Brick and mortar construction requires lime. Since a ready supply of lime was not immediately at hand, early pioneers had to search further afield for the components they needed for their construction projects. They found an abundant supply in the limestone walls of Ogden Canyon. Before it could be used to make mortar and plaster, the limestone had to be super-heated and then pulverized into a fine, white powder. In 1865, a kiln was constructed in the canyon to suit the purpose.
Despite its importance to the architectural heritage of Ogden, the kiln was allowed to fall into a state of decay once it was no longer deemed useful. Fortunately, a group of citizens recognized that a rare and unique historical structure would soon be lost without immediate intervention. Restoration efforts accordingly began in 2003.
There was little left of the original kiln when the restoration project began. This made it difficult to determine the original appearance and configuration of the kiln. These challenges were addressed through an extensive excavation of the site to establish the footprint of the original structure. Also, a few historic pictures were used to inform the restoration effort.
Because most of the kiln needed to be restored, builders gathered additional material from surrounding canyons and nearby riverbeds. Many of the stones weigh 600 pounds or more, so the building process was very slow. Only a few stones could be positioned in a day because the mortar had to harden sufficiently enough to support the weight of the next stones.
The restoration of the lime kiln was a long-term project, with many people contributing to it. The project was completed in 2008 with the help of a RAMP grant. It now features a plaque with educational information about the kiln and its role in Ogden’s history.