Crystal Lake



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About Crystal Lake


Named for its lake’s crystal clear water, the lake remains a shining centerpiece of the village of Crystal Lake.

The Crystal Lake Park District has more than 40 parks spanning 2,000 acres including Veterans Acres’ with 140 acres and a nature center along Walkup Road and Main Beach along Crystal Lake. The parks have outdoor athletic fields, recreational areas, playgrounds, tennis and basketball courts.

Lippold Park has dozens of athletic fields, a disc golf course, dog park and a family golf center with 60 driving range tee stations and a 10,000-square-foot putting green along with two lighted mini golf courses. The park has ponds, wetlands and 4.5 miles of walking and biking trails.

Three Oaks Recreation Area opened in 2010 and quickly became one of the area’s most popular destinations. The Crystal Lake Rowing Club has a boathouse on the west end of the lake; rowers can be seen out on the water in the early morning or evening.

In addition to recreation, the city is home to several businesses and the arts.

The American Terra Cotta Tile and Ceramic Company was founded just north of Crystal Lake in 1881. The factory produced architectural glazed terra cotta bricks, tile and architectural pieces that were used on buildings designed by renowned architects Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright.

The company’s president, William D. Gates, later developed Teco pottery, a line of art pottery designed by Wright and other famous architects. The pottery, which was only produced for a few years, exemplifies the Arts and Crafts style and is highly sought by art collectors and museums.

The city's historic downtown district has been revitalized becoming a popular shopping district, home to several small specialty shops and independent businesses as well as the acclaimed Raue Center for the Arts.

Residents have easy access to major retailers with several shopping centers along Route 14 between Route 31 and Dole Avenue.

The city’s first train station was built in 1856. The railroad continues to play a role in Crystal Lake’s popularity. The Crystal Lake Metra station provides convenient transportation to Chicago on the Metra Union Pacific Northwest Line. Located 50 miles northwest of Chicago, the city also is located near several major highways. 

Crystal Lake has numerous suburban subdivisions with large single-family homes on sprawling lots, some with ponds or backing up to a forest and paved walking path. Several homes are built around the lake, varying in size and age.

As the largest city in McHenry County, Crystal Lake has three high schools: Crystal Lake South High School, Crystal Lake Central High School, and Prairie Ridge High School. Crystal Lake Community Consolidated School District 47 operates middle schools and elementary schools. Prairie Grove Consolidated School District #46 also serves a portion of northeast Crystal Lake. There are two colleges in Crystal Lake: McHenry County College and Columbia College, which has an extension campus here.