Where in the world is Crystal Village? I had never heard of it as a child living behind the Victory Flagpole, nor as a teen, or even after I was married. At that time we were living upstairs in my childhood home. You see, it was WWII and all the servicemen were getting married, mostly before they left for duty, or on leave. Lots of them had no thought as to where they would live when they got home. They wanted to have a girlfriend or a wife to come home to.
Oh, the upstairs was very comfortable in my childhood home alright, Compo Board walls and all, but when the first baby came along it got a little crowded. Fine and dandy, but when the second baby came along in the same year, it was time to “fly the coop.” We looked in the newspaper and found some lots for sale in Crystal Village. That was our introduction to that area. Instead of building a house, we bought two pre-fabricated buildings from Sears or Wards, placed them Lshaped on cement blocks and fashioned it into a house. All the men-folk in the family worked on it. We were one of two houses on Quail Ave. N.
All we knew at that time was that Crystal Village sort of morphed into Robbinsdale and even Brooklyn Center, and was east of Twin Lake. I was happy to get some information from the Robbinsdale Historical Society, which I now share.
1870 Population of Crystal Lake Township is 718.
1880 First railway flag station set up, called Parker’s Station.
1887 Lars Nassett builds first store. Andrew Bonney Robbins passes through on train and is impressed with what he sees; he buys land. Crystal Village incorporates–population 587.
1888 Village Hall for Crystal was built on Jefferson Hwy.–(now West Broadway at 41&1/2 Ave.) Haakon Christiansen builds blacksmith shop–in business 69 years.
1889 First Congregational Church of Parker/Robbinsdale organized with 28 members. 1890 John Trump opens general merchandise store–hardware, bait, boat rentals.
Hotel Georgia opened- three stories, 35 rooms. Parker School built on 40th and Regent.
1891 Village Hall built on West Broadway and 41&1/2 St.
1893 Crystal Township dissolved and village of Robbinsdale created. 1894 First Robbinsdale Volunteer Fire Dept. established.
1900 Isaac Patch successful in getting free rural mail delivery. 1904 First library created in Robbinsdale.
1920 Census now 1,369.
1926 Permanent home for Robbinsdale Public Library at 42nd and Rockford Road. 1930 Census population at 4,427, a 223% increase in 10 years.
1937 First Robbinsdale High School opened.
1938 Voters approved referendum for Robbinsdale to become a city. 1940 Census now 6,018.
1941 WWII broke out calling men and women into service.
1946 Lee School built–the first of an expansive building boom of grade, junior and high schools.
1954 Victory Hospital evolves into North Memorial Hospital, now one of the best equipped emergency hospitals in the state.
1955 First shopping center in Robbinsdale on Hwy. 52. 1960 Census population at 16,381.
1970 Census population at 16,845. New city municipal building located adjacent to Robin Shopping Center.
1975 Fire destroyed old Sacred Heart Church. New church built in 1982. 1978 Robbinsdale Historical Society formed.
1990 Town Center Shopping Center built on Broadway and 41st
1993 Robbinsdale celebrates centennial.
So, getting back to our little house in Crystal Village–I don’t think we even realized we were living in Robbinsdale! In our early 20’s, what did we know anyway? We did know, however, that we needed a bigger house when baby #three came along. We said goodbye to Crystal Village and bought a house under construction in Brooklyn Center on 53rd Ave. which was on the border of Minneapolis. And so it goes!