Using more than 200 photos, some of which had never before been published, the lake area’s three historical societies recently teamed up to compile a short history of Lake Minnetonka. This collaboration, the first of its kind among the three organizations, brought Joanie Holst of the Wayzata Historical Society, Lisa Stevens of the Excelsior-Lake Minnetonka Historical Society and Elizabeth Vandam of the Westonka Historical Society together as they dug through their archives to make Images of America—Lake Minnetonka happen.
The 128-page book shows and describes lake-area homes, businesses and attractions between 1850 and 1950, and reveals a variety of information that was uncovered as Holst, Stevens and Vandam researched. For instance, the authors were able to verify and include the oldest photograph of Water Street in Excelsior, circa 1864.
“It was a priority to choose as many rarely seen historic photos as could be located, and combine them,” says Vandam.
All three agree that the opportunity to work with and learn from each other was one of the best parts of creating Images of America—Lake Minnetonka. Their passion for sharing and understanding the area’s past is something they hope to convey to their audience.
“I think when we see life that happened before us, it adds depth to our life now,” Holst says.