Ruston is a small city and the parish seat of Lincoln Parish, Louisiana, United States. It is the largest city in the Eastern Ark-La-Tex region. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 21,859, reflecting an increase of 6.4 percent from the count of 20,546 counted in the 2000 Census. Ruston is near the eastern border of the Ark-La-Tex region and is the home of Louisiana Tech University. Its economy is therefore based on its college population. Ruston hosts the annual Peach Festival.
Ville de Ruston de Louisiane
|City of Ruston|
Ruston City Hall
Louisiana's College Town; The Peach City
Location of Ruston in Lincoln Parish, Louisiana.
|• Mayor||Ronny Walker (R)|
|• Total||20.98 sq mi (54.35 km2)|
|• Land||20.92 sq mi (54.17 km2)|
|• Water||0.07 sq mi (0.18 km2)|
|Elevation||331 ft (101 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||1,069.52/sq mi (412.94/km2)|
|• µSA (2016)||47,745 (US: 229th)|
|• CSA (2016)||253,286 (US: 117th)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (CST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
71270, 71272, 71273
|Airport||Ruston Regional Airport|
Ruston is the principal city of the Ruston Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Lincoln Parish.
During the Reconstruction Era following the Civil War, word soon reached the young parish near what is now Ruston, that the Vicksburg, Shreveport, and Pacific Railroad would begin to run across north Louisiana, linking the Deep South with the West (the current operator is Kansas City Southern Railway). Robert Edwin Russ, the Lincoln Parish sheriff from 1877–1880, donated 640 acres (2.6 km2) to the town and this area was eventually known as Ruston (shorthand for Russ town).
In 1883, commercial and residential lots were created and sold for $375 apiece; and soon the sawing of lumber and clacking of hammers could be heard throughout the area.
As the town began to take shape, new churches, businesses, civic organizations and schools were being established. Cotton farming fueled the economy. In 1900 a second railroad, running north and south, was built through Ruston (the operator before the tracks were removed was Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad). This brought even more business and industry to the area and the population continued to provide a foundation for the local economy. By the time the U.S. entered World War I in 1917, Ruston was established as a center for learning, a place of civic pride and as an area of economic prosperity throughout the region.
1938 also exposed a dark side of Ruston for which it received national attention  when an African-American teenager named R.C. Williams was lynched in one of the most brutal attacks of its type in many years. 19 year old Williams was accused by a mob of vigilantes of killing a white man and assaulting a white woman, although it was later determined to be highly unlikely that Williams was guilty of this, or any other crime . The vigilantes captured Williams and after torturing him with red-hot pokers (castration was also suspected) and shooting him numerous times, he was hung him from a tree. Although a local sheriff tried to stop the mob, they then threatened the sheriff with his own life, and the lynching continued. Eventually a grand jury of all white men later cleared all of the perpetuators of any wrong doing. The crime had a significant and long lasting impact on state and national politics, and can be directly related to the rise of segregationist demagoguery in the south.
Ruston grew steadily during the post-World War II years. The GI Bill of Rights sent war veterans to college, helped to fuel the local economy, brought growth to the two local universities, Louisiana Tech University and nearby historically black Grambling State University, and new families moved into Lincoln Parish. By the middle 1960s, Interstate 20 passed through the northern part of Ruston. This coast-to-coast highway made Ruston more easily accessible, much as the railroad had done a century earlier. In the 1980s, the state of Louisiana economy declined as the oil industry went into a recession.
Ruston, however, continued growing steadily because of the rapid expansion of Louisiana Tech. The city also had its centennial celebration during this decade, and emphasis was placed on revitalizing the historic downtown district. A joint effort between the city and the Louisiana Main Street Program and the Louisiana Department of Historic Preservation brought forth beautification projects to rehabilitate the downtown district, and helped draw the community closer to its roots. More than fifteen buildings have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.2 square miles (47 km2), of which 18.1 square miles (47 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (0.44%) is water.
|Climate data for Ruston (Louisiana Tech Golf Course), 1981–2010 normals[a]|
|Average high °F (°C)||54.9
|Daily mean °F (°C)||43.9
|Average low °F (°C)||32.8
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||5.12
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||10.5||9.9||9.9||8.0||9.2||9.5||8.6||7.6||6.8||8.5||8.8||10.2||107.5|
|U.S. Decennial Census|
|Black or African American||42.0%|
|Hispanic or Latino (of any race)||2.3%|
As of the census of 2000, there were 20,546 people, 7,621 households, and 4,244 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,136.4 people per square mile (438.8/km²). There were 8,397 housing units at an average density of 464.5 per square mile (179.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 56.94% White, 38.92% African American, 0.17% Native American, 2.41% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.63% from other races, and 0.90% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.29% of the population.
