same site. From 1944 to 1965, retired Edina teacher John Cameron owned what was then called "Cahill Grocery" in the phone book, but was more commonly known as Cameron's Store by neighborhood residents.
St. Patrick's Church, not pictured, served the community at the southwest corner of the intersection. Although the church was also destroyed by fire, the congregation rebuilt a new church at the same corner.
By the 1930s, Protestant families had moved into the predominantly Irish Catholic neighborhood and, by all reports, felt welcome. They held services at Cahill School until they built Calvary Lutheran Church in 1938. Both churches have since moved. The old St. Patrick's church is gone, but Calvary's first church still survives as a single family home and the only reminder of a bygone era.
I like this photo because it shows an important crossroads, both the physical location and the moment in time. By the late 1960s, new retail and housing had transformed the formerly rural landscape forever.
Hello? Remember me? I haven't posted for a week. Not to make excuses, but I've been working on a few things. A few very fun things. (Just because it's work, doesn't mean I can't have fun, right?)
You can have fun too by joining me on our May 8 tour of Cahill School, Minnehaha Grange and St. Stephen's Church.
You can read the details about the tour, jointly sponsored with Edina's Heritage Preservation Board, on our home page, but I'll give you a sneak peek today.
One of the cool things you'll see inside Minnehaha Grange Hall is the peep hole in the door. Why would a farm organization need a peep hole, you might ask? The better to see whether the person at the door is a member of the secret society, my dear.
You might think that the Grange focused only on how to grow better crops or how to best can tomatoes without getting ptomaine, but the Grange was a secret society, just as the Masons and the Elks, with its special ceremonies, passwords and unique names for its officers.
(And you wouldn't be the first to think of Fred Flintstone's Loyal Order of the Water Buffalo. I bet three out of four people tell me about the 1960s cartoon character's fraternal organization when they hear about the Grange.)
The Grange was the center of community life for more than a century. Long after Edina transformed from a farm village to a booming suburb, the Grange still met at its 1879 meeting hall, which is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
On May 8, former members Chuck Westerberg and Frank Cardarelle will talk about the social activities of the Grange. Robert Vogel, of the architectural consulting firm Pathfinder CRM, LLC, will lead the tour of the building and discuss one of Edina's most prominent members, Sarah Baird, who in 1895 became the first woman to be a State Master and held that position for 17 years.
The Grange is Edina's birthplace. It was here in 1888 that residents voted to form the independent village of Edina to avoid being absorbed by Minneapolis. The building is historically significant for many reasons... come find out why on May 8.
The Grange was built at the southeast corner of 50th and Wooddale where St. Stephen's Episcopal Church now stands.
The Grange moved about a half mile away when Samuel Thorpe purchased the land as part of his Country Club District development. The site stood vacant for several years until the community rallied to build a neighborhood church.
Edina's new building didn't ignore the community's historic roots. Look at the narthex floor (photo at left) and you'll see one of the millstones from the Edina Mill.
I'll talk more about the church's unique place in Edina history on the May 8 tour. Chuck Liddy, architect from Miller Dunwiddie firm, will join me, along with parishioners who will provide highlights of the church's stunning stained glass windows and its carillon.
I have enjoyed putting the tour together with the staff and parishioners of St. Stephen's, who have had a full schedule working on many other events celebrating its Diamond Jubilee year.
Come to the tour and you'll find out more about the church, which has changed little from its First Sunday meeting, pictured below. If you haven't already seen it, take a look at the 1938 home movie documenting the building process. It's a beautiful building that has stayed true to its original design of an English country church, despite several additions and renovation projects over the years. For those efforts, it won the Edina Heritage Award last year.
A few Edina residents still remember going to the one-room Cahill School, which was in continuous use from 1864 to 1958 at the corner of 70th and Cahill. Restored by the city of Edina and reopened as a historic site at Tupa Park in 1969, each year the school hosts thousands of students, who experience a pioneer school day through our living history field trip programs.
Although the programs at the church and the Grange are structured 40-minute tours, Cahill School will be open from 5 to 7 p.m. and visitors can come and go as they please. We'll have staff on hand to answer questions, but the real tour guides will be the children themselves, who often bring their families to show them where they spent a day in 1900.
Like the Grange, Cahill School is listed on the National Register of Historical Places. Besides serving as the only school for the district, it was a community gathering spot for the predominantly Irish immigrants living in southwest Edina.
The Grange and the church will have two tours each, starting at 5 and 6:15 p.m. See one or both. The tour schedule allows 35 minutes between tours to walk or drive the half mile between sites. Drop in at Cahll School as time permits. The tours are free. No reservations required. Spots will be filled on a first come, first served basis. For more details and a map, see our flyer.
Please help me spread the word about the tours. (If it's any incentive, the less time I spend on publicity, the more time I can spend adding photos and stories to the blog.) Use the Share button below to post to Facebook or Twitter. Or download the flyer to send to friends.
Although I didn't post anything new last week, we did get a couple of comments on old posts:
In response to Monday mashup: Movies in the Southdale area, Tim Streeter wrote:
My first job was at Cinema I & II in the summer of 1972. The man who ran the theater, Jack Reynolds, lived in the same condo building as my grandmother at 7000 Sandell. He had a comb over and my grandmother used to laugh at how he'd have to hold down his hair on windy days when he walked over to the theater. The assistant manager was Dale (?) Paitzner (?) who was probably in his late 20s and had wild black hair and a mustache. He had a little ritual at closing each night of running up to the double doors and vigorously shaking the chains that locked them to make sure they were secure.
