SPINACH AND A VESTIGE OF WAR
Known as the “Spinach Capital of the World,” Crystal City is located in the Winter Garden area of Texas, which stretches from south of San Antonio to north of Laredo. Each November the town honors its agricultural heritage with the three-day Spinach Festival. The celebration draws approximately 60,000 visitors with a parade, musical entertainment, a spinach cook-off and other activities. A whimsical statue of the spinach-loving cartoon character “Popeye the Sailor Man” is a favorite site for photographs. The statue has been part of the community since 1937.Crystal City is the seat of Zavala County. The current courthouse was built in 1970 and designed in the Modern style by architect Gene P. Hobart. The county is named for Lorenzo de Zavala, a Mexican colonist and the first vice president of the Republic of Texas.
Ironically, a place that honors a proponent of freedom was the site of a World War II Alien Family Internment Camp. Little remains of the camp, but from 1942 until 1947 it was a community behind barbed wire, with housing, a hospital, schools, markets, and recreational areas. The Crystal City Independent School District now owns the property, and a series of interpretive panels on the site’s perimeter tell the story of the camp and a brochure that accompanies the signage can be obtained at the Crystal City Memorial Public Library located across from City Hall on Dimmit Street.