Saturday, January 12, 2013

Lone Sentinel

As regular readers of this blog know, on rare occasions I share some personal thoughts on things that interest me. This time it was catching a glimpse of this shed at Point Ruston. It is the last remnant of Asarco (above ground at least). It's newer construction from the 1990's, used to house monitoring equipment for an old storm water outfall - soon to be demolished. As you may also know, I worked for Asarco here in Tacoma until 2010, spending more than one blustery day standing here fighting the cold and the birds who used those eaves for shelter.

I guess as we get older, we find more and more places exist only in our memory. We can close our eyes and picture our childhood home or first schoolroom, even if there is no brick and mortar left to touch. The memory can be almost as real as the physical place.

Not that an old shed or even an old smelter are worth remembering for many. I understand the value of moving on, of building a bright new future. It is a good and beautiful thing that is rising from the ruins of this vast industrial complex. But the people who worked that industry matter. They built a town, they supplied metal that society demanded and they were proud to do so.

It's been two decades since the smelter stack took its final bow. My granddaughter has no idea what our skyline looked like when that massive chimney dominated our view. So many now have no idea that a smelter ever existed on that beautiful waterfront. There were some at the time who wanted to save the stack. We even had a mayor back then who suggested painting it like a finger pointing at Seattle, or putting restaurant on top...

It's good we have moved on. But it's also important to pause and glance back at what brought us to today. This lone sentinel was that pause for me this week - a window to a past I value and people I miss.



Anonymous said...

Great thoughts Karen,
Thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

Sure is a beatiful building. Anyway we can save it? You know,
for the historical value.

Ruston Home said...

Someone cracked the same joke today when I mentioned the old days as we walked past it today... not what I was aiming for at all, but thanks for the humor!

Anonymous said...

Hi Karen Just curious would like to know where your first childhood home and first schoolroom are. Thanks

Ruston Home said...

I grew up near Fox Island in a big old house on the water and attended an elementary school that was 8 classrooms (now about 20 rooms). It was a long, long time ago. Thanks for asking!