California Historical Landmarks in Inyo County
California Historical Landmark 537
Cottonwood Charcoal Kilns
One Mile East of US 395
In June 1873 Colonel Sherman Stevens built a sawmill and a flume on Cottonwood Creek high in the Sierras [sic] directly west of this spot. The flume connected with the Los Angeles bullion road. The lumber from the flume was used for timbering in the mine and buildings, and the wood was turned into charcoal in these kilns, then hauled to Steven's Wharf east of here on Owens Lake. There it was put on the steamer the "Bessie Brady" or the "Mollie Stevens," hauled directly across the lake, and from there wagons took it up the "Yellow Grade" to Cerro Gordo Mine, high in the Inyo Mountains above Keeler. M. W. Belshaw's furnaces had used all available wood around the Cerro Gordo and this charcoal was necessary to continue production.
The bullion which was taken out by the reverse of this route was hauled to Los Angeles on Remi Nadeau's 14, 16, 18 animal freight wagons and played a major part in the building of that little pueblo into the city of today.
The little pueblo of Los Angeles returned the favor by stealing the water from the Owens River and transforming Owens Lake into a desert.