The first claim was filed in the area on March 26, 1852. The settlers came in, took claims
and made farms. The three most prominent early settlers were Horatio R. Stillman, Alfred
Parker and J.P. Shumway.
In March, 1860, a caucus was held to organize the Township of Crystal Lake. The total vote
cast was 55. The population in 1869 was 1,023.
The first railroad through the community was called the Minneapolis and Northwest branch
of the St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba Railroad Company, later the Great Northern. In
1880 a flag station was built. It was called Parker Station in honor of Alfred Parker, who
donated three acres of land for its site.
In the fall of 1886, an effort was made by the City of Minneapolis to annex all townships
bordering its limits. To prevent this, the Village of Crystal was incorporated under a
special act of the legislature. The village was exclusively agricultural and was four
In 1887 local legends report that while passing through the village on the train, Andrew
B. Robbins was so pleased with the beauty of this part of the country that he could not
get the memory out of his mind. He saw that because of its proximity to Minneapolis and
its many natural advantages, scenic and otherwise, it could become the best residential
section in the northwest. Mr. Robbins purchased ninety acres of the choicest land with the
avowed purpose of making it the site of a suburban town.
The summer of 1888 brought the first land boom. New industries moved in and the Luther
Seminary. The village hall was erected.
Unable to convince the Minneapolis Street Railway Company to extend their lines, Mr.
Robbins organized the North side Street Railway Company and in early 1891 built a road
from the city limits into the village. The line opened for business on June 1, 1891, and
was operated by horsecars for some time.
The very efforts which were to make life more pleasant for the residents of the community
finally led to dissatisfaction between the people who had residences adjacent to the
business portion of the village and those in the thinly settled agricultural portions. A
special election was held on March 24, 1893, and the vote to dissolve the Village of
Crystal carried unanimously. On April 19, 1893, the village of Robbinsdale was organized.
The geographical area has remained at 2.9 square miles since that time, other than a minor
annexation of land from Brooklyn Center for the France Avenue off ramp from Highway 100.
Soon after the official creation of the village, the car shops and the Hubbard
Manufacturing Company were destroyed by fire and Robbinsdale again became purely
The ensuing years found Robbinsdale growing and with it the formation of community groups
- library club, fire department, village baseball team, establishment of churches, PTA,
city band and its own paper THE ROBBINSDALE TELLIT. World War I found Robbinsdale
furnishing a generous share of soldiers. Following the war came still more activities:
veteran's groups with their auxiliaries, banks, Fawcett Publishing company, and Lodge
groups. Water mains were laid in 1926.
About 1925 the names of the streets were changed to eliminate duplication and to bring
about a unified system between the villages of Crystal, Golden Valley, and Robbinsdale.
Robbinsdale celebrated its centennial in 1993 with a year of activities. The
Crystal-Robbinsdale SunPost included a special monthly edition containing many articles of
Robbinsdale's annual celebration "Whiz Bang Days" held on the 2nd weekend in
July, pays tribute to Captain Billy's Whiz Bang" books published by Fawcett
The Robbinsdale Historical Society maintains an historical museum within the original
library building at 4915 42nd Avenue North. The building itself is recognized on the
National Register of Historic Places. (Click here for more
information on the Robbinsdale Historical Society.)
A book on Robbinsdale History is available at City Hall and at the museum:
Robbinsdale then... and now: a
fascinating 100 page story about the city's settlement through 1983. Although out of
print, the book is back by popular demand. Wonderful photos throughout the book and
it's only $13.75.