Built in 1902 by the Great Northern Railway, Wayzata’s Section House was home to the local section foreman and his family. The section foreman was a railroad employee responsible for the maintenance, repair and upkeep of approximately 20 miles of track along the line.
Since it was often difficult to find decent and affordable housing off company property, the railway built these prefabricated homes where foremen only paid for utilities. The homes were all built to the same specifications, so carpenters could quickly assemble them. Additionally, if a foreman and his family had to move, their furniture would fit perfectly in the new space.
Although many section houses were built in desolate and mundane areas, the house in Wayzata was special for its prime location on a perfect stretch of beach with a million-dollar view across Wayzata Bay. As one of only two section houses known to survive in Minnesota, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2021. Its rehabilitation as an environmental learning center is set to begin this year. The house will be part of an Eco Park connected to a new boardwalk along Wayzata Bay.
To discover more about the learning center, read our story Hands-on Learning Is Coming to Lake Minnetonka’s Shores.
Aaron Person serves as the president of the Wayzata Historical Society. Discover more at wayzatahistoricalsociety.org.