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Lake Crystal is in Blue Earth County, Minnesota. The city wraps around a large portion of Crystal Lake and Lily Lake, while Loon Lake and Mills Lake are nearby. Minnesota Highway 60 is the chief route through the city. Nearby communities include Butternut, Garden City, and Perth. Mankato is about 13 miles northeast of Lake Crystal. The origins of Crystal Lake include two communities that were established in the 1800s: Crystal Lake and Nunda. A man named Ziba S. Beardsley came to the lake in 1835, describing the lake’s water as being clear as crystal, giving the body of water its name. He moved south to Naperville prior to the formation of the town, however. In 1836, Beman and Polly Crandall came from New York with their six children, living in a covered wagon until a log cabin could be built. Four more children were born to them at Crystal Lake. Najah Beardsley’s family was the second to settle, although the new settlement was first called Crystal Ville. Sometime before 1840, the community’s name was changed to Crystal Lake. The area known as downtown Crystal Lake was first called Dearborn, a village that was formed in the mid-1850s after the railroad extended its tracks through the area. The first railroad depot was established in 1856 but, although it was near Dearborn, it was called the Crystal Lake Station. At that time, the main business district was on Virginia Street, about a mile southwest of the rail station. In 1868, Dearborn’s name was changed to Nunda, for an area of New York where many of its early settlers were from. Platted in 1868, the village included the area bounded by Route 176 on the north, Crystal Lake Avenue on the south, Main Street on the east, and Walkup Avenue on the west. Crystal Lake and Nunda were incorporated as villages in 1874. In 1908, the village of Nunda changed its name to North Crystal Lake. After several attempts to consolidate the two villages, North Crystal Lake was annexed to Crystal Lake in 1914, and became a city.


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