Who bowled at Gus Young's? Apparently everyone, according to "Twin City Tenpin," a small newspaper on file at the Minnesota Historical Society.
The bowling alley and billiards hall at 4101 West 50th Street brought in more than 3,150 bowlers each week, said the Oct. 22, 1964 issue of the now defunct publication. Gus Young was quoted as having more than 700 teams involved in 60 leagues.
"It is Gus' belief that he has more women's leagues than any other house in the city," the story states. Perhaps because he offered child care on site.
Approximately 128 youngsters take to the lanes every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday "under the direction of four capable instructors and coaches:" Dave Goggins, Junior Boys; Grace Chelman, Junior Girls; June Nelson, Junior Girls; and Alfreda Addy, Bantam Boys. Gus also sponsored a Junior Traveling League.
The bowling alley also had a snack bar and restaurant, with everything from "just light snacks to a full course meal, prepared for you exactly as you like it. Beer and other beverages are available on order."
Gus Young was most notably a basketball coach at Gustavus Adolphus College (1949-1957), but throughout the years he also spent time bowling and owning bowling alleys.
Gus Young's entry into the bowling business began when he was head of intramural activities at Carleton College. Because he had to ferry kids to the closest bowling alley in Faribault from Northfield, he ended up being late for a date with his girlfriend Evelyn (who later became his wife.) Evelyn suggested opening up a bowling alley in Northfield, so Gus did. He was proprieter of the Varsity Bowl until 1943 when he joined the Navy during World War II.
In 1957, he bought the Austin Bowl that he later sold to open Biltmore Lanes in 1959. I haven't researched when the bowling alley closed, but I do know Gus Young died in 1977.
Thanks to Jeanne Andersen, friend and colleague at the St. Louis Park Historical Society, for bringing in the photocopied story.
Most school children today have dined at tables that fold up and roll away when lunch time is over. But, back in the 1950s, it was a revolutionary new concept invented by Edina resident Kermit Wilson.
Wilson envisioned a need for space-saving equipment in schools that would soon be overcrowded by the exploding post-war “baby boom.” His response was a foldable table that freed school lunchrooms for additional uses.
Wilson also made bleachers, including those installed at Edina’s first high school that lasted more than 50 years. Edina firefighters also slept on foldaway Murphy beds designed by
Wilson moved his infant company SICO Manufacturing to Edina in 1954, and leased space at a 33,000 square foot at 5215 Eden Avenue in the Grandview Area. The company broke ground for a new building at 7525 Cahill Road in 1967.
Today, the company makes portable dance floors, foldable stage platforms, foldable conference tables and more sold throughout the world.
Wilson was involved in local organizations and helped form the new Edina Community Foundation.
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.
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!
You may remember Olson Brothers Pharmacy at its last location in the same building as Jerry's Foods on Vernon Avenue.
Olson Brothers Pharmacy began here in 1955 at 5008 Vernon Avenue (the north side of Vernon Avenue, near Interlachen.) Brothers Roy and Doug Olson took over space occupied by the Grandview Market, the original grocery store owned by Jerry Paulsen.
(Yes, the same Jerry who goes on to own 35 stores in four states and employ more than 4,500 workers at Edina businesses that include Jerry’s Foods, Jerry’s Printing, Jerry’s Hardware, and Cub Foods on France Avenue. In addition, the national corporate headquarters are located at 5101 Vernon Avenue, anchored by Jerry’s Foods.)
Jerry and the Olson Brothers would have a long relationship in real estate. The Minneapolis brothers, who attended Washburn High School and the University of Minnesota, would move twice more – all less than a couple blocks away from the original site. In 1961, the pharmacy relocated next to Jerry's Lucky Dollar grocery store across the street. Three years later, they would make their final home next to the current Jerry’s Foods.
The brothers retired and sold their business in 1994, but the store still carried their name until recently.
Next to the original Olson Brothers Pharmacy was Wong’s Grandview Cafe and Grandview Direct Service gas station.
As you can see from the 1959 phone directory ad, Roy and Mabel Wong specialized in "authentic Chinese and American Dishes" and offered "speedy take-out service on Chow Mein."
I didn't find the Wongs in the residential listings for Edina, so they likely didn't live in town. I don't know much more about the little cafe. If you dined on Wong's chow mein or other food, please share your memories with us. Tell us what you remember about any of these three businesses by commenting here or emailing me.
