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Colusa County - List of Stone Quarries, Etc.*

(* Please note this list does not include sand or gravel quarries.)

Colusa Sandstone Quarry
  • Colusa County, California, Colusa (near) - Colusa Sandstone Quarry near Colusa, Cal. (Postcard photograph, #4778, Illustrated Post Card Co.; early 1900's; unmailed). (See photograph above.)
  • Colusa County, California - California Onyx Company (onyx marble, aragonite, California onyx) (Excerpt 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.)

    "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."

    (Also see: Colusa County, California - Onyx Marble Deposit below.)

  • Colusa County, California – Colusa Sandstone Quarry

    See: “Sites, Colusa County, California” below.

  • Colusa County, California - Onyx Marble Deposit (Onyx Marble) (Excerpt 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), California State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1916, pp. pp. 173-370.)

    "There is a small deposit of beautifully banded, dark brown 'onyx marble' or aragonite near Sulphur Creek. Specimens from this occurrence may be seen in the museum of the State Mining Bureau, and also in the National Museum in Washington, D. C.

    "Bibl.: R. VIII, p. 159; X, p. 156; Bull. 34, p. 111; Bull. 38, p. 369; U.S.G.S. Water Sup. Pap. 338, p. 106."

    (Also see: Colusa County, California - California Onyx Company above.)

  • Colusa County, California - California Onyx Company (onyx marble, aragonite, California onyx) (Excerpt from "Limestone in California," by Clarence A. Logan, Colusa County, California - Teichert-Thompson Quarry (Stone) (active ca 1996) (From Mines and Mineral Producers Active in California (1994-1995), Special Publication 103 (Revised 1996), California Department of Conservation, Division of Mines and Geology, in cooperation with California Department of Conservation, Office of Mine Reclamation. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    Mine name: Teichert-Thompson Quarry; Operator: Teichert Aggregates; Address & County: P.O. Box 150, Woodland, CA 95776, Colusa County; Phone: (none listed); Latitude: 39.30, Longitude: -122.32, and Mine location number: Map No. 40; Mineral commodity: Stone.

  • Colusa County, California - the Manzanita Limestone Quarry (From The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, Bulletin No. 38, California, State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1906.)

    "Manzanita, in Sec. 29, T. 14 N., R. 5. W.; G. V. Northey, Sulphur Creek, owner. Lime is produced from coarse crystalline limestone deposits, for retorting and local use. Only a small quantity has been marketed."

    • Colusa County, California - Manzanita Mine (Limestone) (Excerpt 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), California State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1916, pp. pp. 173-370.)

      "Manzanita Mine. Jones & Ryan, Sulphur Creek, owners. There is a belt of crystalline limestone on the western part of this property, which has been utilized locally. Idle.

      "Bibl.: Bull. 27, p. 45; Bull. 38, p. 66."

    • Colusa County, California - Manzanita Mine (Limestone) (Excerpt 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.)

      "Manzanita Mine. There is a deposit of crystalline limestone on the western part of the Manzanita property, in the NE sec. 29, T. 14 N., R. 5 W. Years ago some of it was used locally, but nothing has been done there recently."

  • Elgin Mine Hot Springs (near), Colusa County, California - Wide Awake Mine (Limestone) (Excerpt 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), California State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1916, pp. pp. 173-370.)

    "Wide Awake Mine.A. A. Gibson, Sulphur Creek, owner. There is a body of limestone composed entirely of fossil shells, on the Wide Awake quicksilver property. It has been utilized locally.

    "Bibl.: R. VIII, p. 188; Bull. 3, p. 6; U.S.G.S., Mon. XIII, p. 367."

    • Elgin Mine Hot Springs (near), Colusa County, California - Wide Awake Property (Shell Deposits) (Excerpt 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.)

      "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."

  • Leesville (north of), Colusa County, California - the Lambert Ranch Limestone Quarry (From The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, Bulletin No. 38, California, State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1906.)

    "Lambert Ranch, in Sec. 20, T. 16 N., R. 5 W.; J. T. Rathbun, College City, owner. A deposit of limestone, from which lime was burned about fifteen years ago."

    • Leesville (north of), Colusa County, California - Lambert Ranch Limestone Quarry (Limestone) (Excerpt 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), California State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1916, pp. pp. 173-370.)

      "Lambert Ranch. J. T. Rathbun, College City, in Sec. 20, T. 16 N., R. 5 W., north of Leesville. Lime has been burned from a deposit on this ranch but not recently.

      Bibl.: Bull. 38, p. 66."

    • Colusa County, California - Lambert Ranch (Limestone) (Excerpt 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.)

      "Lambert Ranch in sec. 20, T. 16 N., R. 5 W., contains a deposit from which some lime was made many years ago."

  • Sites (east of), Colusa County, California - The Brownstone Quarry, Maxwell-Sytes Road, Maxwell, CA 95955; (530) 438-2215. (present-day dimension stone quarry/company)
    • Maxwell, Colusa County, California - the Brownstone Quarry (Knowles & the McGilvray Quarries) - Charles “Chip” Coffyn, owner of both quarries (circa 2007) The following is an excerpt from the obituary for Charles “Chip” Coffyn published in the San Diego Union-Tribune Online Edition, San Diego, California, on August 12, 2007.

