Welcome back to the newest edition of the Edina Historical Society blog, which was on a brief hiatus while I was on vacation. This is my first day back, so I'm digging out from the emails, Tweets and Facebook messages as well as the USPS mail, phone messages and notes from visitors and volunteers.
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming:
1. Gravel pit memories: A couple of readers commented on our post Photo Friday: Gravel pits of Edina. Martha Decker writes:
Thanks for posting this, but I guarantee you there were more than just "a few" girls up there! Every girl that I knew who grew up in the far west end of Richfield was up there on bikes and on foot all the time. The day that I looked up from my busy high school schedule and saw that "the pits" had been plowed under was a sad, sad day!
My brother and I rode our bikes over to Hedberg from 86th and Queen and drove/ran around, caught skinks to bring back to our house. I haven't seen a skink in years. I am 53, he is 57. Great memories.
I'm glad two females wrote about the gravel pits. I have to admit that I based my comment that boys and "a few girls" played in the gravel pits primarily because the tales were told by only our male visitors. No women had 'fessed up to their trespassing crimes... until now. Thanks for writing in, Martha and Christina.
I remember skinks from my childhood as well, and there's good reason that Christina hasn't seen a skink in years. The small lizard's numbers fell dramatically with the loss of habitat. For more information about the skink, see this Minnesota Department of Natural Resources page.
2. A little more about Littel. Jeanne Andersen commented on A street by any other name: Little or Littel Street? A little history about Littel:
We live on the one-block 42 1/2 Street (in St. Louis Park) and old maps show that this street was also called Littel. Wish we knew how to pronounce it.
Good question. I've been saying LitTEL with the accent on the second syllable, but I have been known to be wrong before (as the Littel Street post shows.)
3. A look back as the Galleria looks forward. The Galleria shopping center has made headlines lately as it shifts its retail mix to attract customers. (See Feb. 19 Star Tribune story.) Schmitt Music, an original tenant, has left, and other tenants are expanding or changing their spaces.
The 38-year-old mall has made many changes over the years. Take a look at its beginning below:
Hard to believe, isn't it?
To be fair, this isn't the actual shopping mall. The Galleria didn't open until 1974, but Gabbert's Furniture, the anchor tenant, began in 1959. Here the city's tax assessor photo shows the store under construction. I encourage you to visit the Gabbert's web site to see a cool photo of the completed 1959 building. The unfinished structure (above) looks a bit like a garden center, I think. The actual store looked pretty hip and must have made quite a design statement back in the day.
Although Southdale mall attracts a lot more interest from history researchers, the smaller Galleria made history in its own way. According to Gabbert's web site, the store was the first to set up furniture in vignettes, so customers could visualize the pieces in their own living spaces.
The Galleria sits on the former Hedberg gravel pits, that I wrote about here. Now that we've come full circle, I will close this edition of Monday Mashup.
More to come later this week. Stay tuned.
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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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