California brick
CALIFORNIA BRICKS


Mountain View Brickyard

History

In 1886, Theodore W. Petersen of San Jose reopened the former Bowman brickyard at Louise Avenue (now Evelyn Avenue), on the south bank of Stevens Creek, Mountain View. This yard became known as the Mountain View Brickyard. Fred Dreischmyer was the superintendent. A large contract was obtained to supply the bricks for Stanford University in Palo Alto as well as other local construction projects. By this time, they probably had round down-draught kilns that burned oil, but there was no description of this plant. The plant capacity was said to be 14 million bricks per year. In May 1901, 200,000 bricks were fired in five days. This operation closed during the summer of 1901. It was to reopen the following year under the Kimball Brick Company (see
Kimball Brick Company). Petersen was born about 1835 in Holstein, Germany, and he came to California in 1860. He died on March 10, 1902, in San Francisco.

Mountain View Brick

Common brick is orange red to red to reddish brown, mostly uniform in color with occasional yellow flashing displayed on sides. Abundant visible clasts are white and gray clay and red pebbles of chert and sandstone up to a 3/4 inch across. Better quality bricks will display only small white specks of clay on the surface. Poor quality bricks that have weathered surfaces often display pits up to an inch across and expose internal clasts. The surface sand coating is composed of subrounded to subangular white and orange-stained quartz, subrounded to subangular yellow chert, and black iron oxide. The sides are even and display no or irregular lip. The top face is rough and pitted and displays weak longitudinal strike lines. The bottom face is flat and even with minor pits. The interior contains 15 percent well rounded pebbles of red sandstone, red chert, gray diorite, white granite, white clay, and subangular white quartz, all less than 3/4 inch in diameter, in a highly porous, orange-red sandy clay body. This brick was made using the sand-molded, sand struck, soft mud process. Length 8 1/4 - 8 1/2, width 3 7/8 - 4, height 2 1/4 - 2 1/2 inches.

Stanford Winery Barn at Stanford University, Palo Alto
Stanford Winery Barn, Stanford University, was built
in 1886-1888 from Mountain View bricks, still stands.

Mountain View brick
Mountain View brick in the east wall of the Stanford Barn.


Mountain View brick
Mountain View brick in the east wall of Stanford Barn.
These are examples of unweathered, better quality brick.


Mountain View brick
Mountain View brick in the west wall of the Stanford Barn.


Mountain View brick
Mountain View brick in the west wall of the Stanford Barn,
showing the clast-filled clay body of poorer quality brick.


Microscopic view of the interior clay body of the Mountain View common brick (50x, field 
of view is 1/4 inch).
Microscopic view of the interior clay body of the Mountain
View common brick (50x, field of view is 1/4 inch).


References

Brick and Clay Record, April 1902, p. 183.

Kinchen, Barbara, Index card file, Mountain View Library.

Mountain View City Directory 1880-81.

San Jose Mercury News, 1875, 1886, 1892, 1900, 1901.

Santa Clara County Map Book G, Miramonte Subdivision, 1893, p. 14.

Copyright 2005 Dan Mosier

Contact Dan Mosier at danmosier@earthlink.net.