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In its early days Ruskin was so isolated that you needed a boat to easly travel to Tampa or St Petersburg and the trip would take several hours each way. But timber and turpentine were available for construction because prior to 1906 a turpentine factory operated close to the area that Ruskin College was being built. Food was not a problem because the temperate climate and good soil was ideal for growing fruits and vegetables, and artesian wells supplied good drinking water, and the surrounding waters supplied fish, shellfish and fowl. For the rest of its needs, the town organized a cooperative general store.
Ruskin College was named after John Ruskin an English art critic and social thinker of the late 1800's. In 1910 the plat for Ruskin Florida was filed with the Hillsborough County Courts it included the college, parks and house lots for the founding families. Many of the streets were originally named after social writers of the era.
Ruskin College continued until World War I, when many young people either went into the armed services or took jobs in the cities and never returned. Dr Miller died in 1919 and also near this time a fire destroyed most of the college buildings. Although these combined tragedies ended the college and the heyday of the cooperative enterprise, Ruskin survived. In fact, the Ruskin Commongood society operated until the 1960's.