Edina is a city in Hennepin County, Minnesota, United States, and a first-ring suburb situated immediately southwest of Minneapolis. Edina began as a small farming and milling community in the 1860s. The population was 47,941 at the 2010 census. Edina is often regarded as one of, if not the most affluent address in the Twin Cities metro by locals.
Edina began as part of Richfield Township, Minnesota. In the 1850s, 17 families, most of them immigrating as a result of the potato famine in Ireland, came to Minnesota and claimed land in the southwest section of what was then Richfield Township. They were followed by English and Scottish farmers, who claimed additional land near Minnehaha Creek. The Baird and Grimes neighborhoods (which are both listed on the National Register of Historic Places), and Country Club District are located in the northeast part of Edina and were among the first areas to be established.
In 1888, the residents of the township held a meeting to consider founding a new village, thus separating themselves from Richfield Township. The idea was favorably accepted by those within the community and a committee was established to oversee the transition.
After the decision was made to form a new village, a debate ensued regarding the naming of the new village. Several town meetings were held in the Minnehaha Grange Hall, during which the names "Hennepin Park", "Westfield" and "Edina" were suggested. Minutes taken by Henry F. Brown, a farmer and future owner (1889) of the Edina Mill, are summarized as follows:
At the next meeting, the name Edina was finally chosen with a vote of 47 for and 42 against.
There has been a prevailing myth about the decision to name the new village Edina, which states that two opposing communities—the Irish Cahill community and the Scottish Mill community fought about whether to give the community an Irish Name (Killarney Lakes) or a Scottish name (Edina). The 1860 census, however, indicates that there were no Scottish people in Edina in 1860, and only a couple were present at the time of Edina's founding (1888).
Sundown Town and Racial Past
In history Edina was recognized as a sundown town, along with thousands others at the time. Edina had an informal saying, "Not one Negro and not one Jew", indeed, most whites saw residential segregation as desirable.
After the end of World War I, Samuel Thorpe developed the elegant Edina Country Club district. The district was known to have "restricted deed covenants" in place with hopes to make the African-American minority feel estranged. This covenant also applied to known members of the Jewish religion as late as the 1950s. A typical covenant would contain:
No lot shall ever be sold, conveyed, leased, or rented to any person other than one of the white or Caucasion race, nor shall any lot ever be used or occupied by any person other than one of the white or Caucasian race, except such as may be serving as domestics for the owner or tenant of said lot,while said owner or ten- ant is residing thereon. All restrictions, except those in paragraph 8 (racial exclusion), shall terminate January l, 1964. —Typical restrictive covenant for property in Edina, Minnesota, sundown suburb of Minneapolis
Modern day Edina no longer has sundown policies or racial segregation.
The first suburban development in Edina occurred during the early 1900s in Morningside, a neighborhood in the northeastern part of the village. As Morningside grew, conflict arose between its residents who wanted more city services, and the residents of the rest of the village who wanted to maintain Edina's rural character. As a result of that conflict, Morningside seceded from Edina in 1920 and became a separate village. In 1966, however, the Village of Morningside once again became part of Edina.
Today, many of the street names in Edina are named after families whose farms once occupied that area, for example: Grimes Avenue, Code Avenue, Gleason (Gleeson) Road, Cooper Avenue, Hansen Road and Wyman Avenue.
Edina has a reputation for being one of the most affluent suburbs of Minneapolis. Edina citizens are considered wealthy (e.g. median household income for 1999 in Edina was $66,019, compared to the averages of $37,974 for Minneapolis and $47,111 for the state of Minnesota), which led to the once derogatory term of "cake eaters" (a reference to the "Let them eat cake" quote misattributed to Marie Antoinette). The term is now largely used in jest in regional sports rivalries. Such usage can be seen, for example, in the Disney film, The Mighty Ducks, in which the term is used in reference to the Adam Banks character. Up until the 1960s, the name "cake eater" had been attributed to the Washburn (Minneapolis) Millers, a high school located in a prosperous neighborhood of nearby Minneapolis. Additionally, popular culture in Minnesota references that Edina is an acronym for the phrase "Every Day I Need Attention" once again referencing the stereotypical Edina resident as wealthy and aloof.