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Volunteers Needed: Birch Creek Charcoal Kilns Repairs

July 21 - July 26


Charcoal Kilns Interpretive Site
Caribou Targee National Forest, Forest Rd 533
Leadore, Idaho 83464
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Join us at Birch Creek Charcoal Kilns in Idaho for a unique opportunity to connect with nature, preserve history, and make a positive impact in our community!

Session Dates: July 14-19 and July 21-26

Project Site Information and History:

The Birch Creek Charcoal Kilns in Idaho are historical structures located in the Leadore area, representing a significant period in the state’s mining history. Built in the late 1880s, these kilns were constructed to produce charcoal to fuel the smelting operations in the nearby mining districts, particularly the Viola and Nicholia districts. The charcoal produced at Birch Creek was essential for the smelting process, which extracted precious metals like lead and silver from ore. This was a time when mining activities were at their peak in Idaho, contributing significantly to the economic development and settlement of the region.

Constructed by the Montana Smelting Company, the Birch Creek Charcoal Kilns are an example of the industrial ingenuity of the time. There are originally over sixteen kilns, built from local stone and designed in a beehive shape, which was typical for kilns of that period due to their efficiency in producing high-quality charcoal.

The kilns operated extensively for several years, supporting the smelting operations that were crucial to the mining industry. Workers at the kilns would cut and burn wood from the nearby forests, turning it into charcoal through a slow pyrolysis process, which involves heating the wood at a low oxygen level to produce charcoal.

Today, the Birch Creek Charcoal Kilins stand as a monument to the region’s mining and industrial past. Although many of the original kilns have not survived, a few have been restored and are maintained as historical sites. These remaining kilns offer a window into the late 19th and early 20th centuries’ mining era, showcasing the industrial processes and the economic activities that shaped the development of Idaho.

The site attracts historians, tourists, and students, serving as an educational and cultural resource that highlights the importance of mining and industry in the development of the American West. HistoriCorps invites you to join us for one of our most unique volunteer opportunities of the season in the great state of Idaho as we make camp in the backdrop of the stunning Lemhi Mountains!

Location: Caribou Targee National Forest, Forest Rd 533, Leadore, ID 83464

Scope of Work:

HistoriCorps is committed to educating and training volunteers in preservation skills, with an overarching mission of inspiring a preservation ethic in all those involved. Learning and working alongside expert HistoriCorps field staff, volunteers and applying the traditional skills necessary to restore the Birch Creek Charcoal Kilns:

  • Masonry brick repair & repointing


Click here for more information!