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Anaconda in Deer Lodge County, Montana — The American West (Mountains)
 

Preserving the Washoe Smelter Stack

 
 
Preserving the Washoe Smelter Stack Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 18, 2016
1. Preserving the Washoe Smelter Stack Marker
Inscription. On September 29, 1980, the Anaconda Minerals Company, which had merged with the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) three years earlier, announced the indefinite suspension of copper smelting in Anaconda and refining in Great Falls, Montana. The company cited high production costs and increasing environmental restrictions as reasons for the closure. Following the closure announcement, the decision was made that the suspension of operations would be permanent and the smelter and refinery would be demolished.

A few years later, when the Washoe Smelter stack was threatened, a local “Anacondans to Preserve the Stack” group formed. The Big Stack remains intact largely through their efforts and determination to preserve the symbol of Anaconda’s industrial legacy. Working with state and local officials, ARCO, and the Environmental Protection Agency, the group was instrumental in the stack's designation as an official state monument.

As the former site of the smelter complex is reclaimed, the landmark associated with the community for the past century will continue to stand tall. The smelter that for so long defined the community of Anaconda has passed into memory. The community that grew in its shadow remains.
 
Erected by Montana Historical Society and Montana Department
Marker detail: The Washoe Smelter and Anaconda Reduction Works complex image. Click for full size.
Courtesy of Anaconda Historical Society Archives
2. Marker detail: The Washoe Smelter and Anaconda Reduction Works complex
of Fish, Wildlife & Parks.
 
Location. 46° 7.385′ N, 112° 55.879′ W. Marker is in Anaconda, Montana, in Deer Lodge County. Marker is on Anaconda Smelter Road (East 4th Street) ¼ mile south of Park Avenue (Pintler Veterans Memorial Scenic Hwy) (State Highway 1), on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is located in Anaconda Smelter Stack State Park, along the circular walkway around the smelter stack exhibit, just east of the parking lot. Marker is at or near this postal address: 100 Anaconda Smelter Road, Anaconda MT 59711, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Marcus Daly - An Irishman with Vision (here, next to this marker); Washoe Stack Facts (a few steps from this marker); Goosetown Historic District (a few steps from this marker); Organized Labor (within shouting distance of this marker); Contributions of the Washoe Smelter (within shouting distance of this marker); Smelting the Ore (within shouting distance of this marker); Butte-Anaconda Historic District (approx. 1.1 miles away); Deer Lodge County Courthouse (approx. 1.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Anaconda.
 
More about this marker. Marker is a large, framed, laser-printed metal plaque, mounted horizontally on
Preserving the Washoe Smelter Stack Marker (<i>wide view</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 18, 2016
3. Preserving the Washoe Smelter Stack Marker (wide view)
a waist-high metal post.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Butte-Anaconda National Historic Landmark District
 
Also see . . .
1. Anaconda Smelter Stack. The Anaconda Smelter Stack, known locally as "The Big Stack," is the tallest surviving masonry structure in the world with an overall height of about 585 feet, including a brick chimney 555 feet tall and the downhill side of a concrete foundation 30 feet tall. It is a brick smoke stack or chimney, built in 1918 as part of the Washoe Smelter of the Anaconda Copper Mining Company. The Washoe Smelter was demolished after its closure in 1981. The stack alone, however, remains standing because the citizens of Anaconda organized to save it. Although the site of the smelter underwent some environmental cleanup, the general public is not allowed access to the stack itself because the soil around it is still hazardous due to contamination by the toxic metalloid arsenic as well as copper, cadmium, lead and zinc. (Submitted on January 2, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. Montana's Historic Landscapes: The Washoe Stack. (This link presents excellent photographs of the smelter stack and surrounding areas.) The Washoe Stack is one of the state’s most dominant man-made environments. For like the
Anaconda Smelter Stack Exhibit (<i>marker visible on right, along west side of ring</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 18, 2016
4. Anaconda Smelter Stack Exhibit (marker visible on right, along west side of ring)
massive dams and reservoirs at Hungry Horse, Canyon Creek, and Fort Peck, there is the massiveness of the structure itself, and the thousands of surrounding acres impacted by the property. Unlike the lakes created by the dams of the first half of the 20th century, however, the stack left devastation in its wake, not recreation, not rebirth. (Submitted on January 2, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

3. Washoe Smelter cast a long shadow, but how far does it reach?. The Washoe Smelter, which shut down in 1980, processed thousands of tons of copper a day for around 80 years. The Environmental Protection Agency declared 300 square miles surrounding the old smelter, whose 565-foot stack was one of the tallest in the nation, a Superfund site in 1983. EPA gathered evidence about a decade later that the stack’s primary wind path blew northeasterly – straight up the valley to Deer Lodge in Powell County... (Submitted on January 2, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceLandmarks
 
Washoe Smelter Stack (<i>view from near marker</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 18, 2016
5. Washoe Smelter Stack (view from near marker)
Anaconda Smelter Stack State Park (<i>turn here to access exhibit and marker</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 18, 2016
6. Anaconda Smelter Stack State Park (turn here to access exhibit and marker)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 2, 2019. This page originally submitted on January 2, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 66 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on January 2, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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