The small settlement of Cochran sat on the South side of the
Gila River East of the current town of Florence. Cochran was a mining camp
named after the postmaster John S. Cochran. The camp once had a population of
about 100 and boasted a general store, boarding house and other businesses.
Little is left to be seen of Cochran today except the row of five charcoal kilns, or coke ovens, that sit on the opposite side of the river from the town site. No one knows exactly when they were built, but most experts believe they were built around 1882 by the Pinal Consolidated Mining Company. The ovens were used to turn mesquite wood into charcoal for use in smelting the ore from area mines.
In the 1980s the owner of the ovens dabbled with the idea of turning the ovens into guest cottages. Two of the ovens were modified with weather proofing and the addition of windows and doors. A second level was built of wood inside one of the ovens to increase the usable space. Today they are in disrepair and have been highly vandalized.
The ovens sit on private property, but access has been possible in the past. Please head any restrictions on access that you may find posted if you go for a visit. Recent reports put the road in extremely poor condition as well.
Check out our photos and from our trip to the coke ovens.