“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Cartago in Inyo County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

Cottonwood Charcoal Kilns

Cottonwood Charcoal Kilns Marker Base Photo, Click for full size
By Eric Polk, July 2, 2010
1. Cottonwood Charcoal Kilns Marker Base
This stone base shows where the marker had been placed.
In June 1873 Colonel Sherman Stevens built a sawmill and flume on Cottonwood Creek high in the Sierras directly west of this spot. The flume connected with the Los Angeles Bullion Road. The lumber from the flume was used for timbering in the mine and buildings, and the wood was turned into charcoal in these kilns, then hauled to Steven's Wharf east of here on Owens Lake. There it was put on the Steamer "Bessie Brady," or the "Mollie Stevens," hailed directly across the lake, and from there wagons tool it up the "Yellow Grade" to Cerro Gordo Mine high in the Inyo Mountains above Keeler. M. W. Belshaw's Furnaces had used all available wood around the Cerro Gordo and the charcoal was necessary to continue production.

The bullion which was then taken out by the reverse of this route was hauled to Los Angeles on Remi Nadeau's 14, 16, 18 animal freight wagons and played a major part in the building of that little pueblo unto the city it is today.
Erected 1955 by California Eastern Sierra Museum Association. (Marker Number 537.)
Location. Marker has been confirmed missing. It was likely located near 36° 24.912′ N, 118° 0.722′ W. Marker was near Cartago, California, in Inyo County. Click for map
Cottonwood Charcoal Kilns Marker Base and Kiln Ruins Photo, Click for full size
By Eric Polk, July 2, 2010
2. Cottonwood Charcoal Kilns Marker Base and Kiln Ruins
Note the degree of deterioration in this photo compared with the postcard view seen in photo #3.
. Located 1.0 mi E of State Hwy 395 (P.M. 44.5), 7.0 mi N of Cartago on an unnamed dirt road. Look for the historical marker road sign before the turnoff. Marker was in this post office area: Olancha CA 93549, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 13 miles of this location, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named "Cottonwood Charcoal Kilns" (approx. 0.9 miles away); Cartago Boat Landing (approx. 6.9 miles away); Keeler (approx. 9.2 miles away); Owens Lake Dust Mitigation Program (approx. 9.3 miles away); Cerro Gordo (approx. 9.5 miles away); Owens Lake Silver-Lead Furnace (approx. 9.6 miles away); Dolomite Mine (approx. 9.8 miles away); Lone Pine Pioneer Cemetery (approx. 13 miles away).
More about this marker. It is reported that the marker was stolen in 1970, but then later recovered by the Inyo County Sheriff's Department. It was re-dedicated by the Slim Princess Chapter No.395, E. Clampus Vitus near the intersection of this dirt road and Hwy 395.

This site was designated as California Registered Historical Landmark No.537 on September 14, 1955.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. To better understand the relationship, study each marker in the order
The Charcoal Kilns Photo, Click for full size
By Colorpicture Publishers
3. The Charcoal Kilns
This postcard view shows the kilns as well as the marker.

"The Charcoal Kilns near Olancha, Calif., are historical remnants of fabulous silver mining in the 1870's at the Cerro Gordo mine high in the Inyo Range above Keeler. Charcoal from the Kilns went across Owens Lake (now dry) by steamer and then by wagon to the mine. An estimated $17 million in bullion came from Cerro Gordo.
Also see . . .  Cottonwood Charcoal Kilns - Waymarking Post. This posting on shows the marker at its new site .9 miles west, near Hwy 395. (Submitted on August 2, 2010.) 
Categories. Industry & CommerceNatural ResourcesNotable Places
Cottonwood Charcoal Kilns Marker at its Re-dedication Site Photo, Click for full size
By Denise Boose, September 30, 2010
4. Cottonwood Charcoal Kilns Marker at its Re-dedication Site
The marker was stolen in 1970 and recovered by the Inyo County Sheriff's Department. It was re-dedicated at a different location in 1977. See Related Markers for additional information.
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Eric Polk of Lakewood, California. This page has been viewed 1,582 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Eric Polk of Lakewood, California.   3. submitted on .   4. submitted on , by Denise Boose of Tehachapi, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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