Edina's first major snow fall brought sledders to Arneson Acres this week.
They were no doubt in school on Thursday morning when I took these photos, but they left evidence of their fun with all the tracks in the snow.
The view out my window reminded me to reserve the lower level Terrace Room at the Edina History Museum for our annual sledding parties. (Well, annual is a bit of a stretch, since we had to cancel last year's dates because of the lack of snow.)
Mark your calendar for Saturday, February 2, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Backup date will be Feb. 16 if the weather isn't cooperative.) Bring your sled or snowshoes and enjoy the park, and then come inside for free hot chocolate and treats, and warm up by the fireplace. Parents should supervise their own children, and all activities are undertaken at your own risk. It's quite a hill, and a favorite of neighbor kids for decades. See this past blog post on Mort Arneson for more about the park and the sledding hill.
We'll also have our "Growing Up in Edina" exhibit open to visitors. If you have your own growing up memories about sledding or winter in Edina, please comment here or share them with me by email.
This is what the sky looked like yesterday when I drove to the museum.
Just before 9 a.m. the sky looked ominous. Bad weather doesn't scare me.on a regular museum day. Even if nobody braves the storms to research or see the exhibits, I can work on my backlog of archiving and head to the basement if the emergency siren sounds.
But yesterday was not a regular day. We had planned our first big fundraiser concert featuring the Peterson Family. I chewed my nails as I listened to meteorologists predict nickel-sized hail, potential tornadoes and severe thunderstorms moving through the area about the time we wanted a crowd of customers walking through the Edina Performing Arts Center door for the concert.
I fretted all afternoon. Just before the concert, predictions changed. The front had stalled south of us and we would have calm weather until after the concert ended. We still had a slightly smaller crowd than anticipated, but we enjoyed a fabulous performance. (And here I had envisioned spending the evening in the basement with the other ticket holders.)
The bottom line: we made money. Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, we had paid for all of our costs up front so every ticket sold meant another $20 for our operating budget. We haven't tallied the figures yet, but I think we did well for our first venture.
Will there be a second fundraiser concert? The planning committee will weigh the pros and cons and decide in the next few months. I personally think it was a great event.
Unless someone mistakenly thinks I'm much older than I am. Then all bets are off.
Eden Avenue Grill
Tom Ries - Edina Realty
Grandview Tire & Auto
Skip Thomas ReMax/Results
Update Service Printing
Waddell & Reed
Welcyon Fitness After 50
The Edina Historical Society and the Heritage Preservation Board sponsored free tours of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Minnehaha Grange Hall and Cahill School on Tuesday. Here is one highlight from the tour.
Founding members of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Edina clearly wanted to honor the past with the design of their new church building in 1938. The almost 75-year old building looks like it has always stood at the corner of Wooddale and 50th Street in part because it is based on a medieval church in Wales, Old Radnor Parish Church.
One would almost be surprised if Country Club residents hadn't built a church steeped in old Episcopal traditions. What did surprise (delight, intrigue) me was the inclusion of Edina history in the church.
Take a look at this section of one of the church's beautiful stained glass windows:
Yes, it depicts Minnehaha Grange No. 398, which originally stood at the St. Stephen's site. The 1879 building was moved after Samuel Thorpe purchased the land as part of his Country Club District development. Doesn't the stained glass image look remarkably close to the photo below of the building when it stood at 50th and Wooddale? [Please ignore the slightly distorted angle of the window. I am height challenged.]
I think it's interesting that relative newcomers to the community chose to honor its past in a medium traditionally reserved for the sacred not the secular.
The church, built during the Depression, was originally built with clear glass windows. As the congregation raised enough funds, they purchased stained glass windows, created by nationally acclaimed Connick studios in Boston, MA.
Thanks to parishioner Keith Freedy and Larry Reynolds, Minister of Worship, for their great information on the stained glass windows, and to architect Chuck Liddy of Miller Dunwiddie for leading the tour at the church.
I noticed something interesting when I checked our web site traffic numbers for April. See the three big spikes? Those those coincide with our blog posts on the Hornettes, Cougarettes and the Santrizos family of the Convention Grill.
(The blue line shows web traffic (number of visits) for April 15-29. To compare, the orange line shows traffic for the same period the previous month, March 15-29.)
We received the most comments about those three posts as well the most visitors. Usually, I post reader comments on Monday but you can easily go back and read them this week, as compared to other weeks when I get comments from posts that are several weeks or months past. Instead, I thought I'd give you a behind the scenes look at our web site.
A few museum visitors and board members have asked me how much information I know about our web visitors. To assure anyone with fears of "Big Brother" type tracking, I don't know anything about individuals. Google Analytics doesn't report any personal information; your name, email, location, and demographics remain private.
However, I do see information about our visitors as a whole, in terms of how they interact with our site. The numbers show how many are first-time visitors, what pages are visited the most, and how visitors access our site (through a search, by typing in our address or from a link on another web site).
