excelsior-lake minnetonka historical society

In 1909, Thousands Watched a Fiery Funeral for Lake Minnetonka's Largest Boat

An advertisement for the Big Boat Burning, when the ship Excelsior was lit on fire on Lake Minnetonka.

In 1901, Dr. George LaPaul had a stern-wheel steamboat built bearing his name at a cost of $10,000.

The George launched from the Excelsior docks with a large crowd of over 1,000 spectators. The boat held 800 passengers and was the largest boat on Lake Minnetonka at the time.

In 1908, after various owners and re-namings, the Excelsior was considered antiquated, was decommissioned, and shortly afterward had her engines, boilers and other valuable equipment removed.

The History of Minnesota's Second Most Famous Apple, the Wealthy

Peter Gideon, Minnesotan inventor of the Wealthy apple

In the fall of 1853, Peter Gideon came to Minnesota with his wife, Wealthy Hull, and their children. He planted a bushel of apple seeds and some other fruit-bearing tree seeds that he had brought with him on a 160-acre parcel of land next to what is now known as Gideon’s Bay. Gideon’s main goal was to develop an apple tree hardy enough to withstand Minnesota winters. After ten years of hardship and disappointment, Gideon was determined. He purchased seeds and scion (shoots) from an apple grower in Bangor, Maine and grafted a scion onto his lone crab apple tree that had survived a freeze.

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