Smelter history in brief
Following is a timeline noting the highlights of the history of the Anaconda smelter, of which its closure was announced 30 years ago this month.
June 26, 1883
- Anaconda city plat approved by Deer Lodge County commissioners. The first smelter, later called the Upper Works, is under construction.
March 14, 1889
- Anaconda's new 300- by 700-foot smelter building at Lower Works burns.
Jan. 2, 1894
- Butte, Anaconda & Pacific Railway hauls first ore to Anaconda smelter replacing Montana Union Railroad.
July 18, 1900
- Some 300 men are employed on building new smelter (the Washoe) southeast of Anaconda.
July 25, 1900
- Enough stone to build new smelter blown down in blast in German Gulch quarry.
Oct. 14, 1900
- Streetcar track being laid on Third Street to service (Washoe) smelter.
Nov. 12, 1900
- Marcus Daly dies in New York City.
Oct. 24, 1901
- First smoke comes from powerhouse stack of (Washoe) reduction works.
March 27, 1902
- Orders given to close smelter at Lower Works; new Washoe plant will soon be ready.
Oct. 22, 1903
- Washoe Smelter and other Amalgamated Copper Co. properties close idling about 20,000 Montana workers until governor calls a special session of the Legislature.
Nov. 3, 1903
- Most buildings at the Upper and Lower works have been torn down.
Dec. 17, 1905
- Record production at smelter. "The pillar of smoke that rises from the hill of the Washoe Smelters brings to the city, not death to vegetation and defacement but prosperity that makes happy homes and a contented community."
April 15, 1906
- Nine thousand tons of ore are passing through Washoe smelters every 24 hours.
- Smoke hearings are under way. Farmers say smelter smoke is damaging crops and livestock.
April 26, 1909
- Federal judge dismisses valley farmers "Smoke Case" seeking to shut down Washoe Smelter.
May 24, 1918
- Smelter manager Frederick Laist lays first brick of new stack at Washoe Smelter.
May 5, 1919
- First smoke comes from Washoe Smelter's Big Stack.
March 2, 1971
- Anaconda Co. announces $26 million construction program to increase production and improve environmental conditions at smelter.
Feb. 22, 1975
- Robert Weed, vice president of Anaconda Co., says 420 smelter employees will be laid off - says company is fighting for survival of Montana operations.
July 2, 1976
- Anaconda Co.-Atlantic Richfield merger announced.
Nov. 23, 1977
- The Arbiter Plant, Anaconda Co.'s hydro-metallurgical copper refinery in Anaconda will be shut down Dec. 9, 1977.
Nov. 7, 1979
- Two building projects under way at smelter - visitors' center and the industrial health, safety and security building.
May 30, 1980
- Town invited to grand opening of new visitors' center at smelter gate.
July 2, 1980
- Picket lines are up at smelter in nine-state strike against copper producers.
Sept. 29, 1980
- Anaconda Co. says smelter to close.
June 5, 1981
- Anaconda Co. donates visitors' center to Chamber of Commerce.
Oct. 20, 1982
- Cleveland Wrecking Co. begins work on smelter demolition.
Oct. 20, 1982
- Cleveland Wrecking begins demolition of Washoe Smelter.
Feb. 25, 1983
- Cleveland Wrecking says Big Stack will be demolished in August in time for the city's centennial.
July 10, 1984
- BA&P will suspend operations next year.