This collection of photographs and retention letters deals with the Tacoma Smelter in Ruston, Washington, that when finally
closed in 1985, was one of the largest Superfund sites in America.
The American Smelting and Refining Company (ASARCO) plant located in Tacoma, Washington was originally the Ryan Smelter, a
lead-refining company, established by Dennis Ryan in 1887. William R. Rust (1850-1928) purchased the site in 1889 and changed
the name to the Tacoma Smelting and Refining Company. In 1905, Rust sold the plant for $5.5 million to ASARCO, which converted
the lead-refining plant to copper smelting and refining. The Tacoma smelter also produced arsenic trioxide, sulfuric acid
and precious metals throughout most of the 20th century.
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