Why I will NEVER live in Edina…

Thought I would share a story from today’s StarTrib on the political fight that is intensifying throughout Minnesota at the local level. Susan Covnick, a republican, from Edina tells us that “I grew up in Edina. I am very protective of it.” She said that the Edina of bygone years didn’t allow Laundromats or car washes, and that “we get National Geographic, not the National Enquirer. We don’t even like buses coming through. But the Democrats are moving in from Kenwood and downtown condos.”

This statement leaves me with a few questions? What sort of shallow person would stereotype as such? Where the F#$% does she go to get her car washed then… to those working class neighborhoods? Does her superior intelligence come from reading National Geographic (a great periodical for the record)? Is that the same superior intelligence that told her to vote for George W. Bush in the last 2 elections?

Ms. Convick please put your rose-colored glasses back on and take another hit from your sanctimonious crack pipe. And let’s all remember why they called it Edina – Every Day I Need Attention!

An additional reason of why I will never live in Edina: Shameful in Edina via Star Tribune

2 Responses to “Why I will NEVER live in Edina…”

  1. 1 bobbyjones February 4, 2008 at 11:23 am

    Can’t we all just get along? I have friends who live in Edina (and Inver Grove Heights for that matter). And, don’t we all want to live in a nice neighborhood?

    But Ms. Convick really stepped in it. I suppose she ‘gets along’ by keeping her distance from the heathen bus-riders who frequent laundromats and, if they read at all, read the Enquirer. I’m sure Ms Convick longs for the days when Edina was truly exclusive and banned minorities and Jews (which, as the article below points out is ironic because two Jewish architects designed the model homes, maybe even Convick’s home).

    Past, present conflict in old Edina

    By MARY JANE SMETANKA, Star Tribune


    In the 1920s, Minneapolis real estate developer Samuel Thorpe had a vision for Edina’s farm fields.

    Where cattle grazed, Thorpe imagined a carefully planned “garden suburb” that would offer a haven from cramped urban life.

    Houses in the restricted community would be painted in prescribed colors, with garages hidden from view. Elm trees were welcome, box elders frowned upon.

    Eighty years later, the Country Club neighborhood remains an elm-shaded enclave of stately homes, many valued at more than $1 million. In 1982, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places as a cultural resource worth preserving.

    But melding past and present hasn’t always been easy in Country Club. Edina today is a popular target for those who want to replace old houses with something bigger and grander, and homeowners and city officials have worried that the character that made Country Club worth preserving has been jeopardized.

    In April, the City Council responded to those concerns by putting a yearlong moratorium on teardowns in Country Club.

    The council is expected to decide on new policies that could limit changes in Country Club this spring.

    One proposal would bar alteration of “character-defining” architectural elements on the portions of houses that are visible from the street.

    “We want to preserve the houses that were built under the Samuel Thorpe rules,” said Robert Vogel , an architectural historian who is Edina’s preservation planning consultant .

    Though the city’s Heritage Preservation Board considered seeking a ban on demolishing any Country Club homes more than 50 years old, not every old house is worth saving, Vogel said. Neglect, mold and other problems can make replacement necessary.

    “The city is looking for a happy medium,” he said. “What we want to make clear … is that we consider the houses built up to the 1950s historic resources. If you want to tear down a house that was built then, you’re going to have to convince us and building officials that it’s unsafe, badly damaged or so changed that it’s not recognizable as a Thorpe home.”

    Since 2000, there have been only four teardowns among the 559 homes in Country Club, which is bordered by Minnehaha Creek on the west, W. 50th Street on the south, Arden Avenue on the east and Sunnyside Road on the north. But the potential for losing more homes was growing.

    One construction proposal would have knocked down several homes to build a new mansion and swimming pool. In 2003, the city began requiring owners in Country Club to seek Preservation Board approval to add buildings or to alter 50 percent or more of a home’s outside walls.

    A high-class district

    Thorpe promised buyers “a high-class restricted suburban district” and said they would be protected from “having a monstrosity or an eyesore erected next door.” But the almost 600 empty lots he laid out on already-built streets and sidewalks in the 1920s didn’t sell until eight model homes were built.

    “Once people saw these homes, things went nuts,” Vogel said. By 1936 — the height of the Depression — all the buildable lots were sold. Homes ranged from 1,600 to 3,800 square feet and cost about $10,000 and up. That was a lot — in the mid-1930s, the average American family had an annual income of $1,524 and saved just $11 a year.

    Most Country Club homes were period revival styles such as Tudor, Colonial and Mediterranean, Vogel said, and some sported such amenities as marble floors and teak paneling. Garages were attached to the backs of houses. Many houses featured the new technology of air conditioning. One was insulated entirely with cork imported from Spain.

    Property covenants dictated that minorities and Jews could not buy homes, though Vogel said some residents ignored the requirement. By 1948, the covenants were illegal.

    Ironically, the two architects who designed Country Club’s model homes were Jewish.

    Loving Country Club

    What was state of the art in the 1930s isn’t always appealing today. People want bigger kitchens and double garages.

    Vogel said most homeowners respect the neighborhood’s aesthetics. “You see fantastic restoration work going on without anyone holding a gun to their head,” he said.

    But he said the city needs to protect against the erosion of historic elements. Little changes, year after year — a new roof line, removal of unusual windows, ripping off a Tudor home’s front vestibule — eventually can make a house look out of place, Vogel said.

    Jean Rehkamp-Larson is an architect and Preservation Board member who moved to Country Club from south Minneapolis four years ago. She was drawn by “the great character of the neighborhood,” she said. “It feels urban, even though it’s technically a suburb. We have elm-lined streets, sidewalks, we can walk to a movie or to get coffee.”

    She and her husband and two children live in a 1,800-square-foot, 1927 Tudor. Though the house is beginning to feel smaller as the children grow, they have added a half-bath and created a mud room and a breakfast nook. To add light, they got rid of the attached garage and added French doors.

    “It dramatically changed the livability of the house,” Rehkamp-Larson said.

    There are ways to add space seamlessly, she said. That’s what the past year of thinking about Country Club has been all about, she said.

    “Character can easily slip away without people realizing what’s happened,” she said. “Scale is important, and details are really important … We want to help people be thoughtful about how and what they add.”

    Mary Jane Smetanka • 612-673-7380

  2. 2 cjschuette February 5, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    I knew it! It’s because of those damn out-of-towners that I can’t get my car washed in Lino Lakes! Plenty of buses, though.

    Love the blog. Sarcasm is our friend.


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