Minnetonka Beach, which is known to the locals as “The Beach” provides a rich amount of historic value to the Lake Minnetonka area. The history dates back to 1855 when the first settlers made their homes in the area. The city was not officially incorporated until 1894 however but received its title a few year earlier in 1883. It was in this city that the popular James J. Hill, who was responsible for creating the railroads that brought trade and tourism to the area, made his home.
Most of the homes in the area where mainly just summer vacation spots that could not even be accessed in the long, winter season. Hill chose Minnetonka Beach to be the location for the famous Hotel Lafayette, which opened in 1882. The continuation of the development of the railroads and highways only ensured the future of tourism within the city. However, because of a nation-wide depression, tourism unexpectedly and rapidly died out. The Hotel Lafayette was tragically destroyed by a fire in 1897. Later, in the early 1900’s, a club was built on the same grounds as the lost hotel, and is known today as the Lafayette Club.
After it’s glory days of tourism, the city became more residential. It contained a population of only 200 during that time. Minnetonka Beach was and still is, one of the smallest cities in the state of Minnesota.