The city of Minnetonka, Minnesota was at one time a very sacred place for the Native Americans. There was plenty of game that was offered by the surrounding lake and prairies, as well the large lake, Lake Minnetonka. The Dakota Sioux and Ojibway Chippewa would cross through Minnetonka as they traveled between Shakopee and Mille Lacs.
Eventually however, the indians left the land due to a treaty that allowed the settlers to claim the land for themselves. The majority of the early settlers came to Minnetonka primarily from New England, and northern Europe.
Between 1946 and 1955, Deephaven, Wayzata, Hopkins, and St. Louis Park annexed separately developed residential areas in the Minnetonka Township. This is the reason why the big city is surrounded by so many smaller ones. The Minnetonka Township’s geographical area had been reduced from 36 to 28 square miles, while at the same time the population was increasing from 6,466 in 1940 to about 15,600 in 1956.
By the late 1960s, Minnetonka still hosted many agricultural areas. Through railroads and booming local businesses, the area grew quickly. People continued to move to Minnetonka, and today’s population is above 51,000.
Lake Minnetonka plays a part Minnetonka’s history. Save for the Native Americans, the lake was a secret to all. The wooded areas and shores surrounding the lake provided plenty of food for the Natives to live off of. Therefore, Lake Minnetonka was critical for their survival and kept hidden from the settlers. However, settlers eventually discovered the lake in 1822. By 1851, the treaty of Mendota between the Natives and the U.S. Government provided the settlers access to a wide stretch of land, including Lake Minnetonka. Development around the lake thrived in the 1880’s and 90’s. Steamboats created access to the lake as they offered locals cruises across the water. Big Island, a park near the lake that was built in 1902, offered entertainment that people traveled miles for in order to experience. There is a reason that Minnetonka considers itself to be the main lakeshore city. Lake Minnetonka is the 10th largest lake and the most heavily accessed body of water in the state of Minnesota.