Normally, today I would bring you our popular feature "Photo Friday." Today, I'll tell you the story of the photo I wish I had.
One of my regular volunteers Larry Nickander grew up in the Morningside neighborhood, joined the military during the Korean War, moved around the country for his job, and then returned to Edina while his two children were in elementary school.
Many more people had the same idea in the 1960s. Following the construction of Southdale mall (1956) and major freeways in the 1960s, Edina's population boomed, as this 1964 story in the Edina-Morningside Courier (June 4, 1964) shows. The headline: "Playmates Number 97. Little Girl Has Friends, And Friends, And Friends".
Larry recalls that a reporter, who must have heard that this new neighborhood was full of children, stopped by with a camera and told one of the youngsters to find as many of his friends as he could. When a crowd showed up, he instructed them to run down a hill and snapped their photo. Larry's son was one of those children.
I wish we had the original photo, but newspaper ownership has changed over the years and the old photos aren't in the Edina Sun-Current's archives.
Isn't it a great photo? It really illustrates the population boom in Edina at the time. (My photo of a photocopied newspaper isn't particularly fabulous, but it's the best we can do unless this magically prompts someone to come forward with the real thing. Hey, you never know... )
The story reads:
"When eight-year-old Janet Stoddard climbs a tree in the nearest vacant lot this summer vacation, she may discover more playmates than woodticks.
The latest census on woodticks is unavailable, but the neighborhood kids number 97.
Janet, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ray Stoddard of 5605 Countryside Rd., lives in a block-and-a-half section off Tracy Ave. where 30 houses line the cul-de-sac road.
Janet regularly calls on the B.F. Woodcock family at 5609 Countryside Rd., where youngsters Nancy, 7, Jeff, 9, John, 11, and Lynn, 13, live.
The five of them visit the tree house and climb trees next to the Woodcock's.
The lot has such significance as a playground to the children that when its sale was once a neighborhood rumor, the Woodcock children ran to their mother to see "how much money does daddy make." They wanted to buy the lot.
To add to the neighborhood confusion, two Dunn families reside in it. So do the Stoddards's and the Stoddart's."
Larry and I talked about this story a few times over the years - prompting me to search our archives, call the newspaper for the photo, search the Minnesota Historical Society archives... to no avail. Microfiche copies of the newspaper are available, but since Larry couldn't narrow down the date, I wasn't looking forward to searching several years' worth of newspapers.
Then, just before our "Growing Up in Edina" exhibit opened, Larry brought in the clipping. I asked him how he found it. His answer: "I asked my wife." Thank you to Larry (and Larry's wife who knew exactly where the clipping was located) for bringing the story in.
For another photo that illustrates Edina's huge number of kids, see this post. (One day, I'll have to look up the exact census figures...I'm guessing a bazillion isn't quite accurate.)
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