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 .
Edina began as part of Richfield Township, Minnesota. By the 1870s, 17 families, most of them immigrating as a result of the potato famine in Ireland, had come to Minnesota and claimed land in the southwest section of what was then Richfield Township. They were followed by settlers from New England and Germany, who claimed additional land near Minnehaha Creek. The Baird and Grimes neighborhoods (which are both listed on the National Register of Historic Places), and the Country Club District (then known as Waterville Mills) are located in the northeast part of Edina, and were among the first areas to be established. The area then known as the Cahill Settlement, at West 70th Street and Cahill Road, was also an early community center and the home of Cahill School.
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).
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.
Historical racial discrimination
According to historian Deborah Morse-Kahn, the Quaker village that existed where Edina would be built included African Americans who "became very involved in community life—especially as leaders." However, in the early 20th century discriminatory policies led nearly all of the African Americans who had been living in Edina to move away. James W. Loewen described the suburb as a sundown town. Researchers point in particular to Samuel Thorpe's development of the Country Club district, which used deed restrictions as means to exclude non-whites, stating explicitly that "No lot shall ever be sold, conveyed, leased, or rented to any person other than one of the white or Caucasian 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 tenant is residing thereon." Other developments, like that built by N. P. Dodge Corporation just a mile away, followed suit in attempting to protect land values through racial policies. Though the Supreme Court ruled these kinds of discriminatory housing clauses unenforceable in its Shelley v. Kraemer decision of 1948, reports of discrimination persisted through the 1950s and 1960s. According to the Edina Historical Society's story about the first black family in Morningside (then a separate village) in 1960, attempts to keep them out included tactics like trying "to get [their] lot condemned for drainage." In response, then-mayor Ken Joyce wrote a note dismissing the drainage concern and challenging citizens "to live the Golden Rule". Shortly thereafter the village voted in favor of inclusion.
Jewish residents were also affected by exclusionary deed covenants. In the 1960s, some residents boasted that Edina had "Not one Negro and not one Jew."