Smeltertown Cemetery: a Stark History

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  • Topic: Cemetery, Headstone, ASARCO
  • Pages : 2 (535 words )
  • Download(s) : 446
  • Published : September 27, 2011
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Smeltertown is a callus on the border between the United States and Mexico. Once a town full of life, a community where no one even bothered to lock their front door, Smeltertown is now a ghost town. The town’s rundown condition is very well exemplified in Danny Lyon’s photo titled "Grave marker in Smelter cemetery, Asarco Smelter Works, in the background. This is the graveyard provided for employees." In the foreground of the photograph, is a wooden cross grave marker with the words “Sra Romana Argana” visible behind the sun beaten fake roses and white flowers that adorn it, their once red petals now white around the edges and pink closer to the center. The cross itself shows signs of age and abandon, its wood smooth, dry and dulled by the abuse of the desert heat, sand, wind and time. The heat is intense here, the sun bearing down burning your skin with its prickly heat. Just behind the cross, piles of rocks lay haphazardly on the ground some vanishing in the blowing dust and sand. More grave markers lay randomly among the rocks, one tombstone leaning against the wind, and three handmade crosses each topping a pile of rocks and debris. On the left, behind the leaning tombstone, a brown picket fence juts out of the ground surrounding what I can only assume is another tomb. Only the whisper of the wind as it beats against the grave markers can be heard in this desolate place. In the background, and barely visible against the brown and grey landscape, is a chain link fence separating the cemetery from a dusty, empty road. Beyond the road a glimpse of the abandoned ASARCO Smelter Works, an ore refinery and at one time, the economic center of Smeltertown. This photograph and its title hint to Smeltertown’s history. Smeltertown was a border town located in Texas, northwest of El Paso. Its inhabitants once worked either at the ASARCO Smelter Works, where ore was refined into metal, or at the local cement factory. Working for either of these places was not easy,...
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