Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park, Ely

#2 of 7 in Things to do in Ely
Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park is an area designated for historic preservation and public recreation located 20mi south of the town of Ely in White Pine County, Nevada. The 700acre state park protects beehive-shaped charcoal ovens constructed in the latter half of the 19th century.HistoryOvensThe charcoal ovens are associated with the silver mining ghost town of Ward, Nevada, established in 1876. The town at its peak had a population of 1500, two newspapers, a school, fire department, two smelters and a stamp mill. The town declined after 1880, with a fire in 1883 destroying a third of the town. The post office closed in 1888. Mining revived briefly in the 1930s and 1960s. The town has been mostly destroyed by repeated flash flooding in its low-lying site. Only the smelter, mill foundations and a cemetery are left.The charcoal ovens are two miles to the south of the townsite. Six large ovens remain in excellent repair, 30ft high, 27ft in diameter, with walls 2ft thick at the base. The ovens were in operation from 1876 through 1879. They were built of quartz latite welded tuff by itinerant Italian masons who specialized in the ovens, who were known as carbonari. The charcoal ovens prepared charcoal from locally harvested timber for use in the smelters at Ward, using 30 to 60 bushels of charcoal per ton of ore, for 16,000 bushels a day. The Ward ovens are the best-preserved of their kind in Nevada. They were listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.
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Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park Reviews
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  • The sight of these amazingly well built and unusual structures in the middle of nowhere are a truly unique sight to behold. Walk inside to see that the size of the chimney hole differs but that apart ...  more »
  • We thought it was worth a visit to Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park as it was on our way from Ely to Las Vegas. You drive across open farmland so look out for cattle on the road as you near the...  more »
  • Check out my review of the Willow Creek Rec Area if you want to see pictures. The charcoal ovens themselves are very interesting and you are able to go inside them. There is plenty of parking but be aware that you need to drive on a gravel road in order to get here; you do Not need 4x4 or AWD but it could be a bumpy dusty ride, although only a mile or two from the paved roads.
  • Nice campground and short trails to and around the Ovens. Two well maintained dirt roads from Hwy, recommend the 2nd one going South, seems shorter, but might be the same. Campsites are well maintained long walk/hike to the Ovens from there, but doable..there is a road to the ovens parking area too along with a tent site access for a short hike. Other routes/hikes/ORV trails in the area so would be fun to explore if you have an ORV.

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