Police wary about popularity of historic Kiln

By By Lauren Mangleson

By Lauren Mangleson

U police are tightening security near the historic lime kiln, a stone structure adjacent to the block U that was once used by early pioneers, but has now turned into a place known for late night partying and criminal activity.

Earlier this month, a man who was hanging out with a group of people at a the kiln was arrested and booked into jail after police officers found he had five arrest warrants totaling $13,000.

Several days later, police officers were called to the same place, where they found a group of 10 people walking down the trail. The group told police officers they were looking for a scary place to go because it was Friday the 13th.

They were advised to leave and the group did so without incident.

These incidents have prompted U police to focus on the activity at the old stone structure that students refer to as the “lime kiln.”

Once used by early pioneers for the firing and creation of lime, the kiln has since become a hangout spot where students and curious visitors go to look for a good scare or party.

The rustic stone structure is about 20 feet tall and 45 feet wide and is located in a gully about 100 yards north of the block U on property owned by the U.

Activity at the kiln has increased slightly in the past couple of years, said U police Capt. Lynn Mitchell. So far this month, U police have responded twice to noise complaints called in by neighbors.

Knowledge of the kiln has spread by word of mouth, creating the need for heightened vigilance over the site, he said.

A trailhead beginning on the residential street Tomahawk Drive leads kiln seekers and bike riders through a wooded area and up a small dirt hill where the kiln resides, providing a view of the city and an element of privacy for visitors.

Garbage and debris from kiln visitors has been also been a growing problem for those concerned with preserving the historical value of the site. U officials have met with several organizations, such as City Parks and Recreation and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in hopes of finding a partner to help manage the site, but have so far been unsuccessful.

“There are beer cans and cigarette butts everywhere up there,” said Lara Yates, a senior in consumer and community studies.

Yates, who grew up in a house down the street from the kiln, said she has noticed a much stronger police presence in the area during the past couple of years.

The heightened security came as the result of a fire in the summer of 2005, which was allegedly started by kiln-goers. The fire threatened several homes as well as the block U.

“The whole side of the mountain went up in flames,” Yates said. “We started hauling everything out of the house as fast as we could.”

Although fire crews extinguished the fire, sparing nearby homes and property from damage, the incident has made police and neighbors wary of the potential dangers caused by kiln visitors.

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