      Charles Coffyn

      “Charles ‘Chip’ Coffyn, 53, of Bainbridge Island, Washington (formerly of Larkspur and San Diego) died unexpectedly on July 11, 2007...Chip...was with the McGilvray Group, architectural stone restoration. He received home show awards with accolades for projects located from San Francisco to Sacramento. He attained a historical moment, when reopening the Brownstone Quarry which prior to its closure in the late 1800’s had furnished all the Bay Area’s brownstone material....”

  • Sites (east of), Colusa County, California – “The Colusa Sandstone,” excerpt from Stone: An Illustrated Magazine, June 1916, Vol. XXXVII, No. 6, pp. 308.

    The Colusa Sandstone

    “The California State Mining Bureau, Fletcher Hamilton, State Mineralogist, has published a number of bulletins describing the mines and mineral resources of the different counties of the State. Walter W. Bradley, field assistant, gives a description of the well-known sandstone that is produced in Colusa. This is obtained from a series of massive beds just east of Sites and extending eight miles north and south, with a width of over one-half mile. Sites is the terminus of the Colusa and Lake Railroad , narrow gauge, which connects with the Southern Pacific main line at Colusa Junction. There the stone has to be transshipped to the standard gauge cars. Principally for this reason, the stone is not dressed at the quarries but at the yards in San Francisco. There are two quarries which are operated commercially, the Colusa and the McGilvray. They adjoin, the first named being the older, and to the north. Both properties have railroad facilities. The canyon of stone Corral Creek cuts through the series nearly east and west at about the center of the Colusa company’s ground. The individual strata vary in thickness up to 18 feet so far as opened up by quarrying operations. The stone is very even grained and is quite uniform in color, being a blue-gray which darkens but slightly in weathering. It is especially well adapted for general use as a building material. Colusa sandstone has been employed so far principally in San Francisco and other central Californian cities. Some has also been shipped to Hawaii. The quarries of the Colusa Sandstone Company, three-fourths of a mile east of Sites, was first opened in 1891. The Ferry Building, San Francisco, 1896, was the first large building constructed of this stone. The sandstone can be obtained in any desirable dimensions. There are four monolithic columns in the Bank Building, at Santa Cruz, from the Colusa Company, the pieces as shipped from the quarry being 22 feet 6 inches long, by 4 feet 10 inches square at the bottom and 3 feet 6 inches square at the top. Four others of the same size were shipped to the yard at the same time. F. E. Knowles is president of the company, Abel Hosmer, secretary, and the home office and yards of the company are at Tenth and Division Streets, San Francisco. The quarry of the McGilvray Stone Company is one mile southeast and adjoins the Colusa property on the south. It was opened by the present owners in 1900. The stone has been used in many prominent buildings in San Francisco and some large blocks have been shipped. The office of the company is at 624 Townsend Street San Francisco.”

  • Sites (east of), Colusa County, California – the Colusa Stone Company Quarry (Sandstone) The following photograph is presented on the U. S. Geological Survey Photographic Library web site.
  • Sites (east of), Colusa County, California - the Colusa Sandstone Company Quarries (AKA the Knowles Quarry) (From The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, Bulletin No. 38, California, State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1906.)

    "Colusa Sandstone Company, F. E. Knowles, president; Thomas Bradbury, secretary. Offices and works, corner Potrero avenue and Tenth street, San Francisco. Quarries are located three fourths of a mile east of Sites, Colusa County, in the S. of the S. E. of Sec. 20, T. 17 N., R. 4 W. J. D. Martin, superintendent.

    "The ledges within this company's holdings extend north and south one quarter of a mile along their trend, and nearly half a mile east and west across the series. The present quarrying is being prosecuted at about the center of the holdings on the north side of Stone Corral Creek. Two quarry faces are exposed east and south. The east face is 225 feet long by 100 feet high. The south face is about 100 feet long, across twelve beds, and to a height equal to that of the east face. The stone is of the same quality and character as the stone in the McGilvray quarry. The stone for the San Francisco Ferry Building was obtained from this quarry...."

    “The Colusa Sandstone Company crushes and delivers the sandstone macadam on board the cars of the Colusa Lake Narrow Gauge Railroad at the nominal price of $1 per ton. The county of Colusa could probably secure the stone for the price of haulage and do its own crushing. For railway ballast the ‘buff’ or croppings, as well as the broken ledge material, may be used, but for wagon roads the broken ledge material is preferable; it weighs 166 pounds to the cubic foot, and crushes with uneven fracture adapted to road building.”

    “The Colusa Sandstone Company crushes and delivers the sandstone macadam on board the cars of the Colusa Lake Narrow Gauge Railroad at the nominal price of $1 per ton. The county of Colusa could probably secure the stone for the price of haulage and do its own crushing. For railway ballast the 'buff' or croppings, as well as the broken ledge material, may be used, but for wagon roads the broken ledge material is preferable; it weighs 166 pounds to the cubic foot, and crushes with uneven fracture adapted to road building.”

    Ill. No. 51. Colusa Sandstone Quarry. View from south end of quarry. (pp. 120)

    Colusa Sandstone Quarry, Colusa, CA (circa 1906)
  • Sites (east of), Colusa County, California - Colusa Sandstone (AKA the Knowles Quarry) (Excerpt 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), California State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1916, pp. 173-370.)

