Like other former townships with an older, smaller city embedded within their corporate limits, the city of Orono surrounds the city of Long Lake.
The irregular bays of the north shore of Lake Minnetonka are the southern boundaries of Orono, including the Crystal Bay and Navarre areas. Shoreline on Browns Bay, Tananger Lake, Smith Bay, Maxwell Bay, Stubbs Bay, and North and West Arrn is almost all developed for residential use. About half of the area of Orono is either open water or wetland.
The Luce Line Railroad formerly served as daily transportation for families who summered at cottages and turn-of-the-century palatial resorts there.
A double track at Stubbs Bay Road served as a siding for parked railroad sleeping cars for weekend visitors to Lake Minnetonka. The now vanished dance pavilion at Stubbs’s Bay was another popular destination for Luce Line Railroad passengers.
Orono was named for Orono, Maine, the boyhood home of George Brackett, who was an early immigrant to Lake Minnetonka. Euro-American settlers arrived in 1853, and by 1855, the land was surveyed for homesteading.
Like other wooded western suburbs, most of the maple, basswood, and oak forests were felled for timber soon after settlement. Dairy farms, berry farms, and orchards followed in the 1880s and 1890s.
Orono became a village in 1955 and a city in 1976. Today, Orono is largely low-density, large-lot (2-acre minimum) residential land, with a population of 7,437 in 2010.
The Luce Line runs for about six miles east to west across the middle of Orono. The trail borders Orono Golf Course and bisects the Wayzata Country Club golf course.
Orono has 16 city parks, four swimming beaches, and Ferndale Marsh, a Nature Conservancy site. Wakefield-Conry Rest Area is a wooded clearing at the northwest corner of the intersection of Willow Road and the Luce Line with picnic tables. This rest area is named for the donors of the site.
The Orono Elementary, Middle, and High Schools are all clustered about a mile and a half north of the Luce Line on Old Crystal Bay Road. A paved off-road trail links the schools to the Luce Line.
The northwest corner of Orono (west of Hwy. 201 and north of Hwy. 12) is part of Morris T. Baker Regional Park Reserve, a Hennepin Parks facility.
This park offers camping, paved bicycle trail loops, horseback riding, golf, and picnicking. Winter activities include cross-country skiing, ice fishing, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing. Most of Baker Park Reserve is within the boundaries of Medina, the community to the north of Orono.
Stubbs Bay Road rest area and parking in Orono is the first designated trail parking area west of the Plymouth trailhead. Parking is shared with a city softball/recreation area.
Stubbs Bay Road marks the break between snowmobile and non-motorized uses on the main tread way in winter. It will also be the dividing point between the pilot project for shared use of the horse trail by horseback riders and mountain bikers and continuation of the horseback-only parallel trail to Winsted.
See City of Orono trail page
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