Ward Nevada History and Photos

WARD - (1876-1887) (Picture of Ward)
Ward lies in T14N, R63E, Sections 13 & 14, and 2 miles west of the Cave Valley - Charcoal Ovens State Historical Site road at a point 7 miles south of its junction with US 50, 6 and 93; 12 miles south of Ely.

Ward was named for Thomas F. Ward, who discovered silver, lead, copper, maganese and antimony in the area in March 1872.

The mining camp of Ward had two smelters, a twenty stamp mill with three furnaces, a tramway, two breweries, fraternal orders, stores, saloons, a hook and ladder company, school, post office, city hall and two newspapers. One newspaper was called the Ward Reflex. By 1877 the population reached 1,500. The town began to decline in 1880 as the lead content of the ore decreased.

A fire in 1883 that started in Roach's blacksmith shop destroyed one-third of the buildings in Ward, including the school house and city hall. Between 1883 and 1885 many building that were left were moved across the valley to Taylor. The post office was discontinued in 1887.

Short lived mining revivals took place in 1906, the late 1930"s, and the 1960's. The Silver King Mining Company tried its luck during the 1970's. More recently, Alta Gold Mining Company has worked the old area on a small scale.

Little remains of Ward due to flash floods except for a few foundations, smelter and mill foundations and a small fenced cemetery located approximately one mile east of the town.

Three miles south of Ward can be found the six unusually well-preserved 30' high beehive shaped Ward Charcoal Ovens situated in Steptoe Valley. The Ward Charcoal Ovens were designated as a State Historic Site in 1957.  See Historical Markers

Ward Charcoal Ovens  - Photos

It is unknown who actually built the elegant and massive ovens in 1876, but, it is obvious to even an untrained eye that whomever built them was a master stone mason.

Wood was first hauled by wagons to a platform level with the windows at the back of the ovens. Then 35 cords of wood was packed in layers inside each of the ovens and the windows and lower openings were tightly closed with iron doors. Double doors were on the bottom openings.

The temperature of the fire was controlled by careful monitoring and opening and closing the small vent holes located in the base of the ovens. When the correct amount of charring of the wood had been reached, the fire was smothered out by closing all of the openings so no oxygen could continue to fuel the fire.

In 1972, a local story relates that Clarence Moorman said that one of the ovens was whitewashed and made suitable for a home for a gambler and his prospective bride, Addie Hacker, to live in after the nuptials were performed. But alas, the two lovers quarreled and the wedding never took place.




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Revised: July 07, 2001