The Masonic Hall

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Because the wives of the Robbinsdale Masons who belonged to Compass Lodge #265 decided they too, should have an organization, Robbinsdale Chapter #238, Order of the Eastern Star was started in 1921 with 78 charter members. Julia Randall was the first Worthy Matron and Dan Libby, Worthy Patron. The Masonic temple was just a gleam in the eyes of Compass Lodge members. Meetings were held over a garage on West Broadway. They were often interrupted by noisy car engines and deliberations had to be paused until silence prevailed.
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Someplace Else

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If you were a swinging teen back in the 60s, dance halls provided a great all-ages option. When rock ‘n’ roll was young, so were the people listening to it. Twin City bars weren’t interested in booking noisy long hairs who couldn’t bring in people old enough to order a drink. Most of the local bands played the neighborhood dance halls. The hottest venue in Robbinsdale was Somplace Else on West Broadway. These days the building is occupied by Lions Gym.

The New Robbinsdale Book is Here!

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The newest addition to Arcadia Publishing’s library is “Robbinsdale” by local author Pete Richie. The pictorial history book, released on July 7th, 2014, uses black and white photographs to showcase Robbinsdale’s compelling history.

While serving in the state legislature, Andrew B. Robbins visited the lakes, woods and rolling hills just north of Minneapolis. Inspired by the landscape and potential for development, he purchased 90 acres and created the Robbinsdale Park subdivision in 1887. Robbins worked tirelessly to bring schools, industry and a streetcar line to the area. In 1893 Robbinsdale incorporated as a village bearing his name.

Images of America: Robbinsdale provides readers with a complete history of what started out as a lake-side village. It includes several photos of the 16-room  mansion Robbins built in his estate and other notable houses. This book includes rare images from this early suburb and captures memorable days of dancing, boating and entertaining.

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A Business Street

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“The American Suburbs Company is using every honorable means of inducing investors and prospective home builders to become new citizens”

An Ad in July 8th, 1908 Robbinsdale Tellit (Tell-it!) Newspaper

This postcard from 1911 looks  south on West Broadway from 42nd. The sign on the corner reads: “Keep off the sidewalks, Teams and Bicycles.” The Russ Grocery is the first building on the right. Cement curbs and sidewalks were added at the request of Andrew B. Robbins in 1906.  A couple years later the little village had an electric light system which included nearly all the businesses and  residences in town. West Broadway was lit with series of arc lights. By 1911, telephone service was available. Downtown businesses included G.J.Urban’s Meat Market, The Columbia Hotel, Russ Grocery, Bossert’s Cement Works, Nash Hardware, Scott’s Emporium, Grenell’s Pool Hall, Nassets General Store and George Swifts Drug Store.

Crystal Lake

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The relationship between Robbinsdale and the sparkling lake in the center of town has never been an easy one. In the 1880′s, Crystal Lake Avenue (West Broadway) was used by farmers to bring produce into Minneapolis. The steep hill on the west side of the lake caused teams and carts to line up in caravans twenty deep.In 1893, a couple months after Robbinsdale was incorporated at a village, the council decided to use to use $1000 from the “Saloon Fund” to cut down the hill. The fill from the project was used to shrink the lake. William Randall and George “Don” Johnson started Robbinsdale Ice and Fuel Co. and began cutting ice on Crystal Lake in the 1890′s. A couple years later the Crystal Ice Company the Cedar Lake Ice Company began staking out territory on Crystal Lake. In 1903 Thomas Girling’s Picturesque Robbinsdale newspaper reported that the number of parties cutting ice on Crystal Lake was due to the “extreme clearness and purity, this ice is considered the best that can be had around Minneapolis.” Andrew B. Robbins believed Crystal and Twin would one day rival the popular chain of lakes in Minneapolis. Enthusiastic about the possibilities of Robbinsdale’s lakes, He claimed that “Crystal Lake in size would compare with the better known Lake Harriet of Minneapolis, while Twin Lake is twice that size. Its mate, upper Twin Lake connects with a chain of several lakes.” A canal between Crystal and Twin Lakes was proposed on a number of occasions.

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Mueller Drug

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William Mueller opened his drug store in a new building on the corner of 42nd and West Broadway in 1926. The Village Council approved a sidewalk out front the same year. In 1982, after years of neglect, the building was declared uninhabitable and  torn down by the Robbinsdale Housing Authority. The adjoining store front is still standing on West Broadway.

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Westphal Post 251

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Westphal Post 251 of the American Legion was organized on October 31st, 1919. It was named in honor of Gottlieb L. Westphal, who was killed in action on October 16th on the Sommerance St. Juvin Road in France. He was first buried in the Argone American Cemetery and later at Burnsville, Minnesota. In 1953 James Walker became the Commander and by 1974 he became the state Commander. Tow years later Walker was the National Vice Commander. His wife Margaret was the Auxiliary President in 1950 and became the state President in 1950. James and Margaret were often called Mr. and Mrs. American Legion for their more than 30 years of service. The Post has been active from the first in civic affairs and patriotic observances. Over the years the Legion has sponsored an array of youth activities and planted several thousand trees throughout the city. In all ways the post has carried out its creed of service for “God and Country”.

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The Hubbard Hub

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The Robbinsdale  Police and Fire Station was formally dedicated in April of 1949. At 2pm a whistle blew, the Anoka and Robbinsdale city bands played and our firemen marched from their old home in the back of City Hall on West Broadway to their new quarters a block away on Hubbard Avenue. Policemen passed out free coffee and donuts and the keys to the city were handed over to Fire Chief Frank Cherveny and Police Chief Matt Spurzem. The building also served as City Hall for after the old village hall was torn down. In 2001, after the police and fire departments moved into new facilities at Hubbard and 41st Avenue North, Robbinsdale worked with Metro transit on the $3 million Hubbard Marketplace plan to create a transit hub and update Hubbard Avenue in downtown Robbinsdale. The redevelopment included two shared public parking lots for downtown businesses, a farmers market pavilion and a spectacular renovation of the Robbinsdale Police and Fire Building.
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A Deer in the Drug Store

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On May 23rd, 1945 a 160 pound, four point buck bounded into the open basement door of Morris W. Henney’s Robbinsdale Pharmacy at 4139 West Broadway. Game Warden, Ben Cohen and Robbinsdale Policemen, Matt Spurzem and Adrian Mattson, came to the rescue, but not before the deer had done more than $600 dollars worth of damage by crashing into medical cabinets. After Cohen and Mattson dragged it outside and trussed it up, the deer was taken to Sheriff Earle Brown’s farm for doctoring and then to a game refuge.
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