The Best Of Montana Mining History; Our Spotlight Is on Anaconda
Montana is rich in the history of the old west, the gold rush, cowboys, villians, heroes, female pioneers, it's all under the big sky. When there's almost too much history to go around, sometimes important places get overlooked, like Anaconda.
Anaconda Is Full Of Montana History
Often overshadowed by neighboring Butte, Anaconda was founded by one of the Copper Kings, Marcus Daly.
In 1883, Daly tried to register the town's name as Copperopolis, but fortunately for Anaconda, that name was already registered to Meagher County. Ultimately, the postmaster came up with the name.
The Anaconda Company thrived in Montana for many years. In May of 1918 they began construction on the Anaconda Smelter Stack and it was finished in November that same year.
In 1980, The Atlantic Richfield Company permanently closed the smelter.
The legacy left behind for Anaconda is a large area of contaminated hazardous waste. The EPA and ARCO teamed up to clean up the waste of over 100 years of mining.
The Anaconda Smelter Stack
According to Wikipedia, the Anaconda Smelter Stack is the tallest surviving smelter stack in the world. It stands 585 feet. You can visit it today at Anaconda Smelter State Park.
The only reason that stack is still standing is because after the destruction of the Washoe Smelter, the residents of Anaconda rallied to save their stack, also known as The Stack or The Big Stack.
Anaconda Points of Interest
- Old Works Golf Course, a championship 18 hole course designed by Jack Nicklaus
- Anaconda Smelter State Park
- Washoe Theatre, the last Nuevo Deco Theatre constructed in America. It's on the National Register of Historic Places
- Loads of recreation activities from hunting and fishing to skiing and drag racing
- Close to Fairmont Hot Springs Resort
While planning your Montana vacation this summer, be sure and factor Anaconda into your plans. You'll have a great time and might just learn something.