I made a dollar an hour and wore the requisite blue sports jacket and black bow tie. If I was positioned inside a theater I carried a flashlight. This was back when you could smoke in the last three rows during the movie. Some nights it was pretty hazy seeing the screen.
There were a number of movies that had very long runs, and when you worked a full shift inside the theater it was easy to begin to memorize the dialogue. I probably saw "Play It Again Sam," "Frenzy," and "The French Connection" (return roadshow) 50 times each. Also popular were "Summer of '42," "Prime Cut," "Where Does It Hurt," "Fuzz," "Kansas City Bomber," and "Deliverance." I preferred being inside the theater rather than working the lobby, especially during the day shifts when there wasn't much to do between films other than look at the art or out the windows.
Sometimes I'd be tasked to go in early on Saturday or Sunday and drag down bags of popcorn kernels from the upstairs storage room. It was not the cleanest room, and once a coworker and I dropped a bag that split open. He picked up the dust pan and shoveled the kernels back into the bag. I had a hard time eating movie theater popcorn for a long time after that.
I was 16 and really into movies as a kid, so this was a dream job in spite of the paltry salary. Jack used to let me take home posters and lobby cards, so I have a fair collection of memorabilia from that time. I only worked there about 9 months before moving on to the Red Barn at 50th and France. As it turned out, that was about as close to the movie industry as I would get!
Mark Johnson helped narrow down the location of Queen Anne Kiddieland (The Valleyfair of yesteryear: Queen Anne Kiddieland)
Well...as far as the exact location of QAK, the reason I think it was between France and Hwy 100 is that we lived in Bloomington about a mile and a half east of France and to get to the amusement park my dad would drive up Xerxes to 110th St, turn left, go to France, then right and up France until he would turn left, then another left into the park.
I remember something else, too. One day we were driving up France and my brother and I were in the back of the station wagon looking out the rear window. Clouds of yellow dust rose from the road as it was paved with yellow rock. Since we moved to Bloomington about the time Southdale opened, that gives you a clue of when that was....1956 or 1957.
I also remember the school bus driving past the McDonald's on Old Shakopee Rd. in Bloomington and the sign said "3 million sold." I think they've sold a few more since then. I was about seven years old when I saw that sign, so that would have been 1960.
Another recollection was the landfill across the river in what then was early Burnsville or Savage. My dad called it the dump and usually came home with more than he dropped off. I remember the oily road leading to the dump, the graders plying over the mountains of garbage as their exhaust pipes belched black clouds and most of all, the thin, grimy man seated on a stool at the entrance. He would eyeball the load we had, then, without a word, raise the appropriate number of fingers to indicate how many dollars this was going to cost. Then we would go in, driving past the short row of lawn mowers, dressers, lamps and other items raised from the dead by the landfill for resale. This was between what is now Hwy 13 and the river.
Thanks for writing, Mark and Tim!
We have school photos and records, but not all history is recorded on paper.
I'd like to say that I know almost everything about Edina history. I could say it, and I would be wrong. I could research the community for another ten years, and I would still be wrong.
Oh, sure, I can tell you when Edina became a village (1888), and who was the first police officer (Percy Redpath). I can find a photo of your home in our archives, and let you look through your class yearbook. I can find all sorts of information about Edina schools, churches, homes, businesses and government.
After seven years at this job, I don't consider myself too immodest when I claim to be an expert in Edina history. Unfortunately, though, I can't answer questions like: remember eating lunch in the basement of Cahill School? What did our neighbor always yell when we ran across his lawn? What was the name of the girl I had a crush on in third grade?
Researchers look for answers to personal questions like those nearly as often as academic ones regarding community history. They're not writing a class paper, or even a memoir. They're simply searching their memories for pieces of their personal history.
Last Saturday, a man who attended the one-room Cahill School in the late 1930s and early 1940s stopped in. He had moved away as a kid, but had fond memories of growing up on a farm in south Edina. He looked through photos and came across a photo of his best friend and neighbor. He chuckled as he remembered the fun he had and wondered if his friend was still around.
The name wasn't in the phone book. But I knew one of the family members, who was researching the family tree. I contacted him, and he called his brother, who called an uncle... until finally the two former childhood friends made plans to connect.
I don't know everything. But sometimes the old adage is true: it's not what you know, it's who you know (or in this case, who you know who knows someone who knows.)
We flip a switch and the lights come on... It's a simple action we take for granted, but until 1934 most of Edina did not have electricity.
Electric power came earlier to Morningside, Country Club District and housing areas at the north end of the city, but rural Edina had to wait.Residents of Cahill community, located in southwest Edina near 70th Street and Cahill Road, were so thrilled with getting power, they celebrated throughout the year, according to Dorothy Grant Palmer, a long-time resident.
"In the early 1930's the entire Cahill community was still not being supplied with electric power. Even telephone service was very limited - only a few fortunate people were lucky enough to have telephones. It was in 1934 that North States Power finally brought electricity to southwestern Edina. As the electricity was turned on in the various homes, 'light up' parties were held to celebrate the 'blessed event'. It was a year that was filled with many happy social gatherings. Even the little group of Lutherans, who met in the Cahill School house, had a special gala dedication to celebrate its first service with electric lights."
Dorothy wrote down her memories of living in the Cahill community during the 1930s and 40s, and submitted her essay, "A Wedding in a One Room School House" to us in 1985 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of her wedding in Cahill School, which served as a church for the few Lutherans in the mostly Irish Catholic neighborhood. That church later became Calvary Lutheran, now located at 6817 Antrim Road in Edina.
What were you doing when the lights went on in Edina? Did you attend any "light up" parties? If you have photos of any of the events or memories to share, please contact me.
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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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