By the spring of 1889, just a few short months after the smelter opened, 200 ton of ore per day was coming from Coeur d' Alene, Idaho. Once the Belt Mountain Branch line, which was built by James Hill, was completed in about 1890, ore came from the Neihart and the Hughesville/Barker areas, which were located about 50 miles south of Great Falls. In the beginning, the train ran daily to Neihart, hauling ore to Great Falls, but by 1892, the train ran only three times a week.
Belt Mountain Branch Line
This trestle was located two miles north of Belt. It was 147' high and contained 1,499,000' of lumber.
the early days, the roasters were fired with coal primarily from Sand Coulee;
however, during most of the life of the plant, coal was supplied from the
Livingston Coke and Coal Company.
The charcoal used for for the blast furnaces was burned at a small group of kilns on Prickly Pear Creek, near Wolf Creek.
In the beginning, the coke came from Connellsville, Pennsylvania, but was later supplied by the Livingston Coke and Coal Company.
Limestone came form the vicinity of Albright and Riceville, which were located about halfway between Belt and Neihart.
Click to learn about the significance of the Sluice Boxes area
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