125 Things You Might Not Have Known About St. Louis Park: Part II

The city is celebrating its 125th birthday on Sunday.

Editor's Note: As St. Louis Park gets ready to on Sunday, we're presenting 125 unique tidbits of local history in a five-part series. Yesterday, we ran . Check back the next three days for parts III-V.

  1. Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) grew up in St. Louis Park and attended local schools from kindergarten through 10th grade. When he ran for the Senate, Franken featured one of his St. Louis Park teachers in a TV ad.
  2. girls basketball player Amy Davidson won the state's "Mrs. Basketball" award in 1986.
  3. In 1981, the new federal Superfund law for contaminated sites was cited for the first time in a law suit, as the government sued Reilly Tar in St. Louis Park. The site has since been cleaned and is now . 
  4. The high school's cheer squad, the Parkettes, served as cheerleaders for the Minnesota Vikings from 1964 to 1983.
  5. The oldest house in St. Louis Park was built in 1874 and is located at 8550 Minnetonka Blvd.
  6. St. Louis Park was named for the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railroad that cut through town.
  7. Jim Petersen, who is currently a TV broadcaster with the Minnesota Timberwolves, played for St. Louis Park and became the state's first ever McDonald's All-American. He later played in the NBA.
  8. The boys lacrosse team has won the last two state titles.
  9. Guy Bannister, a figure in the John F. Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories and featured in Oliver Stone’s “JFK,” lived in the Park in the 1950s.
  10. was originally called Fine’s Park when developer Adolph Fine donated 2.34 acres at 32nd and Brunswick in 1951. The current name comes from the name of an addition in the area. 
  11. St. Louis Park has 35 official neighborhoods.
  12. St. Louis Park is 10.8 square miles in area.
  13. In the late 1940s, plans were established to build a baseball stadium in St. Louis Park to lure MLB's New York Giants to the area. The plans , and the Giants moved instead to San Francisco, where they are still located today.
  14. The highest point in St. Louis Park is the Environmental Education Center.
  15. The lowest area is the basin.
  16. and pond is said to be haunted by the caretaker of the adjacent Silver Fox Farm, whose lamp light can be seen decades after the farm closed.
  17. The in St. Louis Park hosted the 1959 PGA Championship.
  18. Greg Howard, creator of the nationally-syndicated “Sally Forth” comic strip, grew up in St. Louis Park.
  19. Six men have served non-consecutive terms as St. Louis Park's mayor, including the city's first mayor, Joseph Hamilton, who served three non-consecutive terms.
  20. The longest any mayor has served consecutively is 13 years, done by Lyle Hanks from 1982 to 1995. Current mayor Jeff Jacobs has served for 12 years and is seeking re-election in 2011.
  21. The St. Louis Park Little League baseball team won state championships in 1976 and 1979.
  22. Fox 9 anchor Jeff Passolt grew up in St. Louis Park.
  23. St. Louis Park High School was built in 1956 at a cost of $3.5 million. The land had previously been used as a skating rink, although several houses on the west side of the property had to be removed.
  24. Northside Rotary Park was renamed in 1990 to commemorate all of the work done by the organization to improve the park. 
  25. Mary Lahammer, a political reporter on Twin Cities Public Television’s "Almanac," is a Park resident and served as Miss St. Louis Park in 1992.

Special thanks to the St. Louis Park Historical Society and Patch reader John Froom for helping to compile this list.

Gary Lundquist April 19, 2012 at 11:45 PM
A lots has happened since my Great Grandfather Joseph Hamilton was Mayer indeed.


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