MHS By Laws Revised
The Minnetonka Historical Society members will vote on
our updated revision of the MHS Bylaws later this year.
We had planned on having a special meeting this spring to vote on our revised By Laws, but with the CDC and Governor's directive to cancel all large group meetings, we will reschedule it a later date. Meanwhile you can read the newly revised MHS Bylaws by clicking this PDF link below. Remember they still need to be approved by our MHS community and your questions will be fielded for discussion at the future meeting. You may want to email us your thoughts at and we will respond. We are hoping for good attendance at the future meeting of Minnetonka residents when we vote whether or not to adopt the new Bylaws. Afterwards we will show a short presentation about the History of Minnetonka and serve coffee and cookies as usual. Here is a picture of Snuffys Drive In on Highways 7 and 101 in the 1960s from the MHS history presentation.
MHS Speakers Bureau 2020!
This year we started an exciting new series of presentations at the Senior Center at Minnetonka City Hall covering various topics about Minnetonka History.In January we started with two presentations by our President Bill Jepson. One about the History of 19th Century Milling in Minnetonka, and the other about Minnetonka through the last 60 years when they became a Village and a City. (CLICK on the Title Pages below to play a video of the presentation. )
In February, Lorena Hooyman spoke about the Evolution of Transportation in Minnetonka with the help of Lisa Fowler.
All three presentations so far were very well attended and we fielded many interesting questions afterwards.
In March, Lorraine Kretchman spoke about the Glen Lake Sanitoriu
m. Due to the C Virus pandemic we had to cancel our last two presentations in April and May at the Mtka City Hall so please join us later! The last two presentaions will be about Minnetonka Historic Landmarks by Jan Cook, and Shady Oak Lake: From Bloomers to Bikinis by Petey Ellis.
Interview with Ty Abel
Ty Abel was a Minnetonka businessman for many years, who owned a service station on the corner of Minnetonka Boulevard and Hwy 101. He purchased a gas station across the street on the Northeast corner of Minnetonka Boulevard and Highway 101 that became known as Ty Abel’s corner. Many notable people stopped by and did business with him, including Jack Dempsey, Walter Mondale, Hubert Humphrey, Elmer Anderson, Kent Herbek, Casey Jones, and several Viking players. The building still stands today, although it has been completely remodeled. Ty passed away at age 94 in 2010. This is an excerpt from his oral history taken by Kathy Magrew, a City of Minnetonka Employee.
Magrew: Hi Ty.
Abel: Hi Kathy.
Magrew: Why don’t you start out by telling us how you came to live in Minnetonka?
Abel: Ok. I was born and raised in Chaska and spent all my early life there. I graduated from Chaska High School in 1933 during the depression years and happened to be the first boy valedictorian of Chaska High School. Up until then they were all girls so I was lucky enough to be the first boy. So I had a scholarship, Kathy, that would pay for part of my education. I would go to the University of Minnesota and had my heart set on being a doctor of pharmacist but things didn’t happen that way because during the depression it was hard to find work and the scholarship would only pay for part of the tuition. I couldn’t even find work washing dishes at restaurants or whatever. People were standing in line just to have a job to wash dishes at restaurants, or whatever. So I went back to Chaska and my dad said being the oldest boy—I had two younger brothers and two older sisters, and he had a fairly decent job but not enough to take care of the family. So being the oldest boy, I had to go to work. So, I did. I had all kinds of different jobs and helped him. My two older sisters got married shortly so that helped somewhat. But now we had two younger brothers so I had all kinds of jobs. I used to deliver papers in the morning. I worked at a couple of hardware stores all these different jobs helping to make a living. One of the jobs—I even worked as a bartender one time. I finally found a job at a service station. It turned out the man I was working for had a small station, but it was a very successful station. He had six kids and shortly after he hired me he had a heart attack and he died. So they made me the manager of the station. The fellow I was working with was a real good mechanic but he hated bookkeeping. So, the lady that owned the station said, “Why don’t you do the bookkeeping and the banking?” So I did that and I did some of the buying. I was just right out of high school. An out of all the jobs I had, I liked that job. I thought I was making money for a wife and six kids and she had a maid take care of the house and thought, this sounds pretty good.
Magrew: Where was that station?
Abel: it was in Chaska. Right at the intersection of 41 and 212. It so happened that the salesman who called on us lived in Deephaven. So now, it was back I 1938-1939 and I told him, I said, “If you find a station, I’d like to have one of my own.” Because I knew that her boys when they got bigger, would probably take over and I would be just working there as a tenant and there would be no future. So he lived in Deephaven and said, “I got just the place for you.” And I said, “Where’s that?” I had never heard of Deephaven. So he said, “It’s on Highway 101 and Minnetonka Boulevard.” Of course there wasn’t any Minnetonka city of village then and it was the only thing there right at the intersection. So he took us around to all the beautiful homes in Maplewood and all the big houses where all the Daytons and the Glucks and the wealthy people lived. He said
“Someday, your corner’s going to be a beautiful spot.” What he didn’t tell me, was that in the summer time, it was a summer resort area, but in the winter time it wasn’t that good. But we did move out there on October 1, 1941, and it was a year after I got married. We started the station, and like I said, the first year we almost starved to death because people would come out right after school on Memorial Day and live in these almost like cottages, if you look around Gray’s Bay and so forth, you can see how they’ve all be remodeled and they were just summer places. And Labor Day, they would go back To Minneapolis or St. Paul or whatever, and it was just like a ghost town. The only thing that kept us alive is the people who lived in those big homes and they had chauffer driven cars and so forth.
