Discover kilns that were built in 1869 to make charcoal.
The Piedmont Charcoal Kilns are located in Piedmont, Wyoming. Moses Byrne built the kilns by the Union Pacific Railroad. These kilns were built to make charcoal and to supply the pioneer smelters in the Utah Valley. The supply of charcoal was for the iron smelting industry in Utah. Each conical-shaped kiln was 30 feet across and 30 feet high. There are 3 1/2 kilns left to see today, which are the best remaining charcoal kilns in the region. Charcoal production stopped in the early 1900s because the Union Pacific rail line was re-routed north of Piedmont, leaving Moses Byrne with no way of transporting the charcoal to market.
Moses Byrne built the kilns out of local materials such as sandstone and limestone. Each kiln has a large doorway and a high window for loading cordwood. There were vent holes around the bottom of each kiln so that the charcoal makers could adjust the airflow while using the kiln. With the railroad re-routed, Piedmont tried to stay relevant but struggled until the 1940s when the Guild Mercantile Store had to close due to slow business. Remnants of the old homes, the kilns, and cemeteries still exist today on site.
The construction of the transcontinental railroad was one of the most significant events in the history of the West. Towns sprang up all along its tracks, some were permanent, and others were short-lived. In 1868, the railroad arrived at Piedmont, and over the next 35 years, the town would experience thriving logging and charcoal-making industries, commerce, and population growth. The Piedmont Charcoal Kilns have been listed on the National Register of Historic places since 1971 and is managed by the state of Wyoming.