CENTENNIAL LAKES: One of Edinas Gems
One of the true gems of the Edina Park and Recreation system is nestled alongside the busy France Avenue corridor in the southeast corner of Edina. Opened in 1991, Centennial Lakes Park is a 24-acre park and pond area that features beautifully landscaped grounds, formal and informal seating areas, swinging benches, gardens, fountains, paved pathways and more. Because of the many unique amenities within this hidden jewel, the park attracts visitors from throughout the metropolitan area.
During the summer months, Centennial Lakes becomes a hub of activity for all ages. The Park is home to the Centennial Lakes Putting Course 18 holes of authentic bentgrass greens surrounded by water, sand traps, boulders and gardens. Players must use only a putter to negotiate the heavily undulated greens of this par-51 layout. The course has proven to be a favorite of both golfers and non-golfers alike.
Some of the finest croquet and lawn bowling courts in the Midwest are adjacent to the putting course. These championship caliber courts draw players of all abilities for individual matches, leagues and tournaments throughout the summer.
The park amphitheater plays host to almost 100 performances each summer. On beautiful summer evenings, local favorites such as the First John Philip Sousa Memorial Band may draw up to 2,000 people to this lakeside venue. The amphitheater also serves as the setting for numerous wedding ceremonies from early spring through fall.
The lake in the center of the park is the home base of the Edina Model Yacht Club, an energetic organization of radio controlled boating enthusiasts that ply the parks waterways with model boats. The club hosts numerous boating events throughout the year, including the annual Parade of Boats event in which 200 boats are displayed both on and off the water. The lake is also a popular setting for fishing and rides on one of the parks paddleboats.
In the winter months, the frozen waters of Centennial Lake are transformed into one of the areas favorite outdoor ice-skating rinks. The lake is cleared and groomed daily, giving skaters an optimal skating surface. For an enchanting nighttime experience, there are lights covering most of the three rinks, plus a wonderful warming house that features fireplaces, restrooms, concessions and skate rental.
The park is just one part of an impressive multi-use development, which also includes housing and an extensive retail area known as Centennial Lakes Plaza. Centennial Lakes Plaza includes such national tenants as Old Navy, Office Max, Organized Living and Ultimate Electronics. Smaller shops include The Day Spa, Lakeside Tan, Putzers Big and Tall, Fast Foto & Digital, Relax the Back and Duxiana. Restaurants in the plaza are Q. Cumbers, Ikasu Sushi Bar & Lounge, Chuck E. Cheese, Hot Wok, Quiznos, Jamba Juice and McDonalds. The development also includes Centennial Lakes 8 movie theater and Centennial Lakes Medical.
Coventry at Centennial Lakes is a 96-unit townhouse community on the northeast side of the park. Village Homes are located to the south of Coventry. Many Village Homes units have an excellent view of the parks putting course and lawn games area.
information on Centennial Lakes Park, visit the parks website at
www.CentennialLakesPark.com or call 952-832-6789.
In 1922, when Minneapolis land developer and speculator Samuel Thorpe looked at the land now bordered by 50th Street on the south, Sunnyside Road to the north, Edgebrook Place on the west and Arden Avenue on the east, he saw more than farmer Henry Browns cattle peacefully grazing near the Edina Mill and George Bairds prize Merino sheep on what is now Casco Avenue. Thorpe saw a place to build his dream.
Between 1922 and 1934, Thorpe spent more than $1 million platting the Country Club Neighborhoods 300 acres into 585 home sites. He landscaped, installed water, gas and underground wiring and laid sewer lines before allowing the first home to be built.
Detailed deed restrictions were written controlling the values and styles of homes, and all lots were reserved for single-family homes. Promotional literature boasting . you [will] be protected from having a monstrosity or eyesore next door was widely distributed to Minneapolis families.
Soon, a homeowners association, later known as the Country Club Association, was formed. From 1930 to 1941, the association reviewed all plans, specifications, elevations and color schemes. Outbuildings were required to correspond to the style of the residence on the same lot. Fuel storage tanks and garbage receptacles could not be visible from the street. No objectionable trees or shrubs could be planted.
The 554 houses built
between 1924 and 1931 represent a notable concentration of historic architectural
styles: English Tudor, English Cottage, Italian Renaissance Revival, French
Provincial, Mediterranean and American Colonial.
Few changes occurred in the Country Club Neighborhood until the 1960s when the original deed restrictions expired, and a few contemporary homes were built on the remaining undeveloped lots.
Many Country Club residents discovered that lifestyles in the 1970s differed from those of the original occupants in the 1920s. The addition of multiple baths, two-car garages and family rooms resulted in alterations to interiors and exteriors of many homes. The neighborhood, one of the first planned communities in the United States, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
Attention to design issues such as scale, windows, details and building materials has ensured that the districts 80-year history has not blemished the character and stateliness of the exceptional neighborhood. The Edina Heritage Preservation Board helps Country Club residents retain the neighborhoods architectural integrity, character and special place in Edinas history, while maintaining it as a desirable place to live in the 21st century.
For more information on the Edina Heritage Preservation Board, contact the City of Edinas Planning Department at 952-826-0462.
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