The History of Excelsior
Excelsior was founded in 1852 by a group of New Yorkers as a bustling farm community located on what was then referred to as the “big waters,” or Lake Minnetonka. For nearly a century it was a trading village surrounded by lush farmland. In the mid-1800’s, word of its incredible natural beauty spread and the community grew into a popular summer resort with magnificent hotels dotting its shoreline and all manner of boats crossing from Excelsior to other lakeside towns. The area’s history is long and fascinating, but suffice it to say, Excelsior’s heritage, though shaped and reshaped by time and economic factors, remains central to its identity.
Today, the one-square mile city boasts of a four-block central business district with independent retailers and restaurants and professional services. Its crown jewel remains the exquisite 14-acre community park, Excelsior Commons, located on the south shores of Lake Minnetonka. Proximity to one of Minnesota’s grandest bodies of water gives Excelsior an appeal that few other towns, large or small, may claim.