To hear visitors talk, you would think this place rivaled Queen Anne Kiddieland or Valleyfair. The gravel pits of Edina might have been just piles of sand and rock, but the boys (and a few girls) who biked through there thought it was a wonderland. With the added adrenaline rush from engaging in a forbidden activity, kids loved playing in the acres of dirt. The gravel pits will no doubt be featured in our upcoming exhibit, Growing Up in Edina: A Show and Tell Exhibit, right along with Clancy's Toyland and the Edina Pool.
What would make this photo perfect would be the addition of children on their bikes. But, of course, no one took photos of that sort of thing, even if the activity were allowed. Still, I can hope.
I can also strongly encourage those former bad boys of the suburbs to send in their memories. If you have a photo of you on your bike, all the better. I think this would be a great example of how childhood in Edina has changed over the decades. My second-grade visitors barely know what gravel is, much less know that much of south Edina was owned by several gravel companies, including Glacier and Hedberg. This photo is of Oscar Roberts' operation on the west side of France Avenue, south of 70th Street, across from Hedberg's (and today's Galleria).
The photo is courtesy of Milo Frank, whose father Roy worked for Oscar Roberts during World War II and also farmed the adjacent property. I copied the photo from one of the many scrapbooks his father assembled throughout his life. The road shown in the photo is a company roadway. Milo believes the photo is taken looking east toward France Avenue.
I hope to write a longer story about gravel pits for our newsletter. If you have information or photos, please contact me.
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