I don't have the census figures right in front of me, but Edina had a bazillion or so youngsters back in the 1960s.
Obviously, I'm rounding up a little.
But not by much. Not only was the whole country experiencing a Baby Boom, Edina was attracting more than its share of young families after the residential housing market exploded here after Southdale mall opened in 1956. The community was filled with children. Here is the proof.
This line of parents and children went down the Village Hall steps, down the sidewalk and around the block.
You see this sort of crowd when the new IPhone is released. Or when groupies camp out to get concert tickets to the latest band, or maybe the first night a Harry Potter movie is shown. From the length of this line, you'd think that the Village was giving away money or free wood-paneled station wagons (the mini van of the era.)
Instead, they were offering something parents found nearly as valuable: Park and Rec summer programs for their children. On registration day, the Village Hall closed early and every spare secretary went to work processing requests for swimming lessons, summer classes and sports. (Do you see six or seven staff members below?)
In the days before computer registration, anybody juggling schedules for multiple children showed up hours early to avoid driving one kid to lessons at the same time they needed to get another kid to a game.
I found these photos among many other gems in a Park and Rec scrapbook in our collection. After flipping through the pages, I can see why families were anxious to sign up. Remember the Park Olympics? Turtle Races? The Aqua Show? Tell us which park program was your favorite. Comment here or email me.
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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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