Suburban Camping

“Camp a Night” introduced Edina kids to the great outdoors
Edina campers line up for Mulligan stew on an overnight camping trip at the Hays farm, which was later developed into Braemar Park.

In the summers of 1962 and ’63, Edina youngsters explored the wilderness in their city’s backyard during overnight camping trips sponsored by the parks and recreation department.

“Camp a Night” brought youngsters to the Hays Farm in southwest Edina, purchased by the city in 1956 for future development as a park. That proximity came in handy during a couple of loud thunderstorms, when some scared campers asked to go home, recalls Bob Kojetin, then assistant parks and recreation director, who led the trips and did most of the cooking.

The idea of overnight camping trips was born out of necessity. With the population boom of the 1950s and ’60s, the new city pool wasn’t big enough to accommodate the demand for swimming lessons. “We couldn’t fit all the kids in the pool at the same time,” says Kojetin, so girls and boys were scheduled on alternating days. The department offered a variety of programming for off-days, such as sports samplers and Camp a Night. The brief tradition ended in 1964, when the new Braemar Golf Course opened on the Hays Farm site.

Braemar Ice Arena opened a year after the golf course, on Dec. 14, 1965.
The Edina Historical Society is looking for photos and stories from the
arena’s 50-year history. To contribute, contact Marci at 612.928.4577
or [email protected].