Debuting in 1906 as an extension of the Twin Cities’ streetcar system, Minnehaha provided fast and reliable transportation for the tourists and residents of Lake Minnetonka for twenty years. At 70 feet long and nearly 15 feet wide, she operated on scheduled routes alongside five identical sister vessels called the Express Boats. Since they closely resembled the Twin City Line’s trollies, residents often referred to these boats as “the streetcar boats.”
The popularity of automobiles and improved roads in the area ended the streetcar boats’ viability in the 1920s. With no further use in sight, Minnehaha and some of her sisters were scuttled in 1926 and lay forgotten at the bottom of Lake Minnetonka for more than five decades.
In 1980 a salvage team discovered the wreck of Minnehaha and raised her back to the surface. Following a $500,000, volunteer-driven restoration, Minnehaha returned to passenger service in 1996 and has operated on Lake Minnetonka ever since.