The Ward Charcoal Ovens of Nevada

Ward Charcoal Ovens are a collection of six 30-feet-high, beehive-shaped charcoal ovens located inside the Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park in the Eagan Mountain Range, approximately 18 miles south of Ely, Nevada. The ovens were built in 1876 to produce coal from pinyon pine and juniper. The walls are 20 inches thick and made from rocks, with three rows of vents. The cone shape of the ovens caused the heat to be reflected back to the center, where the wood slowly burned to produce charcoal. The loaded oven was ignited and the metal door was cemented shut. It took 13 days to burn and empty a 35-cord (4 ft high, 4 ft wide, 8 ft long) kiln. After their function as charcoal ovens ended, they served diverse purposes, including sheltering stockmen and prospectors during stormy weather, and even serving as a hideout for stagecoach bandits. After suffering from vandalism and natural erosion, the long-abandoned ovens became a state park in 1957. Today, they’re the main attraction for visitors of the park.