A. Sutherland - AncientPages.com - Along the prominent Gila River at Butte, Arizona, lies Cochran Ghost Town and there are five very well preserved beehive shaped ovens standing in a row.
The structures are referred to as the Coke Ovens. These baffling structures stand 32 feet tall and are made from stone granite blocks held in place without mortar.
Others have suggested that early Spaniards were responsible for building them. The five ovens are located in a remote area and until today, it is unknown when precisely the Coke Ovens ceased operation .
There is a three-foot by six-foot door at the front and a three-foot by five-foot opening at the upper rear of each structure. These ovens are approximately thirty feet tall and have an inner diameter of twenty five feet.
However, it’s unclear who built them, when and for what reason.
The town of Cochran was settled in 1905 along with the Post Office and John S. Cochran, who owned the land there and had mining claims in the area, was the first postmaster.
There is a three-foot by six-foot door at the front and a three-foot by five-foot opening at the upper rear of each structure.These ovens are approximately thirty feet tall and have an inner diameter of twenty five feet.
Many people associate them with Cochran and call them the coke ovens but they were there before Cochran was built.
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It is believed that the kilns were built by the Pinal Consolidated Copper Company in 1882 to supply their smelter furnace with charcoal, which was then used to fire the smelters in Cochran.
Some people claim they were built by an ancient Indian tribe from Central America, since very similar beehive-like structures have been found there.
According to William Fred Jenkins who homesteaded near the area and actually lived in one of the structures, they were built by some Scottish miners.
He thought their purpose was to smelt and process the ore directly
Others have suggested that early Spaniards were responsible for building them.
The five ovens are located in a remote area and until today, it is unknown when precisely the Coke Ovens ceased operation.
Either way, the structures, made of native stone cut into blocks and held together by decomposed granite are an impressive 30 feet high and 72 feet in circumference and stand out from the surrounding area with the Gila River below and the cliffs of North Butte.
Written by – A. Sutherland AncientPages.com Staff Writer
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Expand for references
Ronald L. Ives, “The Cochran Coke Ovens,” Journal of Arizona History, 1972