The Tallest Masonry Structure In The World Is Here In Southwest Montana
Completed in 1919, the old Anaconda Copper Company smelter stack is one of the tallest free-standing brick structures in the world at 585 feet. At the time of construction, the stack was the tallest masonry, brickwork structure, and chimney of any kind in the world, and it remains the world’s tallest surviving masonry structure.
It is so large that the ENTIRE Washington Monument would fit inside the Smelter stack.
The Washington Monument is 555 feet tall, and 55 feet wide at its base. The Smelter Stack is 76 feet in diameter at the bottom, and it narrows to 60 feet at the top.
60 feet doesn’t sound like much, but it is the distance from the pitcher’s mound to home plate. It Is also the length of a bowling lane.
Each of the white ‘HOLLYWOOD’ letters is 49 feet tall. You could stack 11 of them vertically and still not get to the top of the Anaconda Smelter Stack. Needless to say, the stack dominates the landscape in Anaconda, Montana.
The stack was designed to discharge exhaust gasses from the various smelting and roasting furnaces at the Anaconda smelter, The smelter had a large network of flues (a duct for smoke and waste gasses) from the different furnaces that fed the main flue, which carried them over a half-mile up the hill to the stack.
The Washoe Smelter was closed in 1980 and later demolished, but the stack remains. The stack is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and can be viewed from a distance (and on rare occasions, up close and personal, more on that in a moment) The Anaconda Smoke Stack State Park can be visited in Anaconda, MT, where you will find interpretive signs that detail a deeper history. The viewing site is near Goodman Park.
Also, there are rare occasions when the Friends of the Anaconda Stack offer tours of the stack, mainly during Smeltermen’s Day celebrations. They will be offering those tours again this year on August 5th and 6th, and you can find out more on their Facebook page.
There is an incredible amount of history linking Anaconda and Butte, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone when you learn that the first paved ‘highway’ in Montana was from Butte (the mines) to Anaconda (the smelter). More on that HERE.
You can also learn more about the Anaconda Smoke Stack State Park HERE.