Orono History

Early History

Orono's corporate history dates to 1858 when Minnesota became a state, and western Hennepin County was surveyed and divided into townships. All of Orono south of Watertown Road was located in Excelsior Township, with the area north of Watertown Road being located in Medina Township. 

But the citizens of Orono, few as they were, found the going difficult in having to negotiate the lake in order to transact business in far away Excelsior. So, in 1868, the townships were realigned with everything north of the Narrows becoming part of Medina.

Creation of the Township of Orono

The separate Township of Orono was created out of the southern half of Medina on April 9, 1889. The name Orono was brought to the area by Major George Brackett, a native of Orono, Maine, who first used it to designate the area now known as Brackett's Point.

Creation of Neighboring Cities

Orono Township once included areas now part of neighboring cities. Minnetonka Beach was incorporated out of Medina Township in 1884. Long Lake was incorporated from Orono Township in 1906. Long Lake expanded, Wayzata grew westward, and then Spring Park was incorporated in 1952.

Incorporation of Orono

Finally, effective January 1, 1955, Orono Village was incorporated encompassing all the remaining parts of the township including the settlements of Navarre, Crystal Bay, Orono and Bederwood (Stubbs Bay). 

Boundary Changes

A number of minor boundary changes have occurred since then, including detachment of the tip of Three Points Peninsula to Mound in 1963; annexation of a small strip from Minnetrista in 1980 for McCulley Road; detachment of the Fleming Trail Addition to Long Lake in 1993; and annexation of property along North Ferndale and West Ferndale Roads from Wayzata in 1994 in exchange for detachment of a property along Highway 12 to accommodate Wayzata's public works facilities.


The preceding information is from:

  • Orono Community Management Plan 2008 to 2030, "CMP Part 2, Community Management Plan Foundation," Historical Background.

Additional Resources

The following books contain more information and are available at City Hall for viewing:

  • 100 Years by the Waters of Minnetonka - Orono, MN, 1889-1989
  • Legendary Homes of Lake Minnetonka
  • Minnetonka Tornado Story in Pictures - May 6, 1965
  • Picturesque Minnetonka