Where is this?
Some of you may be able to tell right away, although the landscape has changed a great deal since professional photographer Dick Palen took a plane ride over his new house in Edina and shot a series of photographs of the neighborhood in 1951.
For some of you, looking at aerial photos from long ago is like looking at an ultrasound image when you're first pregnant. The doctor tells you that's your baby, but nothing looks familiar. So let me help you out with a little labeling and a map.
The photo was taken northwest of Valley View Road and Wooddale Avenue, looking southeast toward Garrison Lane (where Palen lived). Look at the map below, in both its street version and satellite version to get a feel for today's landscape, ponds and trees.
Now look at the photo again.
Lake Cornelia, with 66th Street bisecting the body of water, is seen in the upper right of the photo (see below). Garrison Lane is the only residential housing development in the area. Otherwise, most of today's familiar landmarks have yet to be built: there is no Southdale Mall, no Crosstown highway, no municipal swimming pool by Lake Cornelia Park. Just imagine Edina looking like this when the Daytons proposed building the world's first fully enclosed shopping center here. Would you have been among the skeptics who would wonder why anyone would build such a huge retail complex "out in the middle of nowhere"?
I love this photo because it shows the transition between farm town and growing suburb. You can see corn or wheat shocks near the "Wooddale Avenue" label. Farms occupy much of the open land in the foreground. The BenTwin poultry farm (which I wrote about here) is seen in the distance.
OK, I can admit it. The only thing I could first identify when I first looked at this photo was Lake Cornelia and 66th Street. I twisted and turned the photo and got out the magnifying glass to help a researcher determine if her house on Wooddale Avenue was in any of Palen's photographs.
I happened to still have the photos out when EHS President Frank Cardarelle and Bill Jordan, both from the Class of 1951, came in. Bill lived on Garrison Lane and Frank grew up on a farm at Valley View Road and Highway 100 (just west of the area shown in this photo).
Bill pointed out Tedman's store in the photo. (Can you see a commercial building? I couldn't either without help.) Frank told me about Miller and Haeg farms, and the Edina taxi garage. We talked about how 66th Street was built in the middle of a lake, and the little corner stores like Tedman's (Cameron's, Tristler's, Garner's) scattered throughout Edina.
In the next few blog posts, I'll take an even closer look at Valley View Road and Wooddale Avenue and zoom in on some of these topics.
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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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