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Posted December 2, 2009
There's a lot for this Minnesota history buff to love about the new book "Historic Lake Minnetonka." Authors Stephanie Larsen and Nancy Platou Steinke, both of Minnetonka Beach, have chocked their book full of lake lore, anecdotes and facts that will amaze those unaware of the tourist magnet Minnetonka was when Minnesota was young.
For example, they report that in the 1880s, Minnetonka boasted more than 60 hotels and drew 20,000 tourists each summer -- and then make that whopper believable by reproducing photos and drawings of several of them.
One of the best features of the new book is its format. It's spiral bound and printed on stiff paper stock -- all the better to survive splashing waves, the authors admit. They bill their book as an "essential boaters' guide," and have arranged it to facilitate nautical tours around the bays, points and coves of a lake that looms large in state history.
If it also kindles more interest in that history, so much the better. This amateur historian has long been of the opinion that one of the grand lake houses, many of them closing in on their 100th birthdays, ought to fall into the public domain, to help tell the story of a fading era to future generations. Larsen and Steinke's work could give that idea a helpful nudge.
Posted January 9, 2010
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