Glenwood Springs’ historic Cardiff coke oven vandalized
One of 50 remaining coke ovens in the Cardiff neighborhood in Glenwood Springs was discovered vandalized Friday morning, a local historian said Friday.
Glenwood Springs Historical Society Executive Director Bill Kight said the interior dome of one of the historical ovens was tagged with a variety of spray paints.
The ovens, used to render coal extracted from nearby mines at Sunlight Mountain into a material called coke, go back to the 19th century.
Operated by the former Colorado Fuel and Iron Co., the ovens were producing 65,000 tons of coke annually by 1895.
“It’s a shame we’ve got another case of vandalism at the coke ovens,” Kight said.
Kight said the fragile relics were vandalized earlier this year, when an on-site sign was torn out.
But this recent vandalism comes amid a time when the Glenwood Springs Historical Society is currently applying for a major grant intended to stabilize, landscape and install ADA accessible amenities at the ovens, Kight said.
Through a National Parks Service Save America’s Treasures Grant, the historical society is eligible to receive up to $500,000 in matching funds. Kight said plans for the city of Glenwood Springs to install a new parking area and lights at the coke ovens could be included for matching funds.
“It couldn’t happen at a worse time because it could be a few thousand dollars just to get the inside taken care of,” Kight said.
Kight said the historical society has until Dec. 14 to apply for a Save America’s Treasures Grant.
“(The ovens) are all that’s left of that period, and we want to save it for the future,” Kight said.
The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the vandalism but declined to provide further details.
Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or firstname.lastname@example.org