February 11, 2017 Josh Sprague

Edina Country Club District History Vol I

This advertisement appeared in July, 1935 in ‘The Crier’, the neighborhood publication for the Edina Country Club District. Thorpe Brothers, the original developers of the Country Club District show here three Country Club homes for sale, ranging in prices from $8750 (Arden Avenue) to $16,750 (Moorland Avenue). Their tag line: “To assist you and your friends in selecting a home of sound value.” True words in 1935, and still true in 2015, some 91 years after the first home construction began in the Country Club District.

Historic Background

What one needs to keep in mind when looking at this advertisement is that these homes were for sale and sold in the midst of the Great Depression. During this time, unemployment peaked at 25%, there was a drought in the farming heartland, businesses and families defaulted in record numbers of loans and hundreds of thousands of Americans found themselves homeless. Yet, despite these statistics, Country Club homes continued to be built and sold as noted in the ad: “From June 1, 1934 to June 1, 1935, There have been built twenty-six houses costing approximately $390,000.”

A Lasting Tradition

Eighty years later, these homes continue to be the most coveted in Edina. Back then, “oil heat and electric refrigeration” were among the selling features. Today, the listing buzz words are “central air conditioning and stainless steel appliances”. And “amusement room”? Like the dinosaurs who once roamed the earth, this term is extinct—being replaced with “family room” or the new, popular “great room”. It’s amazing to think that the 26 houses built from June 1934 to June 1935 cost $390,000. $390,000 divided by 26 houses equals an average cost per house of $15000. According to the US Inflation Calculator, $390,000 in 1935 equals $6,769.631 today. Divided by 26 homes, the current average cost would be $260,370 per house— far, far, far below the current real estate prices as just the lots alone in this neighborhood range from $400,000 to nearly $700,000!

The Premier Neighborhood in Edina

What hasn’t changed in 80 years from this advertisement are two things: 1) “The Country Club District continues to be the choice residential district of Minneapolis” and 2) “We congratulate the residents for maintaining the high standard anticipated by the developers”. In the 91 years since construction commenced in the Edina Country Club District, this area continues to be the premier neighborhood for well-preserved and highly sought-after luxury homes in Edina. Given the concept of its original design of 1924, this neighborhood was added to the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places in 1980, recognizing it as one of the first planned neighborhoods in the United States. If you liked this article, be sure to check out History of Edina Country Club Vol II

About the Author: Bob Moore is a current resident living in the Cornelia neighborhood. His family has lived in Edina since 1925.

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