“Hecla Consolidated Mining Company Smelter at Glendale”
AKA – HCMC SMELTER AT GLENDALE IN PICTURES





 

Please enjoy the story of the Smelter and the photographs below.
                                                                       Your IOGR Staff


This introduction to the brief history of the HCMC (Hecla Consolidated Mining Company) is paraphrased from an article published in the May 7, 1878 edition of the Butte Daily Miner.

        “In 1873 a company was organized in Indiana under the firm name of Armstrong, Atkins & Co., for the purpose of mining and the discovery of new mines in Montana Territory. They secured the services of B. S. Har¬vey and Dr. S. C. Day as prospectors. The prospectors were successful beyond the expectation of the company, having discovered large bodies of free milling and smelting ores on and around Lion Mountain that became known as the Bryant mining district. In 1874, a new company was organized for the purpose of smelting the ores from the above new discovered mines, under the firm name of Dahler, Armstrong & Co. Now the query was, where the furnace should be located. Rock Creek was first selected, it being about one mile below Darling, but on second thought this site was chosen. The next question was what should the place be called? The men building the road to Lion Mountain, in derision of the pilgrims occupying the place, called it "Soonerville," and posted up mile stakes saying, "One mile from Soonerville," but the pilgrims paid them back in their own coin, by naming the canon they occupied "Sucker Gulch," which name has "stuck" ever since. In naming this place one of the party selected Clifton, and another, Glendale, and as neither were willing to give way to the other, it was proposed that the words Clifton be written on one side of a chip and Glendale on the other, and it be then thrown over the walls of the assay office, and the name found uppermost should be the name of the camp. It was done and the child was call¬ed Glendale, and on the arrival of the machinery, work commenced in good ear¬nest. The next year both companies were consolidated, under the incorporated name of Hecla Consolidated Mining Co., with its chief office at Indianapolis, Ind., with H. R. Allen, President, E. C. Atkins, Secretary and general agent; Matthew Baird, of Philadelphia, Penn., as Treasurer and Noah Armstrong, Man¬aging Superintendent, at this place. The Treasurer having died in April of that year, his son, C. 0. Baird, was appointed to fill his unexpired term.”

 

HAND SHAKING GROUP AT MILL SITE

Shaking Hands

Dahler, Armstrong & Company filed on this site for their smelter on August 10, 1874. It was recorded on the 28th inst. at Bannack, the Territorial Capital at the time. As depicted in this early photo at Glendale, a hand shaking ceremony believed to include Noah Armstrong founder of Glendale and partner Charles L. Dahler along with a few of their workers as they express agreement to the mill site location and progress of the construction of their first smelter. (Photographer was O.C. Bundy circa 1875.)

 

 

EARLIEST PHOTO OF THE BREWERY BUILDING, DOWN THE GULCH

BREWERY


Progress has been made on the erection of the smelter, complete with smoke stack. In the foreground, the earliest commercial establishment, the Mannheim Brewery also is progressing nicely. John Mannheim was not a new comer, he arrived in Montana Territory in 1862, first situated at Bannack, then followed the rush to Virginia City in 1864. Upon learning of the new silver strikes in the Bryant District and that Dahler and Armstrong planned a reduction plant to be located somewhere on the lower part of the gulch, he joined in at once and established the first eatery and brewery in what was to be known as Glendale. (Photographer was O.C. Bundy circa 1875.)

 

 

SKETCH OF THE BREWERY from Leeson's History of Montana, 1885

sketch of brewery


The precise detail of this illustration in Leeson’s History of Montana published in 1885 is remarkable. It was noted then as being operated by Louis Heinbockle. Built by John Mannheim in 1875, it was later sold to Frank Gilg in June of 1878. Gilg sold to Louis Heinbockel and his brother-in-law Frank Sidell in late 1879 or early 1880. In 1884 Frank Schultz, in partnership with Albert Gamer, purchased it from Heinbockel. Schultz & Gamer put Peter Wagner in charge of the daily operations. Later, Gamer sold his interest in the brewery, at which time Schultz brought in Jacob Schoenaur to serve as head brew master. Tragically on July 4, 1887, late into the night, following all of the local celebrations, fire broke out in the brewery and completely consumed the structure. It wasn’t until the fire had cooled down that the worst fears were realized, Jacob Schoenauer had perished in the blaze. This was not the first evidence that the “Company’s” water supplied fire suppression system was not to be relied upon. Several major conflagrations occurred over the years and were total losses.

 

VIEW LOOKING OVER THE EARLY MILL SITE FROM THE HILLSIDE ABOVE THE SOUTH OF THE MILL

View from hillside above mill

 

smelter2


From the hill south of the mill site and looking to the northwest, this view showing the Dahler and Armstrong Company smelter at Glendale. Clearly in operation while workers paused for this photo. The company office and assay building is the two story white looking building in right center of photo. The white wagon parked next to it is the traveling photo gallery of O.C. Bundy, to whom the credit for these early images is given. The brewery is the building at the far left in the photo. (Photographer was O.C. Bundy circa 1875.)

