About This Place
Wayzata ( /waɪzɛtə/ wy-zet-ə) is a city in Hennepin County, Minnesota, United States, a western suburb of Minneapolis. Wayzata came into existence in the center of Chief Shakopee's Indian village.
The first people to settle on the land around Lake Minnetonka were the Mdewakanton Dakota, a major division of the Sioux nation. They treasured the "Big Water" as an endowed hunting and fishing ground and protected this land from the rival Chippewa tribe, who were known as Ojibway. While these natives had been living off the land for many years prior, in 1803 the land was claimed by France, who sold it to the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase. The nearest Euro-American settlement then was Fort Snelling, and it wasn't until the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux was signed in 1851 that the lands west of the Mississippi River were opened for land claims to be filed. Although today the Sioux are no longer living on the land, their legacy lives on in the name of the city. The name Wayzata is derived from the American Indian word Waziyata, which had almost a mystical connotation to the Sioux tribes who originally inhabited the area. Waziya was their god of the North, a giant who blew the cold winds from his mouth. With the suffix ta added, the name meant "North Shore."
In 1852, two pioneer families settled on the present site of Wayzata, one of them being the family of Oscar E. Garrison. He built a cabin at what is now Lake Street and Broadway Avenue in downtown Wayzata. In 1854 he drew a survey of the area and filed his claim for most of what is now Wayzata proper. In 1855, Wayzata had an influx of settlers who built a sawmill, a hotel and a blacksmith shop. Most of these early settlers made their living off the land by clear cutting the trees to grow corn and wheat. But, in 1857, this growing economy was nearly terminated by a grasshopper plague. At the time, ginseng roots were in great demand as an aphrodisiac in the Orient and the eastern forests had been exhausted of their supply. When ginseng was discovered in the remaining hard wood forest which had been left standing, these trees being too great a distance from the lake to float down stream to the sawmill, Wayzata became a collection center for the roots discovered around the lake.