The 63 room Rufus R. Rand mansion in Minnetonka was about half completed when it was destroyed by fire. It was eventually completed and crowned the “Still Pond” estate on 250 acres west of Gray’s Bay. Built at the height of the Great Depression, this amazing French Chateau style house had 14 bedrooms, 13 fireplaces, 16 bathrooms, a marble staircase, sunken gardens, fountains, an observatory and a 1.3 million gallon swimming pool. The 243 foot long home contains 600,000 cuboc feet of space. The outer walls were 17 inches thick. The house was often referred to as the finest suburban house west of Chicago. Today the former Rand Mansion has become the “Lake Office” of one of the largest privately held companies in the world, Cargill.
Rufus R. Rand was a member of the family that owned the Minneapolis Gas Company, he joined the Lafayette Flying Corps in World War I. Rand returned to Minnesota, and in 1929 invested in the Mohawk Aircraft Company, becoming the company’s receiver when it went into bankruptcy in 1931. Rand owned the last few Pinto aircraft built by the company, and sold them off to pay the bills. Rand was associated with the Universal Air Lines Corporation. He built the Rand Tower office building in downtown Minneapolis in the 1930s and was a Regent of the University of Minnesota. During World War II, he served as Executive Officer in charge of security at a bomber base in England and was one of the twelve founders of the Air Force Association. He also served as mayor of Wayzata, a State Commander of the American Legion and officer of the Minneapolis Gas Company.