LAKE CRYSTAL DAY — History
— 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 DAY — History
— 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 Mayor of Lake Crystal is Brad Ahrenstorff and the City Council is Susan Gengler, Gina Cooper, Todd Wiens, and Larry Schultz.
–The Lake Crystal Police Department is made up of 3 full-time officers and 5 part-time officers.
–The Fire Department Garage and Emergency Services Building are located at 181 S Hunt Street. The Fire Chief is Jeff Becker. The Lake Crystal Fire Department covers 122 square miles including the townships and cities of Lake Crystal, Garden City and Judson, and the townships of Lincoln, Butternut Valley, Judson, Garden City, and Rapidan.
–The Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial School District serves the communities of Lake Crystal, Butternut, Vernon Center, Rapidan, Judson and Garden City. It serves approximately 850 students in Pre K-12th grade programs. The district received the Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial name after Lake Crystal 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. Tom Farrell was hired March 26, 2012 as Superintendent of the Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial School District and began his duties on July 1, 2012.
–The 2018 Homecoming King and Queen at Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial High School was Carter Grahm and Hailey Farrell.
–Lake Crystal KNUJ Farm Families include: Martin and Phillis Imlay (1985), Don and Barb Overlie (1995), David and Jackie Jones (1996), Dan and Pat Jones (1996), Ralph and Edna Engles and John and Donna Engles (2000), Mike and Cheryl Meshke (2003), Brad and Linda Leiding (2012), and Doug and Lori Meixell (2013).