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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
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Minnehaha, October 1999
Minnehaha, sailing in October 1999. Photo: Charles Barthold

Minnehaha Steamboat

This restored steamboat was originally one of a fleet of vessels that extended the streetcar lines of the Twin Cities, Minneapolis and Saint Paul, out into Lake Minnetonka. Built in 1905 by the Twin City Rapid Transit Company to serve new communities around the lake shore, the boats were designed to resemble streetcars, with sleek torpedo sterns, sharp bows, upper deck benches, and cane cabin seats. As the automobile became the favored mode of transportation, ridership on the boats declined, and they were scuttled in 1926 in the deeper waters of the lake. 54 years later, the Minnehaha was brought to the surface for restoration, but this did not begin until 1990, when the Minnesota Transportation Museum acquired the boat. The restoration was complete in 1996, when the historic "streetcar boat" returned to scheduled passenger service. This story is documented in text, 12 photographs, a videotape, promotional publications-including some vintage brochures from the early years-and a copy of The Little Yellow Fleet: a History of the Lake Minnetonka Streetcar Boats by Eric Sayer Peterson.

Originally submitted by: Jim Ramstad, Representative (3rd District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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