It's hard to imagine a car lot at 50th and France these days. But Hartzell Motors occupied a good portion of the 4900 block of France Avenue for many years..
Hartzell operated businesses on both sides of the block, according to a map in the 1988 book From the Barber's Chair by Vern Swanson as told to Tom Clark. The map shows Hartzell's garage on the west side and Hartzell Motor Co. on the east side (Minneapolis).
Here are the 1959 photos from the city's tax records. The 1959 phone directory lists the Edina address as 4936 France Avenue.
The above ad from the 1959 Edina directory notes that Hartzell's has served the community for 38 years, or (if I have the math right) since 1921.
In his book, Swanson recalled that George Hartzell sold his business in 1965. "Down near Owatonna, Hartzell had a farm where he raised French cattle for beef. So he returned to the farm, but he got gored to death by one of his bulls. But I knew him real well - he was a really nice fella."
I never saw Hartzell's in operation, but many museum visitors have mentioned the 50th and France landmark business. Without further research and asking my long-time volunteers, I can't figure out the layout of these buildings. It looks like two buildings - one in the top photo and two sides of a second building in the bottom photo.
Help me out. Tell me what you remember about Hartzell's. Please comment here or send me an email.
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