Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Smelter town ...

The city of Anaconda is an interesting place, and kind of a sad one. For decades it was the booming home of the Anaconda Copper Company's massive smelter, processing trainloads of ore shipped in from the mines of Butte. But the smelter closed almost three decades ago, and the town has been fading and withering ever since. But still, the place has an interesting collection of sights, including some great old bars, perhaps the best golf course in Montana, and one of the finest Art Deco movie theatres in the nation.

And it has "The Stack." Almost all that's left of the old smelter, this huge brick smokestack is some 585 feet tall and is visible for miles -- looking over one of the largest Superfund sites in the nation, an environmental tragedy that it helped create.


  1. You are right about the golf course. And it is an interesting town. "The Company" has left it's mark on many towns in Montana.


  2. I'm really bummed that they were able to demolish the smelting plant. It would have been interesting to walk through. Even in my lifetime, I remember Wallace and Kellog, Idaho, with HUGE stacks, which have also been torn down.

  3. Indeed it has, Rick ... and not a good mark, by any means.

    And I'm definitely intrigued by Anaconda -- for some reason, even more so than Butte. It's a place I would have loved to have seen in its heyday. (Even now, it's pretty fun to hit the bars there!)

  4. Yeah, Courtney ... and the one in Great Falls, as well. I can understand the environmental issues at play in places like that, but it's still a huge loss. I know of a few smaller milling and smelting facilities that have been preserved, but I guess the cost and complexity of saving the largest (and best) ones is just too great. :(