What is this suburban housewife doing?
Select one. The photograph from the 1960 Edina phone directory shows her:
a. Cheering at a sports event.
b. Waving to a friend at Southdale mall.
c. Working out at an athletic club.
d. Sitting at a bus stop on her way to work.
Don't let the pencil skirt, white dress blouse and pumps fool you. The answer is c. Working out at an athletic club.
I realize unofficial dress codes have changed in the past 50 or so years. Men dressed in suits and hats to watch the Minnesota Twins when they first came to town in the 1960s. Women dressed nicer then to go to the grocery store than we do today for church. Children were forbidden to wear jeans or shorts to school.
But high heels to work out? Really?
Granted, advertising doesn't always mirror reality, but here is the proof in the 1960 ad for the St. Louis Park Sports & Health Club. Nothing like pumping iron in pumps.
The club was located at 4916 Excelsior Boulevard in St. Louis Park, but apparently attracted Edina area folks who didn't belong to the Edina Country Club or Interlachen. The club even had enough of a local connection that it was one of the sponsors for the Miss Edina pageant in 1968.
According to our friends at the St. Louis Park Historical Society, "When the Sports and Health Club opened on November 23, 1959, it was the first anyone had ever seen of a family-oriented exercise facility." As you can see from the full ad below, it had a supervised nursery, game room and canteen along with the usual exercise equipment and pool.
It looks like a nice facility. So nice that I'd almost think about wearing a skirt and pumps to work out.
I lie. The thought would never cross my mind.
Hope you enjoyed the ad as much as I did. Did you work out at the club before it moved down the street to 4900 Excelsior Boulevard in 1983? (It's now a Bally's athletic club.) The original building still exists today, as medical offices for Methodist Hospital. (See Google image below) The SLPHS web site notes, "Today a conference room sits where the pool used to be. Traces of the former use still exist in the tiled staircases on either side, leading down to what were the male and female changing rooms."
If you know anything about this building or business, please share your comments here or email me.
Search this blog:
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:
Thank you, your message has been sent
Support this blog!
Help us bring you Edina history with this web site by becoming a member or donating today. Click on the link to our GiveMN.org site to make a donation with a credit card. The Edina Historical Society is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that depends on contributions to continue operation.