Carpenters Union Hall

Anaconda Commercial Historic District

Anaconda workers unionized early to promote their interests. The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Local 88 formed in Anaconda in 1889 with nine charter members. Its original bylaws committed the union to working “to replace the present wage system by cooperative industry.” It also authorized fining members who patronized Chinese businesses, a reflection of widespread prejudice. The Carpenters Union offered sick, funeral, and disability benefits and set and enforced wage rates, both with the Anaconda Company and with local builders. The local grew quickly—by 1904 it had seventy-four members in good standing. In 1903, it purchased this brick commercial building, constructed circa 1888. On July 1, 1905, the Carpenters invited friends to join them for a mortgage-burning, promising “just a little ceremony and a whole lot of good time,” including card playing, dancing, and “general jollification.” Other craft union locals met here—including the electrical workers, iron molders, laundry workers, machinists, clerks, waiters, and barbers—as did many ethnic fraternities. The hall suffered some fire damage in 1953, after an explosion in a neighboring building leveled most of the block.

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217 East Commercial, Anaconda, MT ~ Public