Originally called by the Dakota “Mde Maka Ska”, which meant White Earth Lake, settlers later named it with the Dakota name “Medoza” or Loon Lake. The United States Secretary of War, John C. Calhoun, sent the Army to survey the area that would surround Fort Snelling in 1817. Calhoun had also authorized the construction of Fort Snelling, one of the earliest settlements in the state. The surveyors renamed the water body “Lake Calhoun” in his honor. The horse-watering fountain pictured in this postcard and the photo below was originally located in Bridge Square.
A private right-of-way between the lakes hosted a variety of streetcar routes over the tears. Starting in 1892, the “Lake Harriet” line ran from Lake Harriet to Downtown Minneapolis downtown on Hennepin Avenue. After a second Minneapolis-St. Paul link was completed in in 1898, the “Como-Interurban-Harriet” line from the Lake Harrie to Lake Como followed Hennepin Avenue, 4th Street, 15th Avenue, Como Avenue, past the fairgrounds and through Como Park on private right-of-way, to downtown St. Paul. In 1909, service was extended west to a new loop at 44th Street and France Avenue. A Sundays and holidays-only special “Lake Harriet and Minnehaha Falls” line ran From 1902 to 1905. After the extension to Lake Minnetonka, services were started from downtown Minneapolis to Excelsior, Tonka Bay, and Deephaven. The “Como-Harriet” line also ran supplemental service to Hopkins as the “Como-Hopkins” line. In 1910, service on the “Oak-Hennepin” line was extended to the Lake Harriet loop and renamed the “Oak-Harriet” line. In 1913 this was further extended to Xerxes Ave. and 50th St and renamed the “Oak-Xerxes” line.
Twin City Rapid Transit ceased streetcar operations in 1954. The City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board had acquired the original streetcar right-of-way between Lake Harriet and Lakewood Cemetery near Lake Calhoun and in 1970, the Minnesota Transportation Museum leased the land.The museum began operations on a few blocks of the old line in 1971. Over the past thirty years they have added a variety of cars and expanded to more than a mile of track between the lakes. The line itself is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.