There were 7,621 households out of which 26.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.0% were married couples living together, 16.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.3% were non-families. 30.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.98.
In the city, the population consisted of 20.8% under the age of 18, 31.6% from 18 to 24, 21.3% from 25 to 44, 14.9% from 45 to 64, and 11.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 24.0 years, far below the state median age of 34.0 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $23,001, and the median income for a family was $37,394. Males had a median income of $33,408 versus $20,413 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,573. About 22.1% of families and 32.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 34.1% of those under age 18 and 17.6% of those age 65 or over.
Most cultural activities are offered through Louisiana Tech. Also there are shops downtown, chain restaurants in the city, and an eight-screen Celebrity Theater. Other university-based opportunities exist at Grambling (6 miles from Ruston) and Monroe (35 miles away). The Louisiana Tech University Arboretum interests many visitors.
Early in 2007, the city initiated a blueprint for future growth and development of the Ruston area. Known as "Ruston 21", the plan will evaluate the assets of the community and the ways to achieve goals. It will look citywide at residential development and neighborhoods, recreation planning, transportation issues, economic development, infrastructure concerns, quality of life, and working collaboratively with Louisiana Tech University.
Opened in 1928, the historic Dixie Theater serves as the visual and performing arts hub of Ruston as it houses the North Central Louisiana Arts Council, Piney Hills Gallery, Ruston Community Theatre, Ruston Civic Symphony Society, Troupe Dixie, independent film screenings, dance recitals, and music concerts. Celebrity Theatres, an eight-screen movie theater with digital projection and sound with 3D capabilities and stadium seating in all auditoriums, opened in Ruston in 2006. On campus at Louisiana Tech, Howard Auditorium and Stone Theatre serve as the university's home for the performing arts, and Louisiana Tech is home to two visual art galleries including the E. J. Bellocq Gallery and the Louisiana Tech Art Gallery.
The Louisiana Military Museum features uniforms, weapons, flags, training gear, aircraft, and vehicles from nearly every conflict in United States history. Built in 1886, the Kidd-Davis house is home to the Lincoln Parish Museum, which exhibits early Ruston history. Located on Louisiana Tech's main campus, The Idea Place Math and Science Discovery Center offers many interactive science exhibits including a planetarium.
Ruston is located in the heart of North Louisiana, known as the Sportsman's Paradise, where outdoor activities like hunting and fishing are popular for residents. Located on the Louisiana Tech campus, Garland Gregory Hideaway Park has a seven-acre lake for fishing and canoeing, walking/running trails, pavilions, grills, ropes course, and an 18-hole frisbee golf course. The North Louisiana Exhibition Center hosts rodeos, barrel races, horse and livestock shows, roping events, and antique car and tractor shows in Ruston.
As home to the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs and Lady Techsters of Conference USA, Ruston is a scene of major college sports. The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs football team plays at Joe Aillet Stadium and has won three national championships, won 25 conference championships, and played in 24 postseason games including nine major college bowl games. The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs basketball and Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters basketball teams play their games at the Thomas Assembly Center. The Dunkin' Dawgs have won 25 regular season conference championships, made seven NCAA Tournament appearances including one Sweet Sixteen, and nine NIT appearances. The Lady Techsters have won three national championships and 20 regular season conference championships; have competed in 13 Final Fours, 23 Sweet Sixteens, and 27 NCAA Tournaments; and have the second most wins all-time of any women's college basketball program. The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs baseball team plays at J. C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park, has won 21 regular season conference championships, and has participated in eight NCAA Tournaments.
Each June, Ruston hosts its annual Peach Festival, sponsored by the Squire Creek Country Club.
Until the 1940s, most area peach farming had been done on a small-scale family basis. In 1947, area peach growers organized the Louisiana Fruit Growers Association and held the first festival four years later on June 27–28, 1951. On that occasion, Justin Wilson, the popular south Louisiana chef and Cajun humorist entertained the audience at Howard Auditorium on the Louisiana Tech campus. Then State Senator Dudley J. LeBlanc of Abbeville in Vermilion Parish, the promoter of the patent medicine known as Hadacol, was invited to crown the first Peach Festival Queen, Ann Colvin of Bernice in Union Parish.
The festival sponsors races of 5K and 1M and a tennis tournament played on the Louisiana Tech courts.
The Arkansas Southern Railroad Company (ASRR), that became the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway (CRI&P), built a station named Chautauqua, north of Ruston that became part of the town.