    "The well-known Colusa sandstone is obtained from a series of massive beds just east of Sites and extending 8 miles north and south with a width of over ½ mile. Sites is the terminus of the Colusa and Lake Railroad, narrow gauge, which connects with the Southern Pacific main line at Colusa Junction. There the stone has to be transshipped to the standard gauge cars. Principally for this reason, the stone is not dressed at the quarries but at the yards in San Francisco.

    "These strata extend both north and south of this section for a total length of about 20 miles, but outside of the 8-mile portion near Sites they are not so massive. Their general strike is N. 20 W., with a dip of 40 to 45 E. There are two quarries which are operated commercially, the Colusa and the McGilvray. They adjoin, the first named being the older, and to the north (see photo No. 92). Both properties have railroad facilities. The canyon of Stone Corral Creek cuts through the series of nearly east and west at about the center of the Colusa company's ground. The individual strata vary in thickness up to 18 feet so far as opened up by quarry operations (circa 1913).

    "The stone is very even-grained and is quite uniform in color, being a blue-gray which darkens but slightly in weathering. It is exceptionally well adapted for general use as a building material. Among other tests made on this stone the following by Thomas Price & Son, analytical chemists, is of interest (State Mining Bureau, Bull. 38, p. 124): 'When heated to a red heat and plunged into water, the stone neither splinters nor cracks. It resists, without fusion, the temperature of a full white heat, not even the sharp edges of the stone being blunted. Plunged into water after being subjected to a full white heat, the stone assumes a light brown color.' Colusa sandstone has been employed so far principally in San Francisco and other central California cities. Some has also been shipped to Hawaii."

  • Sites (east of), Colusa County, California - Colusa Sandstone Company Quarry (AKA the Knowles Quarry) (Sandstone) (Excerpt 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), California State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1916, pp. 173-370.)

    "Colusa Sandstone Company (O'Neil & Abbott; also Sites Sandstone Company). F. E. Knowles, president; Abel Hosmer, Secretary; home office and yards, Tenth and Division streets, San Francisco. This quarry in the S. of SE. of Sec. 20, T. 17 N., R. 4 W., miles east of Sites, was first opened up in 1891 by O’Neil & Abbott, and later worked by the Sites Sandstone Company. Elevation 200 feet (bar.). The Ferry Building in San Francisco, 1896, was the first large building constructed of this stone. The most recent is the new fourth wing of the St. Francis Hotel (see photo No. 175), the other three wings being from the McGilvray quarry. In the quarry (see photo No. 98), a channeler and machine drills are used, the blocks are split off both by wedging and by blasting. The equipment includes two derricks and a steam hoist. Formerly there was a well equipped plant of saws and other stone dressing machinery, but this work is now all done at the yard in San Francisco. The change was made to obviate the losses from spalling and breakage attendant on transshipping the stone at Colusa Junction.

    Photo No. 98. In quarry of Colusa Sandstone Company, Colusa County, California. In quarry of Colusa Sandstone Company, Colusa County, California
    Photo No. 175. St. Francis Hotel, San Francisco (December, 1913). Colusa sandstone. St. Francis Hotel, San Francisco (December, 1913)

    "This sandstone can be obtained in any desirable dimensions. There are four monolithic columns in the Bank Building at Santa Cruz from the Colusa Company, the pieces as shipped from the quarry being 22' 6" long, by 4' 10" square at the bottom and 3' 6" square at the top. Four others of the same size were shipped to the yard at the same time. In addition to those already mentioned above, stone for the following prominent buildings in San Francisco was furnished by the Colusa Company: Butler (corner Geary and Stockton streets); French-American Bank; Monadnock (ten stories); Metropolis (now Merchants) National Bank; Aronson (corner Third and Mission streets); and the Gunst on the opposite corner; Kamm, above the Call Building; three Home Telephone buildings and the Spreckels band stand in Golden Gate Park. Also the Thomas Clunie building in Sacramento; Garden City Bank, San Jose, First National Bank, Monterey.

    "Bibl.: R. XI, p. 188; XII, p. 398; XIII, p. 635; Bull. 38, pp. 119-124."

  • Sites (east of), Colusa County, California - The Colusa Sandstone Quarries circa 1916 (The following information is from Stone: Devoted to The Quarrying and Cutting of Stone for Architectural Uses, Vol. XXXVII, No. 6, June 1916, New York, Stone Publishing Company, pp. 308-309.)

