Minnesota's Greatest Generation

Martha Turner Doughty: At Home In St. Louis Park

Martha Turner Doughty, a native of Alabama, moved to Minnesota with her husband, Joe, and a two-year-old son in 1952. The family settled in the small suburb of St. Louis Park, and later in Hopkins, just west of Minneapolis. In a 2008 interview with Linda Cameron she remembered her first Minnesota home, and the changes she witnessed over the years.


Martha Turner Doughty Oral History Interview


LC: Let’s get back to your move to Minnesota. Do you remember what year it was that you came here?

MD: Well, our son was born in 1950 and he was two years old. So maybe it was '52.

LC: Did you move right to Hopkins?

MD: No. We bought a house [at 4340 Brook Avenue] in St. Louis Park. It was back-to-back with Jeanie and Bob Schmitt of Schmitt Music Company. They had a two-year-old. Bayne [Doughty] was two and Tom [Schmitt] was like almost one. So we just fell on each other. We were so glad to see someone close by that had a little person.

LC: Did you like St. Louis Park?

MD: Oh, yes, but we had a house that nobody but somebody from the south would buy; a house with a driveway that was so steep.

LC: [Laughter] A steep hill.

MD: Oh, gosh!

LC: I can imagine in the winter what that was like.

MD: Oh Lord, Joe was out taking the battery out of the car and putting it in the house because we couldn’t get up that driveway. Anyway we found this and it didn't look anything like this at all. It was just a 1940, icky-looking house.

LC: What year did you move into this house [in Hopkins]?

MD: '64...maybe '64.

LC: Let me go back to St. Louis Park for a little bit. Do you remember what you paid for your house there?

MD: Oh yes, I think it was $18,000.

LC: Wow! Was it a two- or three-bedroom house?

MD: It had two bedrooms but it had an attic where anybody could have made a third bedroom. The steps were right off between the dining room and whatever. So yeah, I think it was $18,000.

LC: What was the reason you moved?

MD: I guess maybe the driveway was one thing. But you know it just gets time to move. We knew this area. We called that side of Bell Grove the "rich side". It has huge gorgeous homes on the other side of Minnetonka Boulevard. This side we always thought of as the "poor side" over here. [Laughter]

Oh, well we’ve got everything. We can go to Hopkins, we can go to Lund's and now we've got – on the corner of Highway 73 they tore down a whole car dealership and now they’re building a fitness club. Also, you know what has happened with Cargill. Cargill is on down the road now instead of being in their beautiful place out here off of Minnetonka. They’re going to bring in four or five thousand people. So you know what’s going to happen to Hopkins. They have torn down part of the main street Hopkins and built very expensive condos on the main street of Hopkins. ...You really just can't believe...

LC: The changing face of what used to be a small town.

MD: Why, it was like a raspberry village – a little farming village. It was just a cute little place. Now, we don't know what's going to happen. [Laughter]

LC: You've really seen some big changes.

MD: Oh absolutely. As I say we are the oldest ones living around here now.


Doughty, Martha Turner; Linda Cameron, Interviewer, Martha Turner Doughty Oral History Interview, 2008.