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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's been a few months since I've gone on a phototour, so today I thought I'd explore the town of Waconia. It's a sleepy suburban town about an hour southwest of Minneapolis on Lake Waconia. What a cozy little place! I especially loved the little wooden-framed buildings downtown, which you don't see much of around here.

Waconia, Minnesota
Population: 10,697
July 24, 2011



















 

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Thanks Jennifat!! Cute little town. My mom grew up in Carver County (Young America) - and as a kid when I'd travel back up to MN on vacation with my family (my parents moved to Indiana after getting married in Minnesota) - we'd always go through Waconia on highway 5 on our way back to Y.A. Its been growing a lot lately. I had an Aunt and Uncle and a bunch of cousins who lived in Waconia on the lake back then. We'd go fishing and water skiing out there (and snow mobiling in the winter). I was always intrigued by the island in the middle of Lake Waconia. There used to be a Summer Camp there -- and I believe there may have been some type of amusement park or something like that there as well -- way back in the 30's or some time around then. I never used to think of Waconia as a suburb of the Twin Cities but now -- I guess it is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
There used to be a Summer Camp there -- and I believe there may have been some type of amusement park or something like that there as well -- way back in the 30's or some time around then. I never used to think of Waconia as a suburb of the Twin Cities but now -- I guess it is.
I believe there's a summer camp on the east side of the lake, and you're correct about the amusement park! The island in the center of the lake is called "Coney Island of the West", and it used to be a draw for early 20th century resort goers.

Carver County is definitely a part of the metro today, although Waconia is more exurban than wholly suburban in nature. There's quite a bit of gorgeous wooded areas and hilly countryside to drive through on Highway 5. One of my favorite drives in the Twin Cities area.
 

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Nice thread. One of my best friends in college was from Waconia. I've heard some pretty entertaining stories about its secret life.

That second to last photo is really good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the nice comments, everyone!

That second to last photo is really good.
Thanks Som—I'm glad I managed to get a nice shot out of that lens before I clumsily dropped it on the concrete immediately after. I swear, I need to keep everything tied to a string around my neck...
 

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Hey Jennifat, I am really glad I stumbled upon your threads. I usually spend my time over at skyscraperpage (we have a pretty good Denver crowd, many of whom I actually know and/or work with, so it's valuable for fun and networking), and I only really come over here to look at the better international photos. But you (and Somnifor too) represent Minnesota great! If you're ever in northern Minnesota, please post some Park Rapids shots! I haven't been back for years, I'd be curious to see what's left.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hey Jennifat, I am really glad I stumbled upon your threads. I usually spend my time over at skyscraperpage (we have a pretty good Denver crowd, many of whom I actually know and/or work with, so it's valuable for fun and networking), and I only really come over here to look at the better international photos. But you (and Somnifor too) represent Minnesota great! If you're ever in northern Minnesota, please post some Park Rapids shots! I haven't been back for years, I'd be curious to see what's left.
Thanks for your kind compliments, bunt. My goal is to get photos from all over the state, but that will take a while! My family has a cabin in the Brainerd lakes area, so North Central Minnesota may be what I hit next.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Nice pcitures. The frame buildings downtown make it look like the place could fit in Upstate New York pretty well.

Are these little lakes connected to each other in Minnesota? How far can you explore in your boat if you docked it at this particular lake, for instance?
It really depends on the lake. Of course, we have over 15,000 of them here, and each one has a different watershed. Some are connected to rivers/other lakes, and some aren't. Lake Waconia doesn't have an outlet as far as I know, but the chain of lakes in Minneapolis, for instance (Cedar Lake, Lake of the Isles, Lake Harriet, Lake Calhoun, Lake Nokomis), are connected to each other.
 

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Nice photo-tour of downtown Waconia. I actually am from there and go back often to see my parents. Downtown is surprisingly busy for the small towns of its size in that area, though.

Its actually a pretty quick trip from Minneapolis to Waconia with the new 212 freeway, since Carver County Road 10 runs between 212 on the outskirts of Chaska and Waconia. I suggest next time you visit that you take this route. The road is much nicer, but goes up and down several hills and gracefully curves through the countryside, giving some nice views of the hills in the area.

It really depends on the lake. Of course, we have over 15,000 of them here, and each one has a different watershed. Some are connected to rivers/other lakes, and some aren't. Lake Waconia doesn't have an outlet as far as I know, but the chain of lakes in Minneapolis, for instance (Cedar Lake, Lake of the Isles, Lake Harriet, Lake Calhoun, Lake Nokomis), are connected to each other.
Lake Waconia does have a small, non-navigable creek (I think it's called Carver Creek) that connects it to a smaller lake on the town's west side, and then winds its way across Carver County to the Minnesota River in Carver. The creek itself has for the most part been buried underground between the two lakes by exurban growth in the last 20-30 years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks, Mudhen! Yes, there are houses all along the lake, but primarily in the southwestern end where the city of Waconia sits. It's actually a very large lake; the wooded areas you're seeing are on an island in the center which isn't developed.

It's fairly rare for lakes in the Twin Cities area (and most of Minnesota, for that matter) to not have housing or some sort of development on their shores unless it's in a remote area or if the land is protected. Owning lakefront property for Minnesotans is basically like owning oceanfront property for people on the coasts. :)
 

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I believe there's a summer camp on the east side of the lake, and you're correct about the amusement park! The island in the center of the lake is called "Coney Island of the West", and it used to be a draw for early 20th century resort goers.
 

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Nice town but I'm still waiting for pictures of Minnesota towns like Chisago City, Lindstrom, Tyler Falls, Scandia, Mora, Karlstad. They're small towns but interesting.

Also a couple of photos from Bishop Hill, IL would be a appreciated.

Chisago City has its own rapstar who sings about his city on youtube, like that song !
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
^^I have been considering doing a Hwy 8 photo tour (Lindström, Chisago City, Taylors Falls, St. Croix Falls), but honestly there's not very much to see in these towns. They're very non-descript, fairly uninteresting places aside from the beautiful lakes in the area or the Dalles of the St. Croix.

Lindström does have a Swedish tea pot for a water tower, though! And many of the businesses in the tiny downtown area have dual English/Swedish signs.
 

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^^I have been considering doing a Hwy 8 photo tour (Lindström, Chisago City, Taylors Falls, St. Croix Falls), but honestly there's not very much to see in these towns. They're very non-descript, fairly uninteresting places aside from the beautiful lakes in the area or the Dalles of the St. Croix.

Lindström does have a Swedish tea pot for a water tower, though! And many of the businesses in the tiny downtown area have dual English/Swedish signs.
Maybe they're very non-descript, fairly uninteresting places for you, but for me it's very interesting.

Having seen lots of documentary about the swedish-american emigration in the 1860's I know a bit about the topic. There also is something called the swedish-american emigration trail in Tyler Falls, where anual walks take place, the american "Vasaloppet" ski-competition and the Karl-Oskar Day-carneval. I've seen it on youtube.

So keep exploring Minnesota, I'll be watching.
 
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