Magrew: When you talk about that first station, it is not where your station is now, is it?Abel: No. That’s correct, Kathy. It was kitty corner, on the corner where the Deephaven drug store is now. Just kitty-corner across the street from me. Where I am was just a vegetable and fruit stand.Magrew: And who owned it?Abel: That was owned by Mr. Millar. W.B. Millar was his name. And he owned that big house next to where the bowling alley is called Balmy Doon. Towards the latter years, the Chief of Police Dick Kucera lived there for a while.Magrew: Wasn’t there a business that operated out of that house? Abel: There was. There was a lady. It changed hands several times after the original owners died and a lady had a ceramic shop there. She made ceramics, like a little factory, and made pottery and so forth.
Magrew: In Balmy Doon? Abel: In Balmy Doon house, yes, right. She had people working for her and she was an artist. You know, in making pottery and figurines, and so forth. Magrew: Do you remember her name.Abel: No, I don’t. She moved on. I believe they moved to Red Wing, down where the pottery place is.Magrew: Was there also a furniture business in that house? Abel: Not that I recall. Magrew: And that would have been besides the station you took over in 1941 and the vegetable stand and the house, is that all you could see?Abel: That’s all there was, Kathy, right. Behind where the drug store is now, that was just a pasture and across the street, on the other corner next to T-Wrights, there was a little three one-half acre farm where they grew vegetables and you could stop on your way home and pick up carrots or whatever was in season. That was on the corner. And on the other side where the hardware store is now and the Super Valu store Coopers, what was just a pasture and a woods. Horses were grazing there, it was a pasture there. They had these horses that would jump over hurdles and things because the people that lived in the big house on Rainbow Drive, the wife of the owner loved horses and she would get out there and have these jumping horses.Magrew: So that was a part of their estateAbel: Yes, that was called the A.C. White Estate, right. He was with the Dayton Company.Magrew: And do you remember the white posts, the brick posts that was the entry?Abel: They are still there. That was the entrance way and when you drive in there, Rainbow Drive is still called that. When you drive in there a little, there is a tea house, or guest house and that’s the place you would stop before you went into the main house and one of the servants would come down an find out who you are and whether they wanted to see you or not.Magrew: Was there a phone in there?Abel: Yes, they called it a tea house, and sometimes if you were waiting and you were lucky enough, they would bring you some tea or something to drink. It 3was sort of a stopping gate before you went to the main house. Magrew: I’ve been told that there is a house on Highway 101, a little bit south of Minnetonka Boulevard that was a caretaker’s cottage for that.Abel: That’s right. It’s still there. It’s about a three story house, Kathy, and it’s right across from where the tennis club is, Minnetonka Tennis Club.Magrew: Was that there always, or was it moved to that site?Abel: No, there was there all the time. Most of the time they had black people, you know the wife would be doing all the house work and the cooking and they wanted them far enough away so there was more privacy. Usually the man did the chauffeuring, drove the car, and did the yard work and so forth. It was all one estate there, it was called the A.C. White Estate.
(Edited by Jan Cook)
MHS Calendar: Spring 2020
Postponed indefinitely: Bylaws and Presentation
Discuss and vote on new Bylaws and Presentation on
Historic Minnetonka Landmarks
Historic Burwell House Summer Tours ?
Saturdays, Sundays and Tuesdays 1PM to 4PM
Possibly in June but please wait until we confirm.
September 15th: MHS Annual Meeting ?
Minnetonka Historical Society Board
Petey Ellis - Director,Museum Curator,Monthly E News -
Rick Kruger - Director, Bylaws, Social Media -
Lisa Fowler - Director, Speakers Bureau -
Stephanie Herrick - Director - Collections -
Wendy Houldsworth - Director - Museum, Antiques Appraisal
Lorraine Kretchman - Director,Speakers Bureau-
Documenting this historic pandemic in Minnetonka
We have a new project during this historic pandemic, which is to document with pictures and stories, our experience in Minnetonka as we self quarantine and as our businesses cope with customers having to stay at home. Please send us your photos and documentation, if you would like to share them, in an email to us, or a posting to our facebook page.
Thank you, and stay safe!
The Unmapped Brewery in Glen Lake offers drive up sales of their beer.
Trader Joes let's in 10 shoppers at a time, seen here as they cue up 6 feet apart outside.
Ridgedale Mall totally empty on a spring time Friday afternoon. Resturants offer take out though.
Boulevard and Olive Garden Resturants offering take out and curbside pick up.
Station Pizza still delivers, and at least the Dairy Queen is open to walk ups!