We've talked about it for decades. Boxes of old photos and notes are gathering dust in the attic, or worst yet those boxes have been lost when one of our precious memory-keepers dies. It's now time to dig out the old pictures and gather them all in one book.
Arcadia Publishing will be doing a book on Ruston history. I'm working to gather a good cross section of our history, mostly in photos. Anyone who has old photos of the town or north end, Ruston Elementary school or classes, the Asarco smelter, Point Defiance park or other related material, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although I've done a fair amount of research already, I thought I'd whet your appetite with yesterday's discoveries:
- Ruston was the scene of some of the worst violence of the infamous labor unrest of 1913-14. The smelter was a focus for pro-union forces and workers fought for new rights. Striking employees and their sympathizers marched on the company offices in late 1913. A gun battle on the streets of Ruston ensued, lasting 8 days. The area was in chaos as bullets flew past children and "the entire neighborhood... was in a state of high terror..." (Tacoma Daily News, Jan. 8, 1914). Young smelter worker Andrew Aronke was killed. His fiance, Chilo Stanich, wore widow's reeds as she led the the funeral procession while another girl wore a bridal veil behind her, apparently a Croatian tradition when an engaged man died.
- The earliest reference to Ruston I've found so far comes from the Tacoma Daily Ledger on Dec. 2, 1890, titled "No Town of Swansea". It reads: "The scheme to incorporate a town in the location of the smelter north of the city has been compromised by the people and parties interested in that part of town agreeing not to incorporate into the new town of Swansea, provided the city would not extend its limits so as to take them in. This, it is understood, the city has agreed to do and there will consequently be no new town started."
Please dig in your memory boxes and let me know if you find more treasures!