Burr Cheever cut hair from a small shop at the northwest corner of Sunnyside and France Avenues for more than 60 years. Technically, the business was called "Country Club Barbers," but no one called it that. Men just called it "Burr's," like they were going to a neighbor's house for the afternoon.
Burr didn't take appointments, so customers thumbed through worn issues of Field and Stream or National Geographic (offering many young men their first glimpse of the naked female form) and chatted while they waited their turn. Officially, Burr's was a barbershop; unofficially, it was a neighborhood men's club.
All this I know only from talking to his many customers, who saw the above photos in our Morningside exhibit a few years ago. Whether they were 80 or 40 years old, men of all ages shared the same memories of the neighborhood barber. They loved Burr, and by extension, so did I even though he died long before I came to Edina as historical society director.
Yes, it's true. I love Burr. Let me count the ways:
1. Burr grew a large lemon tree -- something many native Minnesotans had never seen -- and made fabulous lemon pies with the juice -- something many men of the era left to their wives.
2. As Burr passed retirement age, he started charging less for his haircuts, figuring that as his skill declined so should his prices.
3. Burr didn’t bother with appointments or a telephone. In 1988 he told Jim Klobuchar, columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune: “I don’t bother with the fool things. They keep you running around. I got all the customers I want. If people like the way I cut hair, others will find out about it.” Burr usually had a full shop, so his philosophy worked for him.
4. Burr's decor never changed, at the insistence of his customers. He kept the same chairs, barber pole, cash register, outdoorsy prints, and old deer head on the wall. A small sign hung on the wall "Work Hard 8 Hours a Day And Don't Worry. In Time, You'll Be Boss and Work 12 Hours A Day -- and Have All The Worries." Burr tried taking it down, but customers demanded that he put it back up.
5. Most of all, I love that fathers brought their sons to Burr, who in turn brought their sons. In times where businesses often open one month and close the next, a place like Burr's is a common thread that runs through everyone's tapestry of memories.
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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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