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Situated on the northeastern shore of Lake Minnetonka, the city of Wayzata abuts Browns Bay, Wayzata Bay, and Grays Bay, as well as the cities of Long Lake, Orono, Minnetonka, and Plymouth.

Wayzata is an outer ring suburb of Minneapolis, eleven miles to the west. It is in Hennepin County.

The Mdewakanton Dakota controlled the region until they were forced to cede it with the 1851 Traverse des Sioux Treaty, opening it for land claims. The first to file in the area that was to become Wayzata was Oscar E. Garrison, who built a cabin at what is now Lake Street and Broadway Avenue in 1852. In 1854, he surveyed the area and filed a claim for most of what is now Wayzata.

Other settlers came in 1855, and a blacksmith shop, hotel, sawmill, and other homes were built. Most of the early settlers were engaged in clear-cutting the trees to grow corn and wheat, but farming was devastated in 1857 by a grasshopper plague. Then ginseng was discovered in what was left of the hardwood forest. Ginseng root was in demand in the Orient, so Wayzata became a collection center for the roots that grew along the lake.

When commercial steamboat traffic on Lake Minnetonka became common, the position of Wayzata nearest to Saint Paul brought visitors to the new town. After the American Civil War, summer vacationers came to the lake, beginning a resort area for the town.

The Saint Paul and Pacific Railroad extended its tracks in 1867, and Wayzata became a transportation hub, with rail and lake traffic. At that time, James J. Hill, who later became the owner of the railroad, which he renamed the Great Northern Railway, was a freight agent for the Saint Paul and Pacific Railroad. With trains coming to Wayzata regularly, hotels were built around the lake. The Maurer House - West Hotel was built in the place where Garrison's cabin had been. With hotels located along the lakeshore, vacationers were transported from the railroad depot to their destinations by large paddlewheel boats, some carrying more than three thousand passengers.

In 1881, Wayzata broke from Minnetonka Township and became a village. The first village council banned saloons and demanded that the railroad tracks be moved away from the downtown business district, and at least three hundred feet from the shoreline. The railroad refused, prompting a lawsuit. The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled against the council in 1891, and Hill moved the railroad station a mile east of town, naming the new station Holdridge. For the next fifteen years, growth in Wayzata was stagnant. In 1905, the village council reconciled with the railroad, and Hill constructed a new depot near the Wayzata business district.

However, by 1890, the tourist era had wound down, and summer cottages began to replace the hotels and resorts along the lake, although some of them were large and elaborate. Wayzata became largely a residential community, with small commercial areas on each end of Lake Street.

US Route 12 was built in the 1930s, and the population nearly doubled in a decade. Wayzata became a city, with local industries and retail businesses. A dairy industry thrived for a short time but, by the end of the war, single-family residential homes were built on former dairy farms, the highway was widened and Wayzata became home to several people who worked in the Twin Cities or some of its other suburbs.

The land area of Wayzata doubled in the 1950s through annexation of land from Minnetonka, Orono, and Plymouth. Shopping centers were built, while the city's downtown area transitioned into shops focused on fashion, services, and executive offices.

This is a guide to the city of Wayzata, Minnesota. Appropriate topics for this category include websites representing the municipality, as well as local schools, churches and other places of worship, civic or business organizations, businesses, events, or individuals.

 

 

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