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Colusa County


  • Colusa County Sandstone (historical times through circa 1906) - Excerpt from The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, Bulletin No. 38, California, State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1906.)

    “A great belt of sandstone and shale extends from the northern boundary of the county for 20 miles to the south; in this belt occur massive ledges of building stone character for a distance of 8 miles north and south, from Sec. 17, T. 16 N., R. 4 W., to Sec. 8, T. 17 N., R. 4 W., with a width of three fourths of a mile. The first extensive use of this sandstone for the construction of large buildings was in the Union Depot and Ferry Building at the foot of Market street, San Francisco. The most recent is the James Flood Building, at Market and Powell streets, San Francisco.

    “These ledges of sandstone have an average dip of about 50 degrees to the northeast. The beds vary from 18 inches to 18 feet, and average 4 to 6 feet in thickness. In the Colusa Sandstone Company's quarry, one bed measures 35 feet in thickness, which in its southern extension in the McGilvray quarry is 45 feet thick. It is difficult to ascertain the precise length of these ledges, but they have been exposed by the quarrying operations for an unbroken length of 230 feet in each of the two quarries. As to their thickness, they vary from 125 to 225 feet, measuring from the apex to the floor of the narrow valley that skirts the westerly side of the series. The quarries are being operated from the easterly side of the series of ledges, driving westerly and northerly. Measured by observations taken through Stone Corral ravine, the operations may extend from one fourth to one half mile westward on the valley floor level, and still be within the series of massive ledges. The stone is blue-gray and buff in color, weathering to light brown; compact, and measures 12 cubic feet to the ton, and has an even rift. The blocks are quarried to any desired length and width. Holes are drilled by hand or machine, from 2 to 3 feet apart, 1 inches in diameter, with a V-shaped half-inch ream on two sides. They are shot by battery. Wadding is placed in each hole 2 or 3 feet below the collar and the space above tamped with soil. The air in the chamber between the wadding and the bottom of the hole when compressed by the explosion of the powder serves as a force in splitting the rock. Both quarries are operated with steam-power hoists and derricks, and masses measuring 20 feet long, 10 feet wide, and 6 feet thick are handled with ease and quickness. The stone is shipped over the Colusa Lake Railroad, a narrow-gauge system that connects with the Southern Pacific at Colusa Junction, and extends from the town of Sites to Colusa. At Colusa Junction the stone must be transferred to the standard-gauge cars of the Southern Pacific. The market has been so far confined to the California coast and the Hawaiian Islands.”

  • Colusa County, Mines and Mineral Resources (circa 1913-1914) - Excerpts from Report XIV of the State Mineralogist - Mines and Mineral Resources of Portions of California, Chapters of State Mineralogist's Report - Biennial Period 1913-1914, Part II. "The Counties of Colusa, Glenn, Lake, Marin, Napa, Solano, Sonoma, Yolo," by Walter W. Bradley, Field Assistant (field work in October, 1913), San Francisco, California, July, 1915, California State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1916, pp. 2-370.

    "Colusa County, like its neighbors, Glenn on the north and Yolo on the south, is one of the Sacramento Valley counties, with a portion of the Coast Range on its western edge. Its mineral resources are confined principally to the Coast Range section. Butte and Sutter counties bound it on the east, with Lake on the west. It has an area of 1100 square miles with 65 square miles of the northeast corner lying on the east side of the Sacramento River. The upper branches of Stony Creek drain the northwest part of the county and Bear Creek the southwest, while several smaller streams traverse the eastern two thirds, to the Sacramento. Snow Mountain is at the northwest corner.

    "The eastern edge of the Coast Range is here composed of a series of sedimentary strata, principally sandstones, dipping at 45 to 75 to the east and under the valley alluvial deposits. Their strike is west of north. West of these are the metamorphic series. During the course of the field work I crossed the contact between the sedimentaries and the metamorphics at four separate points: about of a mile west of Stonyford; 2 miles west of Lodoga; 1 miles east of Cooks Springs; and about of a mile east of Wilbur Springs. Plotted on the map, these points are seen to be in a straight line, running about N. 20 W.

