Friday, July 15, 2005

A Minnetonka History Mystery

Minnetonka Mills is the first "European"community settled by Lake Minnetonka in 1852. A Saw Mill and a dam. It is difficult to call it a "European" settlement, since many of the settlers were French Canadian lumbermen of considerable New World lineage-(Perhaps I should just say it was the first white settlement).
That said, it is written in many Minnesota Historical Society documents, web pages, and the MHS is often cited stating that the Lake was discovered by French trappers in 1760, and then re-discovered by Will Snelling in 1822. OK, I'll go along with that for now.
Then they say that it was 're-discovered' again in 1851 and the "Traverse de Sioux and Mendota Treaties" were signed opening the area up for the first time to white settlers in 1851.
My question is this: When I explored the Oak Hill Cemetary/Excelsior I saw and photographed Tombstones with death dates noted as 1852, 1853. Some stones that appeared much older were unreadable. How could the lake just have been re-discovered in 1851? Exceslsior was establihed as the attached photo notes in 1852. The time line is just too short. I would not get too concerned, but the oft quoted Minnesota Historical Society documents make a big deal of how the Lake was "lost" to white man until it was rediscovered in 1851.

One thing that was lost by white men was the sacred "spirit rock' of the Lakota and Dakota - but that is a whole different and sordid story.

One really can see the Lakes main artery in action while watching boats navigate the long narrows into Lafayette Bay from Carmen Bay. The photo is just one brief shot, I didn't stay long, the Temperature was 95 degrees, humid and sunny.

Finally a group of friends and I plan an excursion next Saturday to Biella's in Excelsior (Piedmont Region cuisine, I believe). Perhaps I can feature some of our culinary delights on this blog. The photo shown was taken while it was closed on Sunday morning.


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