Tree City U.S.A.


Census: 14,422—a decline of 2,423 since 1970, indicating that Robbinsdale was almost fully developed and had an increasingly large “senior” population.

On February 15th, a robber demanded money from a teller at Guaranty State Bank. Ed Manning, an off-duty police officer was alerted and caught the suspect a block away, recovering the money. Manning received a letter of commendation from Police Chief Roland Thurman. This same robber had held up several banks, including Guaranty about six months earlier.

Robbinsdale was one of ten Minnesota cities to be named “Tree City, USA” due to the overall tree management program and its concentration on Dutch Elm disease control and reforestation program. This award is given by the National Arbor Day Association, headquartered in Nebraska, and was presented by Governor Quie on April 9. Jonathan Stiegler, our City Forester, represented Robbinsdale. This award was again received in 1981 and 1982.

A few days after the Mt. St. Helen’s volcano emption on May 18, Robbinsdale residents were treated to unusual sunsets. Against the gray sky one could look directly at the sun as it set because much ash was still in the atmosphere.

West Broadway in the early ’80s

At a special election, Robbinsdale residents voted for a complete “redoing” of all the streets. This was accomplished in 1980 and 1981. The citizens wisely decided to have this expense added to their taxes rather than billed as a special assessment.

In June, at the annual League of Minnesota Cities Conference, Mayor Harvey L. Lange was honored by being the recipient of the C. C. Ludwig Award which is given annually to a municipal official “who has the most outstanding record of public service above and beyond what is required by a nominee’s position.” Harvey Lange had been an alderman from 1970 and served as mayor from 1977 through 1980. He had been president of the Minnesota Mayors Association, was a Commissioner on the Robbinsdale Housing and Redevelopment Authority, had served on many committees at the federal, state, county and local levels and spent much time testifying before the State Legislature on preserving tax increment financing as a method of financing redevelopment activities. In Robbinsdale he worked to improve the city’s financial position which resulted in the city’s bond rating rising from a Bb to an A.

Mayor Raymond Mattson and William Blonigan

Eighty-nine percent of the registered voters in Robbinsdale voted at the presidential election compared to the national average of about 50%. The League of Women Voters sponsored candidates meetings and presidential TV debates. Raymond Mattson was elected Mayor. Carol Karki (2nd Ward) and William Blonigan (1st Ward) were elected to the city council. Robbinsdaie citizens seem to have a high political awareness.

In December, Laura Bloedow retired. She had served the city for 15 years as secretary to the Council, part-time election clerk, records and secretary to Police Chief “Bud” Thurman.

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

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