A Field of Dreams

A suburban vision years in the making.
In 1932, J.A. Danen and his crew cut hay on the empty lots in the Country Club District.

Local newspapers announced the opening of the innovative Country Club District with great fanfare. “It looks as though Edina will be having growing pains before long,” predicted the Hennepin County Review on May 29, 1924.

Sales, in fact, were “perfectly lousy,” revealed developer Samuel Thorpe’s son, Sam, years later in a 1971 Edina Sun article, “It took a while to sell [homebuyers] on the idea of moving such a long way from established Minneapolis neighborhoods.”

Even with modern amenities including paved streets, sewer and water, many lots stood vacant for more than a decade, as the stock market crashed in 1929 and the country sank into the Great Depression. J.A. Danen cut hay on the empty lots, providing a visual of Edina’s enduring rural tradition in the face of suburban development.

The Country Club District would ultimately have a history-changing impact on Edina, providing more than one-third of its population and forever providing the village its identity as an upper-class community. Today, the fully developed Country Club District remains intact thanks to its protected status as an Edina Heritage Landmark.

Find out the history of your home, whether it is a 1950s rambler or a former farmhouse, at the Edina History Museum.