Old Iron Town – Cedar City, Utah

Old Iron Town – Cedar City, Utah

Old Iron Town is worth the visit following a stop at the Frontier Homestead State Park.  It is located 25 miles west of Cedar City and tells the story of southern Utah’s historic mining industry.  It was during the 1850’s that the area actually became occupied when Mormon pioneer leader Brigham Young sent several families to the Cedar City area to establish an iron works.

During the 1870’s Iron City (Old Iron Town) was established as Iron County’s second attempt at mining iron.  Along with the houses for the families the area had a schoolhouse, blacksmith shop, a foundry (all that remains of the foundry today is the chimney and rock walls) and charcoal kiln. 

Charcoal Kiln: Pinyon and Juniper wood was burned in this kiln to produce a porous residue made up of pure carbon. This residue was then burned in the smelting process where it produced an intense heat without smoke.  After the kiln was filled to the upper door with wood, the fire was started in the center at the bottom of the kiln. The fire was then drawn to the top of the kiln by unsealed space that was left open around the upper door. When this space was closed the fire was regulated by vent holes. This burning of the wood lasted three to seven days.

By 1870 the population of Iron City had reached 97. 

Although the city seemed to prosper in the beginning, it was only operated for 7 years.  Transportation for the ore was too big a problem and the money panic of 1874 was another.  The Depression of 1873 started in Europe but quickly spread to the United States.  It was triggered by the fall in demand for silver internationally, which followed Germany’s decision to abandon the silver standard in the wake of the Franco-Prussian war.  Financial failures in the Austro-Hungarian capital, Vienna, turned into the panic that lead to the depression and caused the repercussions such as the closing of the Old Iron Town.

While you are visiting you can tour the ruins of the iron works and a preserved beehive shaped charcoal oven.  You may want to stroll down the 1/4 mile trail and enjoy the area.

There are restrooms and a small covered picnic area for you to enjoy.  Although there are o campgrounds at Iron Town you can go to primitive caping at Newcastle reserv