Sterling Oliver Stageberg and his wife, Mary Grant Stageberg, moved to St. Louis Park from Minneapolis in about 1940. The family was originally from Red Wing.
Their address in the Park was 4421 W. 28th Street, which came to be known as “the house on the hill.” It was a stucco house built in 1924 on almost 2 acres of property, running 350 ft. on 28th Street and 300 ft. on Joppa Ave. It had a barn, and the family had a pony named “Silver Heels.” An account in the Dispatch says that the pony became a community legend when it continually ran away and had to be corralled back home by Police Officer Andy Nelson.
In the 1940 Census, Sterling was listed as an “Inventive Engineer,” with his income listed as zero. Mrs. Stageberg’s obituary in 1966 said that she had been a manager at the Bjorkman’s store at Southdale.
The family had four boys:
- Gene Oliver, born May 1932
- Willis Allison, born November 1933
- Grant Kerwin, born January 1935, died February 2007
- Dennis Keith, born September 1936, died March 1989
In 1952 the Village acquired the Stageberg property. For a time they used it as the Village’s Civil Defense HQ. A big civil defense demonstration was conducted on February 24, 1955, when residents were invited to watch 50 volunteers battle fire and teargas to rescue victims. The drill was conducted by the CD rescue squad along with fire and police reserves. An old stable at the Stageberg property was ignited and volunteer victims were placed in upper stories of the HQ building, lowered through windows on stretchers. Tear gas was used to familiarize the men with their gas masks.
The house on the Stageberg property was wrecked in October 1955. The site is now part of Fern Hill Park.
Several members of the family remained in St. Louis Park in the 1960s. The family was apparently aptly named, as they were frequent participants in Community Theater productions. When “Time of Your Life,” by William Saroyan, was presented on January 20-23, 1966, at the Park High auditorium, it was noted for the participation of eight members of the Stageberg family.
Mrs. Stageberg died of cancer at the age of 53 on October 15, 1966. At the time she had been living at 4324 W. Lake Harriet Blvd. in Minneapolis. Her husband was not named in the obituary as a survivor, although he lived to the age of 66, dying in 1977 in Florida.