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In its early days, Ruskin was isolated. Few roads and boat trips to Tampa and St. Petersburg took several hours each way.
Local trees supplied timber for construction and resin for turpentine. An abandoned turpentine factory provided the means to make turpentine and buildings for temporary housing. The temperate climate and good soil was ideal for growing fruits and vegetables.
For the rest of the town's needs, Ruskin had a cooperative general store along with Artesian wells that supplied drinking water.
In 1910, the plat for Ruskin, Florida was filed with the Hillsborough County Courts and included the college, parks and house lots for the founding families. Many streets were originally named after social writers of the era as was Ruskin College, named after John Ruskin an English art critic and philosopher of the late 1800's.
Ruskin College continued until World War I, when many young people either went into the armed services or took jobs in the city and never returned. Dr. George McAnelly Miller who, along with three of his brothers-in-law, agreed to trade property in Missouri for 12,000 acres in Florida. In 1918, a fire destroyed most of the college buildings and Dr. Miller died in 1919. Although these combined tragedies ended the college and the heyday of the cooperative enterprise, Ruskin survived. In fact, the Ruskin Commongood Society operated until 1967. All of this information by Dr. Arthur "Mac" Miller taken from his pamphlet "A Brief History of Ruskin, Florida".