The United States was on the brink of war in June 1941, but the local newspaper focused on simple pleasures, like fishing, golf, pets and horses.
The Town Crier started as The Crier in 1930, a monthly newspaper for the Country Club District. In 1941, the name changed as well as its format. Instead of focusing exclusively on Edina, it broadened its scope to the surrounding suburbs and changed from a newspaper to a glossy lifestyle magazine.
News stories might get a passing mention, such as the "Taxpayers' Headache" story (left). But the real focus was on feature stories with great photography.
I love the older newspaper when I do historical research, but you can't beat the magazine version for pure entertainment.
The photos of the fishermen (fisherboys?) caught my attention because I often see kids on the creek still today. I also think some of those youngsters probably still live in Edina. Judging by the year and the age of the "young lads" (I'm guessing 8 to 10 years old), those fisherman probably graduated in the early 1950s.
The story reads: "Some people say fish aren't smart, but the small army of Edina lads who turned up on Minnehaha Creek to open the season on that warm afternoon in May claim they are -- plenty. Herbert Anderson, Bill Wood, Tom McMahon, John Covell, David McGarvey, Herb Groettum, Chase Milsop, Jerry Dostal and Bobby Hale.... say that the fishes' spies, sunning themselves on the bank, saw their party coming, zoomed back into the water, and then scurried up and down the creek at top speed, warning the finny gentry not to make suckers of themselves by biting. Not even Johnny Rossiter, up in the tree above, untangling his line, got a bite.:"
The war might not have featured prominently on the Town Crier's pages, but there were subtle references. In the "Taxpayers' Headache" story, the final line bemoans the tripling of taxes but adds "feel sorry for yourself if you like, but remember the people of Europe are not eating." I even think the boys' description of the fish as spies shows that they were attuned to the war, if only through popular radio shows of the day.
In the end, the war could not be ignored. The Town Crier ceased publication in 1941 or 1942, most likely after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, when the United States was fully engaged in World War II and resources for printing lifestyle magazine were scarce.
Cover of April 1941 Town Crier
I don't know when the last issue was published because our Town Crier collection is incomplete. If you have some tucked away that you can donate, please contact me.
Assignment Edina: I'd love to do a "Then and Now" exhibit, featuring historic photos and a photographers' take on the same scene today. Here's your assignment should you choose to accept it: Take a photo of boys (or girls) fishing on the creek today and send it in. (Or shoot a modern day scene of any Edina historic photograph, either from our collection or your own family photo album.) If you'd like to work on this exhibit, please call the museum at 612-928-4577 or email me.
If you ever find yourself free during museum hours, stop in and flip through the Town Crier (and its predecessor The Crier). It's great entertainment... and all free.
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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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