Richard Jamieson donated this sign and photo last year for our latest exhibit Edina's Greatest Generation: On the Home Front and the Front Line. A closing event, featuring speaker Michael Hansen, will be held 7 p.m., Thursday, May 19.
"Milton T. Jamieson, his family, and accompanying dog Duchess, lived in the Village of Morningside, just north of the City of Edina, MN.
It was 1943. World War II was happening, and Victory Gardens were in vogue. Milton Jamieson worked for the local power company NSP (Northern States Power), which encouraged employee Victory Gardens and provided an appropriate sign properly adorned by the company's corporate image builder, Reddy Kilowatt. Several other public gardens adjoined the fertile bog land, which was located just across the road from what is now Weber Park (link to map).
While the U.S. was at war, this garden supplied several years of super fresh vegetables for the Jamieson family and neighbors.
The above sign has survived sunshine, rain, tornadoes and squirrels for more than 75 years."
I was surprised to hear so many visitors comment on the mascot Reddy Kilowatt, the lightning bolt mascot for NSP. The cartoon character was more than just a company spokesman (or spokesthing, as some have joked.) He appeared in comic books, coloring books, educational films and more. As familiar to children of the 1940s as Ronald McDonald is for kids of today, Reddy Kilowatt fell out of favor during the energy crisis of the 1970s. It wasn't as cool to encourage more electricity use during the sharp rise in energy prices.
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