Crystal City, Texas

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Crystal City is a city in and the county seat of Zavala County, Texas, United States.[3] The population was 7,190 at the 2000 census. The mascot of Crystal City High School is the Javelina.

South of Crystal City on U.S. Highway 83 is Ecoloclean Industries, Inc., founded in 2001. The company engages in the manufacture and sale of machines for the treatment of contaminated water. In 2005, the company was retained by officials in Biloxi, Mississippi, to provide drinking water to Hurricane Katrina victims and to establish water remediation needed in the aftermath of the storm along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. One of the Ecoloclean officers is former Louisiana State Representative Terry W. Gee.


Contents

History

Farming and ranching

Crystal City was originally settled by American farmers and ranchers producing cattle and various crops. The successful production of spinach crops evolved into a dominant industry. By March 26, 1937, spinach growers had erected a statue of the cartoon character Popeye in the town because his reliance on spinach for strength led to greater popularity for the vegetable, which had become a staple cash crop of the local economy. See the Popeye statue web entry.

Political activism

With the stream of refugees fleeing the Mexican Revolution of 1911, and later added to by Mexican migrant workers lured by the local spinach industry, the demographics of the small rural city began to shift over the years since its 1910 incorporation, due to its natural location close to the U.S./Mexico border. By 1963, Crystal City experienced a tumultuous Mexican-American electoral victory, as the swiftly emerging Mexican-American majority elected fellow Mexican-Americans to the city council, led by Juan Cornejo, a local representative of the Teamsters Union at the Del Monte cannery in Crystal City. The newly elected all-Mexican-American city council, and the succeeding administration, had trouble governing the city because of political factions among the new officials. Cornejo was selected mayor from among the five new council members. His ongoing quest for ultimate control of the city government, however, eventually led to his loss of political support. Although these five elected officials known as "Los Cinco" only held office for two years, many consider this moment the "spark" or starting point of what became known as the Chicano Movement. Texas Governor Briscoe referred to Crystal City as "Little Cuba." See the Crystal City Revolts History Entry. A new group made up of both Anglos and Mexican-Americans, the Citizens Association Serving All Americans, announced its plans to run candidates for countywide offices in 1964, and won.

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