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American Smelting & Refining Company. Tacoma Smelter records
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administration Information
  • Historical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: American Smelting & Refining Company. Tacoma Smelter records
    Dates: 1915-1928
    Collection Number: mssTacomarecords
    Creatorr: American Smelting and Refining Company. Tacoma Smelter
    Extent: 75 items in 1 box
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Manuscripts Department
    The Huntington Library
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2203
    Fax: (626) 449-5720
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: 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.
    Language of Material: The records are in English.

    Administration Information


    Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, please go to following web site .

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Tacoma Smelting Plant and American Smelting & Refinery records, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Acquisition Information

    Purchased from Ken Sanders Rare Books, January 2015.

    Historical Note

    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.
    The ASARCO Tacoma plant was declared a Superfund site in 1983 and was demolished on January 17, 1993.

    Scope and Content

    There are 46 8"x10" black and white photographs (three are duplicates) of the expansion of the plant and the construction of the smokestack. All of the photos but two are identified and date between1915 to 1917.
    The retention copies primarily consist of correspondence between H.Y. Walter, who was the manager of the Tacoma plant, and Edgar L. Newhouse, Jr., who was a mining magnate in Salt Lake City, Utah. The subject matter concerns business operations including negotiating rates and offering quotes to the White Caps Mining Company. The dates of the correspondence range from 1907 to 1928 (bulk 1919-1923).

    Indexing Terms

    Personal Names

    Walker, H.Y.
    Newhouse, Edgar L., Jr.

    Corporate Names

    American Smelting and Refining Company. Tacoma Smelter
    Boston Consolidated Mining Company
    Hedley Gold Mining Company
    Tacoma Smelting Company
    White Caps Mining Company


    Metallurgical plants--Design and construction
    Mines and mineral resources--Washington (State)
    Smelting furnaces

    Geographic Areas

    Tacoma (Wash.)--History


    Correspondence (letters)