The Miss St. Louis Park Program has Evolved through the Years

What on earth can be happening here? Is Carole Banbury, Miss St. Louis Park 1959, trying to sell an oven to Little Leaguers Skip Miller and Greg Shea? No; the plot is more complicated. Banbury is showing off one of 100 door prizes that would be given out at a cooking school, held at the B’Nai Abraham synagogue, as a fundraiser for St. Louis Park’s Little League baseball organization. The stove was donated by Leslie’s Appliances, and the cooking school was sponsored by Minnegasco and B’Nai Abraham, the city’s first synagogue. Leslie’s Appliances has since closed, and the synagogue has been through several mergers and is now located in Minnetonka.

So the only constants in the photo are the Little League, which still thrives today, and Queen Carole, now Carole Banbury Shulman, who is a retired professional ice skater and a member of the St. Louis Park Athletic Hall of Fame.

The Miss St. Louis Park program began in 1940, with each year’s winner competing in the Aquatennial’s Queen of the Lakes pageant. The almost 40 contestants were treated to boat rides, wardrobes and outings to Bud’s Dairy-Mor Drive-In before the hugely exciting coronation. In 1967, our “queen” was re-named Maid Marian, in honor of the city’s Robin Hood Days festival. Robin Hood Days ended in 1971, and with it went the queen program, until it was revived in 1985. Today, our city’s young representatives are called Ambassadors, and the coronation is an exciting part of each summer’s Parktacular celebration.

-- Jeanne Andersen is a trustee on the board of the St. Louis Park Historical Society.