These phone books are invaluable sources of information about people and businesses in the Park throughout the years. The St. Louis Park Historical Society most of these directories, but can always use more. If you have any that you would like to donate, please contact us and we will be thrilled to get them.
The first Village directory may be the 200 “Directory Maps” printed in June 1918. None of these precious documents appear to have survived.
St. Louis Park did not have another directory until 1933, when the first St. Louis Park Directory and Street Guide was published. This came at the time when the street names in the village were changed, and it gave each address with the old and new street names. Street address numbers were first proposed in 1926, but many had to be changed in order to accommodate infill development. In this first edition, an overwhelming majority of the businesses advertised were in Minneapolis. Later editions featured many businesses in Hopkins, but rarely, if ever mentioned Golden Valley or Edina.
From the start, the local directories were produced by Lydia Rogers and her husband Bishop McClure Rogers, who drew the first city map that appeared in a directory. The project started when FDR wanted a list of the unemployed in preparation for the WPA. The Village chose the Rogers to take the census, and they went door-to-door gathering the information. They reportedly netted only $10 from their first Directory. When Bishop Rogers died in 1938, Lydia continued to publish the directory until 1959.
The task to gather information was daunting, but residents were cooperative in providing the names and ages of their children, and the husband’s place of employment. (Earlier directories indicated whether you were a renter, boarder, or owned your house, but that was discontinued.) Lydia and subsequent publishers of the directory farmed the job of distributing and collecting information to nonprofit groups as a fundraiser. In 1958, 100 members of the Junior and Senior High Pilgrim Fellowship of Union Congregational Church were paid to deliver directory cards to all residents of the Park. Householders then filled out the cards and presented them to a participating store to receive a directory. In other years, teachers were hired to take the census, since the school district needed to know how many kids would be in school the next year.
The first edition, 1933-34, was called “Directory and Street Guide of the Village of St. Louis Park, Minnesota, Including A Classified Section of Responsible Business Concerns.”
The 1934-35 edition included Morningside and Interlachen Park.
The 1935-36 edition covered St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Interlachen Park, and Morningside.
The 1937 book covered the same jurisdictions as the previous year.
1938 was back to St. Louis Park, Morningside, and Interlachen Park.
1939-40 included St. Louis Park, Morningside, Interlachen Park, Rolling Green, Tyrol Hills, Knollwood, and White Oaks.
1941-45 added Bellgrove to the list.
By 1949 (perhaps earlier) it was solely a St. Louis Park Directory.