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About this collection

ASARCO (American Smelting and Refining Company) had a smelter in El Paso that was founded in the 1880s by Robert Towne and that became part of ASARCO in 1889.  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.  The plant closed in 1999, and, in 2009, the site was turned over to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality as part of a bankruptcy agreement.  The trustee of the site turned over many documents that had been left at the site to the University of Texas at El Paso Library.  The collection, called the Historical records of the former ASARCO El Paso smelter site, MS585, is quite large.  It consists of approximately 12,000 oversized drawings and plans, 77 ledgers and bound copies of correspondence or indexes, 4 framed panoramic photos, approximately 3000 black-and-white negatives, 250 color slides, and several hundred aerial views and maps.  Not all the materials relate specifically to the former smelter site in El Paso; some show facilities in Mexico, Arizona, New Mexico, or Colorado.

 
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