WORLD WAR II
As the sons of the Park went off to war as soon as they
were able, the rest of the Village did their best to
conserve resources and raise money. Any additional
stories are surely appreciated; please
contact us. Also
see Park in Times of War
OUR MEN IN UNIFORM
Countless men and women from St. Louis Park served in the armed forces or in war-related industries during the war.
Draft Board Local 423 was located in Hopkins, although Park men registered at registration points in town. On Valentine's Day 1942, 737 men between ages 20 and 40 registered for duty at the Village Hall. It was the third group of registrants in the Park. The fourth registration yielded a "disappointing" 120 men, all age 20. Future registrations would call 19 year olds, then 18.
ON THE HOMEFRONT
The St. Louis Park Commodity Allocation Board "For Tires, Tubes, Autos, Sugar, Etc., Ration Board No. 27-4" was chaired by S. Earl Ainsworth; the other members were Lydia Rogers and Willis H. Richardson. Below is a ration book from 1943.
Scores of citizens were
saving on rubber by riding bicycles; in July 1942, over 400
bicycle licenses had been issued.
On September 11, 1942, Minneapolis held its first blackout, which lasted half an hour.
Also in 1942 over 700 Park citizens attended a civil defense rally, and air raid wardens and first aid workers were given their instructions.
In January 1943 the Echo reported that the U of M offered accelerated courses for girls in order to fill manpower shortages. Courses included:
In May 1943 Minnesota staged a "semi-surprise" blackout test. For 30 minutes, somewhere between 9 and 11 pm., every light in Minnesota was to be extinguished, except those necessary for war industries. The test was to be initiated by steady blasts of sirens and whistles and by turning out the streetlights. Radio stations would announce the "all clear." R.W. Hollander, Chairman, Hennepin County Civilian Defense, warned:
Park students conducted a "soap for soldiers" campaign and collected 750 bars of soap.
In 1944 the staff of the Echowan cited a shortage of film and asked students to bring in their snapshots for the yearbook.
LIFE AFTER THE WAR
The 1945 directory provides a photo of the Honor Roll that was erected, listing the names of all who served in the War from Park. Eventually it was damaged by fire and not replaced - perhaps because people wanted to move on and not be reminded of this dark time.
The May 15, 1945, Echo reported that 2,675 decks of playing cards were collected, presumably for servicemen still waiting to come home.
The June 9, 1945, issue of the SLP Spectator reported
that plans were made to assist returning servicemen in their
readjustment to civilian life. Mayor O.B. Erickson and
representatives of the American Legion and the War Dads
established committees on education, finance, and
rehabilitation to aid the veterans.
Jake Henry Nilva was a Navy aviation machinist's mate from St. Paul. Billboard Magazine reported on March 15, 1947, that Nilva
Nilva's fate was reported in Billboard because he was credit manager of the Mayflower Novelty Company. In the October 1941 issue of Automatic Age Magazine there is a picture of the company, represented by Nilva, Morris Roisner, Sam Taran (Nilva's uncle) and Herman Paster (Nilva's brother-in-law) signing a substantial order for Wurlitzer “automatic phonographs and related music equipment” with Wurlitzer’s district manager.
A subsequent story in the June 26, 1948, Billboard reported that all nine survivors were taken to Tokai Tei prison and later executed. The information came out in war trials "over a year ago" and led to the discovery of Nilva's grave. His remains were brought back to the U.S. and a reburial service was held on June 9.
Plaque placed by the American Legion on May 30, 1949, on rock located near the Veterans' Memorial Amphitheater in Wolfe Park.
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.