    "The mineral products of Colusa County, in the order of their production to date.are: Sandstone, mineral water, quicksilver, gold and silver, stone industry, salt, and brick. The total value is in excess of $2,600,000. In addition to these, occurrences of the following have been noted: Borax, coal, copper, chrome, gypsum, iron, limestone, mineral paint, natural gas, onyx marble, petroleum, and sulphur.

    "The actual output is in excess of that shown by the table,* as the Manzanita mine is known to have been a gold producer as early as 1865. Also, high grade copper ore was shipped from the county in the early sixties. There are no available records of these values, nor for the quicksilver produced between 1877 and 1895."

    (* Please note that the table referred to in the paragraph above will not be produced here. The statistics relating to stone products will be listed below. Feel free to contact me if you wish information from the table on other minerals produced. Peggy B. Perazzo)

    The following information is taken from the table on page 176 entitled, "Table of Mineral Production."

    Sandstone Production in Colusa County:

    1894: 20,000 cubic feet; Value: $7,500.
    1901: 88,981 cubic feet; Value: $80,082.
    1902: 99,395 cubic feet; Value: $87,450.
    1903: 146,828 cubic feet; Value: $312,500.
    1904: 100,000 cubic feet; Value: $290,000.
    1905: 118,954 cubic feet; Value: $276,908.
    1906: 88,821 cubic feet; Value: $101,802.
    1907: 86,954 cubic feet; Value: $78,259
    1908: 73,284 cubic feet; Value: $43,971.
    1909: 73,284 cubic feet; Value: $43,971.
    1910: 112,947 cubic feet; Value: $56,505.
    1911: 101,029 cubic feet; Value: $50,027.
    1912: 51,137 cubic feet; Value: $15,804.
    1913: 34,927 cubic feet; Value: $15,550.
    Totals: 1,170,327 cubic feet; Value: $1,440,998.

    Stone Industry Production in Colusa County:

    1904: Value: $1,250.
    1907: Value: $3,500.
    1908: Value: $850.
    1909: Value: $620.
    1910: Value: $16,500.
    1911: Value: $15,300.
    Total: Value: $54,722.

  • Colusa, County, California, Mineral Resources & Introduction to the Colusa County Area of California (circa 1915) - Excerpt from Sacramento Valley and Foothill Counties of California: An Illustrated Description of all the Counties Embraced in this Richly productive Geographical Subdivision of the Golden State, compiled and edited by Emmett Phillips and John H. Miller, Published under the direction of The Sacramento Valley Exposition, J. A. Filcher, Director-in Chief, January, 1915.

    Colusa County

    "Colusa County lies in the west central portions of the Sacramento Valley. It consists of valley and foothill lands, the western boundary extending into the Coast Range Mountains. Butte Creek and the Sacramento River mark the eastern boundary of the county. The Sacramento River runs in a southerly direction through the county for a distance of about twenty miles. All the land along the river is wonderfully rich and is planted to alfalfa and orchard. A few miles back from the river is a large area of fertile plain land reaching to the foothills, farmed mainly to grain and held for the most part in great tracts. There are about 450,000 acres of agricultural land and 60,000 acres of mountain land in the county. The balance is classed as grazing land and lies on the east slope of the Coast Range.

    "The foothills of Colusa do not contain much commercial timber, though there is some good pine in the higher sections. A small oak grows in the foothills valuable for fuel and there is but little brush. There are many small pretty fertile valleys in the westward lying hills. They are mostly occupied by attractive farms. Small streams are numerous in these valleys and furnish water for irrigation. The soil on the hill slopes is productive and in the higher elevations there is much good apple land. The rounded hills are suited for grapes and, if irrigated, for deciduous citrus fruits.

