Everybody remembers their favorite teacher. Many Edina residents fondly reminisce about Miss Bemis or Mrs. Glover, their first teachers. Others credit band teacher Hal Freese for inspiring a lifelong love for music. Several visitors have pointed out teachers in these photos below and admitted that they were their first crushes.
I have been surprised how much emotion these photos from our "Growing Up in Edina" exhibit have evoked. Now that I think about it, I should have expected that teachers would have a lasting impact on the children in their classrooms. I know my teachers did for me.
If you can help identify any of the teachers in the photos below, please email me or comment here. For a figurative gold star or Blues Clues sticker, give a shout out to those teachers who made a positive difference in your life.
(Above) Cahill School faculty 1965.
(Above) Cahill School faculty 1970.
Thankfully, the photography studio printed the names right on the photo in later years.
We do not have a complete collection of teacher or classroom photos. Students and teachers have donated photos, usually one or two at a time, over the years. Morningside School donated a large number before the building was demolished in the 1970s. I would love to have more photos, originals strongly preferred. (We can provide scans or copies to the donor.) For more information, call me at the museum, 612-928-4577 or email me.
On the last day of school, did your friends sign your:
a. autograph book
b. a "slam shirt"
d. something else
Your answer likely depends on when you grew up. Even elementary schools publish yearbooks these days, so children of today typically sign yearbooks, or autograph booklets created by their teachers, or both.
If you grew up in Edina in the 1970s, you probably wore your dad's big white shirt on the last day of school and asked your classmates and friends to sign a cuff, a sleeve or a collar. Patricia Bender donated this shirt to the Edina Historical Society with writings from her classmates at Cahill Elementary.
Popular band teacher Hal Freese signed the collar.
This photo, posted on the Cahill Elementary Facebook page, shows the signing party in progress.
I suppose it was difficult to pen a poetic saying on a cloth shirt -- many sported a "kick me" request in the back middle or simple signatures. The same could not be said of the decorative autograph books in the 1880s that contained poems, clever puns or hand-drawn sketches along with the signature.
In addition to Ella Grimes' book (top photo), we also have a 1889 autograph book (below) that was found at a garage sale. The owner is unknown, except for a first name of Katie, but many of the signatures are daughters of prominent Edina farmers of the day: Bull, Fortwinkler (also known as Fortwingler), and Slye, among others.
Mary L. Bull wrote:
"Whether the tempest lull or blow
Whether the waters ebb or flow
In fortunes high or fortunes low
In days of weal or days of woe
This be my motto for friend or foe
Gather the roses as you go.
Your friend and teacher
Mary L. Bull
Edina, Feb. 26, 1889
If a child today has an autograph book, he's most likely collecting signatures of Mickey Mouse or Cinderella at Disney theme parks or autographs of celebrities, rather than his buddies in homeroom
These artifacts are on display in our exhibit "Growing Up in Edina: A Show and Tell Exhbiit." I like them because they show despite changes over the years, many aspects of childhood remain the same. Whether you grew up in 1880 or 1980, you most likely collected signatures of your classmates.
Are we missing anything? Do you remember slam shirts or autograph books, or did you sign something else? I'd love to hear your story - please comment here.
_I had a chance to review our clipping file on the ABC Foundation, when Nancy Otterness came in recently to find information for the group's 40th anniversary celebration in 2012. While the story of pioneer black families in Edina is heavily researched, this story from the modern era is lesser known.
In 1972, a group of residents decided to form a local chapter of the national A Better Chance (ABC) Foundation, which invites academically talented students of color to attend a school district where they can get a quality education and prepare for the challenges of college. ABC students, who transferred to Edina schools from all over the country, have gone on to attend top colleges and assume positions of leadership and responsibility in their community.
The concept was revolutionary in 1963, when the national ABC Foundation formed. Keep in mind that 1963 was the peak of the Civil Rights movement - this was the same year that Alabama Governor George Wallace won the office on the slogan of "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever." At the same time that Martin Luther King was jailed in Birmingham, thousands marched on Washington for Civil Rights legislation and NAACP field officer Medgar Evars was assassinated, the foundation found ways for students of color to attend top schools throughout the country.
The local program began with a strong base of community support nearly ten years later, and students of color enrolled rather quietly at Edina, Minnesota, schools. Not every resident wanted minorities living next door, however. Edina then, as now, was predominantly white. Establishing a group home for primarily black students on France Avenue generated some controversy. "I thought the worst that could happen would be a black family moving in," said one homeowner to the Minneapolis Tribune. "But that was far from the worst." Other residents said their opposition was not based on race, but rather the number of students in the house.
