Photo courtesy of Derek J. Dickinson
Boathouse at Noerenberg Gardens in Orono
The boathouse at Noerenberg Gardens is one of the last remaining structures of Grain Belt Brewery founder Fredrich Noerenberg’s 73-acre estate.
Nestled into the northern end of Lake Minnetonka 20 miles from Minneapolis, Orono’s 40 miles of shoreline are a major draw for those with a penchant for the water. Its 7,437 residents have included several notables, among them NBA star Kevin Garnett of the Minnesota Timberwolves and the late Bruce Dayton, CEO of Dayton Hudson Corporation. Most are married couples or families, and the most prevalent age group is 45 to 64.
History: What was once the southern half of Medina became Orono Township in 1889, named by settlers who had come west from another Orono Township in Maine. It was incorporated in 1955 and has grown gradually alongside neighboring Wayzata, Mound, and Minnetrista.
Housing Stock: Orono is true lake country: 44 percent of the city is water or wetlands, and one-third of the homes are lakefront properties. Many were custom-built after 2000, but a few historic waterfront homes built before 1940 remain as well. Two-thirds of homes sell for $400,000 or more, and one-third top $800,000.
Schools to Note
Orono High School: The public senior high is ranked 7th in Minnesota on The Washington Post’s list of America’s Most Challenging High Schools and 4th best high school in the state according to U.S. News & World Report. More than seven out of 10 students take one or more of the 18 AP courses offered, and 96 percent of students graduate on time. orono.k12.mn.us/hs
Lake Minnetonka and Big Island: With beaches, cruises, and various boat-up dining options, the Twin Cities area’s largest lake makes for great sunning and fun-ing. It also encompasses Big Island, which contained an amusement park from 1906 until 1911 and is now a public nature park. ci.orono.mn.us
Noerenberg Gardens: The Noerenberg Gardens are on Grain Belt Brewery founder Fredrich Noerenberg’s 73-acre estate, one of the first permanent homes on the shore of Lake Minnetonka, which was razed and transformed into a public garden at the request of his daughter, Lora Noerenberg Hoppe. Though the home is gone, an iconic boathouse and a grape arbor original to the estate remain. threeriversparks.org/parks/noerenberg-gardens.aspx
Photo courtesy of Lili McMillan
Orono Public Golf Course
Orono Public Golf Course’s hilly fairways and tiny elevated greens are a living example of 1920s-era course design.
Orono Public Golf Course: Established in 1924 as Orono Orchards Golf Course, the nine-hole course is known for its varying elevation and picturesque views of Lake Minnetonka. When it opened, it was the first public golf course in Minnesota to have grass greens—all others had sand greens at the time. oronopublicgolf.com