The Stonewall quarry and kilns were established in the 1880’s. The century old kilns, which are slowly beginning to crumble due to the affects of repeated frost heave, resemble a medieval castle. However this brick structure was not used for crushing enemy combatants in some far distant time, but instead it processed crushed limestone.
Just like castles of old, kilns have a long history. These thermal insulated chamber’s have been used for the past couple millennia for hardening and drying stones or clay, usually bricks or pottery. Limestone kilns are used to create a type of lime called quicklime. Scientifically it turns calcium carbonate to calcium oxide. Additionally, mixing quicklime with water turns the calcium oxide to calcium hydroxide.
The Kilns in stonewall were filled with limestone by the use of a steam powered derrick(lifting device) which dumped rocks into the top of the kilns. Wood fires were used to heat the limestone. The quicklime that was produced in Stonewall was mainly used in plaster because of its white color. However it also had other uses, like disinfecting barns and outhouses.
At it’s peak, the stonewall kilns could produce 10 tonnes of quicklime per day. The limestone reserves in Stonewall were depleted in 1967 and commercial quarrying commenced at this time.