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The 1930s Wayzata Skyline

Researched by Joanie Holst, Wayzata Historical Society

The water tank in downtown Wayzata was a familiar landmark for many years to residents. It was built as part of the set-up for the 1906 Wayzata Depot we know today.

Steam locomotives need water just as a steam iron does, and the tank served as a reservoir for the Great Northern Railway. The huge tank was placed close enough to the lake for water to be pumped into it from the Lake. The water then traveled underground to stand-up pipes at each end of the Depot, providing water for the eastbound and westbound passenger and freight trains “steaming” through Wayzata every day.

Tank water also supplied the drinking fountain in the tiled Depot waiting room and in the bathroom. History buffs may remember a particularly puzzling (and rather disgusting) moment in Wayzata history when on December 23, 1897, 22 Wayzata voters actually approved running a sewer line into Lake Minnetonka right about where the Tank took in water.

The Wayzata Water Tank was located close to the Lamb Brothers Store, later to become Harts Café and presently COV restaurant. Lamb’s Store was a pioneer general store and gathering place.

Gleason’s Store (built in 1888) stood across the street, on the present location of Blanc de Blanc. With the invention of moving pictures, Mr. “Bonny” Gleason made the store into a movie house where a Mrs. Buck thumped out mood music on a piano. The Gleason building was torn down in 1959.

Did you know that the 1870s Wayzata Depot was just to the south of the Water Tank, and not where the Depot is today?

Learn more about local history at the Wayzata Public Library, 620 East Rice Street, Wayzata.

Sponsored by the Lake Minnetonka Historical Societies.
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