Archibald C. Shields and his brother Robert C. Shields, developed the first brick making business in Pine Canyon, Tooele, Utah in about 1865. They made the bricks on their farm and fired them in kilns constructed for that purpose.
This kiln measures 30-feet high and 12-feet in diameter with a dome-shaped top and resembles a very tall beehive.
Other kilns were built in Pine Canyon, some for the making of bricks and others were used to process charcoal. This is the only remaining pioneer charcoal kiln that has survived.
In 1869 bricks from these kilns were hauled to Stockton, Utah, south of Tooele, for the construction of a smelter. The smelter was needed to process the gold, silver, iron ore and other metals from the mines in Stockton, Ophir, and Mercer, Utah. Additional bricks were fired and were sold to pioneers living throughout Tooele Valley. They were able to build a number of homes, some of which are still standing.
The Daughters of Utah Pioneers commemorate two fine pioneers— great entrepreneurs who provided jobs for their community. They produced bricks and charcoal that were needed by the smelters, and who in turn, hired men to work so they could provide for their families.
This is D.U.P. historic marker #586, erected in 2018 by the Helen Gillespie Shields DUP Camp at 1631 Pine Canyon Road (private property) in Tooele, Utah
I don’t know the real name of this place or the history of it yet, but Warm Ditch Spring is on the property and there is an old barn, old foundations and partial walls of some structures and a lime kiln like others I’ve seen around Midway.
The address from the county parcel map is 1440 N Pine Canyon Road.
There is an awesome article in the Winter 2015 edition of Utah Historical Quarterly (Volume 81, number 1) by Douglas H. Page Jr., Sarah E. Page, Thomas J. Straka, and Natham D. Thomas about Charcoal and its role in Utah mining history.
They list the remaining sites containing charcoal kilns and I’ve been loving visiting and documenting the kilns for years. This page of my website will be to list kiln sites and link to pages for those specific sites.
Charcoal Kiln Sites:
Barrel Spring (Frisco District, Beaver County)
Blue Cut (Carbon County District, Carbon County) (no remains)
This historic marker, located in Cedar City reads:
It is believed that the first fired bricks in Utah were made in Cedar City in connection with the attempt of the Deseret Iron Company to manufacture iron in 1852. The blast furnace was located in the vicinity of 400 North 100 East. Fired brick was made near there for use in the lining of the blast furnace and construction of some brick homes and some public buildings.
By the turn of the century, most of the brickmaking operations had moved to the southern outskirts of the city. These were located here, immediately north, northeast, east and southeast of this monument. They supplied the brick for homes, commercial and public buildings for Cedar City and some surrounding areas until well into the 1930s. The Old Administration Building and the Old Main Building of the Southern Utah University campus, several blocks from here, were constructed from brick made in this immediate area. This monument stands on part of one of these brickyards, and includes some of the original brick made here. It is a memorial to the various brick makers including Bryant, Fretwell, Dutton, Rollo, Jackman, Palmer and others unrecorded and those who worked for them.
When Provo‘s colonists switched from making log cabins to building adobe homes, line became a critical product for masons to have on hand. They needed it to make the mortar used in the rock foundations of the larger adobe homes and Provo’s first tabernacle. Painters used lime to make whitewash to cover the interior walls. Tanner also used it to manufacture leather.
In order to manufacture lime, men brought limestone from the nearby mountains to specially constructed kilns where the rock was heated with flames until it burned into a white substance, lime. Joseph Mecham burned Provo’s first lime in 1851.
When entrepreneurs began manufacturing fired brick in the early 1860s, several brick kilns sprang up along the road between Provo and Springville. Manufacturers began burning more lime for mortar. J. Reese build a new kiln in 1866. Sometime around the turn of the century, Thomas Boardman build lime kilns in the foothills northeast of the Spring Creek Elementary School.
