The Edina American Legion Post 471 entrusted the Edina History Museum with a few items for past exhibits: loaning us the national championship baseball trophy and flag from 1983 for an exhibit on Edina's early suburban years, and scrapbooks and photos for "Edina's Greatest Generation" exhibit currently on display.
The organization recently decided to hand over its entire collection because members felt we had proven we would take care of the items for future generations. I am honored by their trust, and credit our volunteers who cleaned and restored the trophy and reviewed unlabeled photos to identify former Legion officials and events.
In the museum business, we not only work to preserve the artifact, but we also spend a great deal of time preserving the story. For example, among the items were two award folders presented to the American Legion State champs. The folders include a nice black and white photograph (below) and the Code of Sportsmanship - but surprisingly no year or names of the players.
The Edina Legion web site lists state titles for 1955, 1969, 1982, and 1983. This photo has to be from 1955 or 1969. Legion members are now trying to hunt down people who remember those players and can provide names to those faces, as well as any information about the teams. If you know these athletes, please contact me.
Update: Our readers came through with names for all the players. Back row L-R: Kent Larson, Tom Moe, Larry Johnson, Dick Siebert Jr., Bill Strout, Tom Kelly, Bill HIbbs. Front Row L-R: Don Myers, Jay Diebolt, Butch Nielsen, Dave Sehlin, Tom Mulcahy. Bat boy Fenn George. Thank you to the following for their help identifying the players: Pat Barker, Charles Brown, Tom Kelly and Ray Hibbs.
I am finding all sorts of great treasures in the Legion scrapbooks. This aerial view by photographer Dick Palen (photo below) shows the 1940s Village Hall (on the right) and the American Legion hall (left). Fiftieth Street runs left to right at the top and Eden Avenue is in the foreground.
For those good with directions and maps, you will have noticed that today's City Hall is in this approximate location. (I'll save the city hall story for another day. In the meantime, you can read Joe Sullivan's column on Edina's village halls in the Summer 2003 issue of the city's quarterly newsletter "About Town.")
Isn't it a cool photo?
Here's another great photo, below. Memorial Day, year unknown, in front of the Minnehaha Grange Hall, which was just to the west (left) of the Legion hall. One of our visitors saw this photo on the wall and said, "I bet with a magnifying glass and some time, I could name most of the people in this photo."
He was a little taken aback by how quickly I suggested he do just that.
All I can say, don't make idle suggestions around museum staff with a stack of photos needing identification. We get a little desperate.
Despite the amount of time involved, I do enjoy documenting the photos. Our visitor, a former Grange member pointed something out in the photo below, that I may not have noticed. Take a look at the windows.
Did you notice the shutters? The Grange - like the Masons or the Elks and the like - were a secret society and kept the meeting hall's windows covered so that passersby couldn't see their activities. (Maybe Dan Brown could write his next book on those farmers in the Grange, huh?)
These three photos are just a tiny sample of the Legion records. We are happy to have them in our collection.
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