California brick
CALIFORNIA BRICKS


Charles E. Grouard

History


On April 28, 1882, the Los Angeles Times reported that Charles E. Grouard had started a brickyard in Santa Ana, Orange County, California. Grouard's brickyard was located on the southwest corner of North Olive Street and Hickey Street (now Civic Center Drive West), where a football stadium presently stands. Santa Ana at that time had two brickyards manufacturing bricks. The other brickyard was run by James Garnsey, indicating the rapid growth of Santa Ana during the 1880s.

Charles Grouard was the son of Benjamin F. Grouard, a native of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, who came to Santa Ana in 1852 and worked as builder. Charles was born to Benjamin and Louisa Grouard in Santa Ana in 1859. There he learned the trade of brick masonry probably from his father, who had built many of the buildings in town. In November 1887, he married Lottie Garnsey, a daughter of a brickmaker, James L. Garnsey, and they had three children, Louise, Franklin, and Ruth. Charles became a Santa Ana City Trustee in 1897 for the 5th Ward and held that position for three years. He stopped making bricks about 1906 and continued working as a brick mason until his death in 1915. His remains were interred in the Fairhaven Memorial Park in Santa Ana, California.

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View of the Grouard brickyard on North Olive Street, Santa Ana. Courtesy of Orange County Archives.

Grouard's brickyard on North Olive Street began as a primitive operation with sand-molded bricks formed in wooden molds and set on the ground to air-dry before being stacked and fired in rectangular field kilns. Wood was burned to fire the kiln. Initially, Grouard hired Chinese laborers, but within a couple of weeks of work, they had all fled without warning to Los Angeles. Grouard hired only white laborers afterwards. In 1899, Grouard's yard had manufactured 1,600,000 bricks. In April 1900, he was reportedly the first in Santa Ana to use oil to fire the kilns. A Quaker brickmaking machine was installed on April 1, 1903. The machine was capable of making 2,000 bricks per hour. The yard capacity was 8,000 bricks per day. The clay deposit extends over 11 acres and 8 to 10 feet in depth and is underlaid by gravel. By 1904, 3 to 4 acres were excavated. This yard was acquired in 1905 by J. William Sackman, who continued to manufacture bricks here.

Grouard bricks were used in many of the buildings in town built from 1882 to 1905. The more prominent buildings containing these bricks was the Orange County Jail (1897) and the Orange County Courthouse (1900), the later which still stands at 211 West Santa Ana Blvd. in Santa Ana. The red brick is in the inner walls behind the sandstone exterior and in the walls of the foundation. A sample of Grouard's brick is on display in the old courthouse and another partial sample is preserved in the Orange County Archives. It is important to preserve these manmade objects for future study. I'm grateful to Assistant Archivist Chris Jepsen for showing me some of Grouard's bricks in the basement walls of the old courthouse for this study.

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Charles Grouard's brick advertisement. From the Santa Ana City Directory, 1901.

Grouard Brick

Common brick is orange-red to red and mostly uniform in color. The surface has a coating of subangular to subrounded white quartz sand. Some pits are present on the surface. The form is good with undulating, nearly sharp edges and dull corners. A lip of 1/4 inch in thickness or less is present around the top edges. Stack indentations were seen on both the sides and on the faces. Bottom face is flat and even with minor pits. Top face is rough and pitted, with a faint longitudinal strike and visible rocks. The interior consists of 5 percent clasts of well-rounded red and green chert pebbles and subangular white quartz, up to 1/2 inch across, in a porous orange-red sandy clay body. The pores are up to 1/2 inch in diameter, round to irregular shaped, and constitute about 5 percent in volume. This brick was made using the soft-mud process. Length 7 3/4, width 3 7/8, height 2 1/4 inches, but a range of sizes was noticed.

View of the side of the Grouard brick.
View of the side of the Grouard brick displayed at the old courthouse. Courtesy of Orange County Archives.

View of the top face of the Grouard brick.
View of the top face of the Grouard brick displayed at the old courthouse. Courtesy of Orange County Archives.

View of the top face of the Grouard brick.
View of the top face of the Grouard brick. Courtesy of Orange County Archives.

View of the side of the Grouard brick.
View of the side of the Grouard brick covered with some mortar. Courtesy of Orange County Archives.

View of the interior clay body of the Grouard brick.
View of the interior clay body of the Grouard brick. Courtesy of Orange County Archives.

View of the bottom face of the Grouard brick.
View of the sides of the Grouard brick in the basement wall of the old courthouse. Courtesy of Orange County Archives.

References

Aubrey, Lewis E., The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, California State Mining Bureau Bulletin 38, 1906, p. 252.

Armor, Samuel, History of Orange County, California, Historic Record Co., Los Angeles, 1921, p. 1594.

Brick and Clay Record, v. 18, no. 3, 1903, p. 131.

Clay-Worker, v. 32, no. 6, December 1899, p. 470.

Federal Census Records, 1880.

Federal Census Records, 1900.

Federal Census Records, 1910.

Find A Grave Memorial, Charles Edwin Grouard, www.findagrave.com (accessed June 23, 2014).

Higgins, Josh, written communications, 2013.

Jepsen, Chris, Orange County Archives, personal communications, 2014.

Los Angeles Great Register, 1888.

Los Angeles Herald, April 5, 1900.

Los Angeles Herald, April 26, 1900.

Los Angeles Herald, April 27, 1903.

Los Angeles Times, May 2, 1882.

Orange County, Santa Ana, Los Angeles Herald, May 7, 1897.

Orange County, Santa Ana, Los Angeles Herald, December 30, 1897.

Santa Ana, Los Angeles Daily Times, April 23, 1882.

Santa Ana, Los Angeles Herald, November 25, 1897.

Santa Ana, Death of B.F. Grouard, A Pioneer Citizen, Los Angeles Herald, March 19, 1894.

Santa Ana City Directory, 1901.

Santa Ana City Directory, 1905.

Santa Ana City Directory, 1907.

Santa Ana City Directory, 1908-1909.

Santa Ana Daily Evening Blade, December 23, 1911.

Santa Ana Reports, Los Angeles Herald, April 28, 1882.

The New Orange County Jail at Santa Ana, San Francisco Chronicle, June 10, 1897.

Trustee Grouard Mad, Los Angeles Herald, February 8, 1900.

Copyright 2014 Dan Mosier

Contact Dan Mosier at danmosier@earthlink.net.