The house at 4090 Brookside, called Upland View, was built in 1910 and was the home of Father Walter Henry Thomas. Father Thomas wore a long black coat and hat and wore his silver-gray shoulder length hair like the Quaker Oats man. The kids also called him Santa Claus, and remember him as a storyteller, jokester, and magician. His favorite trick was to make a coin disappear up his sleeve and then pull it from behind your ear or from out of your nose. His jokes were the caliber of “Why is a giraffe’s neck so long? Because his head is so far away from his body!” This was great entertainment for the neighborhood kids.
In 1910 he was a cashier in a wholesale house. He was also a preacher at a North Minneapolis Congregational Home. Neighbor kids remember something about losing all his money in the stock market crash of 1929, but from at least 1933 to 1939 he lived in the grandest house in town. In the 1935 directory his vocation is listed as salesman.
Father Thomas and his wife Alice had 10 children: boy girl boy girl boy girl boy girl boy girl. Daughters Bunny and Margaret worked at El Patio. Eugene was the oldest boy and worked as an electrician. Carol and Josephine were teachers. Jack was a pianist. Others were Gordon, Charlotte, Sidney, Russell, Alice, Marjorie, and Irving. (That’s 13 – there must be duplicates in that list. Which one of the girls was Bunny?)
Thomas was also a builder, and built several homes on Alabama Avenue. In 1928, Mr. Alexander of Alexander and Bradley, Surveyors, presented Thomas’s Rearrangement of Lots 3-6 on Brookside Block 8 to the Village Council, which gave a different configuration to the end of the block.
In 1939 the Thomases built and moved to 4073 Alabama Ave. They rented out the large house, sealing his belongings in the second floor. That year his vocation was listed as “real estate.”
Remember that some of this information comes out of long-ago memories and may not be accurate.