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This is a guide to the city of Tonka Bay, Minnesota, situated in Hennepin County, between the upper and lower lakes of Lake Minnetonka.

Incorporated as a village in 1901, Tonka Bay has more shoreline on Lake Minnetonka than any other city of its size.

Before the village was founded, a man named Peter Gideon took a claim on 160 acres in what would later become Tonka Bay, at the area now known for him, as Gideon's Bay. While there, Gideon propagated a variety of apple known as The Wealthy, named for his wife's maiden name, Wealthy Hull. Another early settler was Stephen Hull, who built the first channel connecting the lower and upper lakes, known as Hull's Narrows, although it was south of the current narrows, in the area of West Point Road.

The Lake Park Hotel was built on Echo Bay in 1879, one of the first hotels on the lake. Later known as Tonka Bay Hotel, it featured two hundred rooms.

Although the city has a total land area of only 0.94 square miles, it consists of a variety of distinct neighborhoods and included several large estates by the time it was incorporated as a village. Clay Cliffe, across from the Tonka Bay City Hall, was constructed in 1890 and was once situated on twenty-eight acres. Another historic home, Old Orchard, was built for John F. Wilcox, the village's first mayor, in 1887.

The area that now includes County Road 19 was once planted in apple orchards. The first bridge, connecting Tonka Bay with Spring Park and Minnetonka Beach, was constructed in 1911.

Originally, the village attracted a large number of tourists, who came by train to vacation on the lake. Once the era of steamboating died out, the tourists left, and a permanent population of residents began to build homes in the village.

A school was opened in 1909, although attendance dropped considerably in the winter, as many families wintered in the Twin Cities. During the 1920s, just over thirty families resided year-round in the village.

Currently, the city has a stable population between one and two thousand, and is primarily residential. County Road 19 is the only route through the city, although various city street connect its neighborhoods.

Tonka Bay abuts Shorewood to the south, Old Channel Bay to the west, Echo Bay and Gideon Bay to the east, and Lafayette Bay to the north, all of which are part of Lake Minnetonka.

The focus of the resources included in this category is the city of Tonka Bay, Minnesota. Websites representing the city government, as well as local businesses, churches, schools, organizations, and individuals are appropriate for this category.



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