The Minnetonka History Commission was originally created to oversee and advise city staff on renovation of the Charles H. Burwell House. Once that project was complete, the history commission turned its attention to other duties, including administration of the city’s Landmark Designation Program and various other activities to heighten community awareness and appreciation of the city’s history.

During discussions at the last three history commission meetings of 2008, members agreed that a reorganization of the various history activities of the commission would result in a more effective and dynamic history effort for the community.

To that end, at its Nov. 17, 2008, meeting, the members of the history commission voted unanimously to recommend to the council that the ordinance creating the history commission be repealed, and that the duties be reassigned among city staff, the Minnetonka Community Commission and a new Burwell Advisory Group. This action was approved by the Minnetonka City Council at its Monday, Dec. 22, 2008, meeting.

Major projects

One of the commission’s biggest projects has been the Charles H. Burwell Historic Site.

The Charles H. Burwell site has been owned by the city of Minnetonka since 1970. The commission was formed in response to a request from the Minnetonka Historical Society for assistance with completing the restoration of this site. The commission served as overseers for the project, and sought input from the society and others during the restoration project. With the completion of the restoration project, the main focus of their efforts has shifted to marketing of the site to make sure it is available to the public.

The city offers a free public tour program from June through September, which is operated by the city. There are several events held at the Burwell site each year, which are now jointly sponsored by the city and the society. These events include:

Ice Cream Social

Held on the last Saturday of June. This event is like a Victorian lawn party with ice cream, lemonade, tours, entertainment, and other family fun.