The Wayzata Historical Society will host a program the evening of Thursday, April 27, 2023, at the Wayzata Community Room (600 Rice Street, Wayzata, MN, 55391). The program, entitled Yellow Jackets: The Story of Lake Minnetonka’s Streetcar Boats, will explore the history of the “streetcar boats” operated by the Twin City Rapid Transit Company between 1906 and 1926. Also covered will be the history of the streetcar steamboat Minnehaha, which was raised from the bottom of the lake in 1980, restored, and returned to passenger service in 1996. The program will include an update on the status of the Minnehaha, which has been stuck in drydock since 2019. The program will begin at 7:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public. No registration is required.
Program Description: The streetcar steamboat Minnehaha is one of the most iconic symbols of Lake Minnetonka’s heritage – indeed, she is one of only a few vessels listed in the National Register of Historic Places in Minnesota. She is also the only steam-powered vessel-for-hire based in the state.
Designed by Wayzata boat builder Royal Moore, Minnehaha and her five identical sisters acted as an extension of the Twin City Rapid Transit (TCRT) streetcar system between 1906 and 1926. Together, they provided fast and reliable transportation for the residents of Lake Minnetonka. Then, in 1926, improved roads and better access to automobiles rendered the boats obsolete. Three of the boats, including Minnehaha, were scuttled (purposely sunk) north of Big Island that summer.
The wreck of Minnehaha was located by a local diver in 1979 and raised to the surface after a massive salvage effort in August 1980. When resources became available for her restoration, approximately $500,000 and 80,000 volunteer hours were spent bringing Minnehaha back to her former glory. Finally, on May 25, 1996, she triumphantly re-entered passenger service to begin her second life.
Minnehaha operated on Lake Minnetonka continuously until 2019, when she lost access to the only launch ramp capable of getting her back in the water. Since then, she has been stored in a maintenance facility, continuing to receive care while she awaits her fate. We hope you will join us on Thursday, April 27 as we provide an update on Minnehaha’s status and celebrate the incredible history of her sister streetcar boats!
About the Wayzata Historical Society: The Wayzata Historical Society promotes the history of the greater Wayzata area by operating the Wayzata Depot Museum on weekends, Wednesdays, and holidays from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (April through December), publishing a quarterly newsletter called the Telegraph, and hosting special events and programs throughout the year. The Society also preserves Wayzata history by collecting, storing, and conserving items related to local sites and events. The Society’s Archives and History Center are located at the Wayzata Branch of the Hennepin County Library and are open to the public on Saturdays from 10 a.m.-noon.