From the Re-Echo, June 2007

We recently received an inquiry about the Jolly Troll, a famous smorgasbord back in the 1960’s. After some checking we realized that it was on the north side of Highway 12, and therefore in Golden Valley. But it made us curious about what was on our side of the street.

About the name. First it was called Superior Blvd., graded in the 1920s. On November 4, 1931, the Village Council approved the request of Rufus R. Rand, Mayor of Wayzata, to change the name of Superior Blvd. to Wayzata Blvd. A Minneapolis councilman reported that Wayzata means “North of the Pines.” Rand reasoned that the name Superior was misleading, in that it did not go anywhere near the city of Superior. In the early 1950s, Highway 12 was finished. And in 1968, there were plans for Highway 894 – changed the next year to 394. Now the highway is called I-394 and the service road is called Wayzata Blvd. Further on down the road, it turns back into Highway 12.

There are some landmarks along Wayzata – ghosts of places remembered fondly but not always so well. We encourage you to revisit this area and see what you remember. These are the most historic buildings:

The Ambassador Hotel was located at 5225 Wayzata Blvd. It operated from 1961-1991. An Olive Garden and a Chili’s are there now.

McCarthy’s Café is vexing; was it 5600 or 5601 Wayzata Blvd.? Was it on the north or south side of Wayzata? Was it in the Park or Golden Valley? Did it look mansion-like or tudor? Clarification would be appreciated! It was a very elegant place – the Minnesota Historical Society has a series of pictures of the interior with its curved booths, rich wood, and deep carpet. Rumor has it that it was owned by gangster Tommy Banks.

And the Cooper Theater – people remember this all over the place. The address was 5755 Wayzata Blvd. This theater was round and was equipped for Cinerama movies. Preservationists tried to save it from the wrecking ball, but it was razed in 1992. The building on that property now was built in 1995 and is owned and occupied by Stahl Construction.

Oh, and don’t forget Shelard – that’s the funny box in the northwest corner of the City. It was annexed from Minnetonka in 1955, with the result that St. Louis Park has a row of buildings on the north side of I-394. Santorini’s Restaurant is there (which used to be the Amalgamated Eating and Drinking Co.).

Intrigued about any of these places? Visit our web site at slphistory.org.

There is also a Wayzata Blvd., etc. photo album at Lenox that includes pictures of the buildings in the southwest quadrant of Highways 100 and 394.