Summer sojourns at Lake Minnetonka became popular in the years immediately following the Civil war and eventually many of the vacationers that came to the area built substantial homes in and around Wayzata. Rich men began to build palatial “summer cottages” on their private preserves in Ferndale.
After 1914, the automobile was the key to Wayzata’s growth, which transformed the old lake shore enclaves into low-density suburban neighborhoods. The automobile allowed people to live at Lake Minnetonka year round. Middle-class families by the turn of the century and an between the two world wars were able to join the well-to-do on Lake Minnetonka and purchased lake shore cottages which allowed them to summer in Wayzata.
In 1925 the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads established Route 12 from Wayzata to Minneapolis which paved the way for suburban development. By 1940 distinctive neighborhoods were established and wide-bodied cottages and bungalows were being built.
Nearly all of the buildings built before 1940 were single-family residences, though there were a few apartment buildings, retail shops and other small businesses interspersed among the homes along Old Highway 12.
Many of the popular American house styles from the 1870’s through the 1940’s are found preserved in Wayzata. The most prevalent stylistic influences are the Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, neoclassical, and Craftsman. An array of vernacular cottage styles is also represented in the inventory, including two common historic house forms, “the Suburban Cottage and the Bungalow”. They are found throughout the city and make up most of the pre-World War II housing stock.
Historical and Architectural Resources of Wayzata, Minnesota, presents the results of a reconnaissance survey of historic buildings and sites conducted by Robert C. Vogel & Associates between August, 2001, and October, 2002. Divided into six chapter and four appendices, the report contains more extensive and detailed information about historic properties in Wayzata than previous surveys that have been done.