Home : Historical Center > Dorchester Charcoal Kilns History


While there is not much information concerning these kilns, the
Dorchester Reporter Newspaper dated September 26, 1902 states:
In 1889 The Ashland Iron and Steel Company erected eight coal kilns
one mile south of town and a few years later erected two more. This
industry has proved a valuable help to the people of Dorchester and
immediate vicinity; giving them a market for their wood. About
150,000 cords of wood have been consumed at these kilns.
Dorchester’s prospects are indeed bright. Here the farmer finds a
market for all he can produce. The coal kilns have taken all the
wood the farmers could produce and have been the means of putting
thousands of dollars in circulation in this vicinity.
The charcoal kilns were located in the Town of Mayville; a part of the
Northwest of the Southwest and part of the Southwest of the
Southwest of Section 13 Township 29 North Range 1 East. This area
is located right at the edge of the Dorchester village limits; directly
east from the cemetery one quarter mile and 500 feet south along
the west edge of the railroad tracks. They were in operation from
1889 to 1902 and the property today is owned by Ron and Helen
Busse. There are still bricks lying on the ground near the east part of
the plowed field adjacent to the railroad track.
Ashland Steel acquired the property on December 20, 1888 from
Herman Schultz and they retained ownership to the property until
they Quit Claimed their rights to Dr. H.M. Nedry on August 14, 1902.
The interesting thing about charcoal is that it burns a lot hotter than
wood which is necessary to melt iron ore at a temperature of 2000
degrees. This is important because it takes 2000 degrees to remove
the impurities that exist in iron ore and removing the impurities at
that temperature produces steel which is multiple times stronger
than iron.