Ruston & Lincoln Parish: Louisiana Hill Country
Ruston, Louisiana peaches
It is the location of Louisiana Tech University.
Ruston Area Attractions
Many attractions in Ruston and the surrounding area offer a variety of entertainment, recreation, and education.
Ruston is known an exciting college-town atmosphere at Louisiana Tech, an 18-block historic downtown district and the sweet peaches grown in the area. The area boasts a variety of specialty shops and delicious restaurants, as well as festivals and events throughout the year.
- Dixie Center for the Arts
Lake D'Arbonne State Park near Ruston
- Autrey House Museum in Dubach
- Eddie Robinson Museum in Grambling
- Lincoln Parish Museum
- Louisiana Military Museum
- North Louisiana Exhibition Center
- Stone Theatre & Howard Center for Performing Arts at Louisiana Tech
- Jimmie Davis State Park
- Lake Claiborne State Park
- Lake D'Arbonne State Park
- Lincoln Parish Park
Ruston is also the home to the annual Louisiana Peach Festival, held in June of each year.
Peach orchard near Ruston, Louisiana
(Photograph courtesy of the LA Office of Tourism)
Louisiana Tech University
Louisiana Tech University, often referred to as Louisiana Tech, LA Tech, or Tech, is a coeducational public research university located in Ruston. Louisiana Tech is designated as a Tier 1 national university by the U.S. News & World Report college rankings and is the only Tier 1 national university in the nine-member University of Louisiana System.
Louisiana Tech University opened as The Industrial Institute and College of Louisiana in 1894. Four years later, the state constitution changed the school's name to the Louisiana Industrial Institute.
In 1921, the college changed its name to the Louisiana Polytechnic Institute to reflect its evolution from a trade school to a larger " technical institute". Under the leadership of Dr. F. Jay Taylor, the college continued to grow and change over time, and the name was changed to Louisiana Tech University in 1970. The current president of Louisiana Tech is Dr. Les Guice.
Today's enrollment is about 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Its men's "Bulldogs" and "Lady Techster" teams compete in Conference USA.
Changing Times at Tech: Harper Hall Demolition
Shown below is what was formerly known as the "New" Harper Hall, Louisiana Polytechnic Institute, later Louisiana Tech, Ruston Louisiana, circa mid-1960s. Construction on this 8-story women's dorm was completed in 1964, at the site of the original Harper Hall built in 1910.
The residence hall was named in honor of Jean Maud Harper, who served as a professor and was appointed as the Tech Dean of Women in 1929.
This view is of the front side of Harper Hall in its early years. It was demolished in August of 2020.
|Rear View of Harper Hall while it was still functioning as a women's dorm
|Harper B, opened in the Fall of 2017, in Legacy Park has become the "New Harper Hall" ... part of the latest generation of student housing at Tech
|The original Harper Hall, built circa 1910, at the Louisiana Industrial Institute in Ruston
Well Known Tech Alumni
Tech graduates work nationwide, in a variety of disciplines, and many have gained recognition in their respective fields, such as Sam and Charles Wyly. Others well known in sports and entertainment include the following:
- Terry Bradshaw, quarterback, first player selected in the 1970 NFL draft, picked by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Quarterback of four winning Super Bowl teams. Currently a sports analyst on Fox NFL Sunday. Member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. A native of Shreveport, Louisiana.
- Karl Malone, basketball star, "The Mailman", played NBA basketball for 18 seasons with the Utah Jazz. A native of Summerfield, Louisiana. Having scored 36,298 points in his career, the second most career points in NBA history, and holding the record for most free throws both attempted and made, Malone is generally considered one of the greatest NBA power forwards of all time.
- Willie Roaf, football. He was a first-round pick in the 1993 NFL Draft, and played professionally for the New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL. An eleven-time Pro Bowl selection and nine-time All-Pro, he was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012. Willie is a native of Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
- Kim Mulkey, All-American point guard at Tech, now the head basketball coach of the Baylor Lady Bears, two-time national champs, including the 2012 NCAA championship team, which concluded the season with an impressive 40-0 record. She is the first person in NCAA history to win a basketball national championship as a player, assistant coach, and head coach.
- Leon Barmore, star point guard basketball player at Ruston High School, and Louisiana Tech. Highly respected Coach of the Lady Techsters from 1982 to 2002. Barmore led Tech to 20 straight winning seasons, including an amazing 13 30-plus win campaigns while also coaching the Lady Techsters to 20 straight NCAA Tournaments, nine Final Fours, five national championship games and the 1988 national title.
- Phil Robertson, quarterback, a native of Vivian, Louisiana, and founder of Duck Commander in West Monroe. Star in the A&E Network series "Duck Dynasty".
- Kix Brooks, country recording star, for years part of the Brooks & Dunn duo. A native of Shreveport, Louisiana.
- Trace Adkins, country recording star, a native of Sarepta, Louisiana.
Our Lady of the Mist, Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, Louisiana
(Photograph courtesy of the LA Office of Tourism)
Ruston Hotels, Lodging and Restaurants
The Ruston area features a wide variety of hotels, motels, inns, suites and other lodging, many along I-20 and close to Louisiana Tech. Here are some hotel properties to review and consider:
After the Civil War, the Vicksburg, Shreveport and Pacific Railroad (later the Illinois Central) began building its tracks across north Louisiana.
Robert E. Russ donated 640 acres to a town site that became known as " Ruston" (shorthand for Russ town). Today, Ruston retains many historic buildings from the late 1800s. Many of these structures can be seen in our Ruston Historic Postcard Collection.
The many rides I took on Salter Bus Lines from Alexandria to Ruston weren't really very far ... a short journey through Pineville, Bentley, Dry Prong, Winnfield, Dodson, Jonesboro-Hodge, Quitman and then the arrival in downtown Ruston at the bus depot (see postcard shown below to the right).
Union Bus Depot, Ruston, Louisiana
Ruston has a special place in my memory from four very good years attending Louisiana Tech University along with my wife-to-be. It was a still very much a small town during the mid-1960s when I lived there.
Among my favorite memories is exploring with my girlfriend the newly-built Tech Stadium in September 1968, barely ready for the first game in the stadium with East Carolina University.
Be sure to check out our historic photos and postcards of Louisiana Tech
I became involved with Ruston again during the early 1990s when my daughter and son-in-law graduated from Tech. We became multi-generational Tech supporters!
Other North Louisiana Cities and Towns
North Louisiana is also home to many of our other favorite communities. Area towns include Farmerville, Grambling, Gibsland, Arcadia, Dubach, Downsville, Choudrant, Spearsville, Summerfield and so many others.
For More Information About Ruston and Lincoln Parish
For more information, we highly recommend a visit to the website of the Ruston Lincoln Parish Convention & Visitors Bureau.