THE NORTH SIDE
Back in the beginning, St. Louis Park was more a collection of different neighborhoods other than a cohesive community. Each had its own commercial area (or at least a grocery story), went to the neighborhood elementary school and church, and basically didn't interact very much. Each neighborhood also had (and was made possible by) a different means of transportation into Minneapolis.
One of those neighborhoods was called
the North Side, defined as the area north of the Great
Northern Rwy. tracks (now the BNSF). The area was
mostly undeveloped, and before World War II it remained
fairly stable with a small population for 10-15 years.
After the war, of course, the acres of undeveloped land were
quickly filled with housing and all that went with it.
But in the old days, the fields were mostly known for the
number of gravel pits and summer grass fires.
Also see the story of the North
Side peat fire of 1936, written by John Yngve.
Besides the Johnsons, a prominent
family was the Blanchettes. James J. and Winefred
(Winnie) Blanchette lived at 6221 W. 14th Ave. So. This
address now falls into the large tract at 6009 Wayzata Blvd.
From at least 1933 to at least 1958, William was listed in
the directory as an "usher" at the Great Northern Railway
Depot, which is now the site of the Federal Reserve Bank.
An usher was kind of like a Red Cap. James and Winnie had no
After World War II, the North Side
exploded with growth - see
Postwar Building Boom and
Jewish Migration to St. Louis Park. One result was
the formation of the Northside Community Club in January
1954. According to a Dispatch article dated
January 28, the club was formed for the purpose of "tieing
into the community for the benefit of all residents."
Temporary chairman was Gordon Middag. The group made
it clear that it was a thoroughly new group, not affiliated
in any way with the Eliot PTA, the old Eliot Improvement
group, nor the Westwood Hills Improvement Association.
This information comes from a variety of sources: newspapers, books, yearbooks, phone directories, interviews, etc. Given the varied sources, we cannot guarantee that all of this information is correct, and welcome any additions and corrections. Please contact us with your contributions and comments.