 

 

THE SMELTER VIEW LOOKING UP TRAPPER CREEK CANYON

Smelter looking toward Trapper Creek

Dahler, Armstrong & Company continued to enlarge and equip their smelter at Glendale to achieve greater efficiency and profitability. This image reflects a much expanded smelter equipped with a couple water jacket cupola furnaces, one reverbatory furnace and another being built, a couple of 40 ton stamp mills and a roaster oven, all purchased from the Fraser, Chambers & Co. out of Chicago, Illinois. (Circa. 1877)

The need for these modernizations required much additional capitalization. In order to accomplish this Armstrong and Atkins interested additional investors from Indiana and Pennsylvania to come on board by virtue of chartering a new company. They selected the name of this company to be the “Hecla Consolidated Mining Company,” but would become known mostly as “the HCMC” or just “the Company.” Under the auspices of this new corporation the company known as Atkins, Armstrong & Company was acquired through stock options, of which Noah Armstrong and Elias Atkins become the two largest stockholders in the new venture. Armstrong continued on as the superintendent for the company and continued to develop the smelter and acquire additional mining properties capable of sustaining sufficient raw material to keep the smelter in operation. By late 1878 there appeared to be a “rift” in the consensus of the board members concerning management of their interests in the mines out west. Recent revelations would strongly suggest that one who would later stand to gain much reward, likely played a role in the “fuel for the fire” in the rift. At any rate by the end of the year, Elias Atkins took over as the general agent for the company and assumed charge of the day to day operations of the smelter and all mining operations.

Tragically this facility burned to the ground in July of 1879 rendering the entire plant as inoperable. Realizing that the company had not yet reached anywhere near the potential profits to be found in the district, the company chose to begin immediately in rebuilding their smelter. The mining operations were to continue while this occurred.

 

THE COMPLETION OF THE BRIGHT AND SHINY NEW HCMC SMELTER

smelter 6


Erection of the new smelter resulted in a much larger facility with even greater production potential. It was completed and put into complete operation in the spring of 1880, on the same site as the first smelter that burned to the ground the year before. Elias C. Atkins was still the superintendent and general agent for the HCMC during this time.

smelter 6A

 

Smelter B

 

selter

 

ANOTHER VIEW OF THE SMELTER WITH THE FOLKS LOOKING ON

smelter 7


The new and expanded operations at Glendale and the continued expansion of the mines on Lion Mountain generated much interest from the local folks and on occasions called for special visits as can be seen here. Considering the attire of some of the visitors, this was one of those occasions. The pipe coming off of the hillside to the left was part of the water source flowing into the smelter providing it’s much needed power source. Eventually it was used also as a fire suppression system for the upper part of the village as well. (Photographer was Henry W. Brown circa 1882)

 

 

VIEW OF WORKER TENDING TO THE POTS ON ONE OF THE ROASTERS INSIDE THE SMELTER

smelter man


An unidentified smelter-man tends to a caldron inside the smelter. The ore has become separated at this point, notice the bullion bars stacked in the left side of the photo. The “waste” or “slag” having been separated from the valuable minerals in the ore, is now collected in these heavy leaded kettles and removed to the dump site. Many of these caldrons were used in the process as can be seen in the other views of the lower, rear section of the mill site.

 

FROM SOUTH HILL LOOKING N/W OVER THE SMELTER AT SUPER’S RESIDENCE

Smelter with Supervisor's house


Over the next few years, increased demand by the stockholders, resulted in even greater expansion to the mill. Visible in this image are all three furnaces in place and a large reverbatory or roaster furnace has been attached to the main plant. Also it can be noted here the area known as Highland Park in the upper left of the image has continued to grow. The white residential structure immediately to the left of the tallest smoke stack is the residence provided the George B. Conway. Conway arrived with Knippenberg in April 1881 to serve as the company bookkeeper and cashier. He and his family lived in this residence until about 1892 at which time he moved his family into a larger home a bit higher up Park street in Highland Park. The structure then underwent major renovation and was transformed into the residence provided for HCMC superintendent Henry Knippenberg and his family. From then on it was known to the local folks as the “Knippenberg mansion” although was solely owned by the company all the time they resided in it. (Photographer was Henry W. Brown circa 1882)

 

FROM THE IOGR COLLECTION SAME DESCRIPTION, GOOD FOCUS SHOWING THE NEW SUPER’ RESIDENCE

smelter 11


Here looking from the south hill over the top of the smelter, another excellent view of the company superintendents new or greatly remodeled residence. It is just left of the tallest stack. This was home for the Kippenberg family during their brief periods of residency in Glendale. (Photographer was Henry W. Brown circa 1894)

