Ghost Town: Anaconda and the Smelter
Anaconda didn't get its name from the snake but from the giant Anaconda Mine in Montana. Anaconda was the home of a large copper smelter in Butte, Montana. At that time it had a population of over  nine thousand.

Anaconda, BC had two general stores, a bakery, assay office, shoemaker, law office, sawmill, four hotels and a newspaper (The Anaconda News) founded in 1900 and folded in 1908. The  post office operated from November 1, 1896 to July 1. 1915. The streets were named after English authors like Shakespeare,  Byron, and Milton while the avenues were named after American smelting centers like Butte, Tacoma, Denver, Everett, and Omaha.

Anaconda (not Greenwood as many people think) became the home of the BC Copper Smelter Co. The Smelter operated from 1901 to 1918. A West Kootenay Power substation was also located in Anaconda.

West Kootenay Power Substation
House in Anaconda with Stack in background
The Smelter
H.C. Walters of Spokane bought up several mining claims along Deadwood Creek, for his Great Northern Mining Company. In 1882 he hauled in a stamp mill and placed it along Boundary Creek between Boundary Falls and the mouth of Deadwood Creek. He then hauled ore from the American Boy property, crushed it, loaded it on mules and hauled it to the American Smelting and Refining Company in Tacoma, Washington. Walters gave it up when the market crashed on June 27th 1893.

In 1896 there were rumors of a railway to be built in the Boundary District. John Weir bonded the Mother Lode claim for $14,000 on behalf of the New York-based Boundary Mines Company. For the next couple of years ore was mined from the Mother Lode and waggoned three miles along Deadwood Creek and stockpiled on the banks of Boundary Creek.

L.W. Mayer of the Boundary Mines Company incorporated the British Columbia Copper Company. With $1 million capitalization, its objective was to buy out the Boundary Mines Company and build a smelter.  In 1899 The Columbia and Western Railway (CP) came through the Boundary through the new town of Greenwood. C&W also built a spur line from the smelter to the Mother Lode Mine a gain of a thousand feet.

On February 18th 1901 the first of two Allis-Chalmers stack furnaces was blown in. In June of 1902 the second furnace was fired up and that year the smelter treated 160,000 tons of ore. These furnaces were only capable of converting 45% pure copper "matte".

The rest had to be shipped to Granby Consolidated Company in nearby Grand Forks to be converted to 98% pure "blister" copper. The blister was then shipped to Balbach Smelting & Refining Company in Newark, New Jersey which extracted the gold and silver.  A converter was installed in 1904 which enabled the smelter to process 700 tons of ore from the Mother Lode Mine, which gave them little over a ton of blister. Power was supplied  to the smelter from Cascade Water Power and Light Company, with a substation at Phoenix. That year the smelter processed 210,500 tons of ore. After refining, the company produced $652,000 in copper, $728,000 in gold and $68,000 in silver. To ensure a steady supply of ore beyond that of the Mother Lode, the Anaconda operation acquired the Lone Star, Washington Mines, Emma, and the Oro Denoro up at Summit Camp on Phoenix Mountain. In 1906 the company removed the three old furnaces and replaced them with 700-ton per day units.

In the fall of 1907 the company stopped operations as North America slipped into a recession. On June 1st the company resumed operations and operated until the coal miners strike of 1909. In 1910 the smelter expanded the hearth size of two of it's furnaces increasing its capacity to 2500 tons of ore per day. Every day about 45,000 pounds of 99.3% pure blister copper was shipped to eastern refineries where up to 50 ounces of silver and 15 ounces of gold was produced out of every ton. The Mother Lode being the main producer to the smelter wasn't producing as much copper, so the company decided to drill some 4800 holes 15 feet down into the Mother Lode's main body and pack them with 40% powder and blasted it all at once. The result was a huge crater with 450,000 tones of shattered rock.

At the  start of the Great War in 1914 copper prices climbed from 12 cents per pound to 23 cents a pound. In 1917 work was halted at the Mother Lode as the company shifted their interest to Copper Mountain. As the War ended on November 11, 1918 the price for base metals dropped and on November 26th 1918 the B. C. Copper Company closed it's doors and sold it to Leon Lotzkar of Pacific Metals in Vancouver who salvaged the metal leaving the smelter floors and flues to be scavenged for precious metals by the Boundary Equipment Company.

Remains of the smelter
Inside the stack
The last load of slag started to harden when dumped (hell's bells)
Anaconda and the remains of the Smelter
Click here to watch a video on the Anaconda Smelter
The Golden Eagle Mine

The Golden  Eagle Mine is situated up the Granby River from Grand Forks. The Mine, dating back to 1898, consists of a shaft 147 feet deep and a crosscut tunnel  383 feet long. Production from 1900 to 1941 totaled 16 tons of copper, 180 lbs of silver, and 315 ounces of gold from a total of 1211 tons of ore. Ore was brought from the Mine with a car tram of 400 feet, then an air tram of 2200 feet down to the railway, which is now the North Fork Road.
View from the Golden Eagle Shaft
All hewed with an axe
Golden Eagle adit
Parts of the wood stove
This was a forged door latch. Note the barbs to keep it from coming out
Watch a video on the Golden Eagle and Camp
The Snoqualmie Falls Hydroelectric Plant is situated about 22 miles east of Seattle Washington. The power plant consists  of two power houses, Plant 1 and Plant 2.
Plant 1 is the first completely underground power plant ever built in the world. This plant was built in 1899 by Charles H. Baker. Plant 1 was built 270 feet below and about 300 feet behind the Snoqualmie Falls. The cavern where the plant is located is 200 feet long and 40 feet wide. The penstock, which supplies water to the underground plant, is 280 feet long and has a diameter of 7 feet. Water discharged from the plant is returned to the river below the falls via a 600 foot tunnel. Initially  Plant 1 housed four 1.5 MW generators. In 1905 a fifth generator of 5 MW was added.
Plant 2 is located a short distance downstream from the falls along the Snoqualmie River. A tunnel, which parallels the river, was built to a forebay which stores water before it is delivered to the plant. Two penstocks, which deliver water from the gatehouse to the plant, are about 500 feet long and have a diameter of 7 feet and 10 feet. Water is discharged from Plant 2 straight into the river. Plant 2 housed one 9MW generator and was commissioned in 1910. Throughout  the years Plant 2 was upgraded several times.
In 2010 Puget Sound Energy began a $200 million upgrade to the plant. The project included retrofitting all four generators and replacing the fifth  in Plant 1. A turbine-generator in Plant 2 was replaced. The weir was lowered to prevent flooding upstream.The penstocks were upgraded and automatic shutoff valves were installed in Plant 2. A new visitor center, hiking trails, and a boardwalk were installed to promote tourism and recreation. The entire project was completed in 2014. The plant now has a capacity of 53.9 MW.

Old Penstock
     Original Turbine installed in Plant 2 (1910)
Penstocks to plant 2  
Plant # 2
Relaxing in the river
      The Awesome Duo
by: Jaya Boychuk Pinratana
A video on the Snoqualmie Falls Hydroelectric Plant
Son Ranch is a small family run forestry operation that focuses on selective logging, custom milling and timber framing. They are located about half way between Grand Forks and Greenwood. You can't miss the sign. You can take a tour of the chainsaw museum, old logging equipment, wildflower gardens and old homestead timber frame barn. There is a lot of history of the Boundary/Kootenay area. They also have cabins that you can rent. A visit is worth while.
Check out this video on the Son Ranch
Snoqualmie Falls Hydroelectric Plant
Son Ranch Logging Musuem
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All Photos and text by: ©Vic Boychuk except when noted
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