Visit the Depot and join with us in reminiscing about historic Wayzata.
The Wayzata Historical Society museum resides in the waiting room and depot office areas of the Wayzata Depot, located on Lake Street in downtown Wayzata. The depot was constructed by James J. Hill’s Great Northern Railroad in 1906, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
This museum is not a ‘look but don’t touch’ museum, but rather a living, interactive monument to Wayzata. Please come and experience some of Wayzata’s history.
Open Wednesdays, weekends, and holidays
April through December
12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
402 East Lake Street in Downtown Wayzata
What to expect
Depot Waiting Room
- Seven-panel timeline illustrating the major events in the history of Wayzata
- Freight agent’s desk and freight scales
- Railroad and Lake Minnetonka memorabilia
- Ticket window — ask for a souvenir ticket to one of the many stops on the Empire Builder!
- Two rare hand-built train model displays
- A 1950s era Coke machine available for use
- Weigh yourself (or the kids) on a 1920s era “penny lollipop scale”
Depot Office Area
The “heart” of the Depot houses the ticket window, the stationmaster’s desk, and the operator’s desk along with additional pictures, exhibits, and memorabilia. Much of the equipment is original and still is operational! Experienced volunteers display how the equipment was used and share stories of its usage.
Kids, of any age, can try their hand at sending a Morse code message.
For those interested in modern day railroading, the tracks that pass the depot carry about a dozen trains per day. The office is well-equipped with a train monitoring display showing the current locations of nearby trains.
The Garden Railroad
Located on the east side of the Depot, a popular attraction is the Garden Railroad. Open since 2009, the trains run through a village that was landscaped by the Lake Minnetonka Garden Club. The train runs, weather permitting, every Saturday and Sunday from 1 – 4 p.m. April through October.
The Depot Dock on Lake Minnetonka
On summer weekends the Depot serves as a terminus for the steamboat Minnehaha. The Minnehaha leaves Excelsior on weekend mornings with a round trip to the depot docks. You can take an hour-long trip around Wayzata Bay, leaving the Depot at noon and returning to the Depot at 1:00 p.m. For more information, visit www.steamboatminnehaha.org.
The Minnehaha was one of six boats built by the Twin City Rapid Transit Company in 1906. Streetcars ran from Minneapolis to Excelsior, and the streetcar boats were used to ferry people to the various towns and residences around Lake Minnetonka. As automobiles replaced the streetcars, the boats were retired and eventually scuttled in the lake. In 1980 the Minnehaha was rediscovered, raised from the bottom of the lake, and restored to operating condition in 1996.
Interested in other historic U.S. depots?
There are over 8,500 surviving depots in the U.S. and photos are available for about half of them. Their locations are plotted on Google Maps, along with photos, at www.depotmaps.com.