Southview Garden Center in 1963 and 2023

Then & Now: Southview Garden Center

Thanks to Mississippi Valley Montessori School for their support. They’re scheduling tours for the 2023-24 school year! Email for more information.

Southview Garden Center is celebrating their 60th anniversary, so we’ve got pictures of their original location on Robert Street and the same view today.

1963: Southview Garden Center

(Photo credit: Southview Garden Center)

Photo: The original Southview Garden Center was located at what would become the intersection of Robert and Crusader Avenue. Back then there was no Crusader Avenue. The Southview Country Club did exist, visible across Robert Street.

(Photo credit: Southview Garden Center)


  • Warren Mortensen ran the Mortensen Sod Company from the late 1940s to the early 1960s.
  • Warren opened Southview Garden Center in 1963 (located, ironically, at 1963 South Robert Street).
  • Warren’s son Lynn took over in 1968 and built the existing location.
  • Lynn retired in 2012. Today his son Dan and wife Noelle run Southview Garden Center, making it a third-generation business.

Gone: That original garden center later became Petchen’s liquor store, which closed in 2013 and was demolished in 2014.

1968: Southview Garden Center

1968 view of Southview Garden Center.
(Photo credit: Southview Garden Center)

In 1968, Southview Garden Center moved west to its current location at the corner of Crusader and Livingston (though Livingston Avenue wouldn’t be built until the 1970s).

2023: Robert & Crusader

Aerial view of Robert and Crusader in West St. Paul in 2023.

Today: There’s been significant development since the 1960s.

  • The original location of the Southview Garden Center is now home to Aspen Dental and MedExpress Urgent Care.
  • Across Crusader used to be an empty lot and recently was home to Baker’s Square and now Crew Car Wash.
  • The swampy empty field south of Southview Garden Center was filled in for the Cub Foods shopping center.
  • Southview Country Club fronts a much smaller portion of Robert Street than it used to.

“It feels great to make it to 60 years. We’re successful because we have put in the hours and because of the customers, friends, and employees we have worked with.”

Lynn Mortensen in a St. Paul Voice article

Celebration Events

Southview Garden Center is hosting a series of events to celebrate their 60th anniverary.

  • Open House: It’s on May 6-7 and will feature refreshments, prizes, and more.
  • Father’s Day weekend: They’ll celebrate the official anniversary on Father’s Day weekend, June 17-18, with free hot dogs, prizes, and specials.

Researching West St. Paul history happens thanks to the generous support of our members. Join them and support local news.

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