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Joseph C. Hadacheck

Joseph Hadacheck and his brickyard.
Joseph Hadacheck and his brickyard. Los Angeles Times, 1915.

History


Joseph Charles Hadacheck, a native of Iowa, was born about 1868. He stood 5 feet 6 inches and had fair complexion, hazel eyes, and brown hair. He was working in Los Angeles as a laborer as early as 1892. In 1900, he had teamed up with Ernest Jensen to operate a brickyard at the southeast corner of 16th Street and Western Avenue in Los Angeles. Two years later, Los Angeles required brickyard operators to obtain a permit to operate within the city limits, due to increasing complaints of smoke and pollution. The Jensen & Hadacheck brickyard was allowed to operate until May 1, 1902.

In 1902, Hadacheck opened his own brickyard at 4144 West Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles. This brickyard, also known as the Pico Brickyard, was on eight acres of land that was formerly part of Rancho Las Cienegas on the south side of Pico Boulevard and outside of the Los Angeles city limits, where he continued to make bricks. The yard was described as being hidden behind an old growth of cedars, buildings, and billboards. Hadacheck claimed that he had at least 30 feet of brick clay in his pit and that it may extend to a depth of at least 65 feet. He had expended over $25,000 for machinery for his brick plant. His bricks were machine-molded and fired in a large field kiln.

Hadacheck's bricks were sold and used locally. One known example of his bricks still stands in a brick garage that was built in 1913 at 4158 Pico Boulevard, across the street from his brickyard. Many of the brick buildings built prior to 1915 in the Pico District are probably made of Hadacheck's brick.

But one thing that Hadacheck did not see coming was the rapid growth of Los Angeles and the annexing of the Pico Heights area. On March 22, 1910, the Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance, No. 19989, that ousted industrial businesses within its city limits considered a nuisance, such as a brickyard with its smoke pollution that was detrimental to the health of nearby residents. When the city ordered Hadacheck to move his brickyard, Hadacheck had refused and subsequently sued the Mayor Alexander, Police Chief Galloway, City Attorney Hewett, and members of the City Council in the Superior Court to prevent the enforcement of the ordinance on the ground that it was unconstitutional. Hadacheck declared that the ordinance prohibited a citizen of the United States the use of the land he owns. He contended that in burning a kiln, the black smoke lasted only for a couple of hours during the starting of the fire, and that during the rest of the burning, there was no smoke. He argued that he was there first before the city allowed the surrounding residence to encroach. He asked for a permanent injunction against the enforcement of the ordinance. However, the Superior Court ruled that the evidence failed to show any unlawful discrimination against Hadacheck's brickyard. The court sided with the municipality that it may exclude from all of those parts of the city best described as residence districts such occupations as that conducted by Hadacheck, regardless of whether the business was or was not a nuisance.

Still, Hadacheck had refused to move his brickyard even though the city had officially ousted the maker and his brickyard. Hadacheck was arrested. Hadacheck told his lawyers to take it to the Supreme Court. In 1913, the California Supreme Court upheld the judgment of the lower court declaring that the ordinance complained of was not unreasonable, oppressive, or void.

Hadacheck reported to the Los Angeles Times the following statements while awaiting the decisions of the United States Supreme Court in March 1915:

"I haven't heard of the decision. It may be that I am ousted, but I am not going to move until I have to, as my bread and butter depends on this brick yard. These eight acres here are worth $1,000,000 an acre for brick-making. They aren't worth an infinitesimal part of that for residence purposes. Yes, it has cost me a good round sum to fight the case. But if I won it would be money well spent. I can't believe that I have lost. Anyway, my luck ought to change after losing so many other times. I was here first. In fact, I moved out here from Sixteenth street to get away from the residence district. It is scarcely my fault that the city kept on growing and Los Angeles kept on annexing new territory. If I am forced to vacate, I will have to get out of the brick business, for the long haul from any district in which the city would permit me to locate would put me out of the running."

The case went to the United States Supreme Court on writ of error. Hadacheck had gained national fame for his case. In April 1916, the United States Supreme Court affirmed the constitutionality of the ordinances of Los Angeles, restricting certain sections of the city against industrial buildings. According to the Raleigh State Journal, the United States Supreme Court almost expressed sympathy for Mr. Hadacheck, but said that the individual interest had to give way before a greater public interest.

Joseph Hadacheck must have been devasted by the loss. He passed away on July 4, 1916 at the age of 48 years. His death was barely mentioned in the Los Angeles papers. His remains were interred in the Angelus Rosedale Cemetery in Los Angeles. Hadacheck's brickyard was razed and the land sold off to developers for businesses and homes. No signs of the brickyard can be seen today. Only his bricks remain in the brick structures that still stand in the district.

Hadacheck Bricks

Hadacheck common brick is red to orange-red and uniform in color. Form is good with dull to nearly sharp straight edges and dull corners. Surface is smooth with quartz sand coating and shiny mica flakes. White quartz may be visible on the surface as small white freckles. Minor cracks and spalling may be present. A thin irregular lip 1/8 inch thick is present along the top edges. Faces were not observed for description. Interior consists of a sandy orange-red clay body with 15 percent subangular white quartz, up to 3/8 inch in diameter, and rounded black iron oxides, as much as 1/16 inch in diameter. This brick was made using the soft-mud process. Length 8 - 8 1/4, width 3 3/4, height 2 1/4 inches.

View of the sides of Hadacheck common brick.
View of the sides of the Hadacheck common brick.

View of the side of Hadacheck common brick.
View of the side of the Hadacheck common brick.

Interior view of the Hadacheck commom brick with abundant white quartz and black iron oxides.
Interior view of the Hadacheck commom brick with abundant white quartz and black iron oxides.

References

Asks Injunction Against City Smoke Ordinance, Los Angeles Herald, June 15, 1910, p. 8.

Attacks Ordinance Says Business Suffers, Los Angeles Times, June 15, 1910, p. 18.

Brick, v. 16, no. 3, March 1902, p. 158.

Brick Yard Proprietor Declares Measure Unconstitutional, Los Angeles Herald, June 15, 1910, p. 8.

California Death Index.

Clay Record, v. 36, no. 12, June 1910, p. 29.

Clay Worker, v. 59, no. 6, June 1913, p. 886.

"Come On And Put Me Out!", Los Angeles Times, 22 March 1915, p. 9.

Community Control of Land, The State Journal, Raleigh, North Carolina, March 1, 1918, p. 12.

Constitutional, Court Upholds Ordinance Los Angeles Times, June 29, 1912, p. 18.

Deaths, Los Angeles Times, July 6, 1916.

Great Register, Los Angeles County, 1892.

Great Register, Los Angeles County, 1896.

Los Angeles City Directory, 1900.

Los Angeles City Directory, 1902.

Los Angeles City Directory, 1905.

Los Angeles City Directory, 1911.

Los Angeles City Directory, 1916.

Los Angeles Herald, January 28, 1902.

Los Angeles Times, February 11, 1902, p. 10.

Ordinance Invalid, Los Angeles Times, February 15, 1912, p. 18.

Out Must Go His Big Brick-Yard, Los Angeles Times, March 16, 1915.

Test of City's Law Way Up, Los Angeles Times, May 17, 1913, p. 15.

To Lug Him Away Brick By Brick?, Los Angeles Times, May 22, 1915.

U. S. Supreme Court Affirms Constitutionality of Building Restrictions, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, April 14, 1916, p. 4.

Copyright 2018 Dan Mosier

Contact Dan Mosier at danmosier@earthlink.net.