This helps me see what kinds of posts attract the most traffic, and whether publicity efforts actually reach the public. Facebook is the top referring web site, by the way. Because of that, I figure updates to our Facebook site are worth my time.
I do see the number of visitors from each country, but not towns or even states. This data might be more important for multi-national companies, but not for us. As one would expect for an organization focused on a single Minnesota town, we attract visitors almost exclusively from the United States. I would love to know if they're all Edina folks but Google Analytics doesn't provide that detail.
A few other countries bring a handful of visitors per month (with the most from the English-speaking countries of Canada and Australia), but I imagine our foreign visitors as the ones who send us strangely worded spam emails. Or perhaps we have some Edina expats reading of home?
In any case, I don't spend a lot of time interpreting the numbers. I'm just glad we have visitors and that the numbers are growing. Otherwise, I'm just talking to myself here and what would be the point of that?
To give you an idea of the web site's growth, see the difference between April 2012 (blue line) vs. April 2011 (orange line). It looks pretty dramatic, doesn't it?
In reality, we're still pretty small. Even with a record number of visits last month, our web site had just 2,200 visits in April. I'm OK with that. We still reach a far bigger audience than we could with our limited hours at the Edina History Museum and our web site helps us achieve our mission of educating the public about the great history of Edina.
Thank you for being one of our 2,200-plus visitors this month!
The City of Edina holds a volunteer recognition event every spring to give the community's many service groups an opportunity to publicly thank an outstanding volunteer from their organization. I love seeing what good people have done for this community. (I also dread my public speaking part of the evening.)
This was what I had written down to say about our honoree Frank McGoldrick. (What I actually said, I don't know. It's all a blur, thankfully.)
Every year, when I sit at this wonderful Volunteer Awards ceremony, someone comes up to me and says, "Next year, you should nominate Frank." A few years ago, Frank McGoldrick was our very deserved award winner from the Edina Historical Society, and the next year, people still came up to me and said, "Next year, you should nominate Frank."
Every year we could nominate Frank because does so much for the Edina Historical Society. He volunteers at the museum at least six hours per week, and works even more outside the office. Frank has served as membership chair for more than 7 years and has been instrumental in more than doubling our membership dollars in that time
This year Frank has gone above and beyond his usual level of above and beyond by taking on our first fundraiser concert. (featuring the Peterson Family on Thursday, June 14.)
We gratefully inherited the successful 10-year concert tradition started by the Golden K Kiwanis and their fearless leader Herb Telshaw who established a winning formula. Even so, we had some second thoughts about taking on this big project: we didn't want to be the ones to mess this one up.
Once Frank stepped up to chair the event, I never once worried about our concert being a success. He knows exactly what needs to be done and does it. Frank has sold ads, negotiated contracts, figured out logistics and is now selling tickets. (Talk to him after the ceremony and he'll be happy to sell you yours.)
That is on top of his usual membership chair duties, as well as pitching in and helping at everything from prepping mailings, running errands, helping researchers, answering phones… the list is too long to recount here. I can summarize his role by saying he is my right arm.
Moreover, Frank is perhaps the nicest man you'll ever meet. He somehow finds that line of being proactive without overstepping his role, of getting sponsorships without being pushy, of thinking creatively and still being practical.
He's a great guy. Everyone will tell you that. I'm even certain that next year, as I sit at the volunteer awards ceremony, more than one person will come up to me and say, "Next year, you should nominate Frank."
Thank you to all our volunteers!
We can honor only one volunteer at the city award ceremony, but I want to acknowledge the work of all our volunteers, who do everything from assisting with exhibits, helping researchers, selling merchandise, transcribing documents, painting and cleaning, conducting oral history interviews, and much more. I work 30 hours at the museum as the only staff person. We also have four part-time interpreters who present living history programs at the historic Cahill School and Minnehaha Grange Hall. We couldn't do nearly as much without the time and talents of our volunteers. Thank you!
Mayor's Award winners:
We were also proud of Edina Historical Society volunteers who were presented with awards from the City.
Marshall Schwartz won the Mayor's Award for Senior volunteers for his work on the city's Veterans' Memorial Committee. He spent more than 1,000 hours of research through records at the museum, other historical societies, area churches, online records and more to identify and document the lives of 32 veterans who died in service to their country. We got to know Marshall from his many hours at the museum and I am happy to say that he is now serving on the Edina Historical Society Board of Directors.
Elizabeth Montgomery won the Mayor's Award for Youth volunteers for her work with the Heritage Preservation Board, as well as her many other volunteer commitments including volunteering at our summer day camp at historic Cahill School. Elizabeth has been a joy for our school marms and we appreciate her finding time in her busy school and volunteer schedule to assist at camp.
If you are interested in volunteering at the Edina History Museum or at our living history programs at Cahill School and Minnehaha Grange, 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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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.