California brick
CALIFORNIA BRICKS


Coleman Brick & Lime Company

Milpas Street Brickyard

History


William Robert Coleman, native of Missouri, born December 18, 1863, started a brickyard in Santa Barbara in 1907. This brickyard, also known as the Milpas Street Brickyard, was located on Milpas Street between Haley and Cota streets. The address of the brick plant was 520 North Milpas Street. In 1916, the Coleman Brick & Lime Company was incorporated by William Coleman, president and manager, and O. E. Miller, Magnus Johnson, and D. O. Kelly as officers. The company employed about 16 men, working five months out of the year. The following year, they produced 3,000,000 bricks. The local demand for brick encouraged the company to enlarge the plant in 1917.

The clay bank on the property was 5 to 10 feet high and was quarried by pick and shovel. The clay was hauled in a 1,800-pound car up an incline track 100 feet to a machine press. The bricks were air-dried and burned in open kilns, using crude oil for fuel. The plant capacity was 30,000 to 40,000 bricks per day.

Coleman bricks were used locally in the Santa Barbara and Montecito area. A couple of buildings still standing on Milpas Street appear to be made of the Coleman brick. In 1923, John E. Coleman, native of Missouri, born April 22, 1883, joined William in the brick company. By 1927, the Coleman Brick & Lime Company was dissolved and brick making ceased. The Colemans partnered with Howard Neal to form Coleman & Neal, Inc., located at 310 North Salsipuesdes Street, Montecito. They were dealers in cement, brick, lime, metal, and other building materials until this firm closed in 1931. William Coleman died in 1953 and John Coleman died in 1965, both in Santa Barbara. Today, the site of the Coleman brickyard is a car wash.

Coleman Brick

Common brick is orange, orange red, and red mostly uniform in color. Visible clasts are large, subround to round, red and gray pebbles up to one inch across, becomes more abundant on weathered surfaces and in the interior. Side surface texture is rough to lumpy. Some surfaces may be pitted and show minor cracks. Uneven edges and rounded corners. No lip present around top edge. No description of the face is available. This brick was made using the dry-pressed process. Length 8 1/8, width 4, height 2 1/2 inches.

Coleman brick
Coleman bricks in the wall of a building at 435 Milpas Street, Santa Barbara.


References

Boalich, E.S., Castello, W.O., Huguenin, Emile, Logan, C.A., and Tucker, W. Burling, The Clay Industry In California, California State Mining Bureau Preliminary Report 7, 1920.

Brick and Clay Record, v. 48, no. 11, 1916, p. 1054.

Brick and Clay Record, v. 52, no. 1, 1917, p. 56.

San Barbara City Directories, 1907-1932.

Copyright 2006 Dan Mosier

Contact Dan Mosier at danmosier@earthlink.net.