Some of the early settlers in the Hopkins / Minnetonka area included the Feltl family who bought 75 acres of their farm land on either side of Smetana Road at the south end of our property. John Feltl supported his family by picking and selling cranberries that grew wild in the boggy peat soil. After young John turned 11, he was old enough to make the trek to Minneapolis where he sold cranberries along with firewood and his mother’s lickin’ good butter.
In 1893, John married and started a family of his own, living in the same farmhouse on the hillside close to Smetana Road. With his wife’s savings they bought the yellow bricks which were laid on top of the wood frame much like houses are sided today. John Feltl, Jr. served on the Minnetonka City Board and the Shady Oak School Association. In the early 1980’s the Feltl family donated some of their farm land to St. Therese’s (now know as The Glenn of Hopkins) for their new senior living residence. Among the many Feltl endowments exists the Feltl Family Research Award given annually to the Minnesota Arthritis Foundation.
They met unimaginable challenges with determination and fortitude. We owe so much to these early settlers who paved our way. The Feltl rock is currently located in the light rail construction zone and cannot be approached. But the next time you drive down Smetana Road, take a moment to remember a family who helped carver the history of Hopkins through innovation, perseverance, and responsible stewardship of the land – the Feltl Family legacy.