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Three shifts of men, working around the clock, kept the wood fires going for seven days and seven nights.
The cooling period which followed immediately, lasted anywhere from 30 to 60 days, after which the lime remained in the kiln until needed.
The Croatian stone masons' skill made it all possible.
In about 1898, three Croatian stone masons, namely Pete Tuss, Pete Drazich, and John Plovanich, Sr., came to Lewistown and began working various construction projects.
The gold rush of 1880 brought an onrush of gold and silver prospectors into the Judith Mountains and created the boom town of Maiden some six miles northeast from Limekiln, as the crow flies.
While 1,200 people called Maiden home at the top of the boom, most of the strikes leading to known wealth were found around the Maiden area, with little or no gold being found in Limekiln Gulch.
Most of the men in this photo probably worked winter shifts in Limekiln canyon ''for seven days and seven nights" making lime for the mortar that would be used in construction projects the following summer.It was the impetus for several sandstone buildings that followed.More Croatians, of course, arrived to help with the projects.John Foster (no relation to the author) is the only non-Croatian in the photograph.Following last summer's announcement by the Bureau of Land Management that a hiking trail will quite possibly be built in and around the Limekiln Canyon area of the Judith Mountains, interest in the history of this picturesque canyon has mushroomed.