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From Quarry to Cemetery Monuments

California Quarries that Supplied Stone for Yolo County, the Sacramento Area, & the San Francisco Bay Area (Continued)


Comb’s Quarry (John W. Combs of San Jose, California, & Washington)

John W. Combs is a sculptor and monument company operator in San Jose whose signed stones can be found in many Yolo County cemeteries. According to his granddaughter, John Combs quarried a lot of his own stone with his sons for use in some of the cemetery stones they produced at their Western Granite and Marble Company in San Jose, Santa Clara County. (If you are interested in reading more about John W. Combs and view photographs of his signed marble stones, you will find it in the “John W. Combs” section of the “Historical California Stone Carvers, Stone Cutters, & Monument Companies” section of this Stone Quarries & Beyond web site.)

Below are photographs of John Combs, his stone quarry, onw of which includes him and his sons, Albert Combs and Angus Combs. (John Combs’ granddaughter, Ruth Edvalson, contributed these photos and more to our web site.) I do not know if this quarry is located in California or Washington, which is where he lived and worked during his later years.

John W. Combs, Stone Quarrier & Sculptor in San Jose, California, & Washington

John W. Combs, Stone Quarrier & Sculptor in San Jose, California, & Washington

Combs’ Quarry (left to right: (sons) Albert Combs, Angus Combs, & John W. Combs)

Combs’ Quarry (left to right: (sons) Albert Combs, Angus Combs, & John W. Combs)

John W. Combs’ Quarry

John W. Combs’ Quarry


Corona Granite Quarries, Riverside County, California

The following information and photograh are from The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, Bulletin No. 38, California, State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1906.)

“East of Corona, on the north side of the Southern Pacific Railroad, and a half mile from the railway, are several productive granite quarries. There are a number of more or less regularly rounded hills or buttes that occur at this place, over the tops and slopes of which the granite outcrops in rounded ledges in the midst of a multitude of large rounded boulders...A large part of the granite has been quarried here from the boulders, as these are more easily worked into dimensions than the massive bedrock. The boulders are especially sought in making the Belgian paving blocks, which are made here in large numbers.

“Besides the use for paving stone, the Corona granite is used to some extent for building stone, and in considerable quantities for monuments in Los Angeles, Riverside, and other places in southern California.

“The stone from all the quarries is hauled by wagon to the railroad at Hammer switch, about a mile east of Porphyry station.

“The monument dealers in the different towns nearly all speak highly of the Corona granite for monuments, thus giving it a growing reputation in that field. Its nearness to Los Angeles and Riverside also favors the use of this stone for Belgian blocks.”

Granite Quarry, Corona, Riverside County, California (circa 1906)

Granite Quarry, Corona, Riverside County, California (circa 1906)


Declez Granite Quarry, south of Temecula, Riverside County, California

The following quotation and photographs are from The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, Bulletin No. 38, California, State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1906.)

“Bly Brothers, 720 Alameda street, Los Angeles…(Formerly belonged to the West Riverside Granite Company.) This quarry produces a large quantity of fine granite used for building purposes in Los Angeles and vicinity. This firm has in Los Angeles one of the best equipped stone yards for handling and dressing the stone that there is in southern California. There are saw gangs for sawing the stone, as they handle considerable sandstone and marble in their contracts. They have stone planers, surfacing machines, steam drills, pneumatic drills, and surfacing tools. There is also a large force of stonecutters, as much of the cutting and finishing of granite is necessarily done by hand….Because of the uniformity of its pleasing light gray color, it will no doubt continue to be a popular building stone.”

Stone-sawing machine, Bly Bros. Stone Company, Los Angeles, California (circa 1906)

Stone-sawing machine, Bly Bros. Stone Company, Los Angeles

Machine surfacing granite at Bly Bros. stone yards, Los Angeles, California (circa 1906)

Machine surfacing granite at Bly Bros. stone yards, Los Angeles


Folsom Granite Quarry, Folsom, Sacramento County, California

The following quotation and photograph are from Report XV of the State Mineralogist, Mines and Mineral Resources of Portions of California, Chapters of State Mineralogist's Report Biennial Period 1915-1916, Part III, 1919, pp. 417.)

“The Folsom Granite Quarry is situated on the east bank of the American River at Folsom State Prison. The grounds include 483.92 acres, practically all of which is made up of Granodiorite and diabase. The quarry sites are about 50 feet above the bed of the river and just east of the canal.
“Early work was carried on in diabase, the contact of which, with the granodiorite crosses the American River just north of the site of the old rock crusher…The granodiorite is dark and medium-grained and the prison buildings built of it in 1888 show no sign of weathering. All work is done by prison labor. Equipment consists of hand and hammer drills, two derricks, and a tramway to the prison grounds. The convicts are taught to quarry, cut stone and do the masonry and some have even attempted sculptural work.”

The Folsom granite quarries located at Folsom Prison was opened in 1856/1857. This is a photograph of the quarry where the prisoners worked dated about 1919.

Granite quarry at Folsom State Prison, Represa, Sacramento County. Worked by the convicts at the prison. (circa 1919)

Granite quarry at Folsom State Prison, Represa, Sacramento County. Worked by the convicts at the prison (circa 1919)

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