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Continued: New tests confirm Lake Minnetonka canoe is 1,000 years old

  • Article by: KELLY SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 11, 2014 - 11:05 AM

“We’re hoping there’s more out there,” Merriman said. “This history is important for everyone.”

In Long Lake, the canoe that once was relegated to a corner is now the museum’s centerpiece — fitting, since it’s about 6 miles from where it was discovered. The museum will rope it off and enclose it in a glass case with updated details about how rare and old it is.

“We’ll never loan it again, especially now we know what it is,” Ferrin said.

It’s not just newfound fame for an ancient artifact but also for the small museum. Founded by pioneers 107 years ago, the nonprofit is housed in an old school building. It’s run by Ferrin and other volunteers, and admission is free when it’s open for four hours on Saturdays.

“It is [the main attraction] now,” Ferrin said of the canoe. “We hope it will draw visitors.”

Kelly Smith • 612-673-4141

Twitter: @kellystrib

  • related content

  • New tests reveal that this dugout canoe, found in Lake Minnetonka in 1934 and thought to date from the 1750s, is almost 1,000 years old. “It totally shocked us,” said Russ Ferrin, left.

  • Aided by a severe drought, Helmer and Gustave Gunnarson discovered the canoe in 1934. It was in front of their family’s dock on the North Arm of Lake Minnetonka, about 90 feet from the shoreline.


    Go to to view Maritime Heritage Minnesota’s full report on Minnesota’s eight dugout canoes.


    What: The Pioneer Museum

    Where: 1953 W. Wayzata Blvd., Long Lake

    When: Open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays

    More details: Free admission. More info is at Western Hennepin County Pioneers Association website:

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