 


IMAGE OF THE ASSAY OFFICE BUILDING AND THE CHARCOAL BARN AT EXTREME RIGHT AND CENTER.

smelter 12


This view is looking to the northwest from the hill just south of and behind the smelter. Notice the L shaped stone structure in left center part of the picture, which housed the assay office and business office for the company. The large building seen just above the smelter from the right border to the center of the image is the huge charcoal barn. A tremendous amount of charcoal was required to maintain the temperatures needed in the smelting process. The cord wood used to convert to charcoal was supplied by the hundreds of “wood cutters” contracted for that purpose. (Photographer was Henry W. Brown circa 1882)

 

CHARCOAL KILNS AT HECLA SMELTER (GLENDALE)

Kilns at Glendale


In order to achieve the sustained temperatures necessary in the smelting process of the new smelter, the need for coal or charcoal became paramount. To meet that need the Company built two kilns for the purpose of burning cord wood into charcoal. It was reported in the June 1, 1876 edition of the Butte Miner, in the Glendale & Trapper column the following: "Glendale is improving quite rapidly this spring. Some seven or eight houses are now in the course of erection. Armstrong, Dahler & Co. have already built this spring two large charcoal kilns and contemplate erecting two more if these prove a success. They are also building a large roasting furnace for roasting ores. They intend to start their smelter this week.” Demand grew rapidly until eventually kilns were added on Canyon Creek, on upper Trapper Creek and in Sucker gulch. Even then there were times the company had to ship charcoal in from as far away as Pennsylvania. Eventually, the cost to produce the charcoal was matched or beaten by the coal companies of Pennsylvania and coal was then shipped in by rail to the terminus at Melrose and hauled to the smelter by wagons.

 

 

JERKLINES LINED UP AT THE WEIGH OFFICE

jerklines


Here we can see empty ore wagons “clearing” the weigh master and preparing to head back up the canyon to the Greenwood concentrator for another load of “high grade.” Note that five team jerk lines totaling ten head of stock, are being used to move those wagons when loaded. Greenwood was located a few miles up the canyon between the mines and Glendale. At the far left the tram or bridge connecting the charcoal barn and the smelter can be seen. The stone building is the HCMC office building.

 

 

CATWALK WRECK BETWEEN CHARCOAL BARN AND SMELTER BUILDING

tram bridge


Here can be seen the same tram bridge as seen in the previous photo, only now it is collapsed on top of the wagon being pulled by a team of 10 head of horses. The calamity resulted from an overzealous teamster at the rein or a spooked horse in the team. The object is the remains of the catwalk or tram bridge that connected the charcoal barn on the north side of the street to the smelter on the south side of the main street. In a letter to the board of directors in Indianapolis, Knippenberg wrote that his assessment of the damage was that money would be saved by removing the material and rebuild as new. He added that he would utilize the remains of the lumber for construction of a bridge across Trapper Creek just below the smelter for convenience in traveling to the cemetery over on the hill.

 


IMAGE OF KNIPPENBERG AND GUESTS IN FRONT OF THE COMPANY OFFICE

Knippenberg


Henry Knippenberg shown here on the left with the reins to the team in hand and a couple of guests preparing for a trip up the mountains to inspect the operations. It likely was not an outing for the pleasure of it due the attire required to stay warm. The gentleman on the right, who is quite large in stature, could be Henry Kappes, a cousin of Knippenberg, who also worked for their company in various capacities from time to time. In a description published in a local paper, Mr. Kappes was described as being very large and robust in appearance.

 


1910 VIEW DISMANTLING OF THE SMELTER

smelter 1910


The depletion of quality grade ore throughout the mining district and the devastating impact on the silver market as a result of the Sherman-Act signaled the end of an era as the Bryant Mining District abruptly came to an end by around 1903. This view shows the progress of dismantling the once wealth producing facility that amassed fortunes for a hand full of folks from the east, mainly Indianapolis, Indiana. Several attempts over the following generations to reclaim the luster once prevalent in Trapper Gulch were never to be realized. A few concerns enjoyed modest successes but the big boom was over.

 

AFTER THE FALL; FROM HIGH UP ON THE SOUTH HILL LOOKING AT WHAT USED TO BE

above smelter


Many years after Glendale was a boom town, still visible are many of the scars left behind by the hundreds of folks that sought their fortunes at the beck and call of a handful of investors from the east. Not everyone left however, hundreds of descendents from these early day pioneers and settlers remain within a rather short radius of where this photograph was taken.

 


menmenmen

Thank you for enjoying a litte pictoral history of our smelter. Many men worked very hard to make a living for their families for the Hecla Consoldated Mining Company. We thank them as well.

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