Lake Minnetonka history

The History of Minnesota's Second Most Famous Apple, the Wealthy

Peter Gideon, Minnesotan inventor of the Wealthy apple

In the fall of 1853, Peter Gideon came to Minnesota with his wife, Wealthy Hull, and their children. He planted a bushel of apple seeds and some other fruit-bearing tree seeds that he had brought with him on a 160-acre parcel of land next to what is now known as Gideon’s Bay. Gideon’s main goal was to develop an apple tree hardy enough to withstand Minnesota winters. After ten years of hardship and disappointment, Gideon was determined. He purchased seeds and scion (shoots) from an apple grower in Bangor, Maine and grafted a scion onto his lone crab apple tree that had survived a freeze.

The Diaries of Lydia Ferguson

pioneer Lydia Ferguson

Much of what we know about early Lake Minnetonka history comes from the pages of Lydia Ferguson’s diaries. She recorded it all, from 1854 to 1886, in a clear-eyed chronicle that includes her own family’s tales of suffering, insanity, death, love and endurance.

Excelsior’s Bob Williams Shares Stories and Wisdom

Last September, Excelsior’s Bob Williams received a Distinguished Service Award from the Minnetonka Alumni Association. “It was really very nice,” he says fondly. “It was really fun.” Williams exudes modesty, but his friends and family can’t say enough wonderful things about him. And when talking with Williams, you start to see how many different—and inspiring—forms his community dedication has taken over the past decades.

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