On Mondays, I turn the blog over to readers, whose comments reveal a different side to history than what is found in the written record in our collection. A few readers have commented on a post published last year about The corner store: Docken's family served Brookside neighborhood. They remember the people and the sights, sounds and smells of the community store.
Long-time Edina Historical Society member Charles Brown remembered the store and the family:
The photos shown are where the Dockens lived. They lived in the house on the left. They had a son named Tom who I knew as a boy. He graduated from St. Louis Park about 1947. My father drove school buses for Edina which took high school kids to SLP. The people who lived in the house to the right were the "Walls". The Dockens store was right on the corner of 44th and Brookside. It was a two story building and had living quarters upstairs. The street car tracks run right across the street from them. I knew the Garners too when they moved in. They had a son "Meryl" who lived with them.
Former neighborhood resident Al Linick wrote:
Mr. Brown's comments are correct, and what a treat to read about another person's recollections about this place.
In the early 50's, we kids of 10 or 11 or so knew it as "Garner's Store", there was a sign outside on the building that said so, and we knew Mr Garner, who watched (very carefully) over us while in his building.
Outside, the streetcar line ran perfectly parallel with 44th street, and made a stop at Garner's store to disembark commuters who would then walk the rest of the way to their early and mid 50's suburban homestead destinations - sometimes a mile or more. Then the streetcar would proceed due west - straight as an arrow - to Excelsior on the big lake.
(Note: See Google map below of the neighborhood today.)
A few years later I had a Strib paper route, and Garner's store was where the Tribune company trucks dumped off the paper bundles, and we "carriers" as we were called, would go there and pick them up, and then distribute them to the subscribers. In those days the paper was printed and delivered, as a twice a day service, so a carrier would have an evening route, and or a morning route. If you had an evening route, then you had to have a Sunday morning route too, (only one paper delivery on Sundays).
The winter time was especially fun, as it was about a mile and a half from our home on Oxford avenue to the Garners store, and the early fifties historically produced some very cold winter years. I would bundle up in my snowsuit, and take my sled upon which I had attached a large wood box suitable to hold two stacks of newspapers inside, and with our wonderful family dog of indeterminate breed set off for Garners store to pick up the papers. It was great fun and adventure crunching through the snow and listening to the train horns and whistles at 5 or so in the early morning darkness until arriving at Garners store all lit up with its solitary single welcoming floodlight.
I think Garners store was a wood frame building. It may have acquired a coat of stucco on the outside. Not sure of that, but there was a long wooden porch in front, and the porch as well as the floors inside were coarse wooden floorboards that creaked with every step. It had high ceilings, and I recall that there were ceiling fans. I also recall clearly that it smelled old, and worn, and musty.
Does anyone have a sense or a good guess as to the dates of the Garner store? 44th street is a "modern" street built straight as an arrow going west to support development along the streetcar line.
But the old street, that crosses the train tracks just to the north of Garners store and wandered south to what was, Brookside Lane?, looked a lot more like an early wagon (even stage line) route, that then paralled the railroad line for a while. I think that road dates to much older, and we know that the streetcar line going west to Minnetonka predates the 1920's by many years does it not? Or not . . . can anyone comment?
In other words, I think it is quite possible that the store called Docken's or Garner's might be way, way older than the 1926 date mentioned in the earlier part of the original post. Wouldn't it be fun to find out?
Jeanne Andersen, member of the St. Louis Park Historical Society, responded:
Al, although Docken's was in Edina, I have a page for it on our St. Louis Park Historical Society web site http://www.slphistory.org/history/dockenstore.asp, mostly because I grew up about a block away. ... I have much more on the Dockens - they farmed the site starting in about 1897. Enjoyed your memories!
Thanks to our writers today. If you have additiona memories of the store owned by Dockens and then Garners, please share your comments here or email me.
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