Creating the Old and New Wests : landscape and identity in Anaconda and Hamilton, Montana

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science


This research employs case studies of Anaconda and Hamilton, Montana to explore the creation of the Old and New Wests. For nearly a century, Anaconda functioned as a copper smelting city. However, since the smelter closed the community has witnessed withering population losses, economic contraction, and investment withdrawal. Alternatively, Hamilton has a long history of recreational and leisure amenity investment. Recently, Hamilton's rapid population growth, economic expansion and considerable investment have transformed the community. This research seeks to understand and interpret the changes occurring in the contemporary Old and New Wests as well as to understand and interpret their historical geographic roots. By using the tools of cultural landscape analysis combined with the concept of place identity, this research argues that the shifting imprint of capital and the industrial and middle landscape ideals have been central forces in the creation of these distinctive modern regions.




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