Crystal was incorporated on July 8, 1881, but mined as early as the 1860s. At its peak, Crystal had 400+ residents in Crystal and the surrounding mining claims, two newspapers (the Crystal River Current which was later called The Silver Lance), a pool hall, a men's club, a barber shop and two hotels. In 1915, only eight people lived there. Despite the reduction in population, the United States Board on Geographic Names still lists Crystal as a populated place.
Mining in the area included silver, lead, copper, iron, and zinc. Very little gold has been discovered.