History of Orono Minnesota

Tagged: orono, Big Island, Chief Joseph Orono, George Brackett, treaty of Mendota, CIty History, Hennepin County,

The city of Orono, Minnesota was founded in 1858, the same year that Minnesota became a state. In April, 1889, Major George Brackett, who was a pioneer from Orono, Maine, founded the area of today’s city of Orono to be a separate township from the surrounding locations. The town got its name, Orono, from Chief Joseph Orono of the Penobscot tribe. It was said of Chief Orono that he, “was always inclined to peace and good neighborhood… What the grand and sonorous name he bore signified”. Major George Brackett wanted the name of his separate township to carry on the legacy from his hometown in Maine as well as embody the peace and good neighborhood of Chief Orono’s name. Therefore, the name of Major Brackett’s township became Orono. The city is considered responsible for the expansion of neighboring cities such as Minnetonka, Long Lake, and Wayzata. The city became officially incorporated in 1954.


Lake Minnetonka is perhaps the most crucial part of Orono’s history. Save for the Native Americans, the lake was a secret to all. The wooded areas and shores surrounding the lake provided plenty of food for the Natives to live off of. Therefore, Lake Minnetonka was critical for their survival and kept hidden from the settlers. However, settlers eventually discovered the lake in 1822. By 1851, the treaty of Mendota between the Natives and the U.S. Government provided the settlers access to a wide stretch of land, including Lake Minnetonka. Development around the lake thrived in the 1880’s and 90’s. Steamboats created access to the lake as they offered locals cruises across the water. Big Island, a park near the lake that was built in 1902, offered entertainment that people traveled miles for in order to experience. There is a reason that Orono considers itself to be the lakeshore city. Lake Minnetonka is the 10th largest lake and the most heavily accessed body of water in the state of Minnesota.


If you have any questions regarding the city of Orono, Minnesota, or if you would like to sell or buy a house in the area, please feel free to call Realtor David Olson at 952.314.9446 or visit www.DavidOlsonRealEstate.com.

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