Historic. And The Story Continues . . . 

1959 - 1969

1959    A meeting of Capt. Carl Williams of the Hennepin County Water Patrol and Larry Dressler, former member of the Susquehannock, PA Squadron, with the subsequent addition of Dudley Russell, P/C Duluth Squadron, Lou Schricker, former member of the Mississippi Coast Squadron and Dr. Arthur E. Allen, President of the Greater Minnetonka Council led to the formation of the Minnetonka Power Squadron (MPS). Initially it was a division of the Duluth Squadron (chartered 27 June, 1939). The first public boating course was called "Piloting".

1961  MPS received its charter from United States Power Squadrons (USPS) 14 January, 1961. A $5.00 initiation fee plus a $5.00 annual fee was charged each member. Dudley J. Russell was the first commander. Harry Kuechle, owner of the DOUBLE WEAR SHOE CO. of Minneapolis, leased land the company owned on the south shore of Big Island to the new squadron for $100/ yr, Harry Kuechle's son Bill and son-in-law Bob Armstrong were members of the new squadron. Docks were made from telephone poles towed to the island. Only men could join. The squadron was established as a 501c (3) non-profit organization whose purpose was to educate the public in safe boating

1962  The first issue of TonkaNAUTS was published. The first Balsa Anchor award went to Carl Williams, safety officer, who crashed his boat into a dock. MPS had its first float in the Mpls. Aquatennial parade. In subsequent years the squadron has participated in the Shakopee Derby Days Festival Parade, the Long Lake Corn Days Parade, The Mound City Days Parade and the Maple Grove Parade. The St. Paul Power Squadron was formed Nov. 19 by MPS members desiring to boat on the rivers.

1963  A Women's Auxiliary called Tonka Mates" was formed for wives of the male members. Six docks 24 ft. in length were built. The St. Paul Power Squadron received its charter from USPS which had 63,000 members by 12/31, a new high.

1964  More docks (piers) 36 feet in length were now constructed with barrels to roll them.

1965  A severe tornado hit Lake Minnetonka with a 5 ft. surge reported in Brown's Bay. Big island was not affected.

1966  Williams died. A tool hut with "lounge facilities" (toilets) was built.

1967  The Hennepin County Surveyor states Lake Minnetonka, including islands, officially has 117.87 miles of shoreline. This includes the perimeter shoreline - 92.35 mi, islands 17.03 mi and lakes "connected but not part of Mother Minnetonka" - 8.49 mi. The USCG Auxiliary shared use of the island.

1968  A temporary shelter covered by a 24 by 38 ft. tarp was constructed.

1969 The property on Big Island, known as "Big Island Rendezvous" was purchased with money obtained by selling Litton Industries stock donated by Ed and Alma Streater. Two acres were sold to MPS members. Title to the acreage now owned was obtained 1 October, 1969. The docks were expanded and the rear channel dredged with the dirt obtained filling in low areas.

The total cost for the property, including dredging the back channel, was about $35,000. Members were required to pass Seamanship and obtain a merit mark (25 hours of work) within the first 2 years. Over 50% of the USA population was under 25 years of age.

1970 - 1989

1970   The island property was named "Streater Cove". The installation of electricity (115 volt, 20 amp) at the docks was begun. Hennepin County dredged the main channel and provided more landfill for the present parade area. Harry Kuechle died at age 86. Many tons of rock were placed along the channels.

1971   An island underground sprinkling system with removable sprinkler heads was installed, VHF/FM Marine radios were becoming generally available, replacing CB radios. Mpls. Aquatennial queens and queen candidates were given boat rides by MPS members for the first time. A permanent pier was built along the back channel. USPS membership was 81,689 as of Feb 1 and would reach 86,000.

1972   The present 20 by 60 ft. pavilion was built with a steel frame on a cement base. Ed Streater, who designed and directed its development, also contributed $5000 to make it all possible. A "permanent dual holding type" toilet facility was built. More rip-rap was added along the shorelines, electricity to the docks was improved, picnic tables with benches were built and a new storage shed was added.

