Sunday, October 7, 2007

The Revenge of James J. Hill

The revenge of James J. Hill, originally uploaded by jroosh.

Sitting here writing at the Caribou on Lake Street in Wayzata...a beautiful view to lake Minnetonka...punctuated every few minutes by the Revenge of James J. Hill.

I will try to find the full story of why there are train tracks going right through downtown Wayzata and post it later.

It's later...

from Wikipedia:

By 1890, the height of the resort era on Lake Minnetonka had been reached. A nationwide financial depression and the migration of tourists to newer resort territory gradually transformed Wayzata and a new era began when the tourists moved on. Summer cottages began appearing along the shores, even on the grounds of the grand hotels. The cottage builders needed building materials, and then provisions when they moved in. In 1881 Wayzata broke away from Minnetonka Township and became a separate governmental entity, mainly as a reaction to the roaring tourist-resorter lifestyle. Feeling their new power, the first act of the village council was to ban the saloons, and the second would have a more profound impact: they started a fight with James J. Hill to get the railroad tracks moved from downtown. An 1883 town law required the tracks be relocated 300 feet from the shoreline. Hill ignored the law, then in 1889 the council filed a lawsuit to force Hill to comply. Hill responded that he had state law on his side, and if they continued with their suit not only would he win, but he would make the town walk a mile for twenty years to catch a train. In 1891, the Minnesota Supreme Court denied the legality of the law, and Hill, as promised, moved the station to flat land beneath today's Bushaway Road railroad bridge. Wayzata was literally taken off the map, and for the next fifteen years the town barely grew. In 1905, the village council voted a Reconciliation Ordinance, and Hill responded that he would have the finest railroad station on his entire line built in Wayzata.

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