Excelsior is a small town on the south shore of Lake Minnetonka. Located on Highway 7 about 20 minutes west of Minneapolis in the southwest corner of Hennepin County. The City of Excelsior has a vast and interesting history and like much of the west suburbs was originally inhabited by Dakota and Sioux native americans until the the Treaty of Traverse Des Sioux and Mendota in the 1850's pushed the natives westward and allowed for settlement to begin. Quickly, development and construction began by George Bertram and Robert McGrath. The origin of the name "Excelsior" is a bit uncertain however it was and still is meant to evoke an optimistic and positive image. Early in the development of Excelsior "The Commons" area was set aside as an area for open enjoyment for all. Today The Commons is still an open to the public as a park and host to many events such as live music, fourth of July fireworks, the annual art fair, organized sports along with the finish line of the Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon. Incorporated in 1877, Excelsior quickly became a tourist hot spot with many hotels and cottages for those who came to visit. Tourism remained the primary industry and in 1925 the Excelsior Amusement Park was opened and brought in many people from near and far. The amusement park was located approximately in the same spot as modern day Maynards and Bayside restaurants. It operated until 1974 but you can still feel some of its energy if you ride The Cyclone now renamed the High Roller at Valleyfair which was re-located after its closing. Modern day Exclesior has held onto much of its old world charm and has a small town feel that provides a warm feeling.