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Ogden Canyon Lime Kiln

Ogden Canyon, full of natural beauty and recreation, is also home to a large supply of natural resources.

During the pioneer-era construction of the late 1800s, there was a great need for building supplies. In 1865, because limestone was naturally abundant in Ogden Canyon, this provoked early settler, James Moroni Thomas to build this 25-feet high limestone kiln. 

The limestone was quarried in the canyon and brought in by wagons to this kiln. Once brought in, successive layers of wood and limestone would be placed in the burning chamber at the top of the kiln. The top of the kiln essentially functioned as a 10-feet wide "pot".  After loading the top of the kiln, a fire was then kindled at the 6-feet tall base where the flames and heat would spread upward through the layers of limestone and wood. The super-heat would transform the limestone into quicklime which dropped down into a "hole" at the bottom where it would get scooped out with a shovel.

Many residential, municipal, and commercial structures used this lime, thus playing an important role in the building of Ogden City!

This kiln allowed many pioneers to upgrade their mud and log cabin homes to homes made of stone and brick.

It was said that this kiln once produced 300 bushels of lime at a time. This lime was hauled to the southwest corner of 24th Street and Grant Avenue, where it was sold by bushel or wagon-load to "white washers" or builders who then used it in the making of mortar and plaster. But once Portland cement became more widely used in the early 1900s, lime was utilized less and therefore, the kiln was no longer needed for use. The kiln slowly deteriorated over many years to a pile of rubble caused by weather, age, and vandalism. This kiln was later "re-discovered" in the 1980's, when the U.S. Forest Service found a wagon axle and other artifacts at the site. 

In 2003, with the help of the Ogden Canyon Club, our Foundation, and small grants, we were slowly able to restore this kiln.

We hired stonemasons Cody and Kellie Wright, a brother and sister team, with the help of Brock Cheney, to start restoration. We were also blessed with volunteer students from Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College (ATC) to help with the restoration by gathering stones from surrounding canyons and nearby riverbeds and doing the brickwork for the arched fireplace and the pit behind it.

It took a $30,000 R.A.M.P. (Recreation, Arts, Museum, Parks) grant from Weber County, to speed up and finish off the restoration, which was then completed in 2008.

This whole initiative took additional work and donated materials from the U.S. Forest Service, Intermountain Brick, Wadman Construction, Grating Systems, and the Chamber Ogden Weber.

This immense collaboration for restoration was dedicated with a fire lit in the finished kiln, the first in over 100 years.

The patience and hard work put into this project serve as an important example of what can be done for other landmarks that might otherwise be lost to history. This is a piece of the past that helped make Utah what it is today.


[1], Piece of History Rededicated, John Hollenhorst, 2008.
[2] Standard-Examiner, Firing History: Historic Lime Kiln, Built in Ogden Canyon, Nearly Restored, Charles F. Trentelman, 2008.

[3] Intermountain Histories, Ogden Canyon Lime Kiln, Amber Howard, 2019.

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