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Minnetonka's Past

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Attend the CMHS Annual Meeting on Tuesday, September 13 at 6:30 pm

Welcome to the Minnetonka Historical Society Website

Upcoming MHS Events


You are Cordially Invited to Attend the City of Minnetonka Historical Society Annual Meeting!  


Tuesday, September 13

6:30 pm

Minnetonka Community Room

14600 Minnetonka Blvd


Our Special Presentation:

Minnesota's Involvement in the Dakota War of 1862 and the Civil War

focusing on the 1st Minnesota and 3rd Minnesota Volunteer Regiments

by Tom Peterson

Retired Attorney and Local Civil War Expert


We are very pleased to have Tom share his knowledge of the courage and the controversy of these two Minnesota regiments, during a critical time in our nation’s history.

1st MN Regiment with William Colvill 1863.jpg
1st MN Regiment attacks at Gettysburg 1863.jpg


Colonel William J. Colvill             the 1st Minnesota Volunteer Regiment                           Gettysburg battle 1863

You are invited!

Vintage – Collectables –
Antiques Appraisal Extravaganza!

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Presented by:  City of Minnetonka Historical Society

and the Hopkins Historical Society


Sunday, September 11

1 pm to 4 pm

Minnetonka Community Center

14600 Minnetonka Blvd., Minnetonka

Bring your items and see what they’re worth!

*This is a verbal estimate and not designed for insurance purposes


Spaces are limited, so register soon!  

Limit 2 items per person

Cost per item: $13 Society Members

$16 Non Members

Pre-registration required


Use this link to register:

• for members:

• for nonmembers:


Burwell House Spooktacular!

Friday, Oct. 28 from 5-8 p.m.

Wear your best costume and have a spooktacularly good time at this FREE fall event!

This 3rd annual City of Minnetonka community event is held at the city's historic Burwell House.
A Halloween-themed family gathering, the Spooktacular features a scavenger hunt,

storytelling, treats, kids activities and, of course, great costumes.

Minnetonka Halloween Spooktacular:
200 attendees in October 2021

The first annual Spooktacular was held at the Burwell House October 2019 with over 1000 people attending.  Click here for a gallery of photographs of the 2019 event!


Annual MHS Holiday Open House 

November Self Guided Tours:

The Historic Burwell House is open for the Holiday season!

The City of Minnetonka Historical Society is happy to announce that
the Historic Charles H. Burwell house will be open for holiday tours on

Sundays from 1 to 4 pm.

November 13   November 20   November 27  

Come and stroll through the entire home, decorated for a Victorian Christmas.

Admission is free, but donations are appreciated

 The Historic Burwell House

13209 E. McGinty Road, Minnetonka

December Holiday Open House: 


Burwell Holiday Open House

Sunday, December 4 from 1 to 4 pm

 at the Historic Burwell House


Join us for a self-guided tour of this beautiful Victorian house
decorated for the holidays.  Refreshments in the cottage.


Free (donations appreciated).  Parking available in St. David’s lot across the street.

About 200 people attended the Burwell House tours in 2019 over a succession of four Sunday afternoons in November and December. They enjoyed touring the 1883 house while it was decorated in traditional Holiday trimmings which were put up by local High School student volunteers. Afterwards they warmed up in the cottage with some hot tea and cookies. 
Click here to see a gallery of photos from the event.


                               Old Fashioned Ice Cream Social memories 

For those of you that are missing our wonderful Old Fashioned Ice Cream Social at the Burwell House this summer, here is a nostalgic video of the festivities in the year 2000! Hopefully we will have it again some time after 40 plus years of tradition?
Click here or on the picture to watch the video.

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And click here to see a large gallery of photos with many memories from past Minnetonka ice Cream Socials at the Burwell House from 2008 - 2019

Video Presentation about Dana Frear's Manuscript 

MHS recently received a Research and Writing Grant from the Minnesota Historical Society to hire a writer to edit the 350+ page manuscript “The History of Minnetonka Town” written by Dana Frear.  Frear grew up across from the Burwell House and his parents ran the Frear grocery where Station Pizza is today. He was Minnetonka’s first historian, and began in the 1930’s compiling information for a comprehensive history of our city. He worked on his manuscript for almost 40 years, but in the 1970s, publishing a book was an expensive and difficult process. On October 6, as part of the MHS Speaker’s bureau fall series, Bill gave us a preview of the manuscript and detailed Mr. Frear’s struggle to have the manuscript published. You can watch it here as it is streamed from the City of Minnetonka's website.

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Take a historic walking tour of Minnetonka Mills

You can walk the tour anytime on your own with an Iphone or Ipad connected to our website. Start at the Burwell House and walk for an hour in a big circle through the business district of Minnetonka Boulevard and back across Minnehaha Creek on the new walking bridge. It includes 200 photos and maps with captions describing the story of Minnetonka's History. Highlights include the early flour mill days from 1852 until the 1890s, the Minnetonka School which is St Davids today, the railroads, and the businesses along Minnetonka Boulevard. Click here to start!

Take a tour of Minnetonka's
1883 Burwell House, which is
on the National Historical Register

​The Charles H. Burwell House, located at 13209 E. McGinty Road, Minnetonka, will open for the 2022 tour season from June through September on Saturdays and Tuesdays. Every first Sunday in December is the Victorian Holiday Open House when we invite the public to tour the house with Holiday decorations throughout. And then you can socialize afterwards in the cottage with tea and bakery treats.

Attend our Minnetonka History presentations. Three new ones at the Minnetonka City Hall this year!

The Minnetonka Historical Society sponsors presentations every Spring and Fall about different topics in Minnetonka History. We have many more topics to hear about every month in early 2022. Watch here for details.  You can also watch past presentations in our 'presentation' page here where most of the videos are streamed by the city.  Some of the topics include Grays Bay Marina,Oak Knoll,  the last dairy farm, horses, railroads, schools, parks, and the Glen Lake Sanitorium.
Click here to see our Glen Lake History slidshow.

Minnetonka Historical Society Membership

Please consider becoming a member and you will get the tri-annual newsletter and also now a complimentary copy of the Minnetonka Historical Society book about the history of Minnetonka Mills written by our past historian Betty Johnson with our best historic photographs and maps.
Click here for more.

Be a part of history, before it becomes... HISTORY!

Mystery photos Spring 22.jpg

 Mystery photos answers: locations of these old Minnetonka businesses that are gone.

Log Cabin Inn : Chowens Corner, Deephaven  (Minnetonka Blvd. and Northome Blvd.)
Hagen Hardware   12926 Minnetonka Blvd. in Mtka Mills (Arts Desire today)
Maxines Drive In : Highway 7 at Vine Hill Road
Sam's Drive In : Highway 101 and Minnetonka Blvd

         Browse some of our Historic photos of Minnetonka below

1015 Burwell House with side buildings and windmill.jpg
Flour mill of Mtka Mill Company
Minnetonka Mill
Kokesch Family Reunion.jpg
Newark House
Blacksmith Torleif Larson 1855
Glen Lake Kraemers.jpg
Malm-Hossfeld log barn.jpg
Ice Cream Social at Burwell House.JPG
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Gray family with house.jpg
Grays Bay Marina.jpg

Fill out the form below with any questions about our organization, historical inquiries, or general comments. We will get back to you as quickly as possible.

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(952) 930-3962


Mailing Address

Minnetonka Historical Society
C/O City of Minnetonka
14600 Minnetonka Blvd

Minnetonka, MN 55345

Museum & Burwell House

Minnetonka Historical Society

13209 McGinty Road East

Minnetonka, MN 55305