    The Colusa Sandstone

    “The California State Mining Bureau, Fletcher Hamilton, State Mineralogist, has published a number of bulletins describing the mines and mineral resources of the different counties of the State. Walter W. Bradley, field assistant, gives a description of the well-known sandstone that is produced in Colusa. This is obtained from a series of massive beds just east of Sites and extending eight miles north and south, with a width of over one-half mile. Sites is the terminus of the Colusa and Lake Railroad, narrow gauge, which connects with the Southern Pacific main line at Colusa Junction. There the stone has to be transshipped to the standard gauge cars. Principally for this reason, the stone is not dressed at the quarries but at the yards in San Francisco. There are two quarries which are operated commercially, the Colusa and the McGilvray. They adjoin, the first named being the older, and to the north. Both properties have railroad facilities. The canyon of Stone Corral Creek cuts through the series nearly east and west at about the center of the Colusa company’s ground. The individual strata vary in thickness up to 18 feet so far as opened up by quarrying operations. The stone is very even grained and is quite uniform in color, being a blue-gray which darkens but slightly in weathering. It is especially well adapted for general use as a building material. Colusa sandstone has been employed so far principally in San Francisco and other central Californian cities. Some has also been shipped to Hawaii. The quarries of the Colusa Sandstone Company, three-fourths of a mile east of Sites, was first opened in 1891. The Ferry Building, San Francisco, 1896, was the first large building constructed of this stone. The sandstone can be obtained in any desirable dimensions. There are four monolithic columns in the Bank Building, at Santa Cruz, from the Colusa Company, the pieces as shipped from the quarry being 22 feet 6 inches long, by 4 feet 10 inches square at the bottom and 3 feet 6 inches square at the top. Four others of the same size were shipped to the yard at the same time. F. E. Knowles is the president of the company, Abel Hosmer, secretary, and the home office and yards of the company are at Tenth and Division Streets, San Francisco. The quarry of the McGilvray Stone Company is one mile southeast and adjoins the Colusa property on the south. It was opened by the present owners in 1900. The stone has been used in many prominent buildings in San Francisco and some large blocks have been shipped. The office of the company is at 624 Townsend Street San Francisco.”

  • Sites (east of), Colusa County, California - the Knowles Quarry & the McGilvray Quarry (Sandstone) The following article was written and submitted by John L. Morton, Colusa County historian.

    Colusa County Sandstone Builds Some of The World’s Most Famous Buildings, by John L. Morton, Colusa County historian.

    “Opened in 1886 the Knowles Quarry at Sites supplied the stone that built some of the most beautiful buildings in San Francisco: the most famous of which is the Ferry Building, the work of architect Page Brown. ‘The world over, the Ferry Building stands for San Francisco the way the Campanile stands for Venice, the Eiffel Tower for Paris or the World Center for New York.’ ‘Its lofty tower is a sight that will bring a lump to your throat if you’re a San Franciscan and seeing it for the first time from the deck of the train ferry that’s bringing you back home. And, if you’re going away, it’s a part of that last look you’ll never forget. The Ferry Building means the tears of all the farewells that were ever spoken there, and the embraces of all those who ever greeted each other there. These and one hundred years of hurrying footsteps.’ (1)

    “The Ferry Building was actually the swan song of the Knowles Quarry for in 1899, a year after the Ferry Building was opened the more aggressive John McGilvray Stone Co. came into existence. A. D. Knowles decided to move south to Raymond, California where he established a granite quarry. Interestingly enough, after bankruptcy of the Colusa Sandstone Quarries in 1913, the equipment was purchased for the Raymond Quarry at the bankruptcy in 1916. John McGilvray was known for his work with the Almaden stone of which Stanford University is constructed.

    “Many fine buildings are attributed to the McGilvray Quarry, among them the Saint Francis Hotel. From John McGilvray’s niece, Mrs. Jessie Sturrock Shoopman of Williams, whose father, Henry Sturrock, was superintendent, comes an interesting story of the two (2) great pillars at the entrance of the St. Francis. This is the story: the season was winter shortly after the turn of the century, sometime after midnite. The two great matching blocks of stone that were to dignify the entrance to the St. Francis, lay upon the hillside. The next day the huge mobile derrick would raise them up to the stiff leg derrick which, in its turn, transported the stones down the hillside and gently set them on flat cars of the Colusa Lake Railroad for their final journey to San Francisco. A heavy storm came up. Mr. Sturrock, fearing what might happen to the loosened earth on the hillside, paced the floor. At 2:00 a.m. his fears were realized as a great landslide came down upon the pillars completely destroying one of them. It took months of work at an expense of hundreds of dollars to quarry another pillar equally as fine as the one that was destroyed. Could one ever gaze upon the pillars at the entrance of the Saint Francis without visualizing the tense hours of the watchers on that fatal night. (1)

    “The stone that built the Flood Building, the Speckles, Kohl Building and the Emporium in San Francisco, came from the McGilvray Quarry in Colusa County. As did the Music Temple in Golden Gate Park, the Episcopal Church in San Mateo, the Honolulu Hotel in the Hawaiian islands and the Carnegie Library in Colusa and also in Marysville.

    “In January 1920, it was reported that the quarry would reopen and the stone would be dressed at the quarry. In November 1923, it was rumored that Henry Ford was interested and that he had purchased the old narrow gauge right of way, from Colusa Junction to Sites, for stone from the Sites Quarry was known as building material par excellance.

    “In September 1925, after twelve years of idleness, the John McGilvray Stone Company did reopen, trucking stones weighing as much as eight and one half tons to the Southern Pacific tracks, Maxwell, for shipment to San Francisco. Ninety of these stones had been quarried and shaped and left on the quarry grounds. Operations were short lived. One of the stones was lost during shipment and was made into grave markers in the municipal cemetery in Sacramento by stone cutters in Rocklin, California.

