Lake of the Isles is a beautiful small lake in Minneapolis, just north of Lake Calhoun
and Lake Harriet
that was created by glaciers, and rests in an ancient river valley. The surrounding hills are actually great piles of rocks and boulders, known as moraines, that were left behind when the glacial ice receded. Today the lake and hills are graced with a variety of architectural unique homes, making it one of the most desirable areas in Minneapolis for luxury homes. Before 1910, the Lake was about as good as a swamp can get with only a few daring souls venturing to build their homes in the vicinity. It consisted of a four small islands and a ragged shoreline. In the early 1880’s two of the four islands on the south end were removed. A few years later, the Minneapolis Park Board finally acquired the entire lake and began the tedious task of dredging for the next four years. Once the work was completed in 1893, the park board was able to begin the creation of a parkway around the lake.
Downtown Minneapolis from Lake of the Isles
Once dredging of Lake of the Isles commenced, the area began to take shape with one mansion after another popping up. The first area to be platted into blocks and lots was The Devils’ Backbone, now known as Lowry Hill, to the northeast of the lake. Thomas Lowry was a vital figure in the beginnings of Minneapolis, and his decision to build his mansion in the area in 1878 was instrumental in its establishment as a prestigious neighborhood. Today there are over a hundred homes surrounding the lake, many being some of the most expensive in the Twin Cities.