description

The image shows the demolition of the ASARCO stacks in 2013.
This industrial area was called Smeltertown. It was situated west of downtown El Paso and it came into being with the construction of the Kansas City Consolidated Smelting and Refining Company (later the American Smelting and Refining Company, or ASARCO) copper and lead smelter, in 1887. In the 1880s the Mexican employees of the smelter began building houses west of the smelter, beside the Rio Grande. School, church and post office were added later. The facility was a custom smelter that processed several different metals from ore that came from diverse sites. Although lead and zinc were extracted at the site, copper was the main product in the later years of operation.
In 1945 the El Paso Herald-Post called attention to the poverty in Smeltertown and in the early 1970s it became the center of an environmental controversy. ASARCO was charged with violations of the Texas Clean Air Act. It was also found out that 72 out of 500 residents suffered from lead poisoning due to a huge amount of lead emission between 1969 and 1971. Another study confirmed “undue lead absorption” of people living in a one-mile radius in 1975. In the same year an injunction ordered ASARCO to modernize and make environmental improvements, which were not done due to the high costs. Against their wishes the residents were forced to move; their former homes were razed, as well as the business buildings and stacks, leaving only the abandoned school and church buildings to mark the site of El Paso's first major industrial community.

Uploaded on 04.20.2015 by UTEP Library Special Collections

Central / Smeltertown, (2010 - 2019), Livelihood

  • ASARCO, Smeltertown, stacks, demolition, industry, smelting, controversy, poisoning, lead, community

Your comment will be visible after the El Paso Museum staff has reviewed it. This usually happens within 24 hours.

Thank you for your comment

Demolition of ASARCO Stacks in 2013

Report this entry

Choose the most important reason for this report

Your name

Your email address

Optional detail

Thank you for your report

More from the same community-collection

River Crossing - Punitive Expedition

Cavalry crossing the river during the U.S. Punitive Expedition.

Train, Paisano at Executive

Train, Paisano at Executive - El Paso, Texas.

Train along Paisano 06-26-09

US 85 begins at the U.S.-Mexico border between El Paso and Ciudad Juárez at the Paso del Norte International Bridge...

Train crossing Paisano

Train crossing Paisano in El Paso, Texas.

Rio Grande and Asarco

Photo: Rio Grande near Asarco in El Paso, Texas.
ASARCO, originally known as the American Smelting and Refining...

U.S.-Mexico Border fence

Border Fence C-I, 6-26-09
Not the smartest thing I ever did. I kept thinking, “Oh, the things I’ll do...

Asarco from Paisano

Asarco from Paisano near Executive 6-26-09 a & b
These pictures were taken incidental to my wanting some pictures...

Asarco from UTEP Campus

Asarco from UTEP campus November 1982
From a Kodachrome slide using a zoom lens.

Mount Cristo Rey

Mt Cristo Rey is a shrine to thousands of faithful in the El Paso and Southern New Mexico area. Dedicated...

Man and women in Car

Two women and a man are sitting in a car, the man is driving, the women are in the backseat....