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Wayzata is a premier suburb located 11 miles west of downtown Minneapolis. With a population of 4,500 people, Wayzata is a tight-knit community which is known for its vibrant downtown and picturesque setting on Lake Minnetonka. A popular destination for visitors, Wayzata’s downtown is home to a number of specialty shops, boutiques, professional services, and restaurants.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Historical Perspective During Current Lake Street Construction

Construction along Wayzata's Lake Street has begun in earnest.

It's a part of the Panoway Project Phase I.

Lake Street & Barry Avenue, Wayzata
The initial phase includes Lake Street, Lake Street Plaza, and the Dakota Rail Regional Trail.

Courtesy City of Wayzata
Lake Street is changing as it has through the decades.

Imagine Wayzata 100 years ago and you’re strolling down the street and come to the intersection of Lake Street and Barry Avenue. What would you observe?

Lake Street, Wayzata | Courtesy Wayzata Historical Society
You may hear a train coming in from the west to pick up passengers with destinations to the east like St. Paul, Chicago and points beyond. You may hear one of those Model T cars rolling down the street with its unique engine rattle and telltale “ah-ooh-gah” horn sound.

Men would have been dressed in wool sweater vests or tweed suits complete with a derby, bowler or homburg hat. Women would have been clad in elegant dresses and hats – some clad in coveralls, blouses and skirt suits a product of entering the workforce while the men fought the war in Europe.

Much has changed through the years at the corner of Lake and Barry – particularly the businesses that occupied that part of Wayzata.

According to the Wayzata Historical Society records, the Wayzata State Bank opened for business in 1909 on the northeast corner of Lake and Barry. It was the first financial institution on Lake Minnetonka that focused exclusively on banking.

The bank continued operation in this structure until 1950 when operations were moved slightly to the east, but still on Lake Street.

Next to the original bank location stood a building built in 1910 by Harry Pettit. It housed the Pettit & Kysor grocery store. Wayzata residents could purchase food from that building until 1974, under its more recent name Waytonka Market. The store prided itself on home deliveries and was famous for its bakery goods and homemade ice cream.

Next door, Rettinger Motor Company opened for business on Lake Street in the early 1920s. The business sold Model Ts in the early days. Unfortunately, in December of 1949, a fire destroyed the building. According to local newspaper accounts, damage was estimated up to $75,000 – around $750,000 in today’s dollars.

In 1927, Dr. Carl J. Martinson opened his business on Lake Street just west of Barry Avenue. Martinson converted the old Manning Drug Store into his medical offices. Martinson and Edward E. Mitchell of Mound founded the Minnetonka Hospital in 1928. The Martinson name continues to be a big part of Wayzata today – his grandson, Dr. Bruce Martinson operates a dental clinic in town.

On the northwest corner of Lake and Barry stood Wayzata Pharmacy, a.k.a. “The Old Drug”. It was run by Bob and Ruth Connelly. It later became Ted’s Drug and most recently carried the name of Candlelight Floral – a business that has served Wayzata since the late 1960s. The florist business no longer operates out of the building on Lake and Barry – it has moved making room for another condominium development.

These are just a few of the businesses that occupied this part of Wayzata through the years. Next time you find yourself at the corner of Lake and Barry, imagine what life was like some decades ago – there are a few reminders still standing to fuel your imagination. Can you hear the “ah-ooh-gah” horn sound of one of those old Model Ts?

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