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Water Street in Excelsior
Water Street in Excelsior
Location of Excelsior within Hennepin County and the U.S. state of Minnesota
Location of Excelsior within Hennepin County and the U.S. state of Minnesota
Excelsior, Minnesota is located in Minnesota
Excelsior, Minnesota
Excelsior, Minnesota
Location in Minnesota
Excelsior, Minnesota is located in the United States
Excelsior, Minnesota
Excelsior, Minnesota
Location in the United States
Country United States
State Minnesota
County Hennepin
Founded 1853
Incorporated 1878
 • Total 0.88 sq mi (2.27 km2)
 • Land 0.63 sq mi (1.63 km2)
 • Water 0.25 sq mi (0.64 km2)
945 ft (288 m)
 • Total 2,188
 • Estimate 
 • Density 3,714.29/sq mi (1,435.03/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP Code
Area code(s) 952
FIPS code 27-20078
GNIS feature ID 643477

Excelsior is a city on the southern shore of Lake Minnetonka in Hennepin County, Minnesota, United States . Its population was 2,188 as of the 2010 census. As of 2018, its estimated population was 2,345. Excelsior is located about 15 miles (24 km) southwest of downtown Minneapolis. The buildings along Water Street, housing many of the community’s shops, were placed on National Register of Historic Places in 2021.

It is an outer ring suburb in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.69 square miles (1.79 km2), of which 0.63 square miles (1.63 km2) is land and 0.06 square miles (0.16 km2) is water. Minnesota State Highway 7 serves as a main route. Excelsior is located 20 miles west–southwest of downtown Minneapolis.


Excelsior was founded in 1853 by George Bertram and the Excelsior Pioneer Association. It was the first community established on Lake Minnetonka. Many of the original settlers in Excelsior came from the New England area, particularly upstate New York and Massachusetts. Some eastern-like features can be found in the layout of the town, which is organized as a grid with a public Commons along the lake shore.

Throughout the years, Excelsior's Water Street has been the home to many businesses including hotels, restaurants, and merchants. Excelsior works hard to maintain its historical identity while renewing various elements of the downtown area; the community is known for its abundance of Victorian housing stock and masonry-clad commercial district.

Excelsior Amusement Park (Minnesota)
The Cyclone, Excelsior Amusement Park, 1925-1973
Wyer House 2
The Wyer House, residence of Excelsior Amusement Park managers

Excelsior was also home to the Excelsior Amusement Park, which operated from 1925 to 1973. Today the site is occupied by a condominium complex and two restaurants.

Ray Colihan owned a ballroom called '"Big Reggie's Danceland" in Excelsior during the 1950s and 1960s. Colihan is speculated as the only man to lose money on both The Beatles, who he booked at Met Stadium in 1965, and The Rolling Stones, who played Danceland in 1964 for an audience of approximately 300. Legend has it, since debunked online, that an Excelsior resident named Jimmy Hutmaker was the inspiration behind the Rolling Stones song You Can't Always Get What You Want after an encounter with singer Mick Jagger at the local drug store prior to the 1964 concert. "Mr. Jimmy", as he was known, died on October 3, 2007.

President Gerald Ford's golden retriever, Liberty, was purchased in 1974 from Avis Friberg, a resident of Excelsior.

The streetcar boat Minnehaha, a steamboat used for passenger travel on Lake Minnetonka during the turn of the Twentieth Century, was raised from the bottom of Lake Minnetonka in 1980, restored, and put back into passenger service in 1996. Now operated by the Museum of Lake Minnetonka, it again carries passengers between the communities of Excelsior and Wayzata as it did over a century ago.

Twin City Lines No. 1239, Excelsior Streetcar Line

The Minnesota Streetcar Museum, a local transportation museum, also operates two heritage streetcar lines in Minneapolis and Excelsior. Two streetcars are currently operated on the Excelsior line: Twin City Lines No. 1239 and Duluth Street Railway No. 78.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 417
1890 619 48.4%
1900 717 15.8%
1910 1,015 41.6%
1920 790 −22.2%
1930 1,072 35.7%
1940 1,422 32.6%
1950 1,763 24.0%
1960 2,020 14.6%
1970 2,563 26.9%
1980 2,523 −1.6%
1990 2,367 −6.2%
2000 2,393 1.1%
2010 2,188 −8.6%
2020 2,355 7.6%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

Restored TCRT streetcar No. 1239, Excelsior Streetcar Line
TCRT Express Boat Minnehaha
Restored Express Boat Minnehaha

As of the 2010 census, there were 2,188 people, 1,115 households, and 494 families living in the city. The population density was 3,473.0 inhabitants per square mile (1,340.9/km2). There were 1,254 housing units at an average density of 1,990.5 per square mile (768.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 90.4% White, 2.7% African American, 0.6% Native American, 1.5% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 2.2% from other races, and 2.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.9% of the population.

There were 1,115 households, of which 21.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 31.7% were married couples living together, 9.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 55.7% were non-families. 48.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.92 and the average family size was 2.82.

The median age in the city was 42 years. 19.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.4% were from 25 to 44; 30.3% were from 45 to 64; and 15.4% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.4% male and 51.6% female.


TCRT Express Boat Minnehaha
Restored Express boat Minnehaha

The Excelsior Commons, a large park situated along the shore of Lake Minnetonka, is a publicly owned parcel of land used for various activities year-round. It is speculated that the Excelsior Commons and the Boston Common are the only two designated "commons" in the United States. A large public beach is located at the northern end of the Commons.

Three Rivers Park District also maintains a bike and pedestrian trail that runs through Excelsior.


Excelsior hosts several annual events including Apple Day, Art on The Lake, Crazy Days, Girls Night Out, Christkindlmarkt, the Excelsior Farmers Market, and Independence Day festivities.


Excelsior School 2
Former Excelsior Public School

Excelsior is located within Independent School District 276, also known as the Minnetonka School District. Newsweek ranked Minnetonka High School at #123 in their list of America's Top High Schools. The school was rated as the #1 public high school in Minnesota by Niche.

The only school operated by Minnetonka Public Schools in Excelsior is Excelsior Elementary School. The old Excelsior Public School and Excelsior High School buildings still stand, but are no longer used as schools.

Notable people

  • John Berkey, science fiction and film poster artist
  • Jimmy Hutmaker, local celebrity
  • Liberty, presidential dog
  • Terry Katzman, music producer and sound engineer (Hüsker Dü, The Replacements)
  • Ryan McCartan, actor and singer
  • Haley Kalil, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue model and Miss Minnesota USA
  • Vinni Lettieri, professional hockey player
  • John Mark Nelson, singer-songwriter
  • Brent Sass, American Dog Musher
  • Martha Sheldon, medical missionary
  • Don Shelby, television personality
  • Wesley So, Super Grandmaster (chess), two times United States Chess Championship Champion in 2017 and 2020.

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Excelsior (Minnesota) para niños

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