This route went straight west from Minneapolis, terminating in the small town of Hutchinson. It was soon sold to the St. Paul, Minneapolis & Manitoba Railway.
The route served mainly tourist traffic to Lake Minnetonka, as well as some local freight from the immediate areas surrounding Minneapolis.
The StPM&M was formed into the Great Northern in 1890. The GN operated this as a spur route to Hutchinson.
In 1901, the route would be straightened and a new route built from Hopkins to St. Bonifacius, a 20 mile distance.
This route straitened the overall path, and provided a more reliable connection to Lake Minnetonka. The route would eventually be trimmed back to extend from Wayzata to Hutchinson.
By 1970, the GN was merged into the Burlington Northern Railroad. The BN continued to operate the route until 1985, when a short line known as the Dakota Rail purchased the route.
After struggling for a decade, the Dakota Rail was purchased by RailAmerica in 1995. In 2001, the final train left Hutchinson and the route was abandoned.
McLeod, Carver and Hennepin Counties all purchased their respective portions of the railroad.
As of 2018, the Dakota Rail Trail extends from Wayzata to Lester Prairie. The trail has become popular in the area, and will eventually be extended to Hutchinson.
Originally built in 1939, this large bridge crosses the South Fork Crow River.
Built with a trio of deck girder spans, the bridge is approached by trestle spans. The entire bridge is set onto timber substructures.
The three deck girder spans have unknown origins. The Great Northern was known for some bridge relocation, and this could very well be the case here.
Overall, the bridge remains in good condition. The bridge was converted to trail usage in 2012.
The author ranks this bridge as being locally significant, due to the common design.
The photo above is an overview. The bridge can be easily accessed from a parallel road.