Despite the initial fears, the program went on to great success. According to the above clipping from the student newspaper in 1982, female students lived in the group home and male students were placed with host families. The program, funded exclusively by donations, paid for food, housing, and plane tickets home during Christmas and summer breaks.
A Better Chance, which will celebrate its 40th year in 2012, is planning a reunion of students, host families, board members, and the public at a Gala Celebration on May 4 at the Edina Country Club. The group is looking for any historically significant information to share about the program (newspaper clippings, photos, or experiences). For more information, contact Sherry Nuness, Executive Director of ABC, at 952-848-3101 or see the organization's web site here.
The most frequently asked question lately at the Edina History Museum: Is it too late to get something in the "Growing Up in Edina" exhibit? The answer: you can submit your stories, photos and childhood treasures at any time, and in fact, we hope you do. Several visitors, inspired by what they've seen, have promised to participate.
Our exhibit room is pretty packed, but we can still make room for additional items. We also hope to continue to publish stories here on the blog and in our newsletter, so keep 'em coming.
Here's one story recently submitted by Bob Herman, who recalled childhood in Edina in the 1950s and 1960s.
By Bob Herman, Edina HS Class of 1969
(Married to Karen Gaasedelen, Edina class of 1978)
I am now 60 years old and I spent 1951 to 1974 and 1991 to present time in Edina.
I have great memories growing up in Edina....
Do you remember the kids who were in your kindergarten class? Today, most school photos are done by companies that specialize in school portrait photography and the class photo is printed with every child's name. Heck, even elementary schools have yearbooks these days. But in 1948, class photos were not that fancy: just line the kids up against a classroom wall, try to get them to look at the camera and hope they keep their eyes open and their fingers out of their mouths.
Bonnie Ott England submitted this photo of her 1948-49 Morningside kindergarten class for our "Growing Up in Edina" exhibit -- that opens on Oct. 29 -- along with her nap-time blanket. This was a time when children weren't expected to know their colors, numbers and letters before they walked in the door. They went to school just a couple of hours a day, and part of the day's activities included a nap. (Makes you want to go to kindergarten again, doesn't it?)
She and her sister Sherry could come up with many of the names of her classmates. If you can help identify these youngsters, please comment here.
Left to Right:
Top row: (1) ? (2) Kathy McKeon? (3) Dick Hanson (4) ? (5) Mark Rogness (6) Ann Fenger (7) Mark Hanson
2nd row from top: (1) ? (2) ? (3) Nancy Hallberg (4) Vicki Dahlberg (5) ? (6) Carolyn Tews (7) Jacque Simpson (8) Bonnie Ott (9) Jerry Spande
3rd row from top: (1) ? (2) ? (3) ? (4) Cindy Strachauer (5) Bruce Bennett (6) Sarah Hawthorne (7) Rodney Brown
2nd row from bottom: (1) Carole Blandin? (2) ? (3) ? (4) ? (5) ? (6) Bruce MacPhail (7) Pat Kennedy?
Bottom row: (1) Danae Edwards (2) ? (3) Richard Nelson (4) ? (5) Marilyn Holtze? (6) Kirk Nelson (7) ? (8) Jane Parker
We have several class photos in our collection; volunteers are working on putting some on poster board for exhibit visitors to view as part of the exhibit. Thanks to retired teacher Bernice Amacher, we also have several faculty group photos from Cornelia and Cahill Schools. At this point, most have only the school and year identified. We'd like to ID the people in the photos with visitors' help.
Update 7/2/2012: Kirk Nelson identified himself (bottom row, number 6) and some of his classmates. I added the names to the list above. If anyone can help identify the rest of these cute kindergartners, please email me or comment here.
Usually, when we mention "Cahill School" on this web site, we're talking about the historic one-room schoolhouse that served southwest Edina (District 16). Edina had another, more modern Cahill School, built when new residential developments caused overcrowding in the once rural neighborhood.
That school was later torn down, but old Cahill School still stands. After serving Edina continuously from 1864 to 1958, it stood empty for many years until the City of Edina restored it and moved it to Tupa Park.
This class graduated from (new) Cahill School in 1956. Aren't they a fine looking bunch, with suits and ties for the boys and dressy dresses for the girls?
