Some Edina street names could appear on any Minnesota city map. Surely, many other towns have dubbed a road "Lakeview Drive" or ""Meadow Ridge." But Edina has several uniquely named streets that reveal people and places from its past.
I found out the history of Gorgas Avenue recently from the godson of George and Eleanor Gorgas, who lived on the property where the short one-block long street runs today. The couple lived in two houses: 5132 France Avenue and 5136 Gorgas Avenue, located just a block apart.
Bob Barber remembers his godparents with great fondness. The couple had no children but were close friends of his parents, Ralph and Marguerite Barber. Growing up close by on 4410 Upton, Bob visited the Gorgases frequently. "They were both very attractive and deeply in love," Bob recalled.
That affection can be seen in two photos Bob donated of the couple, taken in 1924 at their Gorgas Avenue home. (See photo below)
"I know next to nothing about their families but I believe my mother and Eleanor went to high school together," Bob wrote. "George was with the Rock Island Railroad and probably retired from that company. Always dapper, George was an pilot in France during the first World War. They attended St. Thomas Church on 44th Street in the 1930s."
The couple first lived on the Gorgas Avenue house, then moved to the France Avenue home, where they stayed until Eleanor's death in 1955.
Since both houses are situated on 52nd street separated only by the length of one lot and the width of Gorgas Avenue, the Gorgases probably originally owned much if not all the property in the area before it was subdivided. As a nod to the original owners, many developers dubbed at least one street in a subdivision after the homesteaders. Such is the case with streets like Olinger, Tracy, Wind and several others. To learn more, see Joe Sullivan's stories on Edina street names in the city's quarterly newsletter About Town: the story is divided between two issues, Autumn 2004 and Winter 2005.
I am working on creating a list of all the streets in Edina and information about them. I'll post the info on the web site in the coming weeks.
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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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