Charcoal kiln in Old Irontown, a ghost town in Utah near Cedar City

How to Visit Utah’s Oldest Ghost Town

In your subsequent journey to Cedar Metropolis, Utah, take a while to discover the stays of the ghost city of Outdated Irontown.

Charcoal kiln in Outdated Irontown, a Utah ghost city close to Cedar Metropolis


Certainly one of Utah’s most well-known ghost cities is Outdated Irontown (additionally referred to as Outdated Iron Tow, Irontown, Iron Metropolis). It’s situated in Iron County, Utah within the Dixie Nationwide Forest, roughly 35 km from Cedar Metropolis. Utah is a panoramic state with 5 nationwide parks and is dwelling to a number of the greatest ghost cities and surroundings within the Wild West.


Individuals visiting the settlement of Outdated Irontown in its heyday would have been greeted with a college, blacksmith, coal kilns and foundry. In the present day, solely ruins stay, however the story they inform is value studying. It’s a story of Mormon settlement and westward enlargement. It is a story that simply will get misplaced in historical past.

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The Transient Historical past of Outdated Irontown and the Institution of a Mormon State

Outdated Irontown was based in 1868. It was the second try to mine iron within the surrounding mountain ranges.

  • Primarily based: 1868
  • Deserted: 1876

A part of Outdated Iron City’s backstory have been the Mormons. On the time, there have been actions to create an impartial Mormon state. In 1847, early pioneer settlers led by Brigham Younger based Salt Lake Metropolis as they fled the persecutions that they had confronted within the east. Younger knew that the important thing to an impartial Mormon state was to make the colony self-sufficient.

To pursue the aim of self-sufficiency, they sought to extract iron. Iron was very costly on the time to ship from the jap United States. Cedar Metropolis and Parowan have been based in 1851 to be a supply of iron for settlers. Cedar Metropolis was plagued with issues, and solely about 23 tons of pig iron was produced there over a three-year interval.

To treatment this, it was apparent {that a} second furnace can be wanted, so one other was constructed, founding Outdated Irontown in 1868. Throughout its ten years of operation, it produced pig iron and supported the settlement Mormon.

By 1870, Iron Metropolis’s inhabitants had reached 97 and contained a foundry, machine store, brick college, blacksmith store, and sample store. The settlement lasted till 1876 after the Panic of 1873, and different elements led to its abandonment. Certainly one of these elements included the Edmunds-Tucker Act, which prohibited polygamy as practiced by some Mormons on the time.

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Ruins of Outdated Irontown remaining in the present day

Charcoal ovens will remind anybody who has visited the impressive Nevada ovens protected in the Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park.

Iron Metropolis’s charcoal kiln was used to burn pinyon and juniper wooden in a course of to create a porous residue of pure carbon. The carbon was then burned throughout the smelting course of to provide intense smokeless warmth. The burning of the wooden lasted from three to seven days.

Different ruins in Outdated Irontown embody the chimney and rock faces of the furnace and foundry buildings that after stood there. Search for the unfinished stays of a second bigger unfinished oven.

One other factor to see is the millstone, the place the iron ore has been lowered in order that it may be used to cost the furnace. A mule was used to drag the massive grindstone, grinding it right down to solely about 2 inches lengthy. In addition they used the millstone to interrupt down the sandstone into sand in order that the sand may very well be used within the mildew home.

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Outdated Irontown Ruins and Museum Tour In the present day

In the present day, guests will see a beehive-style charcoal kiln and kiln. There’s a quick stroll by way of the ruins with many interpretive panels bringing the previous to life.

  • Location: 20 miles west of Cedar Metropolis
  • Admission charge: None (donation field on website)
  • Designated: Nationwide Register of Historic Locations since 1971

Outdated Irontown is a part of the Frontier Homestead State Park (previously Iron Mission State Park). Along with the ruins, there’s a museum that explores the historical past of the city and the Mormon missionaries despatched there to mine iron. The museum has horse-drawn autos that have been used between 1850 and 1920 and a set of Indian and pioneer artifacts.

At Outdated Iron City, guests can see what the founding of the Mormon settlement regarded like 150 years in the past, and visit the Salt Lake City Temple to see what it has develop into in the present day.

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