John Olinger brought in this photo of his sister Katy's class and had many of the students identified. If you can help fill in the blanks, please comment here.
Note: Here is a revised list of names, with contributions/corrections from Jeff Strate, Sandra Cecere and other class members. Thank you for helping identify these students!
Back row: Steve Swanson, Alida (Katherine) Van Wazer, Sherron Spearing, Donna Stuart, Barb Amundson, Mary Richardson, Mary (Juni) Kelley, Bob Perbix, Gail Carlson.
3rd row: Dale Anderson, Gordy Martinson, Roger Carlson. David Prin, Jerry Gunderson, (unknown), Don Wedin, Harry Heckathorn, Jerry (last name unknown).
2nd row: Jolinda Johnson, Pam Pederson, Carol Kessler, Linda Carlson, Katy Olinger, Kitty Trapp, John Prin, Georgia Gorian, Jimmy Moore.
Front row, left to right: Steve LeBeau, Jeff Strate, John Portinga, (Unknown), Penelope Street, Barb. Kane, (Jim unknown), Elise Reed, Dick Gleeson.
Standing left: Cahill Principal Richard A. Dols and standing right: Mr. Don Johnson, 6th grade teacher.
Cahill School has a very active Facebook page, and has many other school photos listed there.
We recently received this program for the dedication of Cornelia Elementary School, dated Sunday, November the 6th, 1960 at 3:00 p.m.
When first saw it, I thought (honestly) "Happy belated 50th, Cornelia School!" We at the Edina Historical Society tend to notice big anniversaries and birthdays, and this one went by last year without us noticing. (I'm not sure if the school celebrated the milestone or not.)
So, after it sunk in that I missed the big 5-0 for Cornelia, I noticed a few other things:
1. When Cornelia opened, it was a big deal for both the city and the school district. For the first time, the two governmental units worked together to create a joint school playground/city park on the 25-acre open space next to Cornelia. Village Manager Warren Hyde and Superintendent of Schools Milton Kuhlman discuss the significance of the project on the last page of the program.
2. Those milk bottles in the school lunch photo. I grew up with the paper box cartons that kids still drink from today. Are these really glass? And what was on the menu that day? Even with a magnifying glass I can't identify the food on their trays. Apparently, it was popular because I don't notice anyone eating lunches from home.
3. The dedication was on a Sunday and featured prayers from two Protestant ministers. I don't think most school staff (and families) would appreciate spending a family day at school any more. While schools today seldom mix religion with school events, not that long ago (former students tell me), classes were dismissed during the school day so that students could attend religion classes.
Those more familiar with the school may notice more changes since 1960. I do know that the playground underwent a few upgrades. New equipment was installed this year to replace 13-year-old play structures. (See more on the new playground in the Edina Sun-Current and on the project's web site.)
What observations do you have about this 51-year-old dedication program? Or tell me about your Edina school lunch and give me the scoop on those milk bottles. Leave a comment here or email me.
Ever since mothers owned cameras and children stood at bus stops or waved good-bye as they headed off to school....
school started with a snapshot.
Happy first day of school, parents and students!
I'd love to have a wall filled with first day of school photos in our upcoming "Growing Up in Edina: A Show and Tell Exhibit." Nothing else quite illustrates the universal experience of going to school. Whether you wore short pants and a dress coat or a t-shirt and jeans, you faced the day with a mixture of excitement and anxiety. These photos are all from the 1930s, because this is what we have scanned. But we do have some (and want more) photos from other decades, including any snapped this week.
Send in your first day photos and I'll run them next Friday. For more information, contact me.
Here is another great story submitted for our upcoming "Growing Up in Edina: A Show and Tell Exhibit" that will open Saturday, Oct. 29. If this sparks any memories for you, please comment here or email me. If you have one of the Wooddale Carnival posters to loan, I would love it for the exhibit.
By Susie Paplow
Growing up in Edina was a true joy… the lessons I learned, the teachers who inspired me, my warm and friendly neighbors and the wonderful world I was introduced to through the programs and activities Edina had to offer. All of this shaped me into the adult I have become.
I lived in Edina at 4910 Bruce Avenue from 1968 through 1977. The people who lived on Bruce Avenue were extremely social – block parties, Mr. Benson playing Santa Claus every year, the annual 4th of July picnic at the Wiltz Manse [the former Baird historic home], the Bruce Avenue Open (for the adults only), an annual golf tournament. I wonder whatever happened to the trophy that would bounce from house to house each year or if they still even have the golf tournament. It was a wonderful neighborhood full of kids and adults enjoying life.
