KEN WOLFE By Bob Reiss From the Re-Echo, Spring 2005
The first Council of the new St Louis Park Charter City
consisted of the former elected Village trustees and two
additional appointees. This Council governed for all of
1955, but the members were required to run for reelection in
1955 for staggered terms until 1959.
With the new slate in 1956, the complexion of the Council
changed. Newcomers Gene Schadow, Robert Erhenberg and Ken
Wolfe replaced the traditional old guard. Erhenbeig and
Schadow were new to the political arena, but
Ken Wolfe had been
active in the St Louis Park Community for many years -
although not in any elective capacity.
Ken Wolfe moved to the Park in 1941 and with his family, had
run Associated Lithographers on Lake Street across from me
football field. He started his community service as an air
raid warden in 1942. He became active in the
League and in the St. Louis Park
The Council seat that Wolfe won was for a four-year term
ending in 1959. At the end of that term, with support from
the existing Mayor, Herb Leffler, he ran successfully for
the office of Mayor. He
served in this position for four two year terms and in 1966
his supporters urged him to run for governor of Minnesota.
Instead he ran for State Senator from District 30. He won
that seat and tried to serve as State Senator and Mayor, but
it was too much. He resigned as Mayor, and represented
District 30 until
Throughout his years as Council man, Mayor and State
Senator, Ken Wolfe was an exceptional public servant. He
gave more time and energy to the City than his constituents
had a right to expect. He was really a full-time Mayor and a
Forceful and creative. Ken Wolfe seemed always in the center
of controversy. In 1958, he tendered his resignation from
the Council over annual salaries. He believed strongly that
the Councilmen should not have to set their own salaries
every year. A letter with 250 signatures urging him not to
resign convinced him to continue on the Council.
Ken Wolfe was one of the plaintiffs to petition a panel of
judges for reapportionment because he thought the suburbs
were underrepresented. He and Mayor Melton Honsey of New
Hope paid most of the court costs for this action. He was
verbally abused by Minneapolis Mayor Arthur Naflin in a
meeting at Central Junior High School over the issue of
transferring Minneapolis General Hospital to a county
hospital operation. By a vote of 13 to 0, the Minneapolis
City Council publicly censured him in 1962 for his advocacy
for a metro sewer district.
During Ken's tenure there were a great many new needs, and
he put his energy into addressing them. He had very strong
feelings about the need for a Metropolitan Council and
metropolitan services such as transit, airports and sewers.
For the Park, he established a citywide acquisition and
development program for parks and playgrounds. Wolfe Paik is
a monument to him. He established open council meetings and
appointed a library committee. He changed the city elections
to November when everyone else voted, and he extended the
Mayor's term of office to four years.
In 1972, the St. Louis Park Sun ran the banner headline:
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.