    “An interesting side-lite, after A. D. Knowles moved to Raymond, California; he awoke one morning to see that he had a new neighbor across the road - the John McGilvray Stone Co. These two companies were involved in the quarrying of Sierra White Granite. In this case, the Knowles Quarry is still being worked by the Cold Spring Granite Co. of Minnesota.

    “According to the Colusa Daily Sun, Wednesday, April 28, 1897 the Knowles Quarry was visited by F. S. Chadbourne, the State Harbour Commissioner, Howard R. Swain, the Chief Architect of the Ferry Building and Howard Holmes, the Chief Engineer. They came to check the progress of the stone supply so that the Ferry building could open per schedule January 1, 1898. The present production according to Mr. Holmes was two flat cars per day. The officials were reported to be well pleased. They commented that their stone masons, many from the east coast, were very impressed with the Colusa Stone; commenting on its hardness. Mrs. Holmes provided a list of equipment that was in use at the quarry. A handy reference to verify that schedules could be met. (2)

    “The final reference to Colusa Sandstone being shipped from Sites is an article in the paper of May 10, 1927 that the stone was being shipped to Salinas to be used in building an addition to the Monterey County Bank.

    Footnotes:

    “Data from the Wagon Wheel, a periodical of the Colusa County Historical Society, was used in this article.

    “Equipment at Knowles Quarry, April 1897: 1 Sullivan Improved Channeler; 6 Ingersoll-Sargeant Drills; 2 Merriman straight gang saws; 1 improved Hatch sliding gang saw; 1 improved circular Hatch plane (reported to the be largest on west coast); 2 other straight planers. There was a 70 HP Boiler and engine and 250 LF of track. The drills were steam operated.

    “As you enter Sites, there is a quarry below the road and above. The one on your left was the Knowles Quarry, the one on your right was the McGilvray.

    “To give some indication of the quarry operations at Sites; I found a record of the production in the year 1905. There was 118,054 cubic yards of stone removed with a value of $289,454.00.

    “In researching the use of Colusa Sandstone for the Ferry Building, there was a paragraph in the Daily Colusa Sun that indicated the producers of Oregon sandstone felt there was a lack of uniformity in color in Colusa Sandstone and suggested that their material was quite uniform.

    “Interestingly enough, Willis Polk who was an apprentice architect on the Ferry Building designed a residence for George W. Gibbs at 2622 Jackson Street in San Francisco. Mr. Polk used a gray sandstone from Yaquina Bay, Oregon. I have visited the area and could find no references to the quarry or even to where it was located. There is a limestone quarry that supplied stone for a breakwater at Yaquina Bay. The Gibbs residence is fascinating to me, not only as a grand example of Italian Renaissance, but because Douglas Tilden carved six Medusa heads in the frieze of a decorated entablature supported by six columns with festooned Ionic caps at the main entrance. It was Tilden’s first commissioned work after his return from Paris in 1894. The heads were carved in stone; and other than four buffalo heads, which are still over the tunnel entrance under the bridge on J. F. Kennedy Drive, directly behind the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum in Golden Gate Park are his only sculpture work in stone that I have seen. It is my understanding that there is a statue of Father Serra on Monterey Bay that Tilden also did which is made form stone. Most of his work was in bronze. The six heads were two sets of the three Gorgon sisters; Stheno, Euryale, and the mortal Medusa. (1)

    “A Handsome House,” San Francisco Chronicle, May 11, 1895.

    “I should note that the Colusa Sandstone has held up very well as compared to the Yaquina Bay stone on the Gibbs residence. The segmental lintels both the intrados, but especially the extrados as well as the sills are badly deteriorated. There are iron pyrites in the stone that certainly has not helped its longevity.”

    Photo No. 93. Fifteen-foot bed of sandstone, McGilvray quarry, Colusa County, California. (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,” California State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1916) Fifteen-foot bed of sandstone, McGilvray quarry, Colusa County, California.
  • Sites, Colusa County, California – California Quarries (present-day company) (The photo on the main page of this web site is a close-up of The Brownstone Quarry.)

    (from the web site) “California Quarries is committed to supplying distributors of natural stone with the beautiful stone from northern California. Selling direct from our quarry in northern California, we provide a wide variety of building stone originating in California. In addition to our quarry, we specialize in Santa Barbara sandstone, limestone, rhyolite, and granite.

    “All stone products are extracted, processed, and fabricated in California.”

  • Sites, Colusa County, California – “California Quarries: Cutting New History,” by James Abner, Sunday, 5 October 2003, Stone Business Online web site.

    (The article beings with) “COLUSA, Calif. -- What was lost – as far as a unique variety of American stone – is now found. After a dormancy of 70 years, quarry operations resumed seven years ago at the historic Colusa, Calif., site that produced San Francisco Brownstone. With some hard work and dedication from a number of individuals, the quarry was re-opened, setting the stage to quarry and fabricate this historic sandstone….”

    (The article describes the sandstone in the Colusa quarry as follows.) “A dense stone, with a rich earth tone color range, the material blended perfectly with the landscape and architecture of the San Francisco Bay area. The quarry yields two colors of sandstone: Sage, which has a deep maritime hue that, with a sawn or thermal finish, closely resembles the bluestone of the eastern United States; and Brown, accounting for approximately 20 percent of the quarry, that is a complementary blend with green colors or a stand-alone stone. (The majority of historic applications used only the Sage stone.)”

