Cherry Valley Coke Ovens consists of 200 disused coke ovens that was constructed by the Leetonia Iron and Coal Company circa 1866 in Leetonia, Ohio.
The Leetonia Iron and Coal Company constructed 200 beehive coke ovens circa 1866 to purify coal and turn it into coke. 3 4 5 The coke, free of most impurities, was 86% to 93% free of carbon. It burned a clean, intense heat when loaded into pig-iron blast furnaces that produced iron and steel. 1 The ovens were arranged in a linear fashion, called a battery, with a brick and stone retaining wall in front and topped with earth for insulation.
Leetonia Iron and Coal went bankrupt in 1873 and was taken over by the Cherry Valley Iron Works. 6 The ovens produced over 70,000 tons of coke annually at their peak in 1900.
The advent of byproduct coke ovens in the early 20th century led to the demise of beehive coke ovens. 2 The byproduct coke ovens captured and recycled the chemical byproducts that were expelled during coking, including gas, ammonia, light oil and tar. The byproducts were the foundations of the modern chemical and plastic industries. The byproduct coke ovens also yielded 75% more coke per ton of coal and could use lower quality coal.
Cherry Valley Iron Works closed the Leetonia coke ovens at the advent of the Great Depression.
The Cherry Valley coke ovens site was donated to the village of Leetonia for a park in 1982, which was developed in 1986. 5 The ovens were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993 as it represented one of the largest remaining intact beehive coke ovens in North America. 7