Documenting the history of Black Eagle is critical, so when the BSCNHA learned that Dick Sloan, the last operations director for the Smelter had digital copies of photos from an old Smelter scrapbook - plus more from his personal collection - we asked Sloan if we could take his oral history.
He readily agreed, and has now given an extensive oral history of the closing of the smelter. He has also identified and cataloged the photographs from the scrapbook and those photos he has. These photos show the hardworking workers and the history of the Black Eagle smelting and refining operations.
We have since learned that the former River's Edge Trail Manager Doug Wicks gave the the original scrapbook to The History Museum, so we have now identified those photos.
Sloan is now employed by the MT Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and works closely with the Black Eagle Civic Club's Technical Advisory Group, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ARCO, and many other stakeholders to determine what ARCO needs to do to cleanup the Black Eagle Residential yards and eventually the smelter site itself.
The unedited film of Sloan's oral history will be given to the Cascade County Historical Society. We will work with Erin Schermele Films to provide a short (approximately 1 hour) film using highlights from each interview. Judy Ellinghausen, an archivist at the Cascade County Historical Society (dba The History Museum) is transcribing the interviews and creating a keyword index for researchers.
When the video is completed, the BSCNHA hopes to have Sloan discuss the work at The History Museum at one of their Second Saturday series. We will donate the video, transcription, archival digital photos, and raw interview footage to The History Museum. The BSCNHA thanks The History Museum for their support, providing museum space for the interview sessions and allowing us to use their transcription equipment.