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Ward Charcoal Ovens Historical  State Park by Arla M. Ruggles

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Ward Charcoal Ovens Historical State Park by 

Ward Charcoal Ovens – Nevada State Park

Featured in
Preserving History
Steptoe Valley Photographers’ Association
Bricks, Blocks, Tiles and Mosaics

_Making Charcoal:_
The charcoal making process took a total of 13 days and 35 cords of wood, from the time each oven was filled, burned, then emptied. The wood was hauled by wagons or hand carts to the front of the oven, and the process of layering the wood inside the overn began. Once it w was filled as high as possible using the front door, the wagons or handcrts were moved to a platform on the back side of the oven. The platform was level with the window above, and the layering process was completed. Both openings were then closed off with iron doors, and the wood was set on fire. In September of 1879 the platform burnt to the ground.

Around the bottom of each oven were three rows of air vents. These were used to control the rate at which the wood would burn. During the first 3 to 4 days the two lower rows were blocked off with rocks or bricks, leaving the top row open. The smoke was watched to make sure the wood was burning at the desired rate. At first the smoke was white, almost setam like in appearance. It would then change to yellow for 16 to 48 hours. The yellow smoke then changed to blue and was timed for 12 hours, at which time the top row of vents were opened. The process was then repeated, after which time the second row of vents were closed and the ris ros was opened. After this process was repeated one last time, all the vents were then sealed and the fire was allowed to extinguish itself. The oven remained sealed for approximately 3 days to insure the fire was completely out.

Once the kiln had cooled down, the doors were opened and the charcoal was removed by way of the lower opening. It was put into sacks holding one bushel and hauled either to a holding area or to the furnaces at Ward.

Inside an oven

Ward – large map

Canon 350D EOS

Great Basin Life exists … between … high desert expanses and majestic mountain wilderness.

Daily, I watch the winds of change sweeping away what remains of our western culture and heritage, and the land that has produced them.

My mission is to preserve as much as I can, of that which will soon vanish, through my photography.

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  • Arla M. Ruggles
    Arla M. Rugglesover 4 years ago

  • Appel
    Appelover 4 years ago

    Wow! Those are some ovens!! Awesome shot, Arla, and great info!!

  • Thanks, Ann! It’s a small park, but a must-see historical site in White Pine County.
    (Once upon a time, it was a popular place for parties.)

    – Arla M. Ruggles

  • Bootiewootsy
    Bootiewootsyover 4 years ago

    Excellent history and wonderful image…

  • Thank you, Carol!

    – Arla M. Ruggles

  • Enivea
    Eniveaover 4 years ago

    They look like beehives…..and yet their effect on the environment was not as helpful…..very interesting image and information Arla. Over here also, land was deforested to feed furnaces…..

  • And families. The American west was settled because of operations like this (not that I’m necessarily thrilled by it – but OTOH, I would not be here, but for mining … )

    – Arla M. Ruggles

  • Charuhas  Images
    Charuhas Imagesover 4 years ago

    Excellent capture and information. Thanks for sharing.

  • Thank you Charuhas!

    – Arla M. Ruggles

  • Lynn Bawden
    Lynn Bawdenover 4 years ago

    I have been here but it has been many years ago. Beautiful capture, Arla ~ Lynn

  • Thanks, Lynn!
    I have to say, it is much cleaner than it was when my contemporaries partied there, late ’60’s – 1970’s

    – Arla M. Ruggles

  • Susan Bergstrom
    Susan Bergstromover 4 years ago

    TOOO CooooL!…it is just amazing what stands the test of time…wonderful captures, so unusual!

  • Thank you, Susan!

    – Arla M. Ruggles

  • stephaniek
    stephaniekover 4 years ago

    These are SOOOO great!!!

  • Thank you very much, stephaniek!

    – Arla M. Ruggles

  • Marjolein Katsma
    Marjolein Katsmaover 4 years ago

    Very interesting! Great capture of interesting structures and good supporting information and photos!
    Congratulations on your feature!

  • Thanks very much, Marjolein!

    – Arla M. Ruggles

  • Robert Abraham
    Robert Abrahamover 4 years ago

    Great DOF and composition, well captured

  • Thank you, Hawker! I appreciate the comment!

    – Arla M. Ruggles

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