Redstone Coke Ovens

Redstone Coke Ovens Blog

In Americana by Debbi FadliLeave a Comment

Redstone’s distinguish feature: Coke Ovens

The small town of Redstone exists because of the historic coke ovens, located at the base of Mount Sopris and right outside the town of Carbondale, CO. Redstone was founded due to the large coal mining operation above town in what is known as Coal Basin.

This was the largest coking company’s in Colorado, in only 3 years the ovens produced about 5 million tons of coke.

Pretty much all the workers lived in Redstone at the time; a few of those miners are still around today. In 1909, the mines closed down and therefore so did the coking operation; although, the awesome little town of Redstone is still exists. There are still 90 of the coke ovens remain there today as an historic landmark. This photo was taken by photograph er Martin Garfinkel way before the beehive coke ovens got restored in 2014, who captured a piece of history before it was restored.

Back in 1899, the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company built 249 coking ovens in the valley below the mines, which if my memory serves me correctly it was run by Mr. Osgood who had a steel mill in Pueblo. The coal would travel by train to the ovens to be cooked into coking coal, and then back by train to his mill. The coal being mined was a lower grade, so they decided to use it to make coke – a purified form of coal used to manufacture iron and steel. This was done by cooking the coal in the ovens at 2400 degrees; a process called coking. If you are on a road trip this is one section of Colorado you should not miss, it is the most beautiful scenic roads with the bright colored aspen trees and the crystal river just takes to the most majestic place.

About an hour from the Redstone Coke Ovens down 133 is another small mining town called Somerset which houses Oxbow Mining Co. which has been operating until April of 2016 when the demolition of the coal storage silo came down marking the end of an era.