A tragedy occurred at these kilns during the fall of 1930. Roy Van Cott of Salt Lake City owned the kilns and Chris L. Peterson, who had worked at the kilns for 26 years, and Richard Fulkerson operated them, fueling them with coke now instead of wood.
On Friday, November 13, the men had lined a kiln with limestone and started the fire. The next day, Fulkerson checked from the top of the kiln to see if the fire was burning properly. The he went into the pit to get a better look. Carbon monoxide fumes overcame Fulkerson and he fainted. Luckily, Peterson and another workmen saw him fall and dragged him to safety.
About 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, Peterson went alone to check on the same kiln. His foot slipped near the edge of the pit, and he hit his head on a railing and fell unconscious into the hole near the mouth of the kiln. When Peterson was gone longer than expected, his wife sent Nels Peterson to check on him. Nels found his brother’s lifeless body in the pit.
Above North Springville and South Provo are several locations with mines, white tailings and ovens. I was always told as a kid that they were lime kilns and lime mine tailings but recent research indicates that is not accurate. I have this post about the some of the ovens.
This old lime kiln, now restored, is the best preserved of seven kilns constructed here during the late 1880’s. It was built by John Kyhl for Jens Larsen Jenson, a Swedish immigrant. The vital lime was used in the construction of homes, churches and schools of the early settlers. Limestone was quarried in the nearby hills, malted down in the kilns and cooled – a process that took several days. The result was a fine, white powder suitable for brick-making, mortar and plaster. Use of this kiln ended around 1905 when Mr. Jensen went blind from exposure to the extreme heat.
This is Sons of Utah Pioneers marker #125, located in Richfield, Utah (Just north of 1-15 at Main Street)
The Jens Larson Jenson Lime Kiln was added to the National Historic Register (#78002693) on December 22, 1978.
The Jens Larson Jenson Lime Kiln represents a remaining structure important in the development of communities in the Sevier Valley. Built by Jens L. Jenson, Richfield’s “well-known” lime burner, the kiln cured lime which was used for mortar utilized in the construction of numerous rock and brick structures, as well as in the production of the whitewash used on structures basic to successful rural life.
Work was eventually ended at the kiln (n.d.) but its presence against the hillside, overlooking the valley it helped to develop, forms a link between past and present. The valley development now poses a potential threat to the structure with proposed housing units, etc., expected to be built near its site. Its preservation is met with particular interest by the Sevier Valley Chapter of the Utah State Historical Society, who harbors plans for its restoration.
Jens Larson “Limeburner” Jenson (sometimes spelled Jensen) was born in Dalby, Scona, Sweden, July 14, 1827. He was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1855, and arrived in Utah in 1859 as a member of the Rowley Handcart Company. Jenson lived the doctrine of plural marriage, being joined to three women; and later served a sixty-two day sentence for polygamy.
In the late 1880’s Jens L. Larson returned to Richfield to settle, where he fostered his trade as a lime burner. His first kilns were small structures built in a wash near the town. According to a 1903 newspaper article, Jenson was planning to build “a more convenient commodious and rapid working plant,” allowing for the continuous burning of lime.
J. H. Kyhl, a local mason, submitted the plans to Jenson and the kiln was completed in the spring of 1903. As mentioned in the description the kiln measured twenty feet in height and twenty in diameter, with eight foot thick walls to withstand the pressure of limestone.
Workers quarried limestone in the nearby hills north and west of Richfield. The stone was dumped into the top of the kiln. A fire was then built under the grate to burn or “cure” the rocks, and left burning for three to five complete days. A three-day cooling period followed, after which time the lime was hauled in wagons to communities where it sold for a reportedly one dollar per three bushels.
Jens L. Jenson eventually lost his eyesight due to the intense heat in the Limeburning process. He died January 3, 1907, but work was carried on by his sons and family until 1910, when the kiln was sold to Leonard Ogden. Ogden burned lime for many Sevier Valley structures, including the Richfield First Ward Chapel, and the Elsinore Sugar Factory at Austin.