  • Sites (east of), Colusa County, California - the Brownstone Quarry (present-day company) (AKA the Knowles Quarry and Colusa Quarry) (2006 Brownstone Quarry Photographic Tour). John Morton, Colusa County historian, joined my husband Pat and I on the 2006 trip to the quarry. You can read the summary that John wrote about both the McGilvray and Knowles quarries above.)
    Photo of the Knowles sandstone quarry known as the Brownstone Quarry in at Sites, Colusa County. Owner in 2006 was Charles (Chip) Coffyn (deceased in mid-2007). (Photo by Peggy B. Perazzo in 2006) Photo of the McGilvray Sandstone Quarry
    • Below is a link to the Brownstone Quarry brochure, which is used with the permission of the owner. To access the brochure (in pdf), either click on the front cover image or the link in the caption below the cover image. The five photos of the quarry and the stone yard area were taken from the brochure.
      Brownstone: Custom Architectural Stone Brochure Portion of the Brownstone Quarry in Colusa County, CA

      Brownstone: Custom Architectural Stone Brochure (PDF) (Used with permission, March 2011)

      Portion of the Brownstone Quarry in Colusa County (from brochure)

      Overhead view of a part of the Brownstone Quarry, Colusa County, CA The Brownstone Quarry loading area, Colusa County, CA

      Overhead view of a part of the Brownstone Quarry (from brochure)

      The Brownstone Quarry loading area (from brochure)

      The Brownstone Quarry stone works area, Colusa County, CA Sawing a sandstone block in the Brownstone Quarry area, Colusa County, CA

      The Brownstone Quarry stone works area (from brochure)

      Sawing a sandstone block in the Brownstone Quarry area (from brochure)

  • Sites (east of), Colusa County, California - the McGilvray Quarry (2006 Photographic Tour). John Morton, Colusa County historian, joined my husband Pat and I on this trip. You can read the summary that John wrote about both the McGilvray and Knowles quarries above.)
  • Sites, Colusa County, California - the McGilvray Stone Company Quarries (From The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, Bulletin No. 38, California, State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1906.)

    "McGilvray Stone Company, John D. McGilvray, owner. Offices and works, Townsend street, between Seventh and Eighth, San Francisco. Quarries, three fourths of a mile east of Sites, in Sec. 29, T. 17 N., R. 4 W.; H. Sturrock, superintendent. The ledges in their general north and south course extend for the full length of the holding three fourths of a mile, with a width of one fourth of a mile. The quarrying was begun in about the center of the east side, driving westerly across the ledges. The face is 230 feet long north and south, and 220 feet high. The surface exposure of the sandstone extends to about 400 feet in height. The general character and quality of the stone is, however, the same. The operations in March, 1905, had reached a depth of more than 30 feet, cutting one bed 4 feet, one 6 feet, and one 18 feet thick. The latter bed has not been cut through its full thickness; it is estimated to be 20 feet thick.

    "Some of the prominent buildings in San Francisco which have been constructed of the McGilvray Stone Company's Colusa sandstone include: The Kohl Building (formerly the Haywards Building), corner Montgomery and California streets; F. W. Woods Building, Geary street; Miller, Sloss & Scott Building, corner First and Mission streets; Mutual Savings Bank Building, Market and Geary streets; Park Emergency Hospital; St. Francis Hotel; Flood Building, Powell and Market streets; Italian-American Bank, Montgomery street; Sherrith Israel Synagogue, corner California Webster streets; Shreve Building, corner Grant avenue and Post street; W. P. Fuller Building, corner Mission and Beale streets."

    “The McGilvray Stone Company produces similar material (to that of the Colusa Sandstone Company).”

    Ill. No. 54. A portion of the face of the McGilvray Sandstone Quarry, Colusa County. A portion of the face of the McGilvray Sandstone Quarry, Colusa County
  • Sites (east of), Colusa County, California - McGilvray Stone Company (Sandstone) (Excerpt 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), California State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1916, pp. 173-370.)

    "McGilvray Stone Company. John D. McGilvray, president; John D. McGilvray, Jr., manager. Home office, 634 Townsend street, San Francisco. The McGilvray quarry is in Sec. 29, T. 17 N., R. 4 W., 1 mile southeast from Sites, and adjoins the Colusa property on the south. Elevation 165 feet (bar.). It was opened up by the present owners in 1900, having previously been a part of the Burgett ranch. There is a good face of stone exposed here, over 200 feet along the strike by about the same amount on the dip (see photos Nos. 92 and 93), though they have not the advantage of an open end exposure across the strata to work from, as there is where the canyon of Stone Corral Creek cuts through the Colusa Company's ground. Of large dimension stone two pieces 19' x 5' x 22" have been shipped from this quarry.

    "Among the more prominent buildings in San Francisco constructed of stone from this quarry, besides the St. Francis Hotel already noted, are the Flood Building; Kohl (originally Hayward); Humboldt Savings Bank (seventeen stories); Carroll & Tilton (above Call Building); Mutual Savings Bank; Sherith Israel Synagogue (corner California and Webster streets); Italian-American Bank, and the Shreve Building.

