Cottonwood Charcoal Kilns

After silver was discovered at Cerro Gordo in the 1860s, it wasn't long before the limited supply of nearby lumber was exhausted. In response, Colonel Sherman Stevens started the Inyo Lumber & Coal Company in June 1873. Stevens built a sawmill on Cottonwood Creek high in the Sierras with a flume to the shore of Owens Lake, where these two kilns were used to produce charcoal. From here, lumber and charcoal were transported across Owens Lake to Keeler on one of two steamers - the Bessie Brady or the Mollie Stevens - and then hauled up Mortimer Belshaw's "Yellow Grade Road" to the mines at Cerro Gordo.