GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. — The Cardiff Coke Ovens are one the most historic places in Glenwood Springs.
The site is on the National Register of Historic Places, and now a $140,000 grant from Garfield County Federal Mineral Lease District will help preserve that history.
Carolyn Cipperly is an archivist at the Frontier Museum in Glenwood Springs, and says over the years the Cardiff Coke Oven site has been worn down.
"Weather, vandals and just time is taking its toll on the ovens themselves,” said Cipperly.
Established in 1888, the coke ovens were part of a booming coal and steel industry in Colorado and helped build many mountain towns. Coal was placed in the coke ovens and burned at high temps to roast out the impurities. The coke was then used in the production of steel.
“They would brick up the doorways and burn it for two days, burn off the impurities,” said Chipperly. "It got up to thousands of degrees in there, then they would send it off to smelt steel.”
There used to be hundreds of ovens in Cardiff, now around 50 remain. The plan is to make the site ADA accessible, restore the ovens and install signage with more information about the site.
“We want to help people learn about the coal and coking industry and life in early Glenwood Springs,” said Chipperly.
The site is called Cardiff because it was thought the coke coming out of that area was second only to coke produced in Cardiff, Wales.
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