Bohemians arrived in America in two great waves in the 19th century. In 1848, they emigrated due to political persecution, and in the 1880s, they did so to find inexpensive land available in the central U.S.
Many of these immigrants ended up in the Hopkins/Minnetonka area. In 1888, John (Jan) Dvorak purchased some property just south of Shady Oak Lake, which already had a cabin on it. Dvorak grew berries, raised dairy cows and had a large family there. The 1900 census records indicated that he and his wife, Mary, had nine children living in the house, which looked like many other older homes in the area at the time. It had a white lap siding, a couple of porches and an attached two-car garage.
What you couldn’t see was that, beneath the siding and behind the porches and other additions, there was the original log cabin. The cabin was unusual because the logs used to build it weren’t round but were rectangular and varied in size and were felled and shaped using rudimentary hand tools. The cabin was also unusual because it was a full two stories, unlike most of the cabins built during that time.
The ownership of the farm remained with the family until the City of Minnetonka purchased it in 1973 to create a park. The house remained standing in the park until 1989. Today, Lone Lake Park offers a variety of amenities, including a system of trails that connect to Bryant Lake Regional Park.
Jan Cook serves as president of the City of Minnetonka Historical Society. Discover more at minnetonka-history.org.