Welcome To KEY TO THE CITY's Page For
Zavala County, Texas
"The Spinach Capital of the World"
Chamber of Commerce.
Carl F. Groos and E.J. Buckingham developed the town in 1905 when they bought Cross S. Ranch containing 10,000 acres. They sold much of the ranch as farmland and then platted the townsite for Crystal City. It was named for the clear artesian water of the area. A post office was opened and the Crystal City and Uvalde Railway came into being during 1908. A school was build that same year. Crystal City was incorporated in 1910. The city was designated the county seat in 1928. Crystal City began a major shipping point for winter vegetables once the railroad came to town in 1908. Once the railroad was established, Crystal City became a center for the shipping of winter vegetables such as onions, carrots, tomatoes, peppers and, of course, spinach. The area was deemed the "Spinach Capital of the World." The first Spinach Festival was held in 1936. It was put on hold during World War II and later years. The Festival was resumed in 1982
Many of the residents were workers in the cannery, railroad or in the vegetable fields. Most of these workers were migrant Mexican-Americans who lived in the slum areas. During World War II, an internment camp was built near town. Japanese and German and Italian people were re-located here during the war. The camp was closed in 1947 and converted to low-rent housing. The schools in the camp were incorporated into the local school district. The California Packing Corporation (now Del Monte) built a large plant here in 1945 and is the largest single employer in the area.
The 1960's brought political upheaval as the Mexican-American population sought to have more say in the workings of the city. The Raza Unida Party began here in 1970 and gained political clout during the 70's. After this time, there was more representation from the various groups in the city. Many Mexican-Americans began to hold important offices in government and schools.
Here is a history page for Crystal City. Some of the above information was summarized from this page. Click on the link for more historical information.
World War II Civilian Internment Camp
Crystal City had a Japanese internment camp during WWII. Not only were persons of Japanese descent interned there, but so were persons of other ethnicity. This camp was used for the incarceration of the German Americans, Japanese Americans, German Latin Americans, Italian Latin Americans, and Japanese Latin Americans. The buildings of the camp later served as classrooms for the Zavala Elementary School. The former interns at this camp keep in touch with community leaders, such as Dale Barker, editor of the Zavala County Sentinel, and have visited the location in recent years. The buildings of the camp no longer exist.
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Tomas Rivera - author and educator. See Crystal City historical events for more information on Tomas Rivera.
Jose Angel Gutierrez - founder of the La Raza Unida Political Party. See Crystal City historical events for more information on Jose Angel Gutierrez.
Crystal City Spinach Festival
P.O. Box 100
Crystal City, Texas 78839
The Spinach Festival(1st weekend of November) is held every year in downtown Crystal City
In 1937, Crystal City erected a huge statue of Popeye in front of its City Hall, in honor of its patron saint (due to Crystal City being called the "Spinach Capital of the World." A second Popeye statue is inside near the Chamber of Commerce. Here is a page about Popeye
A friendly rivalry exists between Crystal City, Texas and Alma, Arkansas as they are both proclaimed the "Spinach Capital of the World" by their residents.
After WWII, Del Monte built its largest spinach packing plant, still in operation today supplying spinach for the domestic and import markets.
Former site of the Crystal City Internment Camp, built during World War II to house those of German and Japanese ancestry.
Hunting is popular in the geographical area surrounding Crystal City (Deer, Javalina, Quail).
Rice River Ranch, offering wild boar, javelina, turkey, dove and deer hunting, plus fishing on the Nueces River.
The RRR R.V. resort offers showers, laundry facility, and camping grounds with electric hook ups.
Crystal City has an outstanding high school marching band, known simply as "La Banda de Los Javalines" (phonetic spelling).
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Crystal City is the county seat of Zavala County.
Crystal City Historical Events There was a walkout in Crystal City. It was led by Diana Palaciosand Severita Lara. The walkout was about discrimination in the schools.It led to the founding of the Raza Unida Party.