Long Lake History

It wasn’t a case of the train leaving the station, but the threat of the station itself leaving that moved residents of what is now Long Lake to incorporate as a village in 1906.

Back then Long Lake was a farm-to-market type town that was built up along the railroad tracks, which is why nobody wanted the depot to move. The residents petitioned and, once it became a village, the depot legally could not be moved. Even today Long Lake remains a commercial hub for a predominantly rural area. According to many, Long Lake is known as the “downtown” for Orono residents due to their support for Long Lake’s many conveniently located local businesses.

Covering just one square mile, the City of Long Lake is surrounded by the City of Orono. Children from Long Lake attend schools in the Orono School District. Because Long Lake has a post office, some Orono (and Medina) residents and businesses have a Long Lake mailing address as the USPS Long Lake postal zip code district extends beyond the City of Long Lake’s municipal limits.

While the two cities seem closely related, the truth is they are vastly different places. Where Orono has some bigger homes, a two-acre minimum lot size in some areas, and overall a more rural atmosphere; Long Lake has smaller neighborhood lots, multi-family housing options and quite reasonable home prices. There are four municipal parks in Long Lake, and the Luce Line State Trail, a rails-to-trails hiking and biking trail, runs just south of the city.  A pedestrian and bike friendly trail also connects the heart of Long Lake’s downtown to the Luce Line, making Long Lake a great place to stop along the 63-mile state trail.  Long Lake is also home to the West Hennepin History Center museum (locally known as the Pioneer Museum) operated by the Western Hennepin County Pioneer Association.

Long Lake Town Facts

  • Population: 1,768
  • Median Income: $55,139
  • Median Housing Value: $151,100
  • Median Age: 38.1
  • School Districts: Orono – 278, Wayzata – 284, Westonka – 277, Minnetonka – 276
  • Parks: 4 City Parks – Dexter Park, Hardin Park, Holbrook Park, and Nelson Lakeside Park
  • Mayor: Charlie Miner
  • Council Member: Jahn Dyvik
  • Council Member: Michelle Jerde
  • Council Member: Deirdre Kvale
  • Council Member: Tom Skjaret

Orono History

Until 1851, Orono and the region around it remained largely unexplored by white settlers, partly because of the Dakota Indians’ efforts to keep Lake Minnetonka a secret. But once it was “discovered,” settlers and farmers moved into the area, just a day’s journey from the city markets. They began clearing forests, and in the late 1860’s rail lines began carrying vacationers who built summer cottages along the shores of the lake.

Today, Orono covers 24 1/2 square miles in western Hennepin County. It continues to draw people in search of a rural way of life. It is a prestigious community featuring areas with large, wooded lakeshore lots and estates.

Orono officials say that preserving the beauty and allure of the community is dependent on careful management of its most significant resource – Lake Minnetonka, the area’s largest lake, covers 21 1/2 square miles.

Because the lake is replenished from precipitation, not by springs or a river, it is very sensitive to pollutants. Orono residents and planners adhere to a comprehensive plan that seeks to preserve a rural quality and to maintain an ecological balance on land and lakeshore.

The Orono community’s residential development philosophy is one of slow growth and low density. Besides Lake Minnetonka, Orono has five small lakes that also provide waterfront property. In fact, about half of Orono is open water or marshland.

Orono Town Facts

  • Population: 7,437
  • Median Income: $88,314
  • Median Housing Value: $324,400
  • Median Age: 45.7
  • School District: Orono – 278, Wayzata School District – 284
  • Westonka School District – 277, Minnetonka Schools
  • Parks: 15 Parks (Includes City Parks and Three Rivers Park District Facilities) – Baker Park, Noerenberg Memorial Park, Big Island Nature Area
  • Mayor: Dennis Walsh
  • Council Member: Richard Crosby II
  • Council Member: Matt Johnson
  • Council Member: Aaron H. Printup
  • Council Member: Victoria Seals