California brick
CALIFORNIA BRICKS


Garvanza Brick Company, Los Angeles (Garvanza)

Garvanza Brick Company brickyard site in Hermon Park. Avenue 60 bridge is on the left.
Garvanza Brick Company brickyard site in Hermon Park. Avenue 60 bridge is on the left.

History


Ralph Rogers discovered valuable clay on his property on the south side of Arroyo Seco next to the Avenue 60 bridge in the Hermon district of Garvanza, northeast of Los Angeles. The surficial bank deposit of the arroyo provided brickmaking clay. In 1906, Charles Cherry and Charles Benedict leased the clay property from Rogers with an agreement of producing not less than 10,000 brick per day.

The Garvanza Brick Company was organized on November 5, 1906, with a capital stock of $200,000 to mine the clay and manufacture bricks. The officers were W. J. Danforth, Charles Cherry, Charles Benedict, and others. This company was formed in response to the increase in demand for building brick and to fight the newly formed Los Angeles Brick Company Trust, which attempted to control the local brick market. The Highland Park Herald reported that "the plans of the new company are involved in more or less secrecy."

Garvanza Brick Company brickyard site in Hermon Park.
Garvanza Brick Company brickyard site in Hermon Park.

In early November 1906, teams were scraping off and leveling the land for the new brickyard. In March 1907, the company petitioned the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for permission to tunnel beneath Avenue 60 to get to the clay. By June 1907, the first bricks were taken out of the kiln ready for use. Bricks were being produced at a rate of 36,500 per day. It was also announced that the company was preparing to install machinery for the manufacture of face brick. The company offered for sale 5,000 shares of stock to fund the purchase of new machinery for increasing brick output. An assessment of 10 cents per share was levied on the company's capital stock in January 1908.

Common brick from this company were consumed in the homes and businesses locally. In September 1907, a large order for two million bricks was contracted for the new Y. M. C. A. Building (now demolished) in Los Angeles. This brick may be found in the brick chimneys and structures built from 1907 to 1910. No whole bricks were yet identified so the description for the Garvanza bricks comes from the fragments found at the brickyard site.

Brick fragments sitting on the surface at the Garvanza Brick Company brickyard site in Hermon Park.
Brick fragments sitting on the surface at the Garvanza Brick Company brickyard site in Hermon Park.

By November 1910, it was reported that the stock was worth only 15 cents per share. Decline in the demand for brick resulted in the closing of this brickyard about that time. No further news from this yard was reported after 1910. The brickyard site is now part of Hermon Park.

Garvanza Bricks

Common Brick

The Garvanza common brick is orange red and uniform in color. Surface has a quartz and muscovite mica sand coating, with subangular white quartz and round golden mica. Clasts of cream feldspar or white quartz may be visible on the surface. Top face is rough and pitted with a prominent longitudinal strike. Bottom face is smooth and flat. Interior consists of a highly porous sandy clay with 3 to 5 percent of mostly subangular cream feldspar (granitic), and lesser amounts of subangular white quartz, and subrounded red siltstone, all 1/16 to 1/4 inch in diameter. This brick was made using the soft-mud process. No dimensions are available.

View of the surface of the Garvanza common brick fragment.
View of the surface of the Garvanza common brick fragment.

View of the rough top face of the Garvanza common brick fragment.
View of the rough top face of the Garvanza common brick fragment.

View of the interior of the Garvanza commom brick showing cream granitic feldspar and white quartz.
View of the interior of the Garvanza commom brick showing cream granitic feldspar and white quartz.

Garvanza Face Brick

Garvanza face brick is orange-red and uniform in color. Surface is smooth with small pits. The wirecut face displays a slight velour texture with shallow angled wirecut marks. One of the sides display small round imprints of a conveyor belt. Interior consists of a compact clay body with 10 percent subangular cream feldspar, subrounded red siltstone, and subangular white quartz, all 1/8 to 1/4 inch in diameter. This brick was made using the stiff-mud process. No dimensions are available.

View of the smooth surface of the wirecut face brick fragment.
View of the smooth surface of the Garvanza wirecut face brick fragment.

View of the wirecut face of the Garvanza wirecut face brick fragment showing a slight velour texture.
View of the wirecut face of the Garvanza wirecut face brick fragment showing a slight velour texture.

View of the side of the Garvanza face brick fragment showing conveyor belt imprint.
View of the side of the Garvanza face brick fragment showing conveyor belt imprint.

View of the interior of the Garvanza face brick fragment.
View of the interior of the Garvanza face brick fragment.

References

Brick, v. 25, no. 6, December 1906, p. 240.

Brick, v. 26, no. 3, March 1907, p. 170.

Brick, v. 26, no. 6, June 1907, p. 304.

Brick, v. 27, no. 3, September 1907, p. 96.

Brick, v. 28, no. 1, January 1908, p. 7.

Court Awards Damages Following Realty Deal, Los Angeles Herald, November 19, 1910.

Extensive Brick Manufactory, Highland Park Herald, November 10, 1906.

Fisher, Charles J. and The Highland Park Heritage Trust. Images of America, Garvanza. Arcadia Press, 2010.

Hermon, Highland Park Herald, November 17, 1906.

Highland Park Herald, November 3, 1906.

Highland Park Herald, February 2, 1907.

Copyright 2018 Dan Mosier

Contact Dan Mosier at danmosier@earthlink.net.