The first settler in the area was Charley Conners, who built a log cabin in 1803.
Festus was settled shortly after the establishment of New Detroit (later Crystal City), which was a dry company town developed by the Crystal Plate Glass Company (later PPG Industries) after the discovery of silica in the area that would be used to manufacture glass. Initially established around 1879 by W. J. Adams as Limitville, the area that would become Festus was nicknamed “Tanglefoot” because several of its first businesses were saloons. As incorporation was discussed, a more dignified name was sought. Town legend claims the name was chosen by a church ceremony where a Bible was opened blindly and the first proper name encountered was that of Porcius Festus, the governor of Judea around 60 AD (Acts 24:27).
There is another town legend that says there was a disagreement over what to name the city and it was agreed upon that a Bible would be shot and whatever proper name closest to the last page penetrated would be chosen. The City of Festus was incorporated in 1887 as a 4th class city.
Festus is home to celebrities such as Olympian Brittany Borman, television show “The Voice”‘s Patrick Thomson, and Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Matt Stites.
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