The Excelsior Lake-Minnetonka Historical Society (ELMHS) is celebrating its 50th anniversary, but collecting history in the Lake Minnetonka area goes back much farther than that. A Lake Minnetonka historical society was mentioned in an 1891 issue of the Minneapolis Tribune.
Preparations for the celebration of the country’s 1976 bicentennial inspired a renewed interest in history. Kari Rice, Mary Haering, Fern Michael, Mary Willis and Fran Windmuller thought if the community was going to celebrate its history, they’d better discover what that history was all about. In 1972, they formed ELMHS with the mission to preserve and share the history of the south lake area.
Fifty years later, ELMHS has an archive bursting at the seams with historical photos, documents and items to help the public with local history discovery. Its seasonal museum in the old Excelsior Depot welcomes people of all ages. The public can learn more about local history on one of the Lake Minnetonka history cruises or at a Tapping History presentation in the Excelsior Brewing Company. ELMHS also sells local history publications, framed historic maps and prints of the area and ELMHS apparel.
Kirsten Pardoe serves as the secretary of the Excelsior-Lake Minnetonka Historical Society’s Board of Directors. Discover more at elmhs.org.