Anaconda Commercial Historic District
Backed by the powerful San Francisco syndicate of Hearst, Haggin and Tevis, Marcus Daly built the world’s largest smelter (combined upper and lower works) on Warm Springs Creek between 1883 and 1889. Along with the smelters, Daly envisioned a substantial city and filed the original townsite plat June 25, 1883. While smelter construction got underway that summer, people arrived faster than building supplies. The first boarding houses and saloons opened in tents. A railroad spur soon linked the town to the Anaconda Mine in Butte. By the time the furnaces of the Upper Works fired up in the fall of 1884, Anaconda’s 80 buildings included seven hotels and boarding houses and twelve saloons. At the end of 1885, Anaconda’s reduction works had a payroll of 1,700. The Anaconda Copper Mining Company dominated the local economy. Company subsidiaries built and maintained the city water supply, electric power system, and street railway. Daly and his associates established key commercial enterprises including the major bank, retailer D. J. Hennessy’s local company store, a race track, the highly acclaimed Montana Standard, and the Montana Hotel. Modeled after New York City’s Hoffman House, this premier hotel represented Daly’s political ambition as he promoted Anaconda in the race for state capital. Daly was bitterly disappointed when the city lost the capital race in 1894, but Anaconda survived as a vibrant piece of the Montana mosaic. Significant for its labor history and ethnic diversity, this unique company town was a place where private enterprise also flourished. Elaborate Victorian-era business blocks and the more utilitarian façades of the early twentieth century are testimony to a vigorous business community.