Golden Valley's 125th Anniversary Essay Contest

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Four local students won honors in Golden Valley’s 125th Anniversary essay contest, sponsored by the Golden Valley 125th Anniversary Planning Team. The winners were announced Dec 2, 2012 at the City's 125th Anniversary Party at the Golden Valley Golf and Country Club.

The contest was open to students who were in 5th or 6th grade during the 2011-2012 academic year and who resided or attended school in Golden Valley. Home-schooled students in comparable grades were also eligible.

Students wrote 500- to 600-word essays on any topic relating to Golden Valley history. Essays were judged on originality and presentation (including grammar and spelling). First prize was $50 and second prize was $25.


First Prize: Emma Buttress, Grade 6, Meadowbrook School

Golden Valley History Essay
by Emma Buttress

My name is Emma Buttress and I have lived in Golden Valley for about 7 years now, and I think it's a great city. I love shopping, eating at restaurants, and even playing at parks here. I have been doing some research about Golden Valley history, and I learned about a lot of different businesses and buildings all over town. Some were started or built here in Golden Valley first, and others just moved here but they are all a part of Golden Valley today. The one place that I chose to write about is Meadowbrook Elementary School.

The reason that I chose to write about Meadowbrook is because I have been going there since kindergarten, and am now in 6th grade there. This is my last year at Meadowbrook and it has been really fun every year. My younger brother is in 5th grade there, and my younger sister in 1st. My youngest sister will go there in 2 years. Meadowbrook is a great school, with a big gym, a library full of books, and a super fun playground. The best part is that my family lives right across the street and around the corner from school, so we can walk every day. That was some information about me and my family's connection to Meadowbrook, but here's the actual history.

Meadowbrook Elementary School was originally a one room schoolhouse, east of Xerxes Avenue, and south of Glenwood Avenue. The Minneapolis city limits were extended to Xerxes Avenue in 1884, placing the school in Minneapolis. The city of Minneapolis ran the school from 1884-1885, until the Harrison School was built. Meadowbrook was then renamed Harrison School One. On July 11, 1885, another one room schoolhouse was built, placing Meadowbrook in Golden Valley. The school stayed at that same site for 38 years. In 1922 they built a four room schoolhouse, because of the growing number of students.

Until1936, Meadowbrook was not an accredited school, since none of the teachers had the proper training. A substitute teacher was hired, and the teachers took turns getting the credits necessary. The current principal didn't have any high school credits, so a new principal was hired. That angered many of the parents, since they had had the former principal when they attended Meadowbrook. Eventually, the school board held a meeting to explain why the old principal had been fired. After the school was accredited, many changes started taking place. For example, there became an argument over teachers' salaries. A first grade teacher was hired at $90 dollars a month, and the janitor got paid $100 a month "since he worked harder."

Somewhere in between 1936 and 1938 Meadowbrook bought a school bus and the land for the current location of Meadowbrook. It was built in 1949 an d expanded again in 1965. That building was considered one of the most modern buildings of its time.

Meadowbrook is very important in Golden Valley. Meadowbrook has been around since the day Golden Valley became a city in 1886. Meadowbrook is a great school to go to and I'm going to miss i t when I leave next year. I hope my siblings have fun there along with everyone else who attends the school.

Golden Valley: A History of a Minnesota City, 1886-1996, By The Golden Valley Historical Society

Second Prize: Alison Roston, Grade 5, Neill Elementary School

Golden Valley is a Great Place for Raising Kids
by Alison Roston

Golden Valley is a great place for raising kids. This is the answer everybody gave me when I asked, “Why did you move to Golden Valley?” For the 125th anniversary historical contest I interviewed six people to learn about the history of Golden Valley.

First I interviewed Mr. and Mrs. Schmoyer. They moved to Golden Valley in1961. What Mr. S. remembers is that there was a duck pond at the corner of Duluth St. and Wisconsin Ave. Duluth Street was originally going to be a thru way to County Road 18, now called Highway 169, which is why it is a wider street. He also mentioned a nightclub and old time stores which are no longer there.

Mr. and Mrs. Anderson moved to Golden Valley in 1973 from Robbinsdale. A realtor recommended them to move to Golden Valley for low tax rates and an excellent school district. They say the neighborhood is changing with younger families moving in and they like the Starbucks coffee at the fountain.

In 1955, Mr. and Mrs. Haroldson moved to their home in Golden Valley. They remember a farm on Plymouth Ave. and Winnetka Ave. He remembers the cows, pigs, chickens, horses, and ducks. There were not many houses on their block when they moved in. He told me that Kilmer Drive was named after the neighbor’s child. There was a muddy pond behind his home and the sewers drained the pond when they were built. Plymouth Road was a dirt road. There was a movie house near where Davannis is now and it cost 50 cents to see a movie.

During my interview with Mr. and Mrs. Sell, I found out that Valders Avenue was named after a town in Norway. They moved to Golden Valley in 1963. Wesley Park was a duck pond. John Brenna, the park and rec director, had people put all their extra dirt there to build up the park. All the roads were dirt and a certain number of homes had to be built in order for the roads to be blacktopped. He said that the best part of building in Golden Valley was that zoning regulations required bigger yards. Seeman developed the zoning laws of Golden Valley and now there is a park named after his wife. There was a Red Owl grocery store where the Golden Valley Commons is now. Along Winnetka where there is now a post office, were a gas station and a Super Valu, a blacksmith shop, and a theater. In 1960, city hall was built. Oak Knoll and West View were Golden Valley schools. The high school closed in 1980 and is located where Breck School is now. There was a hospital called Glenwood Hills and it was taken over by the Minneapolis Psychiatric Clinic, which is now the Courage Center.

