Chickamauga Coke Ovens
Two of the beehive coke ovens in Chickamauga.
|About a mile north of downtown Chickamauga stands the remains of a coke oven complex associated with the Durham coal mines, which operated atop nearby Lookout Mountain. Coal was brought down the mountain and distributed into dozens of beehive-type ovens where it was heated to remove impurities. The resulting product, called coke, was then transported to Chattanooga where it was used in the city's steel mills.
A partially restored oven shows the rock masonry facing that covered the fronts of each unit.
|Old photo showing the ovens in operation.
|The rail link between the mines and the ovens was the Chickamauga & Durham Railroad, a 17-mile line that later became a short branch of the Central of Georgia. The mines ceased operating in 1947, and the railroad was abandoned in 1951. After the ovens were shut down, nature began reclaiming the site. In later years, many of the ovens were cleared away for a factory building.
In 1998, the City of Chickamauga acquired the property and applied for state and federal funds to restore some of the ovens as a heritage tourism site. Funding was approved, the work was done, and the historical park opened soon afterwards.
|Three of the ovens on the west side of the mound.
Coal hoppers help visitors understand the operation of the site.
RailGa.com. Georgia's Railroad History & Heritage. © Steve Storey
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