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Building a lime kiln

Accident, Maryland: Lime Kiln
Building a lime kiln. Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information


BUILDING A LIME KILN. In the early 1900's, commercial supplies of liming materials for farmers were scarce or non-existent.

In order to obtain lime, farmers would build limestone kilns. The pictured kiln was built on the H.J. Speicher farm. Men in the front row are Harry Kolb, Fred Richter, Adam Hetrick, and Charles Sweitzer. In the back row are Frank Spoerlein, Harrison Kamp, Philip Smith, Ed Zinkan, and Bud Lininger. Henry Speicher is sitting in the car.

Building lime kilns was very laborious and time consuming work. Farmers in the Accident area would first quarry limestone on Oak Hill Level or Limestone Hill, then use dynamite to break up the hard stone into smaller chunks. The chunks were loaded on farm wagons or trucks and hauled to the farm where they were broken into smaller pieces with sledge hammers.

The base of a kiln was composed of large logs (normally trees not suitable for saw timbers) and covered with slab wood or old fence rails that would help ignite the logs. Once the base was completed, a layer of soft coal was added, then a layer of broken limestone. This pattern was continued until the desired height of the kiln was reached. Once built, the kiln was completely covered with soil to hold in the heat. An air tunnel was provided at each end to allow the fire to burn and heat the limestone rocks; but the burning was slow and without open flame. Heavy rainfall or the addition of water would "slake" the burned stone, creating hydrated lime. After four to six weeks the wood and coal would be consumed and the heat would convert the raw limestone into a very useable form of limestone which could be spread on the cropland.


T. W. Steward? Oakland, Md.

Family of Mary Miller Strauss

Collection Location:
Ruth Enlow Library, Accident, MD

Original Size:
26 x 21 cms

Accident (Md.)--History; Garrett County (Md.)-- Pictorial works.

Garrett County (Md.), undated.

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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