Anyone who has driven along 66th Street and passed Lake Cornelia has probably wondered, "Why was a road built in the middle of a lake?"
I know this because many of those people call the Edina History Museum and ask me the very same thing.
I didn't know the answer when I was first asked, but I knew who would: Frank Cardarelle, a fourth generation Edina resident and surveyor. The Class of 1951 graduate is too young to remember a time before the road was built, but he pointed out that planners (and landowners) generally like roads to run along section lines. And yes, 66th Street is on a section line.
Lake Cornelia, even today, is very shallow. Just 6.5 feet at the deepest. So while 66th Street runs through a lake, it's not like road builders had to dig the English Channel. Frank speculated that the road was probably built during the drought years of the 1930s.
How low did Lake Cornelia go?
Can you find the lake in the 1937 aerial photo above? Look at the upper left.
Give up? Here are the major landmarks labeled.
Here is a Google map of the area to help a little more.
As you can see in this close up, Lake Cornelia was actually two ponds in 1937. It even looks like crops were planted in Lake Cornelia that year.
These images come from a series of aerial photos that were shot during 1937. This was the first year that the Department of Agriculture took aerial photos in flyovers of the entire nation. We have images from 1951 and 2000 as well, and the changes in Edina over the years is astounding. You can practically see history in the making.
As we have with the other sets, we paid for the aerials to be professionally transformed into a full size poster graphic of Edina and will place it on our research library wall next to the other two. It was a hefty price: $845, without framing fees. If you would like to help support this project, please send your tax deductible contribution to the Edina Historical Society, 4711 West 70th Street, Edina, MN 55435. Or click on the GiveMN link below to pay by credit card.
Come in and see how your neighborhood was transformed. The aerial photo is the big topic of conversation lately for volunteers and visitors, old timers and newcomers alike. Regular museum hours are Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to noon.
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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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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.