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Sinatra Tribute Band

JUNE 2, 2018

Cottonwood charcoal kilns thumb

Cerro Gordo located near Lone Pine and the now dry Owens Lake mined silver and also lead. Discovered at Cerro Gordo in 1865 and from 1868 to 1875 about $13 million in silver / lead bullion was shipped out which made the Cerro Gordo mines the most prosperous mine for those metals in California history.

The steamboats, Bessie Brady and the Mollie Stevens, transported the silver ingots from the East side of Owens Lake to Cartago from where they then were hauled to Los Angeles. The steamboats then transported lumber and charcoal from across Owens Lake at Cottonwood Canyon. In order to smelt the silver ore and eliminate the impurities, the smelter requires a tremendous amount of heat. If you used wood or coal in the smelter they burned too fast and didn't make enough heat. And so kilns were built near a lot of mining operations in order to turn wood into charcoal and coal into coke, both slow burning and producing high amounts of heat.

Two large charcoal kilns were built in Cottonwood and they still stand to this day. Whereas most kilns are built using bricks or stone, these two were built out of clay bricks which were covered in plaster and look very much beehive like.


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