Happy Friday, everyone!
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!
Here are some grand views of the Grandview District (shown on the Google map below). You probably have seen news stories or perhaps even participated in the discussion of the future of the Grandview District. (If you want more info, see background materials and a draft plan at the Edina Citizens Engagement web site.)
Today, as a bonus Photo Friday, I thought I'd show you some interesting aerial photos on how the area has changed since 1947. I urge you to go to Historical Aerials web site to get sharper images and explore the area in detail. The site has a really cool feature where you can slide a bar to see the area change from one year to the next. (Kind of like the "before" and "after" advertisements that show the effect of wrinkle cream.)
I love it. Seriously, go there today. You don't have to look at just Grandview...type in the address of your house and see how your block has changed over the years. It's a little addicting for a history fan like me, especially since I think aerial photos sometimes look like ultrasound images. In other words, I can't always identify parts of Edina in its infancy when it looks so different than it does today. This web site really helps compare and contrast the exact same street year to year.
(You would think I was a late night pitchman on some home shopping channel, but I have no affiliation with the web site. Just a new fan....)
Anyway on to the grand views of Grandview. This 1947 view shows no freeways. (Go to the web site and zoom in to see how few buildings were in the area.)
Grandview 1966 (below). You can see a diamond interchange, and the large building to the right (or east) of the interchange is the 1954 Village Hall, which sits approximately where the current City Hall parking lot is today.
Grandview 1970 (below). You can see Highway 100 has been widened and the off ramps are now loops. Tupa Park, where historic Cahill School and Minnehaha Grange Hall No. 398, was created from the green space in the lower right loop.
And finally, Grandview in 2006, much as it looks today. This is after the Grandview Square area was developed, with the new public library and Senior Center building.
What will the area look like in the next decade? Check out the draft plan below to see what is being proposed (see page 24 for a map) for the next chapter in Grandview's history.
Note: I bring you this extra edition of Photo Friday, only because I didn't post earlier in the week due to the holiday and illness. Thank you to researcher Dan Lapham for telling me about www.historicaerials.com.
This "horse" captures the attention of every second-grader who visits the Edina History Museum during our behind-the-scenes storeroom tour.
Adults like her too. Isn't she a beaut?
All the tack, in case you missed the name emblazoned on the side, was donated by J.A. Danens and Son, who dug many of Edina's basements with horse and scraper. You can tell the Danens took pride in their work. The tack -- despite being used on sweaty hard-working horses -- is in pristine condition. After a long day of digging, the Danens cleaned everything. (Later on, when they used machinery, they washed their trucks every day.)
Here's a closer look at the name...
and the scraper.
It's hard to believe that a horse and scraper could dig a house basement, but that's how it was done. Here's the photographic evidence: Danens' horse team digs out basements near Alden and West 51st Street in Edina's new South Harriet Park, early 1940s.
This is a bit late for a horse and scraper operation, but patriarch Joe Danens, who started the business in 1913, resisted modernization. He had dug most of the basements in the Country Club area with horses and scraper and continued to work a team even after 1936, when his son Calvin “Sonny” Danens bought power shovels, dump truck and bulldozer.
With machinery, however, J.A. Danens and Son were poised for the post-World War II building boom. In 1947, Sonny estimated that the company was digging 400 to 500 basements in a year. By 1975, Danens had dug 75 percent of all Edina and Minneapolis basements south of Lake Street.
From 1950 to Sonny’s death in 1975, Danens and Son worked on Southdale, Edina City Hall (1954), Edina’s first high school and several Minneapolis downtown buildings. Danens’ projects included Northern States Power building, all of Dayton’s stores parking ramps, the Federal Reserve Bank, Minnesota Orchestra Hall and the Sheraton Ritz Hotel.
Danens helped transform Edina by helping expand Highway 100 in the 1970s. “(My wife and I) both can remember when there was no road, no Highway 100, just a trail used in the winter. They never did get a road across until 1920 and they called it the new road for years,” Sonny said.
Danens started with a building near 50th and France and expanded to a large garage in the Grandview area (5116 Brookside Avenue). Sonny sold all his equipment at a huge public auction in 1975 when he retired; soon after, he died during open heart surgery. His wife Marion Green Danens died last year, but she often came into the museum to visit the horse and reminisce.
The Danens name lives on with an Edina street named after the family.
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