    "In blocking out the stone machine drills are used, and occasionally the channeler. On the thinner beds wedges are employed, while with the thick ones the drill holes are reamed V-shaped on two sides and sprung with powder. There are three derricks with steam hoists. Utah coal costs $10 to $11 per ton at Sites. Only a small amount of stone was shipped in 1913.

    "Bibl.: Bul. 38, pp. 119-125."

    Photo No. 92. Sandstone beds in McGilvray quarry, Colusa County, California, looking north. Bed in center 15 feet thick. Colusa sandstone quarry in middle distance. Sandstone beds in McGilvray quarry
    Photo No. 93. Fifteen-foot bed of sandstone, McGilvray quarry, Colusa County, California. Fifteen-foot bed of sandstone, McGilvray quarry, Colusa County, California.
  • Sites (east of), Colusa County, California - the McGilvray Stone Company Quarry (Sandstone) (from Stone Magazine, September 1925, Vol. XLVI, No. 9, pp. 554)

    “The John D. McGilvray Stone Company of San Francisco will start operation in the long abandoned Sites quarry some time in September. This company has contracted to furnish stone for several buildings in San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles. The stone will be brought to Maxwell by truck and shipped by rail. The Sites quarry has furnished stone for many large buildings, among them being the Ferry Building in San Francisco.”

    Photo of the McGilvray sandstone quarry located across the road from the Brownstone/Knowles/Colusa Quarry. The owner was Charles (Chip) Coffyn (deceased). (Photo taken by Peggy B. Perazzo in 2006) Photo of the Knowles Sandstone Quarry
  • Sites, Colusa County, California – John D. McGilvray & the McGilvray-Raymond Granite Company

    McGilvray-Raymond Granite Company –  “McGilvray Family History,” by Basin Research Associates, Inc., San Leandro, California, for the City of San Francisco Planning Department, San Francisco, California, August 1989.  Presented with the permission of the City of San Francisco Department of City Planning and with the permission and courtesy of Basin Research Associates, Inc., San Leandro (www.basinresearch.com)

    Excerpts from the McGilvray Family History report:

    “This letter report with attachments seeks to fulfill the requirement for a written report set for by Mr. Robert W. Passmore, Assistant Director, Planning Implementation, City of San Francisco, Department of City planning in his letter of March 21, 1989 where he requested ‘…further investigative work…for the purpose of disclosing the historical social role and evolution of the McGilvray stone-cutter business using documentary resources and oral interviews as warranted.”

    “This request was made as a result of the exposure of a large marble statue with the inscription ‘IACOBUS’ during archeological monitoring for the Showplace Square project on Townsend Street.  As a result of archival research, it was determined that the site had once been (the) location of the McGilvray-Raymond Granite company.  We were also able to locate and interview Mr. John D. McGilvray III, the grandson of a Scottish stone cutter, John D. McGilvray, who was responsible for the construction of most of the major granite monumental buildings throughout California and in particular, San Francisco, including the City Hall and other buildings in the civic center project.  Mr. McGilvray also built most of the Stanford (University) campus buildings between 1870 and 1917….”

    For a good summary of John Duff McGilvray’s occupation as a stone contractor, his stone companies, and his family, visit Barbara Lewellen’s detailed and informative web site, “Our Scottish Ancestors.” The web site presents the history of her McGilvray family and the many men in her family who worked as stone masons and stone contractors in Scotland; Chicago, Illinois; Denver, Colorado; and California, et al.  A lot of history and many wonderful photographs are presented on her web site.

    According to Lewellen’s web site, the McGilvray men first worked as “…stone masons, working in the quarries in the Tayside area near Dundee, Scotland.”  According to the “John Duff McGilvray & Marion Beaton” section of the web site, McGilvray family’s immigration from Scotland to Chicago, Illinois, circa 1870 is described.  In 1876 they moved on to Denver, Colorado, in 1876.  About 1892, John D. McGilvray moved his family to Palo Alto near San Francisco, California.

    Sections of the Lewellen’s web site that relate to John D. McGilvray’s stone businesses include:

    Another web site that provides some photos of the McGilvray Quarry is “McGilvray Quarry at Knowles,” presented by Ken Doig on the Madera County CAGenWeb Project web site:

    The McGilvray Quarry at Knowles, Raymond Granite Company 

    The following 1921 article published in San Francisco briefly describes John D. McGilvray’s early life and provides a full description of the history of his stone company and his goal to increase the use of California stone in building construction. 

    California’s Granites are Unsurpassed.  John D. McGilvray, Pioneer Stone Man, Develops Great Industry Here  “Company Builds Mausoleums for our Cemeteries:  Many of Finest Structures on Pacific Coast Erected by His Firm” (pdf), in the “Little Journeys to the Homes of Big Industries,” section of the San Francisco Chronicle, June 7, 1921, pp. 7. 

    “In 1897 he incorporated the McGilvray Stone Company for the purpose of popularizing the California product in building construction. Later in 1907, he reincorporated under the name of McGilvray-Raymond Granite Company, of which corporation he remained the head until his death in 1916.”  

    This article also states that John D. McGilvray was one of the main forces responsible for the increasing use of California stone in the state’s buildings:

    “This was the now promising stone industry.  Although a few experts and master stone men, like John D. McGilvray, founder of the great McGilvray-Raymond Granite Co., with a half dozen of the largest quarries in the country now in operation, knew of the wonderful possibilities of California stone on account of its superior qualities, yet it was not extensively used owing to ancient methods.

