ROYALTON - This week on "Your Town Tuesday" we are on the road to Royalton in order to learn how to make a city a Green Steps City. Royalton Mayor Andrea Lauer explains the program.

Green Steps Cities is a voluntary program that's operated through the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. There are 28 best practices, and they cover everything from transportation, to land use, to renewable energy, kind of everything a city would probably be involved with.

New LED Stoplights in Royalton
Photo: Joshua Akkerman, WJON News

Royalton has been a member of Green Step Cities since the program started in 2010. Lauer says Royalton was already practicing many of the 28 best practices that the program promotes.

Royalton City Hall
Photo: Joshua Akkerman, WJON News

"First of all, we changed out the traffic light. We have only one in the city of Royalton, however, by changing those from incandescent lights to LED lights we reduced that one bill by half."

The city also re-lamped all of the city buildings saving an estimated 17% across the board in total electrical usage. They took the process one step further installing solar PV panels on the roof of city hall, saving them $1,700 per year. Lauer says all of the steps Royalton has taken as part of the program have given great results.

"I'm really proud of our city. If you think about it, the whole idea of doing renewable energy, or energy efficiency, is a good thing for our community as a whole."


While in Royalton I found out there is something you can do here that you can do no place else in the state of Minnesota.

Blanchard Dam
Photo: Joshua Akkerman, WJON News

Royalton is one of the few places in the United States that you can find Cross Rocks. Joyce Mester of the Royalton Museum says finding Cross Rocks can be difficult.

It's not real often that you find a whole one. And none of them are exactly the same, there's just a little something different about them.

View Cross Rocks Location in a larger map

Cross Rocks at Royalton Museum
Photo: Joshua Akkerman, WJON News

To find the Cross Rocks you have to go to the Blanchard Dam. Mester shared her favorite spot with us to find these rare rocks.

"You end up right at the foot, not exactly the foot of the dam, the dam is up a little ways, you can see the dam and everything from there, but we had the best luck there at the dam. There is also a little creek that runs into the river there. That's where we had the best luck finding little pieces."

It is said that if you carry a Cross Rock on yourself, it will bring you good luck. Theadore Roosevelt and Charles Lindbergh were both known to carry a Cross Rock for good luck.

Treasure City - Royalton
Photo: Joshua Akkerman, WJON News

My last stop in Royalton takes me to the home of a 200 pound man eating clam. Treasure City Owner, Robert Janski, says they have had to clam for 52 years, and it was taken out of the Atlantic Ocean.

200 lb. Man Eating Clam at Treasure City
Photo: Joshua Akkerman, WJON News

"They ask about, a 200 lb man eating clam, why do they call it that. We tell them that if that clam was down at the bottom of the ocean and you were down there and you got your arm in it, once it closes you can't lift that 200 lb clam out of the ocean, so that's why it will eat you right up. That's why it's called a 200 lb. man eating clam" says Janski.

Treasure City has a whole bunch of unique items that you can't find to many other places.

While I was there I found Great White Sharks in a jar, alligator heads, alligator feet, and star fish, among many more unique items. Janski says people like it that way.

We try to have things that you can't find in most stores.  We just purposely do that, and people come back because they know that they can find things here that they can't find other places.

The thing I learned in Royalton is if you want to find something unique than Royalton is your place to be.

We have already been to FoleyRiceHoldingfordAvonAlbany, St. Stephen, and Gilman. Let us know what makes your town special to Central Minnesota and it might end up on "Your Town Tuesday."