In 1882, a rich copper vein was discovered in Butte by Copper King, Marcus Daly. As part of the mining process, a smelter was needed to refine the copper ore. An area only 25 miles west and north of the ore body with adequate space and an abundant water supply, was chosen for the smelter site. By 1883, the city of Anaconda was planned and quickly grew alongside Daly’s Anaconda Mining Company.
After the smelter operations ceased in 1980, the community was faced with the environmental and public health impacts of over 100 years of smelting. In 1983, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) placed Anaconda-Deer Lodge County on the National Priorities List (NPL), also known as Superfund.
Despite these challenges, Anaconda-Deer Lodge County provided the leadership necessary for the community to not only survive, but once again thrive. Today, residents take pride in the unique, charming character of their community, and the crucial role its history played in the national mining era.