Railroad Fest is an annual makers, music, and culture festival held in Downtown Ruston each April since 2017. The Makers Fair is held at the Historic Ruston Fire Station, and live music is performed at the amphitheater at Railroad Park.
Primary and secondary educationEdit
Public schools are part of the Lincoln Parish School System. Eight of the twelve Lincoln Parish Schools are located in Ruston. Lincoln Parish Early Childhood Center operates the parish's preschool program in Ruston. Glen View Elementary School and Hillcrest Elementary School teach kindergarten through the second grade. Cypress Springs Elementary School and Ruston Elementary School teach third grade through fifth grade. I. A. Lewis School teaches only sixth grade, and Ruston Junior High School teaches seventh and eighth grades. Ruston High School teaches ninth through twelfth grades.
Located on Louisiana Tech's campus in Ruston, A. E. Phillips Laboratory School offers kindergarten through eighth grade.
Ruston is home to a few private schools. Cedar Creek School and Bethel Christian School are college preparatory schools that offer preschool through twelfth grade. New Living Word School also offers preschool through twelfth grade. Montessori School of Ruston offers preschool through eighth grade.
Lorraine Nobles Howard Education Center, known as Howard School, is an alternative school for the residents of the Louisiana Methodist Children's Home in Ruston.
Louisiana Tech University, a national research university, dominates the city of Ruston, providing the city with its distinctive college town character. Grambling State University is located in nearby Grambling, only four miles west of the Louisiana Tech campus. Additionally, Louisiana Delta Community College has a branch campus located in Ruston.
The Ruston Daily Leader is the newspaper serving Ruston and the rest of Lincoln Parish since 1894. The Daily Leader is published Sunday morning and Monday through Friday afternoons. Louisiana Tech University is served by several publications including The Tech Talk, the independent Louisiana Tech student newspaper that reports on local, state, and national issues in addition to campus news. The only AM radio station based in Ruston is KRUS 1490, a gospel music station.
|89.1||KLPI||Alternative||Louisiana Tech University|
|91.5||KGRM||Urban contemporary gospel||Grambling State University|
|94.1||KRLQ||Classic country||North Louisiana Broadcasting, Inc.|
|97.7||KNBB||Sports||Red Peach. LLC|
|99.3||KPCH||Oldies||Red Peach. LLC|
|101.3||KBNF-LP||80's Rock||Ruston High School|
|102.3||KWXM||80's Rock||North Louisiana Broadcasting, Inc.|
|107.5||KXKZ||Country||Red Peach. LLC|
Pop culture referencesEdit
- Jack Kerouac refers to Ruston in his book On the Road.
- Indie rock band Neutral Milk Hotel was formed in Ruston.
- The longstanding Dixie Theater in Ruston is featured in a 1999 article in the publication North Louisiana History.
- Ruston is also the hometown of Robert Schneider, frontman of The Apples in Stereo. He attended Ruston High School.
- Ruston is mentioned several times in the HBO series True Blood. A vampire on the series is seen wearing a Louisiana Tech Bulldogs sweatshirt.
- Social media personality Logan Paul acted as "mayor" of Ruston for two days for his online streaming show Logan Paul VS...
- Trace Adkins, country singer who attended Louisiana Tech; originally from Sarepta
- C.E. "Cap" Barham, attorney, state senator, and lieutenant governor
- Charles C. Barham, attorney and former state senator
- Leon Barmore, basketball coach who was born and reared in Ruston, played basketball at Louisiana Tech
- George W. Bond, president of Louisiana Tech University from 1929 to 1936
- Terry Bradshaw, member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, attended Louisiana Tech
- Kix Brooks, country music singer, who attended Louisiana Tech.
- P.J. Brown, retired NBA player, attended Louisiana Tech
- Mary Elizabeth Talbot Busbee, the First Lady of Georgia from 1975 to 1983, was born and reared in Ruston. Known as "Mary Beth", she was a medical technologist and a graduate of Louisiana Tech. Her husband was the late Democratic Governor George D. Busbee.
- C.E. Byrd, president of Louisiana Tech, and founder of C.E. Byrd High School in Shreveport.
