13-22 | Cherry Valley Coke Ovens
Side A & B | Cherry Valley Coke Ovens
Believed to have been constructed in 1866, this facility is one of the largest of its kind in the nation. The complex of 200 ovens was erected by the Leetonia Iron and Coal Company, later known as the Cherry Valley Iron Works, to supply fuel for pig-iron producing blast furnaces that stood south of this site. The man-made "beehive" ovens were used to transform hard coal into coke. The "coking" process burnt impurities out of the coal. The end product -- coke -- was the best fuel source for the furnaces that were used to manufacture iron and steel. The facility discontinued operations in the early 1930s at the height of the Great Depression.
We placed this marker in its position on the Columbiana County lineup because of the date it was erected. This marker seems to be misnumbered (13-22), but we are positive that it is part of Columbiana County! Regardless, the coke ovens are an amazing and eerie collection of almost 200 beehive ovens and used to produce coke for the Cherry Valley Iron Works’ furnaces as well as other local iron and steel production sites. They are still standing, and some are in fairly good shape. All throughout the surrounding wooded areas of the Coke Ovens Park you can find foundations of other buildings from the Iron Works complex. If you are in the area, I highly recommend visiting this location; it was one of my favorite places as a kid.