Time has certainly escaped us as we can now say that it is the end of yet another year and yet another sailing season on Lake Minnetonka – and what a year it has been! 2015 saw higher-than-normal ridership on board Minnehaha, as well as some very special events, media coverage, and more. The following is a summary of just some of the happenings that have transpired over the past twelve months.
The Winter Maintenance Crew worked hard finishing up various projects before Minnehaha‘s launch in May. On top of the regular repairs and inspections that are made every year, two unique projects that took place were rebuilding Minnehaha‘s telescoping smoke stack and planing her bronze propeller. The smoke stack can now be raised and lowered more easily when needed, and the planed-out propeller (originally from the Express Boat Como) reduces stress on the steam engine and allows for a smoother ride.
Two new Captains were pinned over the summer. Captains Tom McCarthy and Bob Hagstrom have been with the MLM since 2014 and early 2015, respectively, and have both had many years of previous experience on the water. We are happy to welcome them to the team.
For the second consecutive summer the MLM partnered up with the Excelsior-Lake Minnetonka Historical Society to host their monthly Tapping History program. The series opened in June with sailor Tom Burton on the history of the Minnetonka Yacht Club and concluded in August with historian Paul Maravelas on the history of Big Island. Longtime MLM member and volunteer Bob Woodburn hosted the July program on the raising and securing of Minnehaha‘s fate in the 1980s. Several key players who were involved during that time came from across the state to reunite for the first time in many years and speak about their experiences. To add to the significance of the event, Minnehaha sailed under the Narrows Bridge and into Upper Lake Minnetonka for the first time in more than a decade.
The MLM received quite a bit of media attention this year as well. In early spring WCCO aired a segment about the winter maintenance effort. In June Minnehaha was the setting for a live KARE interview with our friend Laura Hotvet during Excelsior’s Art on the Lake festival. The MLM was also the subject of an episode of the local cable show The Pulse in July. Perhaps the most interesting bit of media coverage Minnehaha received, though, was a two-second cameo in the lyric video for a song by Top 40 pop star Demi Lovato.
One of the new endeavors launched in 2015 was the Archives Project. Over the years the MLM has collected many a photograph, video, blueprint, artifact, and more pertaining mostly to Lake Minnetonka’s maritime and transportation history. In September work began consulting with various professionals and organizing the collection into various categories. Although the project will take at least two to three years to properly complete, we are pleased to say that progress is finally being made.
Much progress has also been made in post-season winter maintenance. In November Minnehaha‘s boiler was opened up and passed for inspection. Decaying hull planks have also been removed and are currently being replaced. Regular work on the engine and re-caning of seats continue as well.
Looking at the year ahead, we are thrilled to announce that we will be celebrating the twentieth anniversary of Minnehaha‘s renewed service. Not only is this a testament of the efforts of the past two decades, but also a significant moment in history as Minnehaha will be in service longer in her second life than in her first life come May 25. Special celebrations are currently being planned to recognize this achievement, but details are not yet available. In the meantime, you can look forward to seeing Minnehaha appear in the documentary Beneath Lake Minnetonka, which is set to air on TPT in April!
As always, we deeply thank all of our supporters for their continued enthusiasm and generosity. Whether you are a member, a volunteer, a donor, a partner, or simply a passenger, it truly is a privilege to have such dedicated supporters like you. We wish you a Happy New Year and look forward to enjoying yet another grand season with you in 2016. Here’s to many more sunsets like these!