Recollections of a Vanished Era in Montana PDF Print E-mail
Written by Leroy W. Demery, Jr.   
Thursday, 01 December 2011 00:00
By Leroy W. Demery, Jr.

We came across an interesting narrative of life in the (former) smelter town of Anaconda, Montana. The excerpt below is from a Facebook page titled “Anaconda Streetcars.” The writer, “Lorene,” describes a childhood experience during the years immediately following World War II.

First, a bit of background: Copper ore, mined in nearby Butte, was smelted at Anaconda from 1883. The Washoe (or “new”) smelter southeast of town was opened in 1902 and became the the world’s largest non-ferrous metal processing facility. The Anaconda smelter was closed in 1980 and demolished. The location is now a large “Superfund” cleanup site. The single remaining structure is the huge smelter chimney (known locally as “the stack”).

The Anaconda Street Railway was built to provide transportation to the smelter, and opened on September 1, 1890. The Opportunity line, described below, was opened in 1915 to serve a residential community southeast of Anaconda. This was built by the mining company for employees who wished to live away from the bars, bordellos and smelter-generated pollution of Anaconda.

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