Much of the information below was provided by researcher Daniel Grobani.
Please contact us if you have additions or corrections to this information.
Although not quite in St. Louis Park, Docken’s Community Store certainly served the Brookside Community from about 1924, and the Docken family had many connections to St. Louis Park. The store was located in Edina on the northwest corner of Brookside Ave. and 44th Street, now the site of the Brookside Court condominiums. The address was 4396 Brookside prior to 1948, then changed to 4380. It had one and perhaps two apartments in the same building.
Edina Village Council minutes from October 11, 1924, give a hint that the store was completed then:
Trustee H.J. Knudsen reported the work at the Docken store was completed and Mr. A. Docken expressed his appreciation therefor.
The Dockens reportedly owned all the land behind the store, down to the creek. People could pay a fee and picnic on the site and swim in the swimming hole upstream from the CP Rail trestle over the creek. The Dockens also kept horses on the property.
The undated photo below shows two houses side by side on the property. The store itself is not pictured and would have been toward the left. It’s possible that the front of the store building faced south. Edina directories list six separate addresses on the block, although one or more of the buildings may have been a duplex. Arthur and Lila lived at 4360 Brookside (changed to 4356 Brookside in about 1948).
In 1945 Betty Docken owned the store building; her residence on city documents was given as 5503 France Ave. That April, work was started to remodel the store into two apartments on the ground floor, in addition to the two existing apartments on the second floor. The Village inspector found that the plan was not consistent with codes, and the issue went before the Council, which denied the permit.
GARNER FOOD MARKET
In 1949 the store was taken over by Jon and Eloise Garner and renamed the Garner Food Market. The Garners had previously operated a store up the hill at Interlachen and Vernon from about 1946 to 1948 (when Brookside went straight up to 50th Street). That store became Bob Solberg’s Phillips 66 Station. The building was not connected to a sewer line until June 1953.
END OF THE STORE
The Como-Hopkins streetcar line ceased running in June 1954. Perhaps that precipitated the end of the little store – Edina directories indicate that it went out of business between 1957 and 1958. In January 1958, Betty Docken, who was still the owner, again applied to remodel the downstairs into two apartments. City records do not reveal whether she was successful this time.
In September 1965, a permit was taken out to demolish the store building. It is assumed that the other houses on the property were taken out at about the same time. The land lay vacant.
BROOKSIDE COURT CONDOMINIUMS
The Brookside Court Condominiums were first built as four apartment buildings. Although the county tax website says that all four buildings were built in 1965, occupancy documents indicate:
4380, 44 units, occupied in September 1966
4370, 63 units, occupied in September 1968
4360, 63 units, occupied in August 1969
4350, 63 units – no occupancy permit on file
Dirt from the construction was used to fill in the swamp and build Todd Park. The apartments were built by the Dietrich Company. They were converted to condominiums in 1975. They are identified as one of many residences of John Denver during his stay in Edina.
THE DOCKEN FAMILY
Gilbert Docken was born in 1850 in Norway and came to America in 1870. The 1895 Census shows him living in Edina as a farmer. The Minneapolis Tribune reported that on March 13, 1897, Gilbert bought land in Edina for $1,250. In 1898 Gilbert worked as a carpenter at Monitor Drill in St. Louis Park and lived in Edina. He continued to be listed as a carpenter until 1910 when his occupation was given as truck farmer. Gilbert and his wife Agnes had four children:
Frederick G. “Fred” Docken was born around 1876. In 1895 he lived in Edina and worked as a blacksmith. In 1899 he worked at the Lindsay-Greenfield Vehicle Co. in St. Louis Park. From 1901-1906, he and his brother Willy owned the Docken Bros. Feed Store in Hopkins. During that time, Fred lived in St. Louis Park. By 1920 Fred had moved to a farm in Montana.
William J. “Willy” Docken was born in 1877. In 1895 he lived in Edina and worked as a farmer. An 1898 Minneapolis directory indicates that he lived and worked at the farm of Nate Shepherd, a St. Louis Park truck farmer on Excelsior Blvd. In 1899 he was working at Monitor Drill and lived in Edina. From 1901-1906 he owned a feed store with his brother Fred in Hopkins and lived in Edina. The 1910 Census shows him living in Montana, and the 1920 Census shows that his Montana farm was next to his brother Fred’s. He died in 1935 in Montana.
Arthur Hunter Docken was born on December 14, 1878 in Lakeville, Minnesota. He served as a member of the cavalry in Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American War. When he returned, he operated a feed store with his brothers in Hopkins. On October 26, 1921, Arthur married Lila Annie Winter. Lila was born on Jan. 24, 1887. Arthur died on September 7, 1944. Lila died on May 16, 1977 in Nebraska. They are buried at Ft. Snelling. Arthur and Lila’s children were:
Arthur William Docken was born on December 13, 1924. He died on March 29, 2006 in Missouri.
Thomas W. Docken was born in about 1919. He entered the Army on December 3, 1950, and served in Korea. A picture of him on leave can be found in in the November 8, 1951 edition of the Dispatch.
Lila Agnes “Mickie” Docken was born on January 3, 1923. She lived in Edina, was active in 4-H in Hopkins, and graduated from Park High in 1941. The Echo that May reported that her “ambition is to have an old car painted plaid on one side and polka dots on the other. Her extra curricular activities include Blue Tri, Pep club, National Honor society, Echo and Drama club.” While a junior at the U of M she was selected to become a stewardess for American Airlines. She died on January 10, 1945 in a plane crash five miles north of Lockheed Air Terminal in Burbank, California. All 21 passengers were members of the armed forces; there were two other crew members. In the article reporting her death in the Hennepin County Review she is identified as being from St. Louis Park, but she is shown at her parents’ address in Edina in the 1945 Edina directory.
4. Elizabeth Glassford “Betty” Docken was born in 1882. In 1901-1904 she was a student at the University of Minnesota, graduating in June 1904 with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of Science, Literature and the Arts at the State University. She was one of 481 graduates and was identified as being from Edina Mills. In 1905 she was a teacher at Lincoln School in St. Louis Park and boarded in the Park as well. By 1906 she was a teacher at East High in Minneapolis, where she apparently taught until at least 1945. She died in 1959.