California brick

Spencer & Pugh


Rapp Store at Santa Monica
In 1875, Spencer & Pugh, early brick makers and contractors in Santa Monica, built the first brick business house for William Rapp at 1438 Second Street, Santa Monica. There is no description of the brick making operation of Spencer & Pugh. However, it is possible that the clay was dug on the property, hand-molded and fired in open field kilns. William Spencer and John Pugh advertised themselves as bricklayers and plasterers in the local newspaper. The demand for bricks at this time was slow so in 1876, William Spencer opened a new plant for the manufacture of clay pipes. John Pugh continued working as a contractor.

The first brick business house in Santa Monica was opened by William Rapp as a saloon. This building although with some modifications still stands today.
Rapp Store plaque

Spencer and Pugh ad
From the Santa Monica Outlook, 1875.

Spencer & Pugh Brick

Common brick is orange red to red to pale red, mostly uniform in color. Visible clasts are subrounded red pebbles up to a half inch across and subangular white quartz up to 1/4 inch across. The sides and ends are coated with light sand and the surface displays minor deep pits up to 1/4 inch across. An irregular lip up to a half inch thick may be seen around the top edge of some bricks. Edges are slightly undulatory and corners are dull. Interior of the brick appears to be orange and displays more pits and pebbles. Faces could not be observed for description. This bricks was made using the sand-molded, soft-mud process. Length 8 1/8, width 3 7/8, height 2 1/8 inches.

Spencer and Pugh common brick
View of Spencer & Pugh common brick in the wall of the Rapp building, Santa Monica.


Ingersoll, Luther A., Ingersoll's Century History, Santa Monica Bay Cities, Los Angeles, CA, 1908.

Los Angeles City Directory, 1898.

Santa Monica Outlook, December 15, 1875.

Santa Monica Outlook, November 24, 1875.

Santa Monica Outlook, October 13, 1875.

Santa Monica Outlook, October 20, 1875.

Copyright 2006 Dan Mosier

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