- The City of Lake Crystal was incorporated as a village in the year 1870.
- Lake Crystal is located in Blue Earth County. Highway 60 runs through town.
- Lake Crystal has 3 nearby lakes. They are: Crystal Lake, Loon Lake, and Lily Lake.
- Lake Crystal was originally founded in 1868 when the Valley Railroad made plans to extend the St. Paul Mankato Line to Sioux City, Iowa. In 1869 the village was platted and surveyed by Lucious Hunt and William Robinson. It was named Lake Crystal by General Judson Bishop, engineer and surveyor for the railroad.
- In the spring of 1854, New York natives William Robinson and his brother-in-law Lucious Hunt traveled from Wisconsin to Minnesota looking for a place to call home. While looking at a site along the Blue Earth River, in the area now known as Rapidan Township, a group of Indians told them about a place with 3 lakes a little further west. When the 2 men saw the lakes that would be called Loon, Lily, and Crystal, they knew they were home. Each claimed land about 1 mile long and half-mile wide. Main Street Lake Crystal was the dividing line between the properties. Hunt built his home on the site where the Catholic Church is today, and Robinson’s home was near the 1870 brick home on Robinson Street, which is still occupied today.
- Lake Crystal was incorporated on February 24, 1870. In just 4 months it had grown from nothing to a bustling community with more than 40 buildings.
- By 1882 the railroad had completed a branch line through Lake Crystal, and up to 23 trains would pass through town in a single day. The city had 6 hotels at the time.
- Lake Crystal’s 1st newspaper was “The People’s Journal.” It was started in March 1870.
- In 1882, the 1st brick schoolhouse was built in Lake Crystal, at a cost of $8,000. Before that, school held in a 2-story frame building on South Main Street.
- In 1886, the town’s 1st bank, the Lake Crystal State Bank, was organized.
- On September 17th, 1887, a fire wiped out nearly half of Lake Crystal’s businesses. They were all rebuilt within a year.
- Lake Crystal got its own hospital in 1926. Built by Dr. Fred Franchere, it handled births and minor surgeries. Dr. Franchere also had his home and office there. The building still stands at 308 North Main Street. It now houses apartments.
- Before there were electric freezers there was ice, and in a town with three lakes, ice was big business. Lake Crystal’s ice crop was worth $125,000 annually and its ice business was passed down from father to son. Iceboxes around town needed new ice every two or three days or food would spoil. Ice was cut to fit the box, with an average block being 16 inches square and 2 feet long. The going rate for ice in the late 1800′s was 35 cents per 100 pounds.
- The Chicago Tribune on November 14, 1920, noted Lake Crystal’s special heritage. They called it “Jonesville.” This was due to the large number of people of Welsh descent who had settled there. At the time, there were just over 1,000 people living in Lake Crystal, and at least 130 Jones families.
- The Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial Area school district serves the communities of Lake Crystal, Vernon Center, Rapidan, Judson, and Garden City. Their mascot is the Knight, and the district serves approximately 800 students in Pre-K-through-12th grade programs.
- The district received the Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial name after Lake Crystal was paired with the Wellcome Memorial school district in 1987. The Wellcome Memorial School was named by the students in honor of Sir Henry Wellcome for his many contributions to the district.
- Lake Crystal got its own ethanol plant in 2005. Northstar Ethanol, now called Poet Biorefining, has a production capacity of 50-million gallons a year, utilizing about 18-million bushels of corn.
- Lake Crystal Health Care Center is the city’s hospital.
- Lake Crystal has a supermarket, Kevin’s Market was completed in 2007.
- Lake Crystal’s manufacturing sector consists of: Crysteel Manufacturing, makers of truck boxes and equipment, and IFS.
- Along with the ethanol plant, farmers in the Lake Crystal area have the Crystal Cooperative to serve them.
- The Lake Crystal Area Recreation Center provides residents with a place to meet and exercise, along with other recreational fun.
Festivals & Events
- Lake Crystal’s big summer festival is called “Duck Days.” The 3-day festival features live music, a carnival, food stands, games, and much more, including ducks of course.
- Lake Crystal has a city-wide garage sale every year for all the bargain hunters out there. It takes place in May.
- Lake Crystal gets into the holiday spirit every December. Throughout the month, the city celebrates “Christmas In Lake Crystal.”
- The week before Thanksgiving is when Lake Crystal kicks off the holiday season, that’s when “Light Up Lake Crystal” takes place.
- The City of Lake Crystal has approximately 2,500 people and the Mayor is Brad Ahrenstorff.
- The Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial Academic Decathlon team was number one in the State of Minnesota in 2012. The nine-member squad took the state championship in February by besting seven other teams in a two-day meet. Academic decathlon students take written tests, give speeches, are interviewed and write essays. Lake Crystal team members included: Brady Brown, Ryan Roberts, Mackenzie Bade, Kelsey Sorensen, Autumn Johnson, Lucas Hesser, Jarret Imlay, Alex Carlson and Mason Jones.
- Longtime LCWM Superintendent Les Norman retired in 2012. He served as the head of the school district for 12 years. His replacement is former BOLD Superintendent Tom Farrell, who has over 22 years of education experience.
- The Minnesota Pork Board recently $1,000 scholarships to 7 students pursuing careers in the pork industry in 2012, and one of them was Brent Meshke of Lake Crystal. He is the son of Blake and Sheryl Meshke, and is a student at South Dakota State – Brookings majoring in Agricultural Education.
- Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial crowned Homecoming Royalty in September of 2012. Named Homecoming King was Gabe Gimenez, and crowned Homecoming Queen was Brittany Burnett.
- A Lake Crystal couple won $50,000 playing a Minnesota Lottery Scratch Game in 2012. Cristy Macias won playing a $10 Monopoly scratch-off that her husband had purchased at the Kwik Trip on Commerce Drive in Mankato.
- Voters in the Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial School District approved a pair of levy questions during the November election in 2012. The $316 per-pupil levy passed by just over a thousand votes. A capital levy for technology improvements was approved by only 28 votes.
Click on the title below to listen to the Town Days Podcasts
02 Jan 17