1973   There was a total of 11 docks in front of the island by now. Public boating courses were advertised by 158 radio spots, 16 TV announcements and a 5 minute radio interview, 104 students passed the spring exam and 69 the fall exam.

1974   The storage shed was destroyed by vandalism and fire in Jans More vandalism in the summer.

1976   Membership remained by invitation with sponsorship by 2 members. Women could take courses, be certificate holders but not members. Peace Presbyterian Church was first used for classes.

1979   What had been called "Piloting" was replaced by “Public Boating Course" and the Piloting Course as we now know it was established.

1980   Ed Streater died January 24. Nationally USPS membership was down to 62,000. A new Gray's Bay dam was built.

1982   Women finally were accepted as full members in all USPS squadrons after a 10 year battle!

1985   A fresh water well was drilled. Installation of a new upgraded electrical system was begun. Instead of only two 20 amp outlets each dock now would have two 20 amp and four 30 amp outlets.

1986   Eileen Hock became the first female commander for MPS and the first in District 10. The docks were extended to 96 feet. The new electrical upgrade was completed. 25th anniversary for MPS!

1988   There was a total of 551 members in the MPS of which 357 were considered "Active".

1989   A committee was formed to investigate finding a land-based facility for the squadron. The effort eventually was abandoned due to cost. The low lake water level caused several members to transfer their boats to the rivers.

1990's

1990  By autumn the lake level had risen 18 inches compared to the previous year. A new course "Cruise Planning" was developed by USPS.

1991  Lou Schricker, charter member and the 1962 Commander died July 2. The Lou Schricker Memorial Educational Excellence Award was established for the student exhibiting the greatest love of learning. The address of Streater Cove: 510 Big Island, Orono, MN.

1996  The maiden voyage of the restored boat "Minnehaha" was captained by P/C Jim Ogland July 18. Metal rolling doors were placed on the pavilion.

1997  The pavilion at Streater Cove was officially named "The Dudley Russell Memorial Pavilion".

2000's

2000  The Hiawatha Valley Power Squadron in southeastern MN, organized in May, 1999, received its charter in March. Many of the charter members were MPS members who earlier had migrated to the rivers. USPS squadrons agreed to participate in the USCG Auxiliary's Vessel Safety Check Program which had been in existence since 947. MPS first participated in 2001.

2001  The Aquatennial boating event was cancelled due to a squall on the lake.

2003  An Automatic External Defibrillator and subsequently Epi-Pen were purchased for the island. Wi-Fi was established on the island.

2004  New Docks were installed by the Dock & Lift Co. of Mound, MN. Total cost: $82,151.41. No more wooden docks with barrels!

2005  The old "outhouse" toilet and the shower were deemed not in compliance with Orono City codes. Both were removed. The construction of a septic system, drain field and concrete block building with toilets and showers was begun. All were finished by mid-2006.

2010's

2010 New upgraded electrical outlets were established at all the front docks and the pavilion. Finally there was enough electrical power for all needs.

2011 MPS' 50th anniversary year. District 10 Spring Conference hosted in March. First year that MPS sponsored "Hope Kids" by bringing families with children that have chronic disabling or life-threatening illnesses to Streater Cove for a day of fun and relaxation. Started by Steve Camp it subsequently became an annual event. Active members were 314 with total membership 375 as of Jan. 1.

2012 Squadron first became aware of the risk of Electric Shock Drowning (ESD) when swimming in fresh water due to leakage of 120-volt AC current from boats plugged in at docks/marinas. The education of other boaters throughout MN began.

2013 First year that the spring installation and fall removal of docks at Streater Cove was outsourced to a commercial company instead of being done by squadron members.