    “A few stone buildings had been created before this time, but the cost was almost prohibitive. McGilvray introduced modern methods of handling stone in building construction, which made it possible to use it in competition with other materials. By this means he constructed a market for California stone. He lived to see the day when his judgment was sustained by the almost universal acceptance of his opinion that California granite for qualities of durability and capacity to take a fine finish, whether hammered or polished, was unequaled anywhere in the world.”

    “After the great fire and earthquake of 1906 he had a clear demonstration of his contentions that California stone was the best building material for large buildings in the West….”  Some of the many stone buildings that John D. McGilvray’s company was involved in are listed in this article.  He’s famous for building the first “sky-scraper” in San Francisco for Claus Spreckels in 1898.

    After John D. McGilvray’s death in 1916, his sons continued operating the McGilvray-Raymond Granite Company:  John D. McGilvray, the eldest son, was president and general manager.  H. S. McGilvray was vice-president, and he was in charge of construction work in San Francisco.  A. B. McGilvray was treasurer, and he managed the “great granite quarry at Raymond” in Madera County.  W. S. McGilvray was in charge of the company’s operation in Los Angeles at 678 South Utah Street.  Malcolm McGilvray, the fifth son, was the assistant secretary for the company.

    The article goes on to describe the quarries that the McGilvray-Raymond Granite Company operated:

    The McGilvray sandstone quarry near Sites in Colusa County. 

    (If you’d like learn more about the history of this quarry and to view photographs of this quarry, you can visit the “Colusa County Quarry” section of our web site, and scroll down to the McGilvray quarry entries and photographs.)

    The Stanford / Goodrich (aka the Greystone) sandstone quarry at Greystone in Santa Clara County, California.  Sandstone from this quarry was used to build the outer quad of the Stanford University in Palo Alto.

    According to The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, Bulletin No. 38, published in 1906, the McGilvray Stone Company was located at Second and King Streets in San Francisco.  About 1916, McGilvray’s home office was located at 634 Townsend street in San Francisco, according to a 1916 California State Mining Bureau report.  McGilvray leased the quarry from from the heirs of Levi Goodrich.

    (If you’d like to view photographs of the Greystone quarry (aka the Stanford or Goodrich quarry), you can visit the “Santa Clara County Quarry” section of our web site, and scroll down to the Stanford/Greystone/Goodrich quarry entries and photographs.)

    The McGilvray granite quarry at Raymond/Knowles in Madera County, California. 

    (If you’d like to view photographs of the McGilvray granite quarry located at Raymond/Knowles area, you can visit the “Photo Tour of the Inactive McGilvray Quarry” section of our web site to view a photographic tour of the quarry and area.  If you wish to find historical information and photographs of the quarry, visit the “Madera County Quarries” section and scroll down to the McGilvray quarry entries.)

    The granite quarry at Lakeside in San Diego County, California.  (Granite from the Lakeside quarry in San Diego was sold as “Silver Gray” granite.)

    (You can visit the Lakeside-Foster area of the “San Diego County Quarry” section of our web site for information on the McGilvray granite quarry there.  We do not have much information yet or photographs of this quarry, but we hope to visit the area sometime this year.  Peggy B. Perazzo)

    The names of McGilvray’s of companies include: 

    In Denver:  the “John D. McGilvray and Company” & “John D. McGilvray and Company.”

    In California:  “McGilvray Stone Company,” McGilvray Stone Company; in 1907 he incorporated under the name of the McGilvray-Raymond Granite Co.; Raymond Granite Co.

  • Sites (east of), Colusa County, California the McGilvray Stone Company Quarry (Sandstone)

    Also See: Maxwell, Colusa County, California - The Brownstone Quarry, Maxwell Sytes Road, Maxwell, California (above).

  • Sites (east of), Colusa County, California - O'Neil & Abbott (Sandstone)

    See: Sites (east of), Colusa County, California - Colusa Sandstone Company Quarry above.

  • Sites (east of), Colusa County, California - Sites Sandstone Company

    See: Sites (east of), Colusa County, California - Colusa Sandstone Company Quarry above.

  • Sites (east of), Colusa County, California - Sites Sandstone (photographs and history of the library)

    The Colusa Carnegie Library opened in 1906. One of the building materials used was locally quarried Sites sandstone for the veneer and parapet.

  • Wilbur Springs (northwest of), Colusa County, California - Elgin Quicksilver Mine (Limestone) (Excerpt 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.)

    "Elgin Quicksilver Mine. In the SE sec. 13, T. 14 N. R. 6 W., and sec. 18, T. 14 N., R. 5 W., 4 miles northwest of Wilbur Springs post office by road and 30 miles east of Williams, the nearest railroad point, is an outcrop of hard white material inclosing fragments of shale, on the slope below the Judge Moore tunnel. This was analyzed by the U. S. Geological Survey (Waring, G. A. 15, p. 105)* and found to consist 'mainly of calcium and magnesium carbonates with only small amounts of silica and water' but is not dolomite."

    (* Gerald Ashley Waring, Springs of California, U. S. Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper 338, 410 pp., maps, 1915.)

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