Margie Smith honored for tenacious historic preservation work in Anaconda

Anacondans embittered by the 1980 closure of the company town’s lifeblood copper smelter anticipated a boisterous party when the towering stack became a heaping pile of rubble.

They wanted it gone. They wanted a divorce from the city’s industrial past. For those in the demolition camp, the stack represented arsenic and heavy metals, worker exploitation and cattle dying in the Deer Lodge Valley.

Margie and Pete Smith of Anaconda recently returned to Smelter Hill. They and others worked to save the stack from demolition when the rest of the copper smelter complex was razed. 

Duncan Adams, The Montana Standard

Margie Smith was not among them. Neither was her husband, Pete. Add Mike Finnegan, Bob Vine and a host of others who formed Anacondans to Preserve the Stack Committee in 1982.

For them, the 585-foot stack, completed in 1918, was a brick and mortar tribute to Anaconda’s rich heritage of hard-working immigrants and their kith and kin, of contributions to the nation’s growth and security, of union solidarity and strife.

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