The following is a document we found in the files that
gives the details regarding the start of the Society.
One day, Mrs. Donald Skoro drove past the Milwaukee
Railroad depot which at that time was located at 36th and
Alabama Ave. So. in St. Louis Park. She was taken
aback by seeing the "St. Louis Park" sign lying on the
railroad bed. She went home and told her husband, Don,
a graphic designer who had always admired the sign which
was classified as a "Smaly" sign. (The Smaly process
for signs was used years ago, an elegant process for signs.
The Smaly process involves glass-like granules on the back
of the sign. This background material actually went
around the letters which were of gold leaf. The Smaly
process is no longer used.)
Mrs. Skoro then called the City Manager's office, speaking
to Mr. Cherches, inquiring about the sign and telling what
she had seen. Mr. Cherches was interested and sent
someone to pick it up, but when the person arrived, the sign
was gone. The Milwaukee Road was contacted and the
sign was finally located at some railroad yard. A City
employee was sent to retrieve the sign, and came up with the
two signs reading "St. Louis Park."
Thus the beginning of the Depot restoration project and the
projected birth of the St. Louis Park Historical Society.
The Milwaukee Road offered to deed the building to the
City, if they found persons interested in restoring the
Interested persons and concerned persons were located, so
as not to destroy one of the few remaining evidences of the
Marie Hartmann contacted Joe Justad this particular
Monday afternoon, asking what he knew about the Depot.
He told Marie to call City Hall; they in turn gave Marie
Mrs. Skoro's phone number. Marie called Mrs. Skoro,
who stated "There will be a meeting at 7:00 PM tonight,
before the Council meeting, of interested persons in saving
the Depot." Marie got on the phone with comment
"You've got to come to City Hall with me tonight. I
don't know just what it is all about, but it has something
to do with the Milwaukee Depot. I had a call this
morning telling me that the Depot was going to be destroyed,
and we can't let that happen." Marie visited a Senior
Citizens picnic which was held at the home of Mrs. Andy
Nelson, telling them the same thing.
There were 13 interested persons at that meeting in addition
to Mrs. Skoro and Robert Bloomquist, who was a
representative from the city Council, as he was on the
Citizens Advisory Commission.
This group of people presented themselves to the 8:00 PM
Council meeting, Mrs. Skoro being the spokeswoman. The
Council agreed that there was enough interest shown that
evening, so they advised the Milwaukee Road that St. Louis
Park would accept the deed for the building.
Plans had already been drawn up as to where to place the
building on the park property owned by the City at 37th and
Brunswick. A meeting was called for the next
Tuesday evening to determine which of the four locations in
the park would be accepted by the committee. However,
the next Tuesday morning they found the foundation spot dug
up. Marie received calls, "Did you know they are
digging the foundation hole for the depot?" No, she
stated, so someone had made up the decision before the
committee could act.
The Senior Citizens wanted the building for their meeting
place, but it would not accommodate their needs, as it was
Mrs. Skoro had been chosen as Secretary of the committee by
the Council. Bob Bloomquist was chosen Chairman of the
Council, since he was a representative of the C.A.C.
Through these interested persons, the "Save the Depot"
committee was formed. Thus blossomed the St. Louis
Park Historical Society.
Robert Bloomquist, Allie Skoro, and Marie Hartmann, were
signers for their petition to form the Historical Society in
Marie Hartmann was elected President of the Society; Allie
Skoro, Secretary/Treasurer; John Billman, Virginia Dreyer
and Robert Bloomquist the Board of Directors, with Robert
Bloomquist, Chairman of the Board.
Thanks to the City Manager's office, and the Assistant City
Manager, Mr. Jim Miceli, we were able to receive HUD funds
and a grant from the State of Minnesota. This office
was very instrumental in us receiving these grants.
The fact that we received monetary gifts from interested
persons, paint for both the interior and exterior of the
building, many gave time in renovation of the building, all
added up to show the Government that we were really
interested in preserving the history of the building, thus
the Grants were issued. HUD grant came to half of the
total cost, the State grant was for a fourth of the total
costs, and the Historical Society provided the balance.
The first year in existence found Marie writing letters to
many of the railroad companies in the United States, for
after all, this was a railroad depot and could use some
railroading artifacts also. The railroad companies
were very gracious. The Milwaukee Road was indeed very
Private citizens have donated the artifacts that are in the
depot, along with the railroads. Only one thing so far
has been purchased, and that is a coal scuttle. Many
person have donated pictures of past St. Louis Park, and
some have written resumes of their remembrances of St. Louis
Park. The contributions are not coming in at a great
pace, but hopefully will start to increase.
Our fundraising comes from yearly dues and the Ice Cream
Our annual activity beside the Ice Cream Social is an Olde
Towne Picnic, which is for all the townspeople. The
St. Louis Park Community Band presents concerts at both of
The year 1976 found us presenting mini-tours of the area
around the Depot, as this was one of the first developed
areas in St. Louis Park. The tours were via the
Bi-Centennial Minnesota Wagon, which was sponsored by the
Annual meeting is held the last Wednesday of April, at 7:30
PM at the Depot location, unless otherwise specified.
The monthly meetings have been reduced to five, along with
the special events.