Happy 84th Birthday CLP 1938-2022!!
Welcome to the City of Crystal Lake Park, nestled between the communities of Frontenac, Town & Country and Des Peres, Missouri. A City that began as a resort area with summer homes has grown to some 220 homes and condos with approximately 500 residents living year-round. The City retains a unique, almost quaint quality, with its tall trees and diverse architecture. There is a real sense of community as neighbors greet each other and wave to passers-by. A diverse community, the City appeals to families with children because it is within the boundaries of the prestigious Ladue School District. It is 100% residential, but it is near two large grocery stores and two shopping malls. The City also boasts its own park and sponsors annual picnics, parades, and a spring beautification project by giving plants to willing gardeners.
In 2012, a survey rated Crystal Lake Park as the third best place to live in Missouri, behind Clayton and Brentwood. (A copy of an article about the survey is attached on the Crystal Lake Park Links page.)
CLP's new logo with the tree and bench was designed by graphic artist Georgia Schmidt and adopted in June 2010. It was trade-marked in July 2014 (Serial Number: 86000328). Prior to that, the logo was a golf ball.
CLP is gathering information, photos, maps, remembrances, etc. for a history of our city. Coro Fellow Joseph Hassine interviewed residents and collected artifacts for the project during November and December 2014.
The Beginning: A 60 acre tract of land in St. Louis County was surveyed, subdivided, and registered as the subdivision of "Crystal Spring Lake Park" in December 1922. The original owners were John G. (1879 to 1942) and Jessie B. P. (1886 to 1967) Oehler (pronounced "Ayler"). Oehler Drive was the main street off Bopp Road until it was renamed Country Club Drive in the mid-1950s. A copy of the original Plat Map was included in the back of the 2013 CLP Directory. It is now linked on the Find Us / Maps page.
A classified ad was published in "Resorts" in the November 19, 1922 edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "CRYSTAL SPRINGS LAKE PARK--Restricted, club-site lots for sale: wooded grove, 15 acres lake, well stocked, good fishing and bathing; only 13 1/2 miles from city courthouse: 1/2 to 3/4 hour drive; good roads, no hills; come out today; lots 50 x 100 ft. $295 and up; $100 down, balance to suit; entrance on Clayton rd. and Bopp rd. between Geyer and Ballas rd. Follow signs along Clayton rd. FRED J. WESSEL, Agent, 4172 Delmar bd."
Crystal Lake Park's official geographical designation is: "The south sixty acres of the west 1/2 of the southwest 1/4 of Section 23 in Township 45 north, Range 5 east of the prime meridian.: The City's name comes from Crystal Spring Lake, a 16-acre artificial lake that was here from the 1920s until the late 1940s. It was south of Country Club Drive between Lakeview and Grandview Drives. There are differing theories about why it disappeared--natural (e.g., lightning striking the dam, beavers destroying it, the lake drying up) or man-made (someone blowing up the dam). Research on this continues. If you can contribute to solving this mystery, please contact the Communications Coordinator.
The Crystal Lake Country Club golf course was here from 1929 to 1979. It was designed by famous golf course designer William Diddel (1884 to 1985). The club house, swimming pool, and the 17th & 18th greens were on the east side of Bopp Road where The Willows condos and Hunter Park are today. The Pro Shop and rest of the course were on the west side of Bopp where the homes in Barrington Place are today. The home at 2331 Todforth Way was built on the site of the 14th & 15th tees.
The course was originally owned by the Oehlers. In 1932, they sold it to Clayton Publisher Fred Essen (1863 to 1946). His son, Victor H. Essen (1897 to 1981) managed it until it was sold to developers in 1978. Many local organizations such as the Engineers' Club of St. Louis and the Traffic Club held regular tournaments there and many schools held class parties and dances at the club house. From 1929 to 1931, events at Crystal Lake Country Club were described in the Whip & Spur magazine. The article from December 1929 was included in our June 2014 Newsletter which is posted in the Newsletters section.
In December, 1932, when the Oehlers were still managing the golf course, a fire destroyed the restaurant and locker room. It was reported on the front page of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on December 9, 1932.
2018 marked the 80th anniversary of Crystal Lake Park.
CLP was incorporated as a Village on June 30, 1938 and as a Class 4 City on July 24, 1957. Vincil Francis Hunter, Sr. (1899 to 1994) was the first Mayor and served four terms from 1958 to 1966. Prior to 1958, the Village was governed by a Board of Trustees. His son, Vincil Francis Hunter, Jr. served on the Board of Alderpersons. Hunter Park located on the west side of Putter Lane is named in honor of and thanks for the contributions the Hunter families have made. In 2015, a new playground was installed through a grant from the St. Louis County Municipal Parks Commission. A second phase of improvements will be done in 2018 through a second grant.
Boland Bridge over Two-Mile Creek on Country Club Drive is named for Donald Boland (1918 to 2013), a long-time resident who served as Street Commissioner for many years and oversaw the replacement of the old wooden bridge. His wife, Betty, served as City Clerk. Mattox Court was named for Robert E. Mattox (1892 to 1969) who served as Mayor from 1966 to 1969. The area north of Country Club Drive is in the Fairway Manor Subdivision and the street names are golf terms: Putter, Cleek, and Divot. On the original plat map of 1922, they were to be extensions of Lakeview, Oak, and East Drives respectively. Beach Drive shown on the original plat map no longer exists. It ran east and west between Divot and Putter.
Because it wasn't incorporated until 1938, the 1940 Census is the first one that recorded CLP as a separate entity. In April, 1940, the Census recorded 34 households in CLP with a total population of 95. This information was recorded in Enumeration District 95-53. CLP resident Margaret A. Dwyer (1911 to 1990) was the census taker. (She lived at 11742 South Drive from ~1940 to 1974.) Her grandfather, Timothy T. Dwyer (1839 to 1914) founded Dwyer Station, MO at Clayton and Denny (now Lindbergh Blvd) Roads. Dwyer Station was a Post Office from 1896 to 1904. This area is now part of Ladue and the Ladue Schnucks is at that intersection.
The 1940 census can be searched through the National Archives. Free ancestry searches can be made on the Family Search web site https://familysearch.org/search In addition, the St. Louis County Library subscribes to the Ancestry dot com database which can be searched from computers in the library. The library also subscribes to other databases such as Fold 3 and Heritage Quest which can be searched from your home computer.
The population has grown quite a bit from the 95 in 1940. Subsequent U.S. Census counts: 1950=167; 1960=307; 1970=356; 1980=496; 1990=506; 2010=470; and 2020=465. The next Census will be done in 2030.
Today, there are 180 homes & 45 condos with a total population of ~500.
A few of the original cottages still exist, though some have been enlarged over the years. The oldest ones were built in the 1920s and 1930s.