- Jimmy Childress, Ruston High School state and national championship football coach
- John R. Conniff, educator, president of Louisiana Tech from 1926 to 1928
- Martie Cordaro, president and general manager of the Omaha Storm Chasers baseball club
- Claybrook Cottingham, president of Louisiana College from 1910–1941, and Louisiana Tech president from 1941 until his death in 1949
- Fred Dean, NFL Hall of Famer, attended Ruston High and Louisiana Tech
- Hollis Downs, former state representative; financial analyst; Louisiana Tech professor
- Chris Elrod, Comedian, author and homeless advocate attended Louisiana Tech
- Clarence Faulk, newspaper publisher, radio broadcaster, businessman
- Tim Floyd, NCAA and NBA basketball coach, attended Louisiana Tech
- Vic Frazier, MLB pitcher from early 20th century
- W. C. Friley, founder of Ruston College in late 1880s, a forerunner of Louisiana Tech; later president of Hardin–Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, and Louisiana College in Pineville, succeeded there in 1910 by Claybrook Cottingham
- James M. Goslin, sheriff of Caddo Parish from 1966 to 1976, reared in Ruston
- Andy Hamilton, NFL player
- Will Cullen Hart, indie rock musician, visual artist, and founding member of the Elephant Six Collective and The Olivia Tremor Control, and leader of Circulatory System, attended Ruston High School and was a disc jockey at Louisiana Tech's radio station KLPI
- Berry Hinton, baseball coach and Louisiana Tech alumni secretary
- Sonja Hogg, founding coach of the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters
- George B. Holstead, state representative from Lincoln Parish (1964–1980)
- Charles Jacobs, judge of the Louisiana 26th Judicial District Court since 2015; reared in Ruston, where his parents held faculty positions at Louisiana Tech University
- Bert Jones, former NFL player, attended Ruston High School
- Dub Jones, former NFL player, attended Ruston High.
- Fred W. Jones, Jr., city, district, and state circuit judge
- K.D. Kilpatrick, mortician and former member of the Louisiana State Senate
- George M. Lomax, state representative who in 1894 introduced the enabling legislation, Act 68, to establish Louisiana Tech University
- Ragan Madden, state representative from 1940 to 1949 and district attorney from 1949 to 1979
- Karl Malone, Basketball Hall of Famer, attended Louisiana Tech, currently lives in Ruston
- Jeff Mangum, indie rock musician and founding member of the Elephant Six Collective and Neutral Milk Hotel, attended Ruston High School and was a disc jockey at Louisiana Tech's radio station KLPI
- Garnie W. McGinty, Louisiana historian
- Paul Millsap, current NBA player, attended Louisiana Tech
- Ryan Moats, athlete, attended Louisiana Tech
- Luke McCown, NFL quarterback, attended Louisiana Tech
- Kim Mulkey, current head women's basketball coach at Baylor University, whose career as a player at Louisiana Tech placed her in the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame
- L.D. "Buddy" Napper, attorney, former state representative, and minor league baseball player
- Virgil Orr, former state representative; Louisiana Tech vice president
- Joe Raymond Peace, former football coach of Louisiana Tech Bulldogs and Ruston resident
- Arthur T. Prescott, educator and founding president from 1894 to 1899 of Louisiana Tech University
- Keith M. Pyburn, state representative for Caddo Parish 1948–1952; attorney in Shreveport and later Washington, D.C., resided in Ruston from 1925 to 1932
- Patrick Ramsey, athlete, attended Ruston High
- E.S. Richardson, president of Louisiana Tech from 1936–1941
- Willie Roaf, NFL Hall of Fame player, attended Louisiana Tech
- Scotty Robertson, high school, college, and professional basketball coach, died in Ruston in 2011
- W. C. Robinson, mathematics professor and second president of Louisiana Tech from 1899 to 1900
- Robert Schneider, Indie rock musician, record producer, founding member of the Elephant Six Collective, and frontman of The Apples in Stereo, attended Ruston High School
- Josh Scobee, current NFL player, attended Louisiana Tech
- Don Shows, football coach
- John Simoneaux, blues singer, songwriter and guitarist, graduate of LA Tech; memorial jam held in his memory annually to raise scholarship money
- Mickey Slaughter, former NFL quarterback, attended, and later coached football for, Louisiana Tech
- Polly Smith, photographer
- George Stone, former National League pitcher with the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets.
- Lawson Swearingen, reared in Ruston, former state senator, president of the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and professor of management at Southeastern Louisiana University
- Robert O. Trout, sociologist
- A. L. Williams, retired football coach
- Kyle Williams, current NFL player, attended Ruston High
- Clint Williamson, US Ambassador, White House policy official, and international prosecutor
- John D. Winters, historian of the American Civil War
- Kenny Wright, NFL defensive back (Minnesota Vikings 1999–2001, Houston Texans 2002–2004, Jacksonville Jaguars 2005, Washington Redskins 2006 and Cleveland Browns 2007)
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