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Crystal City is in Jefferson County, Missouri. Together with its neighboring city of Festus, Crystal City is part of what is known as the Twin Cities, although they are incorporated separately. Crystal City was founded as a glass-making enterprise along the Mississippi River, just over twenty-five miles from St. Louis. The first settler in the area was Charley Connors, who built a log cabin there in 1803, but the city came about in the mid to late 1800s. In 1868, Forrest Sheppards found silica, of a quality ideal for glass making, near the mouth of Plattin Creek, and the American Plate Glass Company was founded by Captain Ebenezer B. Ward in 1871. In 1876, the Crystal Plate Glass Company constructed four gas-fired furnaces to produce glass. Brush was cleared and homes were built for the workers and their families, forming a town that was originally known as New Detroit. After a few acquisitions, the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company, which later became PPG Industries, became the largest glass manufacturing operation in Crystal City, and its Crystal City Works Nine became the largest plate glass plant in the world. Crystal City was a company town until 1906, when PPG began selling lots to private citizens and, in 1903, the St. Louis, Memphis and Southern Railroad bought the right-of-way through Crystal Falls and Festus, establishing the Frisco Line, which is now Burlington Northern. Glass manufacturing operations continued to be the staple of the city’s economy until 1990, when Work Nine was closed. By then, the company was producing a float glass, as the last plate glass manufactured in Crystal City was in 1972. Today, Crystal City is largely a bedroom community.



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