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Minnetonka's Past

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Watch December's Glen Lake History Presentation

Exciting News!
The Minnetonka Historical Society archives are now online with















Minnetonka Historical Society's Online Archive Collection


The Minnetonka Historical Society has joined the many other MN Historical Societies in using new Collective Access software to provide an easy way to share photographs and information about our archives online. Click on the link above to browse our collection, which was recently inventoried with invaluable help from the Minnesota Historical Society's Legacy Grants Program.
(This is an ongoing project which will take another year to finish.)

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Special Announcement from Jan Cook:
the President of the Minnetonka Historical Society  

We are happy to announce that MHS has received a Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grant of $9,325 through the Minnesota Historical Society for the purpose of converting our existing collections management system to a more sustainable alternative, CollectiveAccess. CollectiveAccess is an open-source software that can be continually updated as necessary; it is cloud-based and user-friendly; and it will enable us to share our collections online via the website. The transition to CollectiveAccess will provide us with the tools we need to finish the process of cataloging our collections, and, as it is a responsive, sustainable system, it will ensure the long-term preservation of our collection data. In turn, our collections will become more accessible to MHS members, other historical societies, and the general public. We anticipate that this project will take approximately 10 months.  After that, we will begin to catalog the remainder of our collection.

Stephanie Herrick, the volunteer Collections Manager for the Minnetonka Historical Society, will oversee this project. She holds a master’s degree in Museum Studies from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and spent five years as the Curator of Education at the Scott County Historical Society in Shakopee, MN. She has been on the board of the Minnetonka Historical Society and has served as its Collections Manager since fall 2019.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact:
Stephanie Herrick   or  Jan Cook


This publication was made possible in part by the people of Minnesota through a grant funded by an appropriation to the Minnesota Historical Society from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Any views, findings, opinions, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the State of Minnesota, the Minnesota Historical Society, or the Minnesota Historic Resources Advisory Committee.

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For more Minnetonka History please visit our Facebook page at

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In December of 2021 we presented a new updated History of the Glen Lake area of Minnetonka to about 40 participants at the Minnetonka City Hall.  Click here to watch the video of the new Glen Lake History presentation on the City of Minnetonka video streaming page

You can watch along with the original powerpoint slides here (for better resolution)

And you can read the Glen Lake Book which we based much of the presentation on here

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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Minnetonka Halloween Spooktacular
was back at the Burwell House
October 29th 2021

The first annual Spooktacular was held at the Burwell House October 2019 with over 1000 people attending. This year it was held on Friday Oct. 29th 2021 from 5:30 to 8:00PM. 
Bring your children in costumes to play games, make arts and crafts, watch magicians and roast marshmallows. Click here for more info on the Minnetonka City website.

Click here for a gallery of photographs of the 2019 event!


MHS Speakers Bureau 2020

Last 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 Page 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 Sanitorium.

Below are our past pre-Covid events with MHS in 2019, 
which we hope to reschedule when the pandemic ends.

Annual MHS Holiday Open House 

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.


Antiques Appraisal Event!
Tuesday October 29th 2019
(We hope to hold another one in the coming year if possible.)


Have you discovered a possible treasure in your grandmother’s attic?  Do you have an heirloom that you wonder about? To find out, come to the Minnetonka Historical Society Antiques Appraisal Event on Tuesday, October 29 at 7:00 p.m. in the Minnetonka Community Room.

A team of local experts will review your item and provide you with a verbal appraisal. Modeled after the popular “Antiques Roadshow” program, each exhibitor will be able to tell their story and the items will be projected on the big screen for all to view.
The fee was $12.00 per item with a limit of 2 items per person. 

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                           Old Fashioned Ice Cream Social 2020

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


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 2020 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. Five 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 2020. 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!

You can browse some of our best historical photographs below:
click to the right or left to move the slides.

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Flour mill of Mtka Mill Company
Minnetonka Mill
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Newark House
Blacksmith Torleif Larson 1855
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