2014 Very high water on Lake Minnetonka resulted in a "no-wake" zone for much of the boating season. The Minneapolis Aquatennial, started in 1939, celebrated its 75th anniversary, MPS continued to give boat rides and lunch on Big Island to candidates competing to be “Queen of the Lakes", an event started in 1971.

2015 The District 10 fall conference was hosted by MPS. Thirty-seven new members joined, a record.

2016 A granite stairway with wooden railings surrounded by hostas and ground cover was built, leading from the shoreline at Streater Cove to the top of the hill where the storage sheds are located, This "Stairway to Heaven", as some members called it, was built as a memorial to Helen Duncan, a long-term member who had contributed much to the organization. A record 56 young ladies vying to be crowned "Queen of the Lakes" were entertained on Lake Minnetonka. Active membership at the end of the year was 252. Another record: 270 vessel safety checks were completed.

2017 Numerous civic events supported by the squadron:

  • Hope Kids (6th annual) to entertain families with chronically ill or disabled children.  Program supported in part by the Wayzata American Legion.
  • Minneapolis Boat Show
  • Minneapolis Aquatennial
  • Antique Boat and Classic Boat Society – set up a safety and education booth at Lord Fletcher’s
  • Cross Lake St. Patrick’s Day Parade
  • Safe Boating Weekend – distribute safety materials at boat ramps
  • 4th of July Lake Minnetonka Fireworks perimeter
  • Mound Spirit of the Lakes Parade & Fireworks perimeter
  • Long Lake Parade
  • Big Island and Back Paddle Board Event – boats for safety and perimeter
  • Food Drives – Feed My Starving Children and 2nd Harvest Food Shelf
  • Island Cleanups – Goose, Boy Scout and Big Islands
  • LMCD Solar Light Program – new program in which Squadron members repair and replace defective lights on 106 Lake Minnetonka buoys during boating season
  • Vessel Safety Checks – 230 done in 2017
  • Boy Scout Jamboree on Big Island
  • Wake Surfing Event perimeter management

MPS won 1st place nationally in a contest to receive the United States Power Squadrons Civic Service Award.  An extensive remodeling of the bathrooms was begun.  A new squadron annual award was initiated to recognize the member doing the most Vessel Safety Checks.  The District-10 “Prince Henry the Navigator Award” for excellence in many educational parameters was received by MPS

2018 A busy year during which the name United Power Squadrons was changed to America’s Boating Club in hopes of reversing the decline of members nationally.  The bathroom repairs were completed.  353 Vessel Safety checks were completed – an all-time high.  133 Merit Marks were awarded, 52% of total MPS membership.  Our squadron hosted The National Governing Board Meeting in August.

Sofia’s Law requiring boats in Minnesota to meet new standards regarding installation of CO detectors and CO warning decals went into effect May 1.  Jump Start – a new program open to the general public was initiated to teach new boaters how to operate their own boats.

A new YMCA affiliation was initiated to give school age students boat rides and to educate them regarding the history, geology, ecology, environment and many other aspects of Minnesota lakes.  The Cooperative Charting Program that had been inactive for many years was restarted.  Squadron boats formed the perimeter for the “5-mile Excelsior to Wayzata Swim Event”.  The year ended with 256 members, the 4th largest squadron nationally.

2019 Minnetonka Power Squadron Bylaws were updated.  The 2018 Charles F. Chapman Award for Excellence in Teaching was presented to one of our members at the 2019 USPS National Spring Conference in Orlando, FL.  233 Vessel Safety checks were completed.  Membership 282. 

2020 to Current

2020 A very difficult year due to the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic.  Educational courses were taught on-line using Zoom or GoToMeeting programs.  An abbreviated form of the 9th annual Hope Kids event was completed.  Most other civic events were  canceled totally.  Publication of TonkaNAUTS was decreased from 6 to 4 issues per year.  The Minnetonka Power Squadron Change of Watch and the D-10 Spring Conference were combined and held in the Twin Cities. New Webcams were installed throughout Streater Cove.  Membership was 277.