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Robbinsdale

City of Robbinsdale

Robbinsdale is a city in Hennepin County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 13,953 at the 2010 census.

Geography
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.98 square miles (7.72 km2), of which 2.79 square miles (7.23 km2) is land and 0.19 square miles (0.49 km2) is water.

Minnesota State Highway 100 and County Road 81 are two of the main routes in the city.

History
Shortly after the Minnesota Territorial Legislative Assembly created Hennepin County in 1852, John C. Bohanon filed the first claim in the Township of Crystal Lake. Railroads didn’t reach the area until 1880. A flag station was established near the farm of Alfred Parker and six years later he donated land for a depot. The community that grew around it came to be known as Parker’s Station. In 1887 Minneapolis made an effort to secure more taxable property by annexing neighboring townships. In response, Crystal Lake farmers incorporated the Village of Crystal. Later that year, entrepreneur and real estate developer, Andrew B. Robbins came to Parker’s Station on behalf of an Illinois business interest. Robbins was a former state senator and the brother-in-law of lumber baron, Thomas Barlow Walker. Robbins purchased 90 acres (360,000 m2) to the west of Lower Twin Lake to incorporate into the Robbinsdale Park subdivision. The summer of 1888 brought the first land boom. New industries moved in and a large Lutheran Seminary was built and Robbins began work on his Northern Car Company. The trolley manufacturing firm would eventually employ 150 people. In 1890 the Robbins built a 16-room Queen Anne-style mansion on Lower Twin Lake. After he moved his family in Robbins gathered investors and built the Hubbard Specialty Manufacturing Company. The firm made chairs and wheelbarrows. Despite his connections, Robbins was unable to persuade the Minneapolis Street Railway Company to extend a streetcar line up West Broadway. In 1891 he organized the North Side Street Railway Company and built his own line from the Minneapolis city limits to Robbinsdale Park. The street cars were pulled by horses until the line was converted to electricity. Robbins’ development efforts led to tension between farm families and residents near the village center. A special election was held and a vote to dissolve the Village of Crystal carried unanimously. On April 19, 1893, the new 2.9 square mile village of Robbinsdale was organized.

Fawcett Publications was founded in 1919 in Robbinsdale with the publication of Captain Billy’s Whiz Bang. In 1922 Fawcett introduced True Confessions magazine. The new publication, modeled on popular detective and romance pulps attracted a large female readership. In 1929 Fawcett launched Modern Mechanics. The magazine championed Yankee ingenuity and do it yourself projects. The first issue’s cover line was “Build your own airplane!”. Modern Mechanics was later renamed Mechanix Illustrated. Fawcett Publications eventually outgrew their offices in the Security State Bank Building on West Broadway. In 1930, the company relocated to the Sexton Building in downtown Minneapolis. The city’s pulp magazine history is echoed in Robbinsdale’s annual summer celebration, Whiz Bang Days.

In 1940 Dr. Samuel Samuelson built Victory Hospital on property he already owned in Robbinsdale. The original marble faced, three story building had five operating rooms and 70 beds. In 1954, Victory Hospital was reorganized as a non-profit and renamed North Memorial . Over the next 50 years North Memorial grew into 518 bed medical center. Today North Memorial Medical Center is a regional trauma center with eight helicopters, 120 ambulances, and 725 employees. North Memorial Medical Center. Besides being one of the state’s Level 1 Trauma Centers, it also operates AirCare, an air medical transport service. They have five flight bases around Minnesota.

In 1951, Sidney and William Volk hired the architectural firm of Liebenberg and Kaplan to the Terrace Theatre. Situated on a rise overlooking Crystal Lake and Bottineau Boulevard, the theater is considered by many to be a masterpiece of mid-century modern design. The building’s rectangular volumes originally contained a 1300-seat auditorium, an expansive lobby, sunken garden style lounge with a large copper fireplace, sweeping foyers and two snack bars.

The Terrace closed in 1999 and its out-of-state owner posted a “For Lease” sign but did not take care of the property. In May 2016 the City of Robbinsdale and State of Minnesota passed resolutions commemorating the Terrace as an important historic landmark. However, the city pursued demolition, giving rise to controversy between those who felt the theater was now a blighted property and others who wanted to reopen the Terrace as a point of community pride and a unique gathering place for music, film, and theater. A group of more than 2,000 supporters had petitioned the city to preserve and restore the theater, but area residents who wanted a nearby grocery store prevailed. After the city granted Tax Increment Financing to a developer to demolish the theater and the nearby mall and build a big box grocery store, a group of Terrace supporters filed a lawsuit to prevent demolition. The lawsuit was denied, and the theater was torn down in 2016 to be replaced by a 96,000 sq. ft. Hy-Vee grocery store.

Notable People

  • David Backes (born 1984), National Hockey League player
  • Barry Darsow (born 1959), professional wrestler (Demolition Smash, Repo Man, etc.)
  • Greg Gagne (born 1948), professional wrestler and son of Verne Gagne
  • Verne Gagne (1926–2015), professional wrestler and owner of the American Wrestling Association
  • Dennie Gordon, film and television director
  • James C. Heap (1935–2013), Minnesota state representative
  • Larry Hennig (1936–2018), professional wrestler
  • “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig (1958–2003), professional wrestler
  • Marjorie Johnson, a popular “Blue Ribbon Baker” who has won over 2,500 fair ribbons and appeared on multiple talk shows, including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
  • Nikita Koloff (born 1959), professional wrestler – Scott Simpson 1977 graduate of RHS
  • Bam Neely (born 1975), professional wrestler
  • “Mean” Gene Okerlund (1942–2019), announcer and interviewer for the World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling
  • Mike Opat (born 1961), politician, Hennepin County Commissioner for District 1 since 1992 and current chair of the Hennepin County Board
  • Dean Peters (1958–1998), professional wrestler, who competed with WCW and WWF as Brady Boone & Battle Kat
  • Alec Richards (born 1987), professional ice hockey player (goaltender), Chicago Blackhawks
  • “Ravishing” Rick Rude (1958–1999), professional wrestler, who competed with NWA, WCW, and WWF; 1976 graduate
  • Kathryn Leigh Scott (born 1943), Playboy Bunny turned actress who appeared on American Broadcasting Company soap opera Dark Shadows
  • Tim Vakoc (1960–2009), first U.S. military chaplain to die from wounds received in the Iraq War
  • Bee Vang (born 1991), actor in Gran Torino[18]
  • Blake Wheeler (born 1986), forward for the Winnipeg Jets of the National Hockey League
  • Steve Zahn (born 1967), actor, attended Robbinsdale Cooper High School; appeared in Rescue Dawn and Riding in Cars with Boys
  • Tom Zenk (1958–2017), professional wrestler, who competed with NWA, WCW, and WWF

References:

“Robbinsdale, Minnesota” │ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robbinsdale,_Minnesota

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