In 1843, a Michigan company conducted a search to find land with valuable minerals in Missouri. Mineralogist and geologist, Forrest Shepherd located silica sand on the east side of Plattin Creek in 1868. Silica samples analyzed in England were determined to be of superior quality suitable for glass manufacturing. Captain Ebenezer B. Ward of Detroit founded the American Plate Glass Company in a Mississippi River town he called New Detroit.
The months before glass production began were used to clear away brush and build homes for employees and their families who would be moving to New Detroit to work and live.
In 1877, the glass plant was sold to Crystal Plate Glass Company of St. Louis. As the town grew and the reputation for glass production spread, it was decided to change the name to Crystal City.
Crystal Plate Glass exercised complete control over its land and buildings. No saloons, non-employee homes or private enterprises were allowed to exist. As a result, a new community beyond Crystal City borders was established; first called Limitsville later Tanglefoot.
As the new town developed, residents wished to have a more dignified name for their city when it was platted. Legend says that Elizabeth Posch, local business owner, opened her Bible and declared that the first proper name that she would come upon would be Tanglefoot's new name. The name was Festus for Acts 25:1.
On February 8, 1887 a petition was presented to the Jefferson County Court and the city of Festus became incorporated. With a population of only a few hundred, the Festus residents were dependent upon the glass plant for their livelihood. In just a few short years, Festus' population grew to over 1,000 and new businesses flourished.
In 1895, Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company, later known as PPG Industries acquired the factory, town and holdings. Crystal City remained a company town until 1906, when private citizens were first allowed to purchase building lots. (PPG Industries was a major area employer for almost 100 years.)
Crystal City and Festus, the Missouri Twin Cities, after long ago leaving company town roots behind, have entered the new millennium with the perfect blend of proud tradition and cutting edge technology.