However, my most vivid memories of Edina are of the days spent at the wonderful grade school I attended from kindergarten through 6th grade. Of course, I am speaking of the infamous Wooddale School. Sadly, it no longer exists - just the cornerstone memorial on the site but it certainly still exists in my memory. I think of it often: my teachers Mr. Kenyon, Mrs. Fairbanks, Mr. Behring, Mr. Waggoner, Ms. Chapman, Ms. Bisanz, all truly inspiration and influential.
I spent so much time at Wooddale. During the school year, of course, but also during the summers where I participated in the wonderful summer parks program Edina offered, with its puppet truck and the Olympics at the end of each summer. I still have the many ribbons won for croquet tournaments, bean bag tosses, 500 yard dashes and my badge that says “I’m from Utley Park.” The parks program was truly wonderful.
The amazing Wooddale Carnivals, does anyone still have those posters? Each year the school had a poster contest, and the posters were placed in shop windows up and down 50th and France and we would rush out to see if we received a ribbon! The Carnival was an amazing day, the school rooms magically transformed into a series of games, events, cake walks, goldfish in bags, the mysterious “fortune telling room.” It was a sensory explosion walking through the doors of the school. You didn’t recognize it as the place you went to from 7:45 to 3:30 every weekday. I think I still have a black plastic spatula, one of the many goodies included in the carnival gift bags we all received. The Wooddale Carnival was something we waited for all year long.
However the biggest influence on my life was the introduction to the world of theater and dance through the Wooddale School Dance Program. Attached you will find programs and several pictures from some of the years I participated. I have since grown up to become a professional performer and choreographer. All of which would never have happened if I had not had my start at good old Wooddale School.
Enjoy the trip down memory lane. Perhaps you are one of the many young girls listed in these programs or appearing in these pictures. If you are, I hope you are well and hope that you have as soft spot in your Edina as I.
Note: I emailed Susie to find out more about her career. After high school graduation, Paplow won a spot in the Pushcart Players, the premier touring theatre for young audiences in New Jersey and traveled from school to school presenting educational yet entertaining musicals designed to inspire children to think, learn and create. "Pushcart is a wonderful company and I have traveled the world with them - from Russia to Vienna to two private invitations to the White House," she wrote back.
She earned an "Applause Award" for outstanding contribution to the State's arts programs, with work at most of New Jersey's professional theaters, "but my true passion goes back to bringing the joy and magic of live theater directly to the kids in their school. It takes me right back to being on the Wooddale Auditorium stage, with its old fashioned footlights and strip lights. It inspired me then and has shaped the course of my life."
This is how old school photos usually look. Look at the straight lines. The excellent posture. The well-behaved children.
Now look at this 1912 photo (below) at the same building, the Edina School, which was located near the site of today's City Hall. Note the chaos. The goofy faces. The laughter.
I love it. Although most school photos from this era show a somber group of children, this one "is quite fun as there are a lot of antics going on with the group," Carol Hansen noted when she emailed me the photo. I couldn't have put it better myself.
As I zoom in closer it looks like this group is boys only. I can see a couple of girls at the far right, most likely waiting their turn for a photo. Although this photo was taken one hundred years ago, the boys act no different than those today who are asked to pose for a group photo. (Yes, I have a son and three brothers. I know from personal experience.)
The top row (above photo) far right is Phil Bailey, Carol's uncle. Below him in the white hat and scarf is her uncle Harry Hansen. The bottom row (below photo), far right in dark hat and clothes is her father Ernie Hansen.
These boys grew up and stayed in Edina. "All three men were part of the volunteer fire department and eventually part of the Fire Department after it was full time," Carol writes. "I guess it was the family business after farming."
They are somewhere in this group photo of Edina's first volunteer fire department. Don't they still look like a fun group of guys?
If you can help identify anyone in this photo, please email me or comment on this post.
Please note: I know you careful readers will probably have noticed that the first two photos look like they're taken at different buildings. The windows are different, and the first building is brick and the second is stucco. The Edina School, built in 1888, was remodeled several time to accommodate the ever-growing population of the brand-new village. The "yellow brick" school became the gray stucco school, and eventually lost its bell tower. Two new schools -- Morningside and Wooddale -- were built in 1924 to replace the overcrowded Edina School.
Search this blog:
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:
Thank you, your message has been sent
Support this blog!
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.