The following article was sent in by Gerald Kackman...
Published: January 8, 1992
FRANK GRISWOLD, 96, INVENTOR OF EARLY TRAFFIC
SIGNAL, BUSINESSMAN, DEVELOPER
Frank W. Griswold, 96, a business owner, inventor, real
developer and philanthropist, died Sunday at his home in Golden
Griswold, one of 13 children, was born in Minneapolis,
his father, Franklin C. Griswold, was an attorney and owned a lot of
land on Nicollet Island.
In the early 1920s he invented the collapsible "bobby
a traffic signal mounted in the middle of an intersection that
folded if it was hit by a vehicle. He sold the device to many
municipalities and later developed the traffic monitoring concept
into Griswold Signal Co. The firm made the flashing railroad
crossing signs and gates used throughout the United States and
Over the years he owned Northwest Automatic Products Corp.,
machine products company; K.P. Manufacturing Co., which made
lubrication equipment; the Griswold Coffee Co., a vending machine
business; Twin City Monorail, and the Calhoun Beach Hotel. He also
owned Minaki Lodge, a fly-in fishing resort in Ontario. That
business started his interest in flying, and in 1965 he bought
Executive Aero Inc., an aviation service at Flying Cloud Airport in
Griswold sold most of his businesses by the time he was
years old, but still personally handed paychecks to his employees
until he was 75, said his granddaughter, Vicki Wyard, of
He was a real estate developer and helped build North
Medical Center in Robbinsdale. He was chairman of the hospital's
board of directors for about 20 years and was named a lifetime
honorary board member. He was building committee chairman at
Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis for many years.
Griswold's hobbies ranged from speedboat racing on Lake
Minnetonka in the 1930s to breeding world-champion Holstein cattle
in the 1940s at Franlo Farms in Eden Prairie. He formed the
Griswold Foundation to support nonprofit organizations in health
care, child welfare, education and the arts. He was a supporter of
the Salvation Army and the old Hennepin County Mission. He was a
member of the Zuhrah Shrine Temple and the Masons.
Survivors include a daughter, Lois Mary Shaw, of Deephaven;
brother, Donald, of Newport Beach, Calif.; five grandchildren and 10
great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m.
Friday at Plymouth Congregational Church, 1900 Nicollet Av. S.,
Minneapolis. Arrangements are by the Washburn McReavy
Welander-Quist-Davies Funeral Home.
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