A great deal of this section was taken from “Out of My Mind,” a memoir by Ella Grimes Eustis. Another source is The Grimes Family, published in 1946 by Mary A. Grimes and Ella A. Eustis (Lund Press, Mpls.). Many thanks to the Edina Historical Society for their generous assistance.

Although the Grimes family was primarily important to Edina’s history, their children did go to the Pratt School in St. Louis Park, and 40 acres of their farm was located in the southeast section of St. Louis Park.

Jonathan Taylor Grimes, eldest child of George and Elizabeth Donahoe Grimes, was born May 10, 1818 at Leesburg, Virginia. He left Virginia in 1839 because it was a slave state, and moved to Terre Haute, Indiana, where he married Eliza Angeline “Angie” Gordon on September 20, 1843. After 14 years of farming in Clay County, Indiana, the director of the Wabash and Erie Canal erected a reservoir on their land. The stagnant water poisoned their cattle, gave Jonathan malaria, and forced the couple to move away. In 1855 they decided to come to Minneapolis, at that time a village of about 300 people.

From Jonathan Grimes’ memoir:

During this time [1859] I became interested in a flour mill located on Minnehaha Creek (in what is now known as the Country Club). This mill was then called the Waterville Mill, but was later known as Edina Mill.” Grimes and William Rheen bought the mill and a 160-acre farm belonging to Richard Strout. The farmland became the present-day Morningside neighborhood of Edina. Rheen soon departed back to Pennsylvania and Grimes ran both the mill and the farm.

In those days, it was no unusual thing to see Indians around, but they were mostly friendly. The Sioux Indians were engaged in a deadly feud with the Chippewa, whom they thought were encroaching upon their hunting grounds. One day Mrs. Grimes looked out of the window and saw some Sioux warriors dancing around a pole from which was suspended some tassel-like objects. She said to me, ‘What have those Indians on that pole – some turkeys?’ ‘Turkeys indeed!’ said I, ‘Those are scalps!’ Mrs. Grimes was so shocked and frightened she had to lie down for several hours. [This happened when they were still in Minneapolis.]

During the Civil War the Government made requisitions for the mill to furnish flour to Fort Snelling. As I was not a practical miller, I hired Mr. Allen Baird to take charge of operating the mill while I kept the accounts and hauled the flour to the Fort with my team of horses, one of the few left in the country. When I left the Fort with my empty wagon I would let the horses find their way home while I seized this opportunity for a much-needed rest in the bottom of the wagon. All during the Civil War the mill ran night and day making flour for the Union Army. It was not uncommon to see 25 yoke of oxen at the mill at one time.

After the War, in 1866, Grimes sold the mill to James Baird and purchased an adjoining 160-acre parcel of land on the Minneapolis side of France Avenue. There he started the Lake Calhoun Nursery and planted a 1,000-tree orchard. He also planted pine trees on 44th Street, some of which remain today. (Although it is sometimes said that Grimes developed the Jonathan apple, this is not the case.)  Grimes was the first president of the Minnesota Horticulture Society.

Grimes had built his first house at 4200 West 44th Street. In 1869 he built a larger house on the same property, and then moved the first house. The second house still stands and is one of the oldest surviving structures in Edina.

In the early 1870’s, Grimes bought another adjoining parcel, this time 40 acres in St. Louis Park. Another 6 ½ acres were subsequently purchased, bringing his total acreage to 366.

Grimes built the diagonal Schoolhouse Road through the woods so that his children could attend Pratt School in St. Louis Park (1859-1890). That road became known as Pleasant Avenue, and in 1933 was renamed Wooddale Avenue.

Grimes retired to Minneapolis in 1883. (Edina became a village in 1888.) Eliza died on November 15, 1902, and Jonathan died on February 10, 1903.

Soon the family began to sell the farm for the development of homes. The area was ripe for development thanks to the advent of the Como-Harriet Streetcar line that ran down 44th Street. This provided easy access to downtown and allowed people to settle in the suburbs. It is no surprise that the Morningside Subdivision, with 322 lots, all in Edina, was platted in 1905. The subdivision was developed by Mr. C. I. Fuller.

The Grimes Homestead Subdivision was platted on May 18, 1906. The 55 lots were partly in St. Louis Park and partly in Edina.

Wooddale Park was platted on April 1, 1910, and on August 28, 1913, the family sold it to Intercity Investment Company (Incorporated February 11, 1910). This is the section of the farm that was in St. Louis Park.

The Melvin Grimes Subdivision Lots/Grimes Homes subdivision consists of 23 homes, including the Grimes home at 4300 W. 44th St. Other than the Grimes house, most of the houses were built in the 1920’s and 1930’s, although there are two that date to 1917. All homes are in Edina. Melvin died in August 1930.

Other subdivisions that were carved out of the Grimes farm include (all in Edina unless otherwise noted): Morningside Manor (4 homes and 2 Outlots owned by the city), Morningside Oaks (25 homes mostly on Grimes), William Scott’s Addition (28 lots), Crocker and Crowell’s First Addition (99 lots), Wooddale Heights (28 lots, some in Edina, some in St. Louis Park), Mickelsen’s Rearrangement of Morningside (20 lots), Riley’s Subdivision of Lots in Grimes Homestead (20 lots), Berkeley Heights (20 lots), Fairbairn’s Rearrangement (17 lots), and Auditor’s Subdivision No. 161 (56 lots).

Jonathan T. and Eliza G. Grimes’ children:

William Henry Grimes, born September 21, 1846, died (drowned) June 15, 1855

John Gordon Grimes, born November 14, 1848, died May 4, 1912, unmarried

Edward Everett Grimes, born March 1, 1853, wife Elizabeth, October 29, 1919, 9 children

Anna Elmina Grimes, born December 15, 1854; husbands Frank Edwin Edgerly, John Creary; died May 3, 1908, no children

Charles Melvin Grimes, born June 10, 1857, wife Minetta, died August 8, 1930, 7 children

George Sutherland Grimes, born April 4, 1859, wife Jennie, died January 20, 1942, 7 children

Emma Elizabeth Grimes, born August 17, 1861, died August 6, 1942, unmarried

Mary Agatha Grimes, born December 31, 1863

Ella Alma Grimes, born April 3, 1867, husbands George Henry Boyd, Dr. Samuel Phelps (2 children), Fred Eustis (2 children)