Charcoal Kilns and a Ghost Town
This stop was not on the official list for my State Parks adventure. I have read about these kilns and quickly realized that Piedmont was only 10 miles south of I-80 . So, I made a detour in-between parks and traveled down a long gravel road to check it out.
These kilns are the remnants of a charcoal- making industry in Southwest Wyoming. They were built in 1869 by Moses Byrne to supply charcoal to pioneer iron smelters in the Utah Valley.
They were built out of sandstone and limestone- all local material- and are about 30ft in circumference and about 30ft high. Each kiln has a large doorway and a window placed high on the backside for loading cord-wood. Vent holes are around the bottom so that charcoal makers could adjust airflow. Once workers filled the kilns with logs, metal coverings were mortared in place over the doorway and window to seal before firing.
The making of charcoal stopped in the early 1900’s when the Union Pacific rail line was rerouted north of Piedmont. This left Byrne with no economical means of transporting his product to market. Therefore, the town died leaving a ghost town just up the road from the kilns.
These structures are obviously unsafe so I kept my distance as best as I could. But I did take a quick peek inside. 🙂