Published: January 1st 2012January 1st 2012
REDSTONE — More than a century ago, bricklayers were summoned from Denver to Redstone to construct what was to be the largest coking plant in Colorado. Construction of 100 ovens began in 1899; in all, more than 200 were built over several years, according to F. Darrell Munsell's “From Redstone to Ludlow.” The ovens, along with buildings now known as the Redstone Inn and the Redstone Castle, were part of the town developed by coal magnate John Cleveland Osgood. The mines in Coal Basin provided high-grade coal that was brought down on a narrow-gauge railroad to the ovens.
Fed into the top of the ovens — the front openings were temporarily sealed with firebrick — the coal was heated for two days, with only enough air to support combustion. The resulting coke was shipped by train to Pueblo for use in the production of pig iron and, ultimately, steel. Both the Pueblo plant and Redstone operation were part of Osgood's Colorado Fuel and Iron Co., which produced coke from Coal Basin from 1900 to 1909.
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