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Saturday, July 11, 2015


Mystery thing near Warm Springs, Montana. It's five and a half miles away from me on I-90.
On our way East to Iowa a couple of weeks ago, about two hours out of Missoula, I spied this thing. What the heck is it? It's a ways away, so it has got to be big. It looks kind of like a smokestack, but there is nothing else there. I know! It's a monolith, left here by ancient aliens! We're saved! Oh hallelujah! Now wait a minute bucky, there might be a more prosaic explanation.

Anaconda Smelter. C. 1950
A week later, on our way home, we stopped overnight in Butte, with dinner at the Montana Club. I'm wandering around after dinner and I notice this picture hanging on the wall. Golly gee, could that be the same alien monolith we saw on our way east? Yes, it could, and no, it's not an artifact of an ancient civilization. It is the smokestack from the Anaconda Smelter that used to be in Anaconda, Montana, just down the road from Warm Springs. The smelter was demolished in 1981, but the stack was saved. It is nearly 600 feet tall. The Washington Monument would easily fit inside.

"Montana Mosaic: The Rise and Fall of the Anaconda Copper Mining Company" (2006)

    Anaconda built Montana. They were an industrial powerhouse. The Anaconda company is gone from the state, but the poisonous legacy of it's mining operations remains. Montana has the largest EPA superfund site.

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