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 many 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 district. Because Long Lake has a post office, some Orono residents and businesses have a Long Lake address.

While the two cities seem closely related, the truth is they are vastly different places. Where Orono has some bigger homes and a two-acre minimum lot size and much more rural atmosphere, Long Lake has smaller lots, multi-family housing and quite reasonable home prices. There are four parks in Long Lake, and the Luce Line, a rails-to-trails hiking and biking trail, runs just south of the city. Long Lake is also home to the Pioneer Museum operated by the West 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: Dexter, Hardin, Holbrook and Nelson Lakeside
  • Mayor: Marty Schneider
  • Council Member: Jahn Dyvik
  • Council Member: Tim Hultmann
  • Council Member: Michelle Jerde
  • 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 prestigious community, 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, covering 21 1/2 square miles.

Because the lake is replenished from precipitation, not spring 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.

It’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 – Baker Park, Noerenberg Memorial Park, Big Island Nature Area
  • Mayor: Dennis Walsh
  • Council Member: Richard Crosby II
  • Council Member: Aaron H. Printup
  • Council Member: Victoria Seals