Minnehaha 1897 mug
Minnehaha is a fictional Native American woman documented in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's 1855 epic poem The Song of Hiawatha. She is the lover of the titular protagonist Hiawatha. The name is often incorrectly said to mean "laughing water", though in reality it translates to "waterfall" or "rapid water" in Dakota. She is the subject of the poem, and later song, cantata and painting, The Death of Minnehaha. Her name is connected to many things in Minnesota, such as Minnehaha Falls, Minnehaha Park, Minnehaha Creek, Minnehaha Academy, and the name of a boat once operated by Twin City Rapid Transit on Lake Minnetonka, which has now been restored, and is now at the Museum of Lake Minnetonka. Minnehaha Avenue and Hiawatha Avenue are both major thoroughfares that run parallel to each other, heading southeast from downtown Minneapolis. Hiawatha is also the name of the Twin Cities light rail system. Her name is also linked to the name of a town called Minnehaha Springs, located in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. In Florida, there are two lakes named Minnehaha: one is on the Clermont Chain of Lakes in Clermont, Florida, one of the Outstanding Florida Waterbodies; the other is in Maitland, Florida linked to the Winter Park chain of lakes. Another association is Minnehaha Island, Montgomery County, Maryland ,in the Potomac River. A creek known as Minnehaha Branch empties into the Potomac at Glen Echo, Maryland. There is also a Minnehaha Bay in the small town of Sturgeon Falls, Ontario, Canada . Her name is also linked to Minnehaha County in South Dakota.