History of Chickamauga, Georgia
The Chickamauga coke ovens are located just north of downtown Chickamauga on Highway 341. The beehive ovens of the Durham Iron and Coal Company were designed to turn coal into coke for use in the Iron and Steel Foundries in nearby Chattanooga Tennessee. The coal was shipped by train from the Durham coal mines on nearby Lookout Mountain on a winding, precarious railroad constructed around 1891. Train hauling coal to Chickamauga Coke Ovens Two trips a day were made by the trains delivering the coal to be burned at high temperatures without any oxygen present to remove the impurities from the coal. The remaining product was called Coke which burns hotter, longer, and steadier than coal and was what foundries needed to make steel and iron. By 1904, the mines were producing 700 to 1000 tonCoke ovens in Chickamauga Georgias of coal per day. About 1/5 of the production was manufactured into coke. The coke ovens operated until the Depression years when the seam of coal ran out. The railroad was abandoned in 1951.
In the late 1990's, the coke oven area was reclaimed and restored to its original appearance with train cars and the actual beehive ovens. Wetland demonstration ponds were added and the area cleared to present a quiet, relaxing park like atmosphere. Each year in September the Ovens are transformed into an Arts and Crafts Festival, held in conjunction with the "War Between the States Day". For more information on either event visit our Events Page. Plans are ongoing to create a bird sanctuary and nature trail near the coke ovens which are open daily. Parking and admission are free.
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