Wheeler Pass Charcoal Kilns
Kilns at this site: (3). All three have been collapsed for years now. They are still partially there though.
They were originally known as the Tecopa Charcoal Ovens. The story goes that they were built in 1875 by a man named Nehemia 'Red' Clark. They were built for a mining man named Jonas Osborne, who had come to Tecopa, California from Eureka, Nevada. He needed the charcoal for smelting. History also states that there was a lime kiln built, along with the three charcoal kilns. However, I don't ever remember seeing the lime kiln. One author states that the lime kiln wasn't built until 1877, but I can't confirm that. The Osborne operation supposedly folded a few years after the kilns were built. A Las Vegas Review Journal article claims that these kilns produced charcoal for the Johnnie Mine to the north in the Spring Mountains. My question on this would be as follows: These kilns were built and worked from the mid 1870's to the late 1870's. That history seems to be pretty sound. Johnnie Mine and that area weren't located and put into operation until 1890 and after. Was that a misstatement from the reporter? Sloppy reporting? Or, does the author have information that I haven't found, regarding an entirely different workforce going back up there and working the kilns in a different era? I'll keep researching it, and hopefully I can update this section on that one of these days.
These kilns are (were) located on the Pahrump side of the Spring Mountains. Although they are technically in Clark County, Wheeler is Pahrump's back yard. I drove past these kilns when they were fully standing, no less than a couple dozen times. When something is always there, I guess a person just assumes that it always will be. In all of those trips, I took a total of TWO photographs of the fully standing kilns, that I'm still able to find. What a dumb move not to take any real pictures of them. Back then, we didn't really think about it. We normally had two or three pictures left on one of those 24-count, wind up cameras. And we were saving those last three pictures for something really good. Once the kilns started collapsing, I started taking more pictures to at least memorialize what was left of them. In the photographs, you can see the gradual progression of collapse.
Last Trip/ Road Conditions: The photographs are a compilation of many trips over the course of probably 20 plus years. the road up there is always pretty good. There is one section at the turnoff through the wash where I wouldn't want a Prius. One year, the summer rains were so bad, that it washed out the complete road. It wasn't passable in anything. But outside of that one year, the road is a normal, decently maintained, dirt road up into the mountains.