From Cabins to Homes
Credit: Pavek Museum
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Credit: Star-Tribune, May 23, 1960
Full page advertisement
Woody Harrier, "Your car's guardian angel"
Woody Harrier was probably the best-known property owner in Independence Beach during the 1950-60’s. He owned a number of automobile-related business bearing his name, which he promoted with newspaper, radio and TV advertising and various event sponsorships. Harrier was a great promoter, and he became a well-known Twin Cities personality.
Harrier bought the cabin (built in 1940) at 4622 Balsam as a weekend retreat for his family. The first thing he did was add a swimming pool - the first (and to date, the last) in Independence Beach. The pool is housed inside a big screened-in porch.
Harrier started out doing rubberized underbody coating, proclaiming himself “The Undercoat King”. The businesses then expanded to include seat cover and car radio installation. By 1960 his shops were also offering brake and muffler installation, wheel alignment and car air conditioners. He also owned a car wash. All of these businesses were located on East Lake St and on Cedar Ave in Minneapolis. Harrier claimed to be the country’s largest car radio dealer. At one point he gave Motorola the largest order for car radios they’d ever received.
Television and radio commercials for Woody Harrier business featured popular Twin Cities personalities including Mel Jass and WCCO radio’s Cedric Adams (“the best known voice in the Midwest”). A number of special events took place at Harrier businesses, including a visit by Bob Feller, a well-known major league pitcher, and at the grand opening of Harrier’s new store, Cedric Adams broadcast his WCCO 10 p.m. broadcast on location.
For many years, Harrier’s business sponsored floats in the Aquatennial Parade. Woody, now known as the “Seat Cover King”, often rode upfront, waving to the crowd. The floats featured themes related to the auto businesses and always included several pretty girls, as did all the other floats. One year the girls were wearing swimsuits made out of seat cover material.
As the number of auto care businesses multiplied, Harrier adopted the slogan “Your car’s guardian angel.” His new building featured a large cut-out sign of Woody wearing his crown with a halo draped over the top.
4622 Balsam Ave. This photo shows the original cabin and swimming pool addition. The cabin has since been expanded into a year-round residence.