The Crystal Airport may be one of the most visible and notable assets in the City of Crystal today, but this northwestern suburb of Minneapolis has plenty of claims to fame and interesting spots that might not be top of mind.
Here are three things that might surprise you about Crystal.
#1: Home to Bearcat Speedway
In 1949 and 1950, Crystal was home to the Bearcat Speedway. The race track, located near the area of 47th and Zane, drew hundreds of fans to Crystal each Sunday to watch jalopies and motorcycles race around the track. Promotor and race car driver Don Voge brought the Bearcat Speedway to his hometown as a way to bring excitement and entertainment into the city, but it didn't last long. According to Crystal historian Ray Dahl, city officials weren't crazy about all the noise and dust that the speedway generated, and by 1951, Bearcat was closed. The site of the old race track is now home to a newer housing development.
#2: "Juno" screenplay written at the Crystal Target store
Former Minnesotan and Oscar-winning writer Diablo Cody typed out the screenplay for the hit movie "Juno" inside the Crystal Target store at the Starbucks Café. Those marathon writing sessions produced the quick-witted teenage character of Juno MacGuff and the coming-of-age movie that follows Juno's unplanned pregnancy and comedic journey to find adoptive parents for her baby.
In February of 2008, 12 News spoke to Crystal Starbucks employee Gabbie Neubert who remembers Cody coming into the cafe regularly with her laptop computer and ordering a "hot chocolate or chai" before spending hours writing.
Cody's screenplay went on to pick up several 2007 Oscar award nominations including a win for the category of Original Screenplay.
#3: Hagemeister Pond Preserve is a hidden gem
Acquired by the city of Crystal in 1999, the Hagemeister Pond Preserve is a city treasure that's grown in size thanks to a generous land donation in recent years. Now situated on nearly 8 acres of land along 41st Avenue and off of Douglas Drive, the preserve features woodlands and trails, a pond, and an overlook, and it's a quiet sanctuary for reflection and wildlife observation.
"I think the fact that it's nestled in this neighborhood keeps it a secret," said Patrick Peters, Crystal's Community Development Director. "It's very much a hidden gem, the only access to the preserve is off of 41st, and if you go by too quickly and blink, you don't see it."
Peters said visitors to the site can regularly spot deer, heron, and other wildlife, and as its name implies, the land will be preserved for generations to enjoy.
Alexandra Renslo reporting
July 26, 2012