Northport Smelter 1897 - 1910
The smelter begins operations in January of 1898.
The Northport Mining and Smelting Co. incorporates in 1898 and purchases The LeRoi smelter in 1899.
There are now two smokestacks and smoke from the ore heaps behind the two large buildings housing the furnaces is seen.
photo: Thomas H. Elsom
Eastern WA State Historical Society
A slideshow of smelter scenes
By 1901 the smelter has expanded. A third smokestack, at 175 feet tall, is added. Due to a strike, the company reorganizes as the Northport Smelting and Refining Co. chartered in Idaho. The company provides housing for its workers, seen in the foreground, on smelter grounds, locking out the strikers.
Note the black slag effluent building up along the shore.
The two water tanks on the hillside on the left supply the smelter and the town of Northport with water from Deep Creek.
photo by F. L. Ransome USGS
photo by A. A. Tripp
By 1904 a fourth smokestack is added. The roast piles in the lower part of the picture are described in a Spokesman-Review April 16, 1900 newspaper article.
"The smelter smoke again hangs over Northport. The open roast heaps have been lighted and the familiar disinfectant and antitoxic sulphur fumes again fill the air. Under the method employed at the Northport smelter when the ore first comes to the smelter it is crushed somewhat finer than lump coal. Then great heaps of thousands of tons of it are piled on a layer of rotten wood and bark about two feet thick. the fuel is then saturated with coal oil and lighted. The wood burns away in a few hours, but the sulfur in the ore has been ignited and burns for weeks without further attention.
It is estimated that several tons of commercial sulphur are freed here each month this way. The smoke is not agreeable and is injurious to some people. It has merits, however, as Northport has been almost entirely free from contagious diseases since the smelter was put in operation. Vegetation can not stand the fumes and grass, flowers and trees shrivel up and die wherever the smoke reaches them."
 W. W. MacHenry