A Brief History of Edina Real Estate
In the 1850s, a trickle of Scots and Irish immigrants arrived in what is now Edina, when the area was still an undivided part of Richfield. Nineteenth-century settlement was lightly scattered across Edina, which became an independent farming village in 1888. If there was a community center, it was the small grain mill built in 1857 at the falls of Minnehaha Creek, just north of today's 50th Street (a display marks the site today).
By early in the twentieth century, houses were built along and near 44th Street in what was then the independent village of Morningside, now absorbed into Edina. However, Edina was transformed, beginning in the early 1920s, with the 550-house Country Club development. Houses followed architectural guidelines, and had to cost at least $500,000-750,000 in today's dollars. There was nothing else like Country Club, which understandably attracted downtown business and professional elites as residents.
With the image of Edina now firmly associated with wealth and position, affluent subdivisions were prominent in Edina ever after, right up to the present. True, a few relatively modest housing developments were built here and there, but they seem almost invisible when set among the impressively expensive subdivisions that characterize the city.
Edina's national significance draws primarily from two occurrences. One is that Bobby Jones won the third leg of his famous 1930s Grand Slam at Interlachen. The second was the 1956 opening of Southdale, the world's first fully enclosed regional shopping mall.
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Southdale was not only unique (until copied countless thousands of times across the globe), but it was first-class in every way, including beautiful building materials like marble and brass. It was springtime even in the dead of winter in Southdale's light-filled Garden Court, which featured a gracefully curving three-story cage for exotic birds, and a sculptural piece (still there) that was coated in gold leaf, costing an astonishing $10,000, about the cost of a house. It is difficult to overstate the influence of Southdale, not just internationally as a new type of retail, but for suburban Minneapolis, especially for Edina, which now had its own downtown, in symbol and in fact.
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