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.
This is our semi-organized records storage for many of Edina's leading community organizations.
My detail-oriented volunteers shudder when they see these shelves full of mismatched boxes, with records stored in no particular order. But they're clean, labeled and protected from the elements --- which is more than many of them were before they came to the Edina History Museum. Run by volunteers and with no permanent meeting space, many organizations stored their records in various members' attics, basements and garages.
We're glad to have them. Over the years, I've found some great gems in our community organization boxes -- although I've had to do some digging. This 1960s photo of Edina Rotary scholarship winners ran with a story on the history of Edina Rotary (but I wish we had the names of the people in the photo.)
I found great information and photos when I was writing my Edina Magazine "Last Glance" column on Edina Federated Women's Santa House.
Edina Women's Club has a large collection that spans more than 87 years, and includes rosters, meeting minutes, presidents' reports and newspaper articles like this one.
Finding clean and safe storage was a good first step. Now, we're working on the next step of organizing the files and identifying the contents.The Edina Garden Council volunteered to be our first group to sift, sort and scan. They authorized $1,000 recently to purchase archival supplies and pay for our archivist to spend extra hours assisting with the cataloguing and scanning of its almost 60 years of history.
The many club historians over the years did a great job of collecting some cool stuff.
But after a first examination of its collection, EGC members noticed some gaps. They're looking for scrapbooks and records for some garden clubs that are now disbanded. As we chatted about how to find those records, a former historian of one of the clubs serendipitously called to ask whether we were interested in her files or whether she should throw them away.
She was glad to get them out of the house and into our storeroom. If you have organization records for EGC or any other group in town, we'd love to take them off your hands. Please contact me to set up a time or drop them off during regular museum hours.
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