Anaconda Smelter Stack

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Anaconda Copper Mining Company Smoke Stack
Anaconda Stack cropped.png
Anaconda Stack northwest side
Location Anaconda, Montana
Nearest city Butte, Montana
Coordinates 46°6′36.08631″N 112°54′49.51520″W / 46.1100239750°N 112.9137542222°W / 46.1100239750; -112.9137542222[1]
Built 1918
Architect Alphons Custodus Chimney Constr. Co.
NRHP Reference # 87000607
Added to NRHP April 9, 1987

The Anaconda Smelter Stack is a brick smoke stack, once part of the smelter of the Anaconda Copper Mining Company at Anaconda, Montana in the United States. The stack is 585 feet 1 12 inches (178.346 m) tall, excluding its foundation.[note 1] The stack contains 2,464,652 locally manufactured perforated tile bricks, each averaging 2.7 times larger by volume than the size of a normal brick.[5] The lowest 80 feet (24 m) is octagonal in cross section while the rest is circular. The vertices of the octagon point to the cardinal and intercardinal directions, north, northeast, east, etc., while its sides face the secondary-intercardinal directions, north-northeast, east-northeast, etc. Two large rectangular openings are in the octagonal portion, both slightly smaller than a side, on the east-southeast and south-southwest sides.[6] Its circular portion is encircled by many large steel rods for reinforcement. The concrete foundation is stated to be 30 feet (9.1 m) tall,[5] but that is its maximum height on its south-southeast side (it is much shorter on the opposite side).[7] The inside diameter of the stack is 75 ft (23 m) at the bottom and 60 ft (18 m) at the top. The wall thickness ranges from six feet at the bottom to two feet at the top.

After the concrete foundation was completed in May 1918, construction of the stack began on May 23, 1918 and was completed on November 30, 1918.[5] It was built by the Alphons Custodis Chimney Construction Company of New York.[8] At the time it was built, it was the tallest masonry, brickwork structure and chimney of any kind in the world and it remains the world's tallest and possibly largest free-standing masonry structure.[9] The Washington Monument would easily fit inside. It is commonly referred to as 'The Stack' and is a well-known landmark in western Montana.

The stack was designed to discharge exhaust gases from the various roasting and smelting furnaces at the smelter. The stack is situated just below the top of a hill. The smelter had a large network of exhaust flues from the furnaces that all fed a main flue. The main flue carried the combined smelter exhaust gases a half-mile up the hill to the stack. The flue system and stack combined to provide a natural draft to carry the smelter exhaust gases, and it was claimed to be capable of handling three to four million cubic feet per minute of gas.[4]

The Anaconda Smelter was demolished after its closure in 1981. The stack alone, however, remains standing because the citizens of Anaconda organized to “Save the Stack,” and in 1986 it was designated a state park.[10] The park is known as Anaconda Smoke Stack State Park.[11] The park has two parts: the viewing/parking area just east of the town of Anaconda and the smoke stack which is about 1.2 miles (1.9 km) southeast of the viewing area. Although the site 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 metal arsenic as well as copper, cadmium, lead and zinc.[12]

Stack within a stained glass window 
Top of stack 
Stack in 1920 
Stack in 2007 

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Two sources[2][3] add 1 12 inches (3.8 cm) to the rounded height of 585 feet (178 m) specified by most sources.[4]


  1. ^ National Geodetic Survey datasheet RX0934 converted from NAD83 to WGS84 via NGS Horizontal Time-Dependent Positioning
  2. ^ Reverse of postcard with 1 cent postage (1940)
  3. ^ Anaconda Smelter Stack State Park
  4. ^ a b The Anaconda Reduction Works (July 1920 ed.). Anaconda Copper Mining Company. 1920. p. 41. 
  5. ^ a b c "TALLEST - Brick Smokestack in the World - Anaconda, MT".  Contains the words of a plaque at the state park detailing its construction.
  6. ^ National Register of Historic Places – Anaconda Copper Mining Company Smoke Stack three good photos
  7. ^ merekrermka (August 14, 2013). "Anaconda Smelter Stack". 
  8. ^ Kidder-Parker Architects' and Builders' Handbook (18th ed.). John Wiley & Sons. 1931. p. 1714. 
  9. ^ Kelly, John (June 19, 2013). "Local: The Washington Monument is tall, but is it the tallest?". Washington Post. Retrieved December 26, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Montana Place Names from Alzada to Zortman". Montana Historical Society Press. 
  11. ^ "Anaconda Smoke Stack State Park". 
  12. ^ Superfund Site: Anaconda Co. Smelter, Anaconda, MT

External links[edit]

Media related to Anaconda Smelter Stack at Wikimedia Commons

Preceded by
Ruston Smelter Stack
World's tallest chimney
178.3 m (585 ft)

Succeeded by
Lead Smelter Chimney of American Smelting and Refining Co, Selby, California, USA

Coordinates: 46°06′36.58″N 112°54′48.92″W / 46.1101611°N 112.9135889°W / 46.1101611; -112.9135889