Steamboat Minnehaha

The Steamboat Minnehaha will stay in her storage facility in Excelsior this summer as the leaders of the Museum of Lake Minnetonka find a new launch for the 1906 vessel. The only launch on Lake Minnetonka that can accommodate the boat is no longer available. (Sun File Photo)

The Excelsior City Council expects to hear from the Board of Directors of the Museum of Lake Minnetonka at the March 2 council meeting. The City Council may decide to find a new launching site in Excelsior after the group’s presentation.

“We were going to get a report from the board of the Minnehaha, they’ve asked actually for an extension on that report,” Mayor Todd Carlson said at the regular city council meeting Jan. 21. “They would like to do additional outreach, as well as some additional research into potential opportunities, make sure that when they do come they are able to educate the council and residents in terms of what the specific ask is going to be.”

The Steamboat Minnehaha is an icon of the community and residents have urged the council to consider finding a new launch site for the 1906 watercraft. The Minnehaha’s current launch site is at 600 W. Lake Street in Shorewood, but the museum will not be able to use that site any longer. The Minnehaha docks at a space in the Excelsior Marina on Excelsior Bay. That space is leased until 2023.

“They’re going to lose their place to launch and that’s the biggest issue,” Carlson said. “I’ve been meeting with the Minnehaha Board as well as some other residents, and there’s a lot of interest in really trying to find a solution in Excelsior to make that work.”

According to a post on the Steamboat Minnehaha’s website, a new winter maintenance facility may need to be constructed near the new launch site.

“When we do bring it back, I think the ask of this council to be to really make a determination as to, one, do we want the Minnehaha to reside in Excelsior, and then, two, if we are, what are we willing to offer up in terms of potential locations?” Carlson said. “I think what the board is looking for is just direction from the city. Do we feel the Minnehaha has a home here? If not, then we have to be very forthright, so they can look at locations.”

Gabriel Jabbour, owner of the site at 600 W. Lake Street, was in agreement that he would like to see clear direction from the cities on this matter.

“This is a situation that is unique and the cities have to step forward,” Jabbour said. “I would be anxious and willing and excited to help with a solution.”

When contacted, the Museum of Lake Minnetonka Board of Directors declined to comment until further research has been completed. Officials said they are willing to speak in a few weeks, once a more clear picture is established.

Details of the Steamboat Minnehaha

According to the Steamboat Minnehaha’s website, the Minnehaha is 70 feet long and nearly 15 feet wide and 26 feet tall on its trailer. The boat is stored in a space owned by the Museum of Lake Minnetonka at 140 George Street. The Minnehaha is typically launched in May and taken out of the water in October.

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