Are Historic Wayzata Homes Ok To Demolish?

In Blog, Community News on August 4, 2013 by Community Expert Team
Are Historic Wayzata Homes Ok To Demolish?

For years the Lake Minnetonka area in Wayzata has seen many historic homes fall victim to newer, more effcient and bigger homes. This is a trend that some would call progress while others are screaming foul.


The BonSyde Estate is one of the most recent examples of this debate. The BonSyde Estate was first built in the 1890’s when Lake Minnetonka was just becoming a desirable destination to live rather than just vacation. It is during this time in 1894 that William G. Northrup purchased a large section of land along the Ferndale shore to build his home upon.


Northrup hired William Channing Whitney, who was a very famous architect in the Twin Cities as the time, to design a home that’s purpose was to impress, and he accomplished this goal with flying colors.


Hardwood floors, fine fixtures, seven fireplaces and Corinthian columns are used throughout the structure. The most impressive feature of the home is easily the bank of Doric columns on the lakeside of the property. These support the rooftop over a fabulous balcony that many have stared in awe from Lake Minnetonka over the years. Between the home and the lake are beautiful gardens, a bathhouse and a pool house all built in Greek revival style.


The BonSyde mansion has changed many hands over it 120 year life and at one point became neglected and run down and seemingly ready for demolition. It was at this point that Clyde Jorgenson bought the home and instead of demolishing a piece of architectural history, decided to give the home a complete restoration. Mr. Jorgenson restored everything in the home, all the way down to the studs. The home is now in incredible shape and back to it’s former glory.


Which leads to our present day debate. The home recently received approval from the city of Wayzata for demolition to make way for a new home to be built. Many in the area are crying foul while still others support the decision of the now owners. The people protesting the destruction are saying that the BonSyde estate is the best example of Greek revival architecture ever built in Minnesota and one of the few remaining works by William Channing Whitney.


So, now the question is “Who decided what stays and what goes?”, well obviously that would be the city of Wayzata and they have decided that it is ok for the new owner to make way for his new home.


Is this something that should be allowed? Is this the destruction of Lake Minnetonka history or is it a boon to the local economy? Tell us what you think below.

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