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

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. Parts I, II and III are , and . Check back on Sunday for part V.

  1. Lenox Elementary School was built in 1925 as a four-room school and expanded in 1946. In 1972, the building was decommissioned as a school. By 1976 it was empty, but on Sept. 27, 1979, it was dedicated as the home of the .
  2. The boys cross-country team won a state title in 2007.
  3. On March 4, 1934, perhaps the most sensational event in Park history took place when local resident Theodore Kidder was gunned down in front of Brookside Drug. No one was ever convicted of the crime, but the car was traced to an alias used by gangster Baby Face Nelson. What Kidder did to arouse the mob’s ire is unknown, but he worked for National Lead and may have been supplying ammunition to his mobster golf buddies.
  4. Peter Himmelman, a musician who played in the band Sussman Lawrence, graduated from St. Louis Park High School.
  5. St. Louis Park is currently in Minnesota's 5th Congressional District, but prior to the 1990 Census, the city was in the more conservative 3rd district.
  6. The father of current city councilman Paul Omodt is former longtime Hennepin County Sheriff Don Omodt.
  7. St. Louis Park High School's new boys hockey coach, Shjon Podein, won the Stanley Cup in 2001 with the Colorado Avalanche.
  8. It took 31 signatures on a petition in 1886 to incorporate St. Louis Park as a village.
  9. was originally called Edgewood Park. On Nov. 8, 1962, the park was named for Dorothea Nelson, the city's first recreation director, who served from 1946 to 1962.
  10. Lumber baron Thomas Barlow Walker was responsible for much of St. Louis Park's development in the late 1800s. Walker Street was named after him.
  11. St. Louis Park went from a village to a city officially in 1954, when voters approved a charter.
  12. Charlotte Furber, class of 1939, was crowned the city's first "Miss St. Louis Park."
  13. Little League baseball was introduced in St. Louis Park in 1951.
  14. Dan Wilson, the lead singer of the band Semisonic, graduated from St. Louis Park High School.
  15. The used to be a junior high school, up until 1980.
  16. B'nai Emet Synagogue was featured in the movie "A Serious Man," directed by St. Louis Park natives Joel and Ethan Coen. Much of the rest of the film was shot in Bloomington.
  17. The city's oldest active fire station is actually , which opened in 1963. Both of St. Louis Park's fire stations are being replaced by new buildings that should open next year.
  18. St. Louis Park graduate T. J. Bohn hit a home run for the Seattle Mariners during the 2006 MLB season—his only home run as a professional. He currently plays for the independent Sioux City Explorers.
  19. was originally called Cambridge Park.
  20. The St. Louis Park boys golf team won the 2003 state title.
  21. Marc Trestman, a 1974 St. Louis Park High School graduate, has held various coaching positions in the NFL. He is currently the head coach of the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes.
  22. was named for Alfred and Nora Elie, who donated some of their 10 acres of land in 1952.   
  23. The opened on July 17, 1972. An estimated 1,200 attended on opening day. There were three pools—one was 50 meters long with eight lanes. There was also a 12-foot diving well with two boards and a separate wading pool.
  24. St. Louis Park High School left the Classic Lake Conference—home to Edina and Hopkins, among others—in 2005 due to having a smaller student body than the other schools.
  25. St. Louis Park's Rotary Club first met on April 1, 1947. There were 22 members.

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

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