Built in 1883, the Burwell House was constructed by Charles Henry Burwell for his growing family, second wife and four children. Mr. Burwell was the Manager of the Minnetonka Mills Company beginning in 1874 until the mills demise in 1886. The land was purchased from the mill at a cost of $1000, and the house was built from a design found in the Palliser’s American Cottage Home catalog, or so the story goes. It is said to have cost a mere $3260 to build.
While the home is said to be in the Italianate style, I really feel it is an “in-between” house. The home does not have any strong Italianate features like window hoods, bracketed eves, or low pitched gables. In my opinion, it is more a cross between an Italian Villa, which features a central tower, and the Victorian Folk style. The home was built at the very end of the Italian popularity, but in the middle of Folk period. It is not always easy to pin down a single style to Victorian homes, but it is easy to see architectural influences in some of them. One part of the home not originally built in 1883, is the wrap around porch. Added on somewhere between 1989-1906, it is a good example of the Eastlake influence, with its elaborate spindels and woodwork.
The cottage (upper left) was moved to the site in 1894 from the Minnetonka Mills site, to house Mr. Burwell’s widowed mother. It is one of the original 15 cottages constructed to housemill workers. The summer kitchen (upper right) was added to the home in 1892.
The mill office (lower left) was Mr. Burwell’s office and was moved to the site in 1894. It now serves as the Minnetonka Historical Society building.The final photograph is of the original ice house (lower right).
The site is open for tours during the summer months.