About

Anaconda Deer Lodge County, Montana

Anaconda Deer Lodge County is a county located in Montana with a population of over 10,000 residents. The county area spans 741 square miles and is characterized by densely timbered forestlands, lakes, mountains and recreation grounds. The county has common borders with Beaverhead, Butte-Silver Bow, Granite, Jefferson and Powell counties. It has a consolidated city-county government with the county seat being Anaconda. The median income for a household in the county is $26,305, and the median income for a family is estimated at $36,158.Deer Lodge got its name from what is now called the Warm Springs Mound, a 40 foot tall geological formation that has built up over the centuries from deep earth hot water bubbling to the surface and depositing minerals around a vent. The Springs Mound could be seen from a great distance, and thus became a notable landmark for the regional Indian hunting parties as well as for white fur traders and trappers who came later to the region. When the air temperature was cool, a cloud of steam rose from the peak of the mound making it look like a giant Indian lodge with campfire smoke. Since the thermal waters kept the grasses green around the base of the mound, whitetail deer made it a favorite grazing area, and used the mineral deposits as a saltlick. The Indians called the mound “the lodge of the white-tailed deer” which became “Deer Lodge” by settlers. The town of Deer Lodge was originally called both “Cottonwood” and “Spanish Fork,” but was renamed “Deer Lodge” in 1864 because it was located in the middle of the Deer Lodge Valley with the Deer Lodge River running through it. Deer Lodge County was incorporated in 1865 as one of the original eight counties in the newly formed Territory of Montana, and the city of Deer Lodge became the county seat.

In 1883, miner Marcus Daly built a smelter in what later became the city of Anaconda. Anaconda’s population quickly exceeded that of Deer Lodge and in an 1897 election, Anaconda became the county seat of Deer Lodge County. In 1901, the citizens of the city of Deer Lodge County waged a battle to split the county and have Anaconda become the county seat of Daly County with Deer Lodge becoming the county seat of Deer Lodge County. However, the War of the Copper Kings (between Marcus Daly and William Andrews Clark) was in full force during that time and the State Supreme Court ruled that Anaconda was the county seat of Deer Lodge County; Deer Lodge chose the name of Powell county.

From 1885 to 1980, the smelter was one of the town’s largest employers and provided well-paid jobs for generations. After a century of copper smelting, the Anaconda Company closed its operations in 1980. Since then, an operation for environmental cleanup was put into place by the EPA and executed with the assistance of ARCO, resulting in the formation of a Jack Nicholas signature golf course. Golf, skiing, fishing and hunting (hundreds of miles of hunting available to the public including bear, mountain lion, elk, deer, foul and moose) are popular pasttimes in the region.