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Spring Park History

SPRING PARK IN THE 1800's

The first abstract of lands in Spring Park, dated 1850, showed Wm. Byers owned 156.24 acres of land which included Spring Park. Spring Park Bay was originally named Byers Bay. John Carmen laid claim to land in Spring Park (and Casco Point) around 1853. Spring Park was laid out in 1880 and contained 148 acres of land. It was so named because the area was known as a spa.

James J. Hill's Great Northern Railroad was extended to Spring Park around 1882. During Minnetonka's glory days in the 1880's, over fifteen trains a day pulled into Spring Park bringing hundreds of tourists. The Lake Minnetonka White Line Transportation Company boasted the Steamer Excelsior to be the fastest, largest, safest, and most comfortable steamer on the lake and would meet all the trains to help disburse people to their destination around the lake.

The historic Hotel Del Otero was built in 1892. It was located where the Minnetonka Mist is on Shoreline Drive. The Del Otero cottages were on the property to the east of the Mist. The Casino was located on the Water Patrol property. The name "Del Otero" means "Hotel of the Mound" in Spanish. The proprietor was G.F. Hopkins. The hotel burned down in 1945. Spring Park became a favorite lake resort area boasting a dancing pavilion, baseball park, and a playground that were unequaled at the time.

SPRING PARK IN THE 1900's

Minnetonka Telephone Company had lines going into Spring Park around 1900. In 1917, Spring Park School District 87 consolidated with several neighboring communities to a new building in Mound. Spring Park incorporated to a village in 1951 containing 82 1/2 acres of land. The population at that time was 221.

Spring Park is a statutory city and is operated under a "Plan A" government with a Mayor and four Council persons and a five member advisory Planning Commission. The first Mayor was Hilda Danielson and her term covered the years 1951 and 1952. The first Police Chief was her husband, Ed Danielson. They resided at 3896/3900 Sunset Drive (lots 21 &22).

In 1963, six homes at the east end of Del Otero on the north side of the street, were annexed from the City of Orono. This was approved by the MN Municipal Commission.

In 1964, assessments for municipal water and sewer were made and the Public Utility Department was created. The first rates established were: minimum rate for both water and sewer were $10.00 each; water - $10.00 for first 10,000 gallons and $.60 per 1000 gallons over 10,000; sewer -$10.00 for first 10,000 gallons and $.30 per 1000 gallons over 10,000. Sewer prices increased when sewers were diverted from the area in 1969 and cities had to start paying for the discharge service.

The City owned and operated a municipal off-sale liquor store until it was sold in December 1967. The winning bid was for $13,000 on a contract for deed basis at 7% interest to be paid in a maximum of 14 years. The liquor store was located on Shoreline Drive east of Sunset Drive.

The Hennepin County Sheriff's Water Patrol headquarters was originally built in 1968, torn down in 1996, and rebuilt in 1997. An artesian well is located at the boat launch area. Prior to the Water Patrol, the City owned the property and maintained a public beach.

The first City office was located on Park Lane. The present building housing the City Hall was built in or around 1906. The building, formerly known as the Old Spring Park School, was purchased by the Spring Park Improvement Association for $1 from School District 277. It was then turned over to the village for a hall and a civic center in 1964. It was moved to its present location on Warren Avenue from 2420 Dunwoody Avenue in Orono and designated as a village historical site. However, it cannot be placed on the Minnesota Historical Register because it has been moved from its original location.

In October 1975, the City paid Burlington Northern Railroad $3,500 for a 7,700 square-foot section of land connecting the eastern portion of West Arm Road to its central counterpart beyond Lord Fletcher's Apartments. This was the first step uniting the two roads and closing off the railroad crossing on Interlachen Road across from the City office.

SPRING PARK TODAY

Currently the City has a population of 1,673 and an Estimated Market Value of $210,719,300. The City has grown from 82 1/2 acres of land in 1951 to 225 acres today, or about .35 square miles of land. The City has approximately 300 households, 7 apartment buildings, and 60 businesses.

Spring Park is unique in that the two largest sides of the City are on Lake Minnetonka lake shore fronting Spring Park Bay, West Arm and Black Lake. There are approximately 22,900 feet of shoreline (4.34 miles) in Spring Park. There are two parks in the City. Wilkes Park is located on Channel Road and Thor Thompson is located on Sunset Drive.

Presently, the City maintains 1.5 miles of City roads with the county maintaining 1.9 miles of road. Approximately 5.3 miles of water and sewer lines exist serving every parcel of land within the City.

The City employs three full-time employees and contracts most major services. The Orono Police Department and the Mound Fire Department service Spring Park. Also contracted are engineering, planning, public works, attorney, accounting, assessing, building inspection and snow plow services.