From the Vaults: Hey, Who the Heck is…?

Local notable figures inspire names for locales across the city.

Artifact: Signs outside of parks and schools all around the Hopkins community, Harley Hopkins Park pictured. While some will simply walk past, few stop and actually wonder who these spaces are named for.


Harley Hopkins Park:  is located south of Excelsior Boulevard and just east of 169 directly next to . Harley H. Hopkins was a landowner in the mid 19th Century in what was then known as a territory west of Minneapolis. As railroads spread more and more from the big city, the Minneapolis and St, Louis Railroad Company wanted to purchase a 100-foot strip of land from Mr. Hopkins. He refused to sell, instead donating the land with two stipulations—that he and his wife receive free rail fare and that the station and strip of rail hold his surname.

Because of the railway's presence, the territory turned into the Village of West Minneapolis, the donated area became the Hopkins Post Office and, eventually, West Minneapolis became the Town of Hopkins.

Schools: Two of the three elementary schools in Hopkins proper, and Katherine Curren (since changed to Ubah Medical Academy) are named after former teachers in the Hopkins community. Smith began teaching at the old elementary school on Ninth Avenue in 1919, only intending to stay for 2 years. Twenty-seven years later she finally retired, only missing four school days in her 29-year tenure. Curren was a teacher in the Hopkins School System from 1905 to 1949. Because of her start date, she was 1 of 12 teachers in the whole district at the time. She passed away soon after Washington School was changed to Katherine Curren Elementary in 1949.

However, females are not the only namesakes within the Hopkins School District. is named after former superintendent L.H. Tanglen. Superintendent Tanglen was in office from 1944 to 1966. During his tenure, the number of teachers jumped from 39 to 440, and the number of students rose from 900 to 9,500. This was all because he took 7 surrounding districts and combined them into one—unifying the educational community.

Sports: In addition to educational figures, leaders in athletics have also come into play when naming venues citywide. Located near the , has been visited by virtually every young athlete in the community. The field was named for Russell “Butsie” Maetzold, a teacher and coach in the Hopkins school district from 1929 to 1957. He found success on the football field, winning 10 conference titles, but his true calling was on the basketball court. There, he to go along with two state titles and racked up an impressive 508-62 record. Coach Ken Novak Sr. immediately succeeded Maetzold, and is still an assistant coach for his son Ken Novak Jr.

Lisa April 04, 2011 at 12:16 PM
Thanks for the information. I didn't know all that. Any History on the Raspberry Festival?
James Warden (Editor) April 04, 2011 at 12:48 PM
Lisa, Hopkins Patch is already planning a special edition of "From the Vaults" about the Raspberry Festival. It'll be out closer to the festival.
Mary Ohm April 04, 2011 at 05:20 PM
This was interesting and informative! I have visited all of these places and have wondered about the names.


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