Mrs. Siegel grew up near Wesley Park in the 1970’s. She remembers climbing a rocket ship and going down a cork screw slide. There was also a big yellow arch with swings and a wooden structure by the softball fields.

My dad grew up near Hampshire Park in the 1970’s. He remembers the merry go round at the park and he used to ride his bike to Reeds Drug which is now the Commons area. He remembers Down in the Valley as a free standing store with a reptile store beneath it. He misses the swimming pool at Brookview.

My history began only 10 years ago. I enjoyed learning about the city I live in and how it’s changed. It was fun meeting new people.

Honorable Mention: Sam Buttress, Grade 5, Meadowbrook School

The Early Settlement Of Golden Valley
by Sam Buttress
Golden Valley is a wonderful place to live now, but I thought that it was really interesting a long time ago, so I chose to write about that. The first people to move to Golden Valley were William "Billy" Jones and his pal John Gearty, but when they moved there it wasn't called Golden Valley. It was just a big land area, full of trees and grass and plants and animals.

Now, as you can imagine, it took a long time to get to Minnesota. In 1851, they went from a small town in Massachusetts to Boston to Buffalo to Detroit to Chicago to Galena to St. Paul to St. Anthony, some by train, some by boat, and some by horses who they had to change every 20 minutes. Once they got there they each picked out some land and flipped a coin to see which piece of land they would live on. So really where we live today was decided by a coin. After that a lot more people came to the big Midwest-Minnesotan land area. One of them was William Varner. Varner moved here with his wife and two sons from Ohio. Once he got here he stood on a hill, looked down on all the land, and said, "This is my valley, my golden valley." (And he probably didn't say it with a Minnesotan accent. I have no idea where that even got started.) Where he stood is now the golf club.

The people that came here had heard tales of Indians. Once, when William Varner was hunting in the winter he saw deer tracks. He followed them to the woods where he saw a deer. After he shot it, he decided it was too heavy to carry back to his log cabin but he needed the deer for his family. All of a sudden an Indian came out of the woods. The Indian helped him cut and carry the deer but the Indian marveled at how sharp his knife was. Varner brought the Indian to his house and showed him his sharpening wheel and let him sharpen his knife. After that, many Indians came to sharpen their knives and soon Varner and his family became good friends with the Indians. Nowadays we have fancy newfangled knives that always stay sharp. But even if we didn't, it wouldn't really matter because we don't use knives as much as we used to because we can just go to Byerly's or Davanni's (which are both close to us in Golden Valley) or someplace like that instead of hunting.

So, I've told you about the olden days and what it was like to be an early settler. Things were different back then for settlers. For example, they didn't have technology, like fancy self-driving smart cars or touch tablets that can do stuff just by you telling the phone to do it, or even the internet. But it sure would be cool to have a giant backyard like they did. And we should always remember our founders .... What were their names again? Teasing! And so, there you have it, the history of Golden Valley!

Source: Golden Valley: The History of a Minnesota City 1886-1986, By the Golden Valley Historical Society

Honorable Mention: Max Ackerman, Grade 5, Meadowbrook School

Golden Valley Then and Now
by Max Ackerman

There are a few different theories about the origin of Golden Valley's name. The first one is about a settler that came from Saint Anthony Falls. On his journey, he saw a hill so high that he thought it was a mountain. When he climbed to the top, he realized that he was not on a mountain but just looking down at a valley. As he was looking down at the valley there was a marsh area nearby with a lake. The sun was shining on the crystal blue lake making it shimmer on the yellow daffodils. The daffodils appeared golden in color. He thought to himself this is my valley, my Golden Valley. The hill that the settler described in the story is now the home of the Golden Valley Country Club golf course. Over the years the weather has made the hill less noticeable.

Another theory is that pioneers saw cowslips, golden rods and sun flowers on the hills. This was printed in the paper. After seeing the article, Carl Moser, a long time resident called the paper to tell them it was actually a field of yellow wheat. The Moser family was one of the first families to live in what would become Golden Valley. In a few years, some more families came and turned the prairie land into wheat fields. Mr. Moser said that his friend William Varner, had looked out over those fields of wheat from his hilltop house, He said, " this is truly a golden valley" and the name seemed to stick.

This is one of the more likely theories because there really is not a valley in Golden Valley. Irish settlers came to Golden Valley wishing to retain some memory of Ireland. They named the village Golden Valley after the Golden Vale of Shannon, a portion of the Shannon River Valley in western Ireland. No matter which theory you believe, Golden Valley is a city that is wonderful.

Golden Valley became a city in 1972. Over the years Golden Valley's population has grown. In 1890, the population was 509 people. By 1930, our population was 1,320 and in 1970 the population was 24,246. Our population has gotten lower from 1970 to 2010. In 2010, our population was 20,371.

Golden Valley is home to several large companies which include Kare 11 news and another one is Honeywell International. We also have General Mills and United Health Group.

Golden Valley continues to add to its history. In 2004, Golden Valley started its new yearly tradition of celebrating community by starting the Golden Valley Days festival. Every year people come to enjoy music, art and good food with friends and family.

Some of my family's favorite things to do in Golden Valley are the ice cream social, the farmers market, the stay and play program at the park, and the summer concerts in the park. One of my family's favorite things to do is watch the fireworks in the park during Golden Valley Days. My dad and I go to the Brookview golf course and play on the par 3 course.

Informational source:
City of Golden Valley. MN: History < >
About Golden Valley Golden Valley. Minnesota - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia <,_Minnesota>