California brick
CALIFORNIA BRICKS


Elzie Daily

History


During the 1850s, Elzie Daily established a brickyard on the north side of 14th Street, between L and M streets, in Arcata. This yard furnished bricks for many early buildings in Arcata, including the Jacoby Building, which still stands on the south side of the plaza at H and 8th streets.

There is no description of this brickyard, though from the bricks in the Jacoby Building, we can tell that it was made using the soft-mud process, probably hand-made using wooden molds that was lubricated with sand. The material used was surficial soil and not screened, but thrown directly into the pugmill. Yellow clay and sandstone, with unconsolidated well-rounded black metamorphic sandstone and red chert pebbles, form the hillside near the yard site. The kiln was probably a field-type of kiln that burned wood. It is not known how long Daily operated his brickyard at this location or when it closed.

The Odd Fellows' Hall at 123 F Street in Eureka appears to be constructed with Daily brick, although that building was built in 1882. If Daily's brickyard was producing bricks as late as 1882, they very well could be from his Arcata brickyard, based on the materials that match from the brickyard property and not seen elsewhere in Eureka. Otherwise, the bricks might be seconds, salvaged from an earlier building constructed with Daily brick. The main feature in the brick is the abundance of black metamorphic sandstone and red and white chert pebbles seen only in Daily brick, as displayed below. However, the bricks in the Odd Fellows' Hall is slightly larger in size than those seen in the Jacoby Building in Arcata, being as much as 8 inches in length and 2 1/4 inches in height.


Daily Brick

Common brick in various shades of orange, uniform in color. Pits and clasts are abundant with visible subrounded red and yellow chert, white quartz, gray sandstone, and well-rounded black metamorphic sandstone or siltstone as pebbles up to 3/4 inch across. Some display minor light and dark orange flashing. Uneven edges and rounded corners. Top face has an uneven pitted surface with no discernable lip. Bottom face is flatter. The interior consists of as much as 25 percent clasts of the rocks mentioned above in an orange-red, highly porous clay body. This brick was made using the sand-molded, soft-mud process. The bricks are distinctively small and thin. Length 7 1/2, width 3 1/2 - 3 3/4, height 1 7/8 - 2 inches.

Daily brick
View of Daily brick in the Jacoby Storehouse, Arcata.

View of eroded sides of Daily brick in the Odd Fellow's Hall in Eureka.
View of eroded sides of Daily brick in the Odd Fellows' Hall in Eureka.

View of Daily brick in the Odd Fellow's Hall in Eureka, showing the black metamorphic sandstone and chert pebbles.
View of Daily brick in the Odd Fellows' Hall in Eureka, showing the black metamorphic sandstone and chert pebbles.


References

Nash, Glen, Some stake their future on brick plants, The Humboldt Historian, May-June 1985, p. 19-20.

Copyright 2006 Dan Mosier

Contact Dan Mosier at danmosier@earthlink.net.