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WATCH: ‘Hopkins,’ ‘Stillwater’ Once Floated on Lake Minnetonka

A fleet of six steamboats named after Minnesota places once kept Lake Minnetonka communities connected.

A century ago, the Twin Cities’ streetcar network once extended virtually into the very waters of Lake Minnetonka.

The Twin Cities Rapid Transit Co. wanted to connect Lake Minnetonka communities to an Excelsior dock station. So on May 7, 1906, it launched a fleet of six steamboats named after communities and resorts that the company served: Como, Harriet, Hopkins, Minnehaha, Stillwater and White Bear.

The 120-passenger boats were painted a bright yellow to match the appearance of the company’s streetcars. Seating in the boats was even set up similarly to their land-based counterparts.

Westonka Historical Society member Jeanne Brustad detailed the boats’ history in a video posted to YouTube. Watch the video in the player above.

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