Crystal City, Missouri

Crystal City, Missouri
Crystal City, Missouri
—  City  —
Location of Crystal City, Missouri
Coordinates: 38°13′18″N 90°22′57″W / 38.22167°N 90.3825°W / 38.22167; -90.3825Coordinates: 38°13′18″N 90°22′57″W / 38.22167°N 90.3825°W / 38.22167; -90.3825
Country United States
State Missouri
County Jefferson
Incorporated 1911
 – Mayor Thomas V. Schilly
 – Total 3.7 sq mi (9.7 km2)
 – Land 3.7 sq mi (9.7 km2)
 – Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 432 ft (132 m)
Population (est. July 2009)[1]
 – Total 4,523
 – Density 1,222.4/sq mi (466.3/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 – Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 63019
Area code(s) 636
FIPS code 29-17632[2]
GNIS feature ID 0736291[3]

Crystal City is a city in Jefferson County, Missouri, United States. The population was 4,523 at the estimated 2009 census.[1] It was 4,247 at the 2000 census.

Crystal City and its neighbor Festus are often collectively known as the "Twin Cities"; however, they are incorporated separately.



Crystal City is located at 38°13′18″N 90°22′57″W / 38.22167°N 90.3825°W / 38.22167; -90.3825 (38.221699, -90.382510)[4].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.7 square miles (9.6 km2), of which, 3.7 square miles (9.6 km2) of it is land and 0.27% is water.

The Glass Factory (PPG)

Around 1843 an Eastern company conducted a search in this area of Missouri looking for land with valuable minerals.

In 1868, mineralogist and geologist Forrest Sheppards located silica deposits near the mouth of Plattin Creek, where it flows into the Mississippi River. Samples sent to England determined the St. Peter Sandstone found in the area was of superior quality for glass manufacturing. What followed was an enthusiastic pursuit of development, and The American Plate Glass Company was founded by Captain Ebenezer B. Ward of Detroit, Michigan in 1871.

In May 1872, with Captain Theodore Luce as superintendent, the American Plate Glass Company attempted the first plate glass at a new site at the mouth of the Plattin Creek. It consisted of one box furnace of unknown description. Plagued by investment and quality problems, death and sickness, the factory failed after a short time.

In 1876 the Crystal Plate Glass Company built four gas-fired furnaces and produced plate glass. The glass was made on large square tables, ground with sand, smoothed with emery and polished with rouge.

Before glass was actually produced, brush was cleared and homes were built for the workers and their families moving to this new town, originally called New Detroit. As the town grew, the residents sought their own identity, and the name of the town was changed to Crystal City. American Plate Glass Company was sold in 1877 to the Crystal Plate Glass Company of St. Louis.

By 1886 a railroad had been built to connect the glass factory with the Iron Mountain Railroad at Silica, Missouri. Originally a narrow gauge line, it had been widened to standard gauge.

In 1895 the factory, town and all its holdings were acquired by Pittsburg Plate Glass Company, which later became PPG Industries.

Crystal City's population was estimated at 1,200 in 1899. It remained a company town until 1906, when PPG began selling lots to private citizens, thus promoting the town's growth. However, for many years the company continued to rent houses and provide many municipal services, including the hospital, fire company, public schools, and other institutions.

Around 1903, just before the St. Louis World's Fair opened, the St. Louis, Memphis and Southern Railroad purchased the company-owned railroad's right-of-way through Crystal City and neighboring Festus, Missouri to establish what became the Frisco Line. It is now the BNSF Railway.

In 1908 PPG built a new factory powered by steam generated, direct current electricity. Thirty foot round tables laid with glass were moved by bull trucks to the grinders and polishers. With the additional power from the Gas Power House across Plattin Creek, Crystal City Works Nine became the largest plate glass plant in the world. The steam generators were shut down in 1925 and the round table G&P dismantled.

In 1925 Union Electric brought a power line down the east side of the Mississippi River from Cahokia, Illinois. It crossed the river to a tower on Buck Knob (a prominent hill just south of the city) to supply the new factory. Between 1925 and 1930 PPG constructed a continuous flow tank and a 1,100-foot (340 m) ribbon grinder and polisher.

PPG's Works Nine produced high quality glass for mirrors. Prior to 1930 the Beveling Shop and Silvering Room shipped mirrors worldwide. After 1935 the Mirror Room became the re-inspection department where all plates of mirror and "silvering" quality were re-examined.

In 1935 safety glass laws were enacted. The Duplate Department was opened to produce auto glass made of plastic laminated between two plates of one-eighth inch plate glass. Soon after, the Herculite Department was opened to cut and temper quarter-inch glass. By 1964, PPG had established a separate division for auto glass and all production was being done at Greensburg and other plants.

During World War II PPG set up the Bomber Department and produced canopy subassemblies for the Curtiss-Wright Company. Work done by the Duplate Department led to the formation of an Aircraft Glass Division within PPG.

In 1965 PPG obtained a license from an English firm to use their prints to build a Float Tank and Tin Bath. The new float glass, produced in a continuous process, replaced the production of plate glass, which had been produced in batches. The last plate glass was made in Crystal City in 1972.

In 1985 first word of Works Nine closing was announced, but it was operated until December 1990. In May 1991 the glass factory at Crystal City was turned over to a salvage company. On 1 June 1991, the doors of the main office were locked. Glass was shipped until December of that year. Many workers from the Crystal City Plant were offered transfers to PPG's plant in Mount Zion, IL.

On Monday, 30 December 1991, Union Electric shut off power to the factory and the last life blood drained from Crystal City Works Nine. The factory, which employed more than 6,000 at its peak in World War II, was razed. Today, nothing of the glass factory remains, other than the company headquarters building and the hospital. Both are now used for other purposes.

Crystal City is now principally a bedroom community for St. Louis commuters and home to PPG retirees.


As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 4,247 people, 1,622 households, and 1,111 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,136.7 people per square mile (438.4/km²). There were 1,769 housing units at an average density of 473.5 per square mile (182.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.11% White, 5.34% African American, 0.26% Native American, 0.52% Asian, 0.07% from other races, and 1.70% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.49% of the population.

There were 1,622 households out of which 32.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.2% were married couples living together, 13.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.5% were non-families. 28.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.97.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.0% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 25.7% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 20.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 87.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $36,117, and the median income for a family was $45,288. Males had a median income of $41,111 versus $23,750 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,816. About 12.6% of families and 15.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.6% of those under age 18 and 6.3% of those age 65 or over.

Famous residents

Crystal City is the hometown of former NBA player, United States Senator and presidential candidate Bill Bradley.


  1. ^ a b Crystal City, Missouri (
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 

External links

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