California brick
CALIFORNIA BRICKS


Santa Paula Brick & Clay Products Company

Anderson and Hardison Pressed Brick Company

History


About 1923, George A. Anderson and Ivory C. Hardison established a brickyard on Santa Paula-Ojai Road about three miles north of Santa Paula, Ventura County, California. They formed the Santa Paula Brick & Clay Products Company, also known as Anderson and Hardison Pressed Brick Company, with Hardison as president and Anderson as secretary. George Anderson was born in Illinois in 1873. His wife's name was Nora. He worked in leather goods before opening the brickyard. Ivory Hardison was born about 1885 in Maine. His wife's name was Marion, and they had three children. Hardison was an assistant superintendent of an oil company in Kern County, California, before he went to Santa Paula. After the brickyard closed, he ran a chicken ranch at Santa Paula.

A gray plastic shale in the hills west of Santa Paula Creek was mined using a Fordson tractor and scrapper. The plant consisted of a storage hopper with a bucket elevator, a pulverizer, a 12 mesh incline screen, a mixer, Berg brick press, and hand trucks. This plant was capable of manufacturing 15,000 pressed brick per day and was thought to be the only dry pressed common brick manufacturer in the state at the time of its operation. The bricks were fired in open kilns using natural gas. The yard employed 10 workers.

Finished bricks were transported into town by trucks. Several brick buildings in Santa Paula were faced with the fine pressed bricks, including Faulkner Hall, which provides the examples shown below. Several brick chimneys seen on the homes in town are made of these bricks. Anderson and Hardison operated the yard as late as 1931. The yard was closed before 1940. Hardison died in 1951 and Anderson in 1962.

View of Faulkner Hall, built in 1928, in Santa Paula.
View of Faulkner Hall, built in 1928, in Santa Paula.

Santa Paula Brick

Pressed brick is dark orange red and mostly uniform in color. The form is perfect with straight sharp edges and sharp corners. Some minor scuff marks and pits may be seen on the surfaces. Weathered surfaces appear grainy. The grains on the pressed surface are flattened. On one of the faces was seen two round slightly raised lugs near the ends. The interior consists of 3 percent subangular white quartz, less than 1/8 inch in diameter, and 5 percent subangular dark gray or reddish shale, as much as 1/4 inch in diameter, in a granular compact orange-red clay. This brick was made using the dry pressed method. Length 8 5/8, width 4, height 2 1/2 inches.

View of the sides of the Santa Paula pressed brick.
View of the sides of the Santa Paula pressed brick.

View of the side of the Santa Paula pressed brick.
View of the side of the Santa Paula pressed brick.

Partial view of one of the faces of the Santa Paula pressed brick showing two round lugs near the corners.
Partial view of one of the faces of the Santa Paula
pressed brick showing two round lugs near the ends.

View of the side of the Santa Paula pressed brick.
Close up view of the surface of the Santa Paula
pressed brick showing the flattened grains.

View of the side of the Santa Paula pressed brick.
View of the interior of the Santa Paula pressed brick showing
some gray and red shale and white quartz in orange red clay.

References

California Death Index, 1940-1997, Ancestry.com Operations Inc., Provo, UT, 2000.

Dietrich, Waldemar F., The Clay Resources and the Ceramic Industry of California, California State Mining Bureau Bulletin 99, 1928, p. 234.

Federal Census Records, 1920.

Federal Census Records, 1930.

Federal Census Records, 1940.

Has Brick Tested For Strength, Brick and Clay Record, v. 63, no. 10, 1923, p. 715.

Triem, Judy, Ventura County Cultural Heritage Survey Phase I - Santa Paula, Property Administration Agency, Ventura, California, 1981, p. 407.

Tucker, W.B., Ventura County, California State Mining Bureau Report 21, no. 2, 1925, p. 237.

Tucker, W.B., and Sampson, J.R., Ventura County, California State Mining Bureau Report 28, no. 3-4, 1932, p. 264.


Copyright 2015 Dan Mosier

Contact Dan Mosier at danmosier@earthlink.net.