Scientists commissioned to study Lake Waconia Regional Park’s Coney Island discovered prehistoric artifacts on the former resort land last fall, prompting another dig in April.
The dig analysis began in October when Carver County hired a research firm. Workers extracted pottery shards, stone flakes and projectile points from 310 sites on the 33-acre island. The Carver County Historical Society will serve as the repository for the items.
The analysis will next look into the historical significance of where each relic was found. Depending on the results, county officials might block portions of the island from development, said Marty Walsh, Carver County parks director.
No trespassing signs will remain posted on the island “due to safety risks,” said Walsh. Visitors may be able to return to the island by the summer of 2018.
In its heyday, Coney Island offered a lakeside respite for 19th-century vacationers. Most guests arrived by train, but the growing prominence of the automobile made the island less attractive in the 1920s. It’s now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The origin of the island’s name — it’s been dubbed “Coney Island of the West” — is a mystery. It could refer to Coney Island of New York, a term for rabbits, or just an abbreviation for Waconia.