Gleeks out there, you know what a mashup is. For those who don't, it's a work that recombines and modifies existing works to create something new. Welcome to Monday Mashup, in which I will provide updates to old posts and throw in a few new things to keep things interesting.
1. Edina cake eater story on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. I had dozed off during the show and woke up to a genealogist telling Greg that his ancestor Alrich Magner Hojem was one of the richest men in Edina, Minnesota in the 1900s, and because of his ego and his wealth, he became known as a cake eater. Eventually, all Edina residents were derogatorily nicknamed “Cake Eaters” because of their wealth.
I dozed off again and thought I dreamed the whole thing the next morning until I found a comment on our Facebook site. Kate Genovese posted a link to the show and asked, "hi! last night's CSI episode: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2104211/ had a reference to Edina and the supposed origin for the term Cake Eater. is it true?"
Like any legend, it's hard to pin down the exact facts for the Cake Eater name. (I've heard everything... the Marie Antoinette "let them eat cake" quote to the starving is one story. Another theory is that Minneapolis Washburn students, who had the nickname first, got it because they were the children of wealthy executives of Washburn-Crosby Company, the predecessor of General Mills (maker of flour/cake mix.)
When Edina started winning state athletic championships in the 1960s and became known for its relative wealth, Edinans then were called cake eaters. Some residents have embraced the term: cheering sections at high school tourneys have eaten cake en masse and our girls hockey teams host an annual "Cake Eaters Classic."
While the wealth part of the CSI tale has some truth to it, I believe the "Alrich Magner Hojem" character is fiction. Greg's back story is that he comes from a wealthy family and that likely fits with Edina's reputation. A number of TV shows have said their rich characters were from Edina. Do you remember Brandon and Brenda from Beverly Hills 90210? Unfortunately, they mispronounced the name of their supposed hometown - Eh-DEE-nah.)
I did email CBS to see if the writer or producers have any Minnesota connection, but so far have received only a standard computer generated reply.
2. Ralph's Shoe Repair to leave Southdale mall? The last of the original tenants of Southdale mall may have to leave. If you have missed the story, see the Minneapolis Star Tribune "A mall pioneer nears the end" published Dec. 15 about the three-generation business.
What is our role as a historical society in this story? As we would with any long-time business about to close its doors, we want to make sure decision-makers have all the historic background so they make an informed decision. In this case, everyone knows Ralph's long history and unique status as the mall's only original tenant.
Should the store close (and we hope it doesn't come to that) we'll make every effort to document and save the business history. For example, when Clancy's closed its lunch counter, the Edina Historical Society contacted the owners to get menus, napkin holder, sign, table, and dishes for our permanent collection.
Historic preservation groups and historical societies can save buildings and artifacts, but unfortunately, they can't save business operations. Only customers can do that. History has shown us that over and over again.
A perfect example is Clancy's, which closed its diner because of numbers, mainly red ones. The staff wore black the last day as they hustled filling orders - a difficult job since the cooks ran out of supplies. "If we were this busy every day, we wouldn't be closing," noted waitress Kristina Austin to a newspaper reporter. Morningside Hardware, a longtime fixture at 44th and France, closed for the same reason: owners said they couldn't make money on nuts and bolts alone. They needed local residents to buy their big ticket supplies, like lumber, from them too, instead of going to the big box chains.
Save history. Patronize your long-time neighborhood businesses today.
3. Reader comment: "Was looking for name of the gravel pit (thought it was Hedberg) and came across your blog . Just skimmed the categories and am ready to relive my youth. Moved to Edina when I was 5, 5609 St. Andrews. At 11 moved to 6612 Cornelia Dr. Remember the gravel pit, the dump, Devaney's stables at corner of 66th and France, attending Bob Barker show for opening of Southdale, 44th and France, Carlson's Odd Shop. Oh, the memories. I am now 66 . I have two sisters, 71 and 64 who will enjoy your blog. John Bauernfeind
As it happened, we recently acquired tax assessor photos of the Hedberg gravel operation, so I made sure to write about that last week for Photo Friday. I have had several people talk about "the dump" at 77th and France (later the site of the France Avenue Drive-in and even later, National Car Rental.) I'll have to see what else I can find.
I didn't grow up in Edina, so I rely on blog readers, museum visitors and people in the community to guide me on what history should be collected and preserved. What do you think should be included in our collections?
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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.