What’s odd about this picture? Looks familiar, surely—the northeast corner of one of our busiest intersections, Minnetonka Boulevard and Louisiana Avenue. There’s Guzzi’s Barber Shop and the dressmaker’s shop. But what’s that house behind it?
That house, my friends, was built in 1905 by John Carl Eckers, who came to St. Louis Park from Germany and made his living as a builder. He built this one (7124 Minnetonka) and the one next to it (7116 Minnetonka) as well—fortunately, the latter home still stands.
It appears the home came into the ownership of a barber named Ole who tacked the concrete block addition on the front in 1950. He had trouble with the city over parking, and apparently the house became “an eyesore,” so it was demolished in 1979. If it weren’t for photos like this taken by the tax assessor, we might not remember a house ever stood there.
But the Eckers family endures here in St. Louis Park. The children of John and Minnie Eckers lived in the Park for generations, and my new friend Ray—fit as a fiddle at age 90 —lives in his childhood home. There are other homes around town built by his father and his uncle Ben Eckers in the 1920s. Ray has generously shared family history with us, and along with information from Ancestry.com and photographs from his second cousin, we have a picture of a family who has been here in the Park for well over 100 years. Their original house may be gone, but their stories live on.
There are photographs of most of our homes in the Park in storage for us, waiting for the time we have enough space in a St. Louis Park History Center to accommodate them and make them available to the public. Stay tuned as we work toward providing more services to the community.
Jeanne Andersen is secretary of the board of the St. Louis Park Historical Society. Learn more about the city’s history at the website here.