Restoration project begins at Redstone coke ovens |

Restoration project begins at Redstone coke ovens

Aspen Times staff reportAspen CO Colorado
Janet Urquhart The Aspen Times

REDSTONE – A Pitkin County effort to restore four of the historic Redstone coke ovens and stabilize others will begin today.The ovens sit next to Highway 133 across from the entrance to Redstone, the one-time coal mining community south of Carbondale.The work, to continue into October, will restore four ovens to their original shape and appearance in the early 1900s; an additional 56 of the brick, beehive-shaped ovens will be stabilized to prevent additional deterioration.”I believe these historic structures help tell the story of the community,” said Brian Pettet, county director of public works, in a press release. “We’ve made the project a priority because we think it’s important that we understand where we come from and the influences that have shaped us today.”Three different grants, totaling about $669,000, plus county matching funds of $128,678 and $500 from the West Elk Loop Scenic and Historic Byway Commission are available for the restoration, for a total of nearly $800,500. In addition, the county has secured a separate grant for landscaping and signs after the work is done.The Redstone coke ovens site was added to the National Register of Historic Places as a National Historic District in 1990.Coke is the solid residue resulting from roasting coal, and is used as a reducing agent in the smelting of iron and production of steel. The Redstone ovens, more than 200 of them, were built by the Colorado Fuel and Iron Co. in 1899 and used to produce coke from nearby Coal Basin from 1900 to 1909. It was them loaded onto rail cars bound for the smelters in CF&I’s steel plant in Pueblo. The Redstone project comes on the heels of prior county efforts to restore the Emma store buildings and the Thomasville lime kilns in the Fryingpan Valley.The county is teaming up with the Boulder-based design/engineering firm JVA Inc., and Evergreen construction contractor TC2 Inc. on the project.Go to for updates on the project’s progress.

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