The conglomeration of metal shapes on the north lawn of the Edina Library on Grandview Avenue is more than a decorative copper sculpture—it’s the history of Edina. The long textured bars that twist vertically are paths through this area made by its first inhabitants; these Native American trails are now Valley View Road and Vernon Avenue. Minnehaha Creek and Nine Mile Creek are also featured. The three round plates arranged together in the back are a shamrock, symbolizing Edina’s early Irish residents. Thistle, an emblem of Scotland, represents the town’s Scottish immigrants. Near the base of the sculpture is a half-circular disk—a millstone from Edina Mill, one of the first mills in Hennepin County located nearby at Browndale Avenue and 50th Street.
Katherine Nash (1910–1982) created Heritage of Edina in 1968. It is part of Hennepin County Library’s art collection and originally stood in the former Edina Library next to City Hall. Nash was a professor of sculpture at the University of Minnesota from 1961 until 1976 (the only female art professor at the university until 1974); and was recognized for her bronze casting and large abstract sculptures at a time when women were rarely welders or sculptors. She was the director of the university’s art museum and also taught at the Minnetonka Center for the Arts near her home in Excelsior. The Katherine E. Nash Gallery, now in the Regis Center for Art at the University of Minnesota, exhibits student and faculty art. We are fortunate to enjoy this sculpture by a prominent, innovative artist in the center of Edina—especially when the subject is our own city.
Contributed by Laura Westlund, a tour guide at the Weisman Art Museum and an Art Hound for Minnesota Public Radio.