Here’s a little footage of the 1938 construction of St. Stephen’s church on West 50th in Edina. Saint Stephen’s 75th anniversary was just last year. This film was made by village recorder, Ben B. Moore. The movie also features a glimpse of the old Wooddale School, a quieter 50th Street and 1930′s construction equipment.
When the First National Soo Line Building was completed March 1, 1915, it became Minnesota’s tallest building. Designed by New York architect, Robert Gibson the classical, 268-foot-tall, Renaissance Revival and Beaux Arts style tower, features a mischievous cornice above 70,000 square feet of window glass and 4,500 cubic yards of Minnesota limestone. The first floor of the building used to be the Soo Line ticket offices. The railroad company’s offices were located on the top floors. The First National Bank sweeping second floor lobby had twenty-foot-tall ceilings and large arched windows on three sides. The building also housed a barbershop and manicure parlors. First National Bank moved out in 1960 and the tall arched windows of their lobby were replaced with smaller square windows. In 2008, The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Three years later Michigan-based developer Village Green Properties purchased the structure for $11.3 million. In October of 2013, the company completed a conversion of the property into a 254-unit luxury apartment building.
Completed in 1929, the Foshay Tower was the first skyscraper in Minneapolis the tallest building in town until 1971. The Art Deco building modeled on the Washington Monument was the creation of multimillionaire, Wilbur B. Foshay. A real estate developer who prospered in the public utilities business, Foshay lost his fortune in the 1929 stock market crash. Built of fabricated steel, hot-riveted with reinforced concrete, the 447-foot tower is faced with Indiana limestone. The interior was lavishly finished in the finest materials available, including African mahogany, Italian marble, terrazzo, ornamental bronze and wrought iron. There is no other office building-obelisk like the Foshay in the world and the tower was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. These days Minneapolis has many much taller skyscrapers, but none of them has became the sort of civic emblem the Foshay was for so many years.
Nestled into a metropolitan area with suburbs like Golden Valley, Richfield and Eden Prairie most people think Robbinsdale was named for a bird. They are wrong. Robbinsdale was named for man, a b-i-i-i-i-g man! A Civil War veteran, politician, entrepreneur was he… Andrew B. Robbins carved the village Robbinsdale out of the surrounding countryside with his bare hands. In 1887 Robbins purchased 90 acres to the west of Lower Twin Lake. He platted much of the area as the Robbinsdale Park subdivision, but reserved 20 acres of lake shore for his estate. In 1890 the Robbins family built a 16 room Queen Anne-style fantasy of turrets, porches and dormers. The house had five fireplaces, electricity and indoor plumbing. Robbins landscaped the estate with 8 acres of lawn, walks , fountains, shrubs and two tree lined entrance roads. After Robbins started collecting trees from all over the country his estate became known locally as “The Orchard”. In 1903 he wrote,”I have my own ground, with 22 apple trees which are now bearing fruit” Robbins passed away in 1911. The house was occupied by the family until 1929. During the Great Depression the estate fell into decay. When some of the land was being cleared for road construction in the 1930′s, workers for the highway department said they had never seen such a wide variety of trees in one place. After World War II the house was demolished in order to expand Highway 100 across Twin Lake.
Built in 1971 on land donated by Charles Horn, these 22 floor buildings contain nearly 500 units. The poured-in-place towers are grouped around a sunken courtyard and organic garden on a one-block site just south of Lake Street. In 2004 the city allocated $7,000,000 to repair the cracking and general deterioration of the buildings’ natural concrete facade. The Horn Towers are the southernmost highrise structures in Minneapolis.
Maple Plain is located about 25 miles west of Minneapolis on U.S. Route 12. It in named for the many sugar maples in the nearby woods. There’s still some left on the west side of Lake Independence. In 1868 and 1869, the St. Paul, Pacific and Manitoba Railroad was built through Maple Plain. By 1871, Maple Plain had a post office, The city was incorporated as a village in 1912. On May 5, 1905, John Haven, Austin B. Morse and E. J. Cranston organized the State Bank of Maple Plain with a capital of $10,000.00. In 1927 the Maple Plain Bank assumed the assets and liabilities of the State Bank of Lyndale, Minnesota. The first bank building was constructed in 1905 and was occupied for 58 years. In 1963 a new modern facility was built on the east side of town. During its history the bank has experienced three armed robberies. Two occurred in the old building and the latest on December 21, 1965 in the new structure. The old bank is currently a private residence. I remember seeing it for sale just a couple years ago for about $250,000.
Frank Berenberg opened a bakery over north on Lyndale in 1933. He brought sons Irving, Abraham, and Morris into the business a couple year later.The Lincoln Bakery was on Olson Memorial Highway in Minneapolis and the store was a “cold shop” where baked goods were sold but not made. The location was displaced in 1957 with the improvement of Highway 55, and the operation was moved to St. Louis Park. In 1965, the Lincoln Del West at Highways 100 and 12 opened and ten years later, the Lincoln Del South opened in Bloomington. The restaurant was famous for Triple Tootsies, C. Everett Koop cake and Chocolate phosphate made with fresh cream. All three locations were closed before the turn of the century. Fishman’s Market moved into the space on Minnetonka Boulevard for several years before Edina Realty completely renovated the building and added a gleaming, copper clad addition in 2011.