Ward Charcoal Ovens

N39 02.245"    W114 50.780"

A marker noting the smelting process in a typical Nevada mining camp.


Exact Description: These ovens were constructed during the mid 1870's and are larger and of finer construction than most other ovens found in Nevada. They are 27 feet in diameter and 30 feet high with a capacity of about 35 cords of wood which was burned for a period of 12 days to produce about 50 bushels of good, solid charcoal per cord.

The charcoal was used in the smelters at nearby Ward, about 30 to 50 bushels being required to reduce one ton of ore.

Each filling of one of these ovens required the total tree crop from five or six acres of land. During the late 1870's the hills and mountains around many mining camps were completely stripped of all timber for a radius of up to 35 miles.

As railroads penetrated the West, charcoal was replaced by coke made from coal and the charcoal industry faded.

"The real worth of the old charcoal ovens is their historical function in reminding present Americans of a now-vanished industry, without which the great silver and lead bonanzas of the early West could not have been harvested." --Nell Murbarger.

NOTES: It's not often that hunters are invited to take a dirt roads to conquer an historic marker! [184] Ward Charcoal Ovens is accessible only by way of an 11-mile drive to Ward Charcoal Ovens State Park, located eight miles south of Ely. Head south out of Ely and look for a brown sign marking the way to the park. While unpaved, the road is very good and well-suited for the average passenger car. If you plan to stay, there is are nice campgrounds with facilities on the rear side of the park for a nomimal fee. Compared to nearby Cave Lake, you will almost always find seclusion at the Ward Ovens campgrounds. .

Spanning the snowy b.g. is the Egan Range. The Egans are popular with hunters and backpackers.


White Pine County Conquered!

Kudos to another county well done!
(Mittens and all. Yes it was as cold as it looks in the picture!)