In 1952 a University of Minnesota graduate student named Norman Thomas was hired to write a history of the then-Village of St. Louis Park by Hennepin County Commissioner and St. Louis Park resident S. Earl Ainsworth. Thomas had access to civic and corporate records, most of which have since been lost or destroyed, probably when the Village became a City in 1955. This is a comprehensive study of the Village, starting with settlement and including the dreams and realities of the Village up to 1952. Information from the very important document is the foundation of the St. Louis Park Historical Society web site.
Plans to publish this 300+ page work in 1952 fell through and it exists only as a typewritten original and carbon copies. The St. Louis Park Historical Society has scanned each page into the computer, and the result is posted here as individual PDFs.
Be sure to follow the links to a news article from 1952 recounting the history of the project, as well as a short biography of author Norman Thomas.
Language that was originally presented as footnotes have been integrated with the text and is shown in brackets.
All references to the High School refer to the current Central Building on Highway 7.
This material was scanned and then checked against the original, but there may be some misspellings in the process, for which we apologize.
Except for some punctuation, the text is exactly as Thomas wrote it.
CHAPTER I: The Vineyard is Acquired, Pre-1855
CHAPTER II: Settlement and Turbulence, 1855-1860
CHAPTER III: Civil War, Indians and Iron Horses, 1860-1872
CHAPTER IV: Farms, Gardens and Milk, 1872-1886
CHAPTER V: The Founding of the Village, 1886-1890
CHAPTER VI: The Big Boom, 1890-1893
CHAPTER VII: An Age of Troubles, 1894-1900
CHAPTER VIII: The Industrial Decline and the Second Boom, 1900-1913
CHAPTER IX: The War and Changing Attitudes about the Village, 1914-1920
CHAPTER X: The Suburban Movement, 1920-1930
CHAPTER XI: The Depression, 1930-1940
CHAPTER XII: The War and the Suburban Movement, 1920-1940
CHAPTER XIII: The Park and the Church
CHAPTER XIV: St. Louis Park Goes to School
APPENDIX A: LIST OF ELECTORS, 1886
APPENDIX B: ELECTION RESULTS: 1888 TO 1951