In 1914 under the auspices of George 0. Johnson, Arthur L. Jones and J. H. Morse, many money-raising events were held for a bandstand for Robbinsdale Civic Club Band. These included events such as the ice cream social in the Robbinsdale Village Hall on July 28, 1914—”Plates, 10 cents.” On July 29, 1915, the Robbinsdale Civic Club Band, W. F. Grenell, director, held the first of many Open Air Concerts in the new bandstand. It had been erected with the help of many public spirited citizens at the corner of West Broadway and 42nd Avenue. The stand was later moved to a site near the present water tower on Hubbard Avenue and still later to 40th Avenue and West Broadway. It was demolished in the late 1940’s and in the 1960’s a portable bandstand was purchased. By 1926, there were two bands functioning: the Robbinsdale Concert Band which replaced the Civic Club Band (in name at least) directed by W. F. Grenell and the South Town Community Band, Louis Spotten, leader. About 1929 or 1930 a Junior Band was.organized with Dr. E. J. Lillehei as committee chairman. It was sponsored by the American Legion to act as a feeder for the Concert Band. Louis Spotten was the first leader, followed by Arthur Johnson. After the high school was built in 1936, the need for a Junior Band was met through the school’s musical activities. Robbinsdale has always been proud of its bands. When Robbinsdale became a city in December, 1938, the band again changed its name to the Robbinsdale City Band. Eventually it was divided into two groups—the Concert Band and the Marching Band, the latter consisting of those wanting (and able) to march in the annual Aquatennial Parades We should give honor to other directors of the band who have served so well: Miles Sery, Clarence Hegg, Paul Larson, William Alien Abbott, Robert Mendenhall (17 years), Roy Olson, Donald Schiermer and Roger Thompson, since 1969. The band has taken many honors, and we are very proud of the many top honors earned in the Aquatennial competitions.

Courtesy of Jeff Vick

The June 18 edition of the RobbinsdaJe Teilit, “an Independent (but not neutral) Newspaper,” reported local news: a frost reported two nights earlier; H. M. Grenell suffering from a sprained foot; Mrs. Sarah Smith will launder your curtains for only 20 cents the pair; the Loose Wiles Biscuit Company will have a demonstration of its goods at the Russ-McDonald store and everyone is invited to sample the many delicious artides; the Russ-McDonald Store has been remodeled and a “new and commodius front put in”; the Girling Warner Auto Bus line announced a change of running time between Robbinsdale and Osseo and special terms are made for picnic and fishing parties; J. B. Russ has purchased a new Ford; the Crystal Baths have not had a very good season thus far, as summer has not arrived yet. Robbinsdale had a particularly heavy blizzard in 1915.  This issue also included a long quote from the Texas Farmers’ Union on “Why Should Women Vote.” Some quotes: “We are opposed to equal rights of woman—we want her to ever remain our superior.” “We are opposed to a woman in the field, in the factory or in the army and for the same reasons we had rather see her plant flowers—gather bouquets—and rear children than raise political issues.” Women did get the vote in 1920.

Goat cart in front of the Robbinsdale State Bank on West Broadway in 1915.

The Village Council minutes record some street name changes in 1915. “County Road” (now Shoreline) was changed to Lake Street, to be a continuation of the then Lake Street (now 40th Avenue North) to Vilas (now Noble). The street, then known as Minneapolis-Bottineau Road (now Broadway) was changed to Crystal Lake Avenue. Several other name changes occurred but have again been changed. Crystal Lake Avenue was paved with concrete in 1916.


In September, 52 members of the Eighth Minnesota Volunteer Infantry gathered at the home of Mrs. A.B. Robbins. Andrew B. Robbins was one of the youngest members of the Civil War regiment when he enlisted at the age of 17. The veterans were received by the citizens of Robbinsdale, the band, veterans from other regiments and sons of veterans. After the group was escorted through decorated streets to the big house on Twin Lake, a program was held on the lawn where an army camp with a big camp fire was made.

This post is part of a series based on the book Robbinsdale Then and Now by Helen Blodgett.