The iconic Washington Monument would fit inside the Anaconda Smelter Stack.

Montana doesn't have many tall buildings. The tallest is the First Interstate Bank building in downtown Billings, which reaches 272 feet. The DoubleTree Hotel (home to our studios on the 23rd floor) is the second tallest building in the state at 245 feet. We covered how many bricks it took to construct HERE.

Credit Zane Siple via YouTube
Credit Zane Siple via YouTube

The tallest structure in Montana is not a building.

If you have never seen the Anaconda Smelter Stack in person, it's mind-bendingly big. At 585 feet, it's over 200 feet taller than the tallest building in Montana. It's the tallest brick structure in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Photo by Steven Cordes on Unsplash (L), Canva (R)
Anaconda Stack/Washington Monument. Photo by Steven Cordes on Unsplash (L), Canva (R)

The Anaconda Stack is 30 feet taller than the Washington Monument.

The giant smokestack is also wider than the Washington Monument, measuring 75 feet in diameter at the ground and tapering to 60 feet at the top. By comparison, the Monument is 55 feet at the bottom. It would fit inside the Anaconda Stack with plenty of room to spare.

Anaconda Smelter Stack towers above the valley. Credit Mark Wilson, TSM
The Anaconda Smelter Stack towers above the valley. Credit Mark Wilson, TSM

A remnant of Montana's mining heydey.

The smelter operated from 1919 to 1980. Guinness wrote, "it was designed to handle an estimated 3 million cubic feet of exhaust gases per minute from around the site (which burned several hundred tons of coal per day)." Environmental regulations weren't much of a thing back then, and the huge brick stack emitted dangerous levels of arsenic into the air and surrounding area for decades.

Look, but don't touch.

Declared a Superfund sight in 1983, all the original buildings and infrastructure around the Stack were removed. A campaign by locals helped save the structure and it's now a Montana State Park. Visitors must look from a distance; the site is still deemed too unhealthy to explore up close. The drone footage above is worth a view, especially as it zooms above the top of the stack.

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