    "The depth of the soil of the river and plain lands is almost incredible. An unusually deep well five miles out from the city of Colusa, showed no bedrock at 288 feet. It is believed that in many places a depth of 1,500 feet could be shown. The Valley of the Nile shows no better soil.

    "Climatic conditions are about the same as those of other counties of the Sacramento Valley. The temperature is not excessive in Summer and the Winter is characterized by the fall of ample rain to assure sufficient moisture for all cereal crops. The average annual precipitation is about 25 inches and while successful farming is done without irrigation, the tendency during the past few years is to irrigate and thus get the maximum production from the land. Irrigation in the county is done by gravity canals and by deep wells. In almost any part of the county ample water can be found by sinking wells. This source of supply has never failed, even during the dryest (sic) seasons. The lands along the Sacramento River do not need irrigation for ordinary crops. These lands are very productive; the soil is silty and easily worked.

    "Much of the land of Colusa is farmed to wheat and barley, which a quarter of a century ago was the chief crop. In recent years, however, many new settlers have been buying farms and they have been introducing diversified crops. Alfalfa is becoming an important crop and in some sections, where water is not far beneath the surface of the ground, it is grown without irrigation. Stock raising has followed alfalfa growing and there are many dairies and several creameries and skimming stations in the county.

    "A large acreage in Colusa County is devoted to the culture of rice, which produces heavily on certain irrigated lands. In 1914 the yield was 150,000 sacks. Rice pays well and it is sure to become one of the important crops of Colusa (circa 1915).

    "Every kind of deciduous fruit grows to perfection in Colusa. Prune growing is particularly profitable. The orchards produce a fine grade of drying prune and the climatic conditions are ideal for curing this fruit in the sun during the cloudless Summer days. Peaches, pears, cherries, apricots, figs and grapes grow to perfection and excellent raisins are produced.

    "The almond is an important product of Colusa. Certain favored sections on the higher plain lands are ideal for the almond. These lands are in a practically frostless belt and there is little danger of injury to the almond crop by cold nights, after the blossoming time in the early Spring.

    "The lands of Colusa are also well adapted to the culture of citrus fruits. During the past few years thousands of acres have been planted to lemon and orange trees by a single company of Southern California capitalists. After a thorough investigation as to climatic and soil conditions, these capitalists planted thousands of acres of foothill lands to citrus trees. When these groves reach maturity, oranges will be one of the chief fruits shipped out of the county. Oranges have been grown in small groves for a quarter of a century, but it was only recently (circa 1915) that planting has been done on an extensive scale. Colusa oranges ripen in the latter part of October and in November.

    "Transportation facilities in Colusa are excellent. The main line of the Southern Pacific Company traverses the county from north to south, affording direct passenger and freight service with Sacramento and San Francisco. The Southern Pacific also operates a branch line through the rich sections that are not served by the main line. The Northern Electric operates a branch electric line from Marysville, in Yuba County, to Colusa. This line makes connections at Marysville for all points on the east side of the Sacramento Valley. Cheap water transportation on the Sacramento River is available for all non-perishable products. The new west side electric road, which at this writing is in course of construction, will pass through Colusa County, giving transportation facilities to sections not before served by a road.

    "There has been a marked growth in Colusa County during recent years. This has been due in a large measure to the fact that the great grain ranches of former years are gradually being subdivided and sold in small tracts to new settlers. Irrigation has also played an important part in the development of the lands of the county, and cheap electric power has been a factor in irrigation development.

    "While the county is not noted for its mineral production, still, it possesses some valuable mineral lands. The foothills of the Coast Range yield a blue sand stone, which is valuable for building purposes. Mineral springs, from which flow waters valued for their curative powers, are numerous in the higher foothill sections.

