Excelsior to celebrate first ever History Day May 20

“Bullen’s General Store, Excelsior, circa 1902.” Built almost entirely of brick in 1886 and still standing today, Bullen’s Block is credited with stopping the 1902 fire on the east side of Water Street. Today, the building is home to Scusi, Meridian Boutique and Coalition Restaurant. (Photo provided by the Excelsior-Lake Minnetonka Historical Society)

May is National Historic Preservation Month and Excelsior will celebrate Saturday, May 20, along with other cities and towns throughout the United States, as part of the national historic preservation movement.

The kick-off for the event will be at the Excelsior City Council meeting 7 p.m. Monday, May 1 where Mayor Mark Gaylord will sign a proclamation declaring May to be the Historic Preservation Month and May 20 as Historic Preservation Day.

“Excelsior has been a leader in the Historic Preservation movement since 1982 when our first Historic Preservation ordinance was passed,” Gaylord said. “Our beautiful downtown historic storefront district has been preserved as a memorial to Excelsior’s rich history. It is only fitting and proper that we celebrate that tradition.”

Excelsior’s Historic Preservation Day is a joint effort between Excelsior, the Historic Preservation Commission and the Parks and Recreation Commission along with other community organizations, including the Excelsior-Lake Minnetonka Historical Society, Excelsior-Lake Minnetonka Chamber of Commerce, Excelsior Fire District, Excelsior Mason’s Lodge, the Steamboat Minnehaha, Minnesota Streetcar Museum, Antique and Classic Boat Society and the friends of the Hennepin County Library.

Major events will include the following:
-The Minnesota Second Volunteer Infantry Regiment re-enactors is scheduled for an overnight encampment in the Commons with military drills and presentations throughout the day of May 20.
-Tour of historic homes sponsored by the Excelsior Heritage Preservation Commission.
-Historic lectures in the Masonic Lodge throughout the day including a lecture from Excelsior City Planner Pat Smith on the city’s history of historic preservation.
-Rides on the Steamboat Minnehaha and the Excelsior Trolley.
-Walking tours and an open house at the Excelsior-Lake Minnetonka Historical Society Museum.
-Children’s programs at the Hennepin County Library.
-Antique boat display sponsored by the Bob Speltz Land-O-Lakes Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society.

– 9-10 a.m. Excelsior Fire District time capsule ceremony at Fire Station No. 1
-10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Military drill by Minnesota 2nd Regiment
-10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Rides on Steamboat Minnehaha
-10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Open house at Excelsior-Lake Minnetonka Historical Society
-10:30 a.m. Children’s history program at Excelsior Library
-11 a.m. to 3 p.m. History lectures at Masonic Lodge: 11 a.m. history of Masonic Lodge; 1 p.m. History of Excelsior Heritage Preservation; 2 p.m. History of Excelsior Fire District; 3 p.m. History of downtown Excelsior with Darel Leipold
-1-3 p.m. Historic home tour by Excelsior Historical Preservation Commission
-4 p.m, History of Irish immigrants at Jake O’Connors