Following is a
timeline noting the highlights of the history of the Anaconda
smelter, of which its closure was announced 30 years ago this
- June 26, 1883 —
Anaconda city plat approved by Deer Lodge County commissioners. The
first smelter, later called the Upper Works, is under
- March 14, 1889
— Anaconda’s new 300- by 700-foot smelter building at Lower Works
- 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
- Oct. 14, 1900 —
Streetcar track being laid on Third Street to service (Washoe)
- Nov. 12, 1900 —
Marcus Daly dies in New York City.
- Oct. 24, 1901 —
First smoke comes from powerhouse stack of (Washoe) reduction
- 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
- 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.
- June 1906 —
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
- 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
- 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
- July 2, 1980 —
Picket lines are up at smelter in nine-state strike against copper
- Sept. 29, 1980
— Anaconda Co. says smelter to close.
- June 5, 1981 —
Anaconda Co. donates visitors’ center to Chamber of
- Oct. 20, 1982 —
Cleveland Wrecking Co. begins work on smelter
- 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.