    "Colusa, a pretty little city of 3,000 inhabitants (circa 1915), is the seat of the county government. It has good schools and churches and excellent business and county buildings. Other leading towns, which are centers of farming districts, are Maxwell, Williams, Arbuckle, College City and Princeton."

  • Colusa County Mineral Industry (circa 1919) - Excerpt from California Mineral Production for 1919, Bulletin No. 88, by Walter W. Bradley, California State Mining Bureau, 1920, pp. 144.

    Area: 1,140 square miles.
    Population: 9,920 (1920 census).
    Location: Sacramento Valley.

    "Colusa County lies largely in the basin of the Sacramento Valley. Its western border, however, rises into the foothills of the Coast Range of mountains, and it (sic) mineral resources-largely undeveloped-include coal, chromite, copper, gypsum, manganese, mineral water, pyrite, quicksilver, sandstone, miscellaneous stone, sulphur, and in some places traces of gold and silver.

    "The value of the 1919 production was $7,300 a decrease from the 1918 figures of $16,400, giving it fifty-fourth place.

    (Headings for the information below are: Substance, Amount, and Value.)

    Stone, miscellaneous, ---, $4,900
    Other minerals, ---, $2,400
    (Total value) $7,300

    Colusa County, 1916 Map, from California Mineral Production for 1919 (with County Maps), Bulletin No. 88, by Walter W. Bradley, California State Mining Bureau, San Francisco: California State Printing Office, 1920, pp. 185. Colusa County , 1916 Map
  • Colusa County Limestone Deposits (through 1947) - Excerpts from "Limestone in California," by Clarence A. Logan, California Journal of Mines and Geology, Vol. 43, No. 3, July 1947, California Division of Mines, San Francisco, California, pp. 175-357. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    "Although limestone is known to occur at several places in Colusa County, and some lime has been burned in years past for local use, no statistics of production are available. The eastern half of the county is covered by the alluvium of Sacramento Valley, and the limestone deposits are mostly in the quicksilver mining districts adjacent to the sulphur Creek about 30 miles west of the railroad. Lime has been used in Construction work at the mercury mines, in the treatment of soot, for the recovery of mercury, and in retorting cinnabar concentrate...."

    Onyx Marble (Aragonite, California Onyx) (in Colusa County)

    "Previous to 1888, some stone which has been variously described as aragonite and onyx marble was shipped to England from a narrow bed which outcrops near the head of a branch of Sulphur Creek (Irelan, W., Jr. 88, p. 159; Goodyear, W. A. 90, p. 156; Kunz, G. F. 05, p. 111). In 1888, a company called California Onyx Company had 48 acres 'at the head of Sulphur Creek.' Goodyear (90, p. 156) described some aragonite which he found only in loose pieces about a mile west of Wilbur Springs (the name applied in earlier days to the present Elgin Mine Hot Springs). He called it 'handsome, the banding being wavy and extremely thin and delicate.' Nothing has been done with it commercially in late years. In 1929, four claims were located for onyx marble 1 mile north of the north end of the Elgin mine, which would place these claims in the SE sec. 12, T. 14 N., R. 6 W. The claim owner reported the deposit formed a capping about a foot thick, 20 feet wide, and 150 feet long. When polished, the marble is an attractive brown banded stone. Probably the reason this deposit, and other similar ones in California, have not been operated for any length of time is because they cannot furnish commercial quantities of good sized pieces."

    Shell Deposits (in Colusa County)

    "Shell Deposits. Beds of shells, generally in limited quantity, have been mentioned by Goodyear (90, pp. 160 et seq.) and by Forstner (03, p. 42). The largest one is on the Wide Awake property, which is on the south side of Sulphur Creek, adjoining the Wilbur Springs resort property on the west."

    Stone Industry (in Colusa County)

    "Both the Colusa Sandstone Company and the McGilvray Stone Company, near Sites, occasionally ship spoil from their sandstone quarries for use as macadam and rubble.

    "Bibl.: Bull. 38, p. 316."

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