On Saturday, August 15th at 10 a.m., we cleaned up the iconic coke ovens along the Blackwater Rail Trail to Douglas Falls. These ovens have interpretive signs, benches, and a bike rack, but have become so overgrown with vegetation that threatens to cover them up and weaken the structural integrity of these historic structure.
We got started by meeting at Friends of Blackwater’s office at the Buxton and Landstreet building on Douglas Road, just outside of Thomas. Forest Service archeologists Gavin Hale and Rob Whetsell joined us to check out the integrity of these historic features and help us clean them up. Even though it was a bit of a rainy morning, we gave the Coke Ovens a face lift and opened up the area even more to Rail Trail visitors. Next time you’re in Thomas, be sure to give these turn of the century coal industry artifacts some love and check them out!