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Believe it or not, this is a Montana State Park, the Anaconda Smoke Stack State Park. It is not open to the public and can be viewed only from a distance.

Built in 1919 as part of the Anaconda Smelter where the ore from the mines in nearby Butte was melted out of the rock, the stack stands 585 feet tall and has an inside diameter of 75 feet at the base and 60 feet at the top. It can be seen from a distance of 20 miles away, and for comparison sake, it stands 30 feet taller than the Washington Monument. It is the tallest free-standing masonry building in the world.

The mines closed down and the smelter was demolished in 1981, but the people of Anaconda started a drive to Save the Stack, and were successful. (A similar stack just outside Great Falls, Montana, was demolished when the mines closed.)

Taken 7/15/2010 in Anaconda, Montana.

Nikon D80 DSLR, Nikkor 16-85 mm wide angle/tele/zoom lens set at 85 mm.

ISO 100, f /5.6, 1/750 second.


history, mining, stack, montana, anaconda, smelter, state park, smoke stack

Born in Montana, raised in California, I’ve been holding a camera most of my life. I particularly love photographing the grand landscapes of the Pacific Northwest.

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  • debbiedoda
    debbiedodaabout 4 years ago

    It looks mighty standing there.

  • It’s an amazing structure, and I don’t think any photograph can really do it justice. (Especially since we’re not allowed to get very close to it.)

    – Bryan D. Spellman

  • David Davies
    David Daviesabout 4 years ago

    Once upon a time……..

  • Indeed. Somehow the hymn Jerusalem comes to mind—dark satanic mills and all that.

    – Bryan D. Spellman

  • CeePhotoArt
    CeePhotoArtabout 4 years ago

    Beautiful. The train put the stack in perspective. It’s tall!!!

  • Thanks, Cee. Actually, not only is it taller and wider than the Washington Monument, some authorities claim the Monument would fit inside this smokestake with room to spare.

    – Bryan D. Spellman

  • Donna Ridgway
    Donna Ridgwayabout 4 years ago

  • Terry J Cyr
    Terry J Cyrabout 4 years ago

    I have driven by this for year and had no idea of it’s actual history. Thanks for the insight.

  • Thank you, Terry. Actually, we lived in Butte at a time when the mines were still underground and the smokestack was in full use—probably before you were born. ;-)

    – Bryan D. Spellman

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