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San Diego - List of Stone Quarries, Etc.*

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

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  • Santee, San Diego County, California – Santee area Granite Quarries circa 1913 (Granite)  (from the chapter in “California” (pdf), by G. F. Loughlin, in the Mineral Resources of the United States Calendar Year 1913, Part II.  Nonmetals, United States Geological Survey, 1914, pp. 1356)

    “The granite from Santee is used largely for monumental work, also for building stone, and large quantities of it have been shipped to Los Angeles and other points in southern  California.  In monuments it resembles the widely used granite from Barre, Vt.  The rock is of medium to rather dark gray color, distinctly darker than the average California granite, and of medium, even grain.  It is composed essentially of bluish gray translucent feldspars and black intergrowths of hornblende, augite, biotite, and magnetite.  All the minerals appear to be quite free from alteration.  The rock takes a good polish, which, with its dark color, especially adapts it for monumental work.”

  • Santee (southeast of), San Diego County, California – the American Marble and Granite Works (Jose Covas) Quarry (Granite/dimension stone)  (from Geology and Mineral Resources of San Diego County, County Report 3, by F. Harold Weber, Jr., Geologist, California Division of Mines and Geology, 1963, pp. 262.  (This book is available on the Internet Archive – Texts.)

    (pp. 255)

    “Lakeside-Foster-Santee Area (Gray Granite).  Twelve known quarries have been opened in this area, which includes the towns of Lakeside, the site of Foster, and Santee.  Only one of the 12 quarries was active in mid-1958, however.  The quarries are in ledge-like outcroppings of massive, light-gray granitic rock which ranges in composition from quartz diorite to granodiorite.  At several points operators also have worked boulders on the surface.  The stone produced in the area most commonly is marketed as ‘Lakeside Silver-Gray Granite.’

    “Two of the quarries are near Santee, alongside the now-abandoned route of the San Diego and Cuyamaca Eastern Railroad which ran from San Diego to Foster.  The more westerly of these two quarries was opened in 1888 by the Simpson-Pirnie Company, and worked by this company until 1932.  It was probably the first granite quarry opened in San Diego County…The more easterly quarry was opened by Jose Covas in 1900 and worked by him until 1926, then by American Marble and Granite Company until 1941.”

    (pp. 262)

    (Map No.)  415*  (Name of claim, mine, or group)  American Marble and Granite Works (Jose Covas) quarry; (Owner name, address)  Center of the S ½ SW ¼ sec. 26, T1 5S, R1W, SBM (proj.); about ½ mile southeast of Santee; (Geology)  Light-gray granitic rocks with well-developed sheeting and jointing systems.  (*  You can find the location of this quarry on Plate 10 near the end of the book at the link above.  This map covers the Lakeside-Foster, the Escondido, and Vista areas of San Diego County.)

    (Remarks and references)  “Worked from 1900 to 1926 by Jose Covas who produced stone marketed as ‘San Diego black granite’.  American operated the deposit from 1927 to 1941 and produced stone marketed as ‘Blue Diamond granite’ which was used mainly for monuments.  (Hoppin and Norman 50:4, 7; Tucker 25:364; Tucker and Reed 39: pl. 1).”  (To see the bibliography that lists the books cited in the previous sentence, see the “Annotated Bibliographies” section of Geology and Mineral Resources of San Diego County, pp. 283-309.)

    • (Also see:  “San Diego, San Diego County, California – the American Marble and Granite Works (Granite)”)
  • Santee District, San Diego County, California – Jose Covas (Granite Quarry) (From Commercial 'Black Granite' of San Diego County, California, Special Report 3, by Richard A. Hoppin and L. A. Norman, Jr., State of California, Department of Natural Resources, Division of Mines, San Francisco, December 1950.")
    No. 1 on "Figure 1. Index map of San Diego County granite quarries," located in the Santee District of San Diego County, produced a black stone, trade name "San Diego Black granite." First year of production was 1900, last year of production was 1926.
    • Santee (southeast of), San Diego County, California – the Jose Covas (American Marble and Granite Works) Quarry (Granite/dimension stone)  (from Geology and Mineral Resources of San Diego County, County Report 3, by F. Harold Weber, Jr., Geologist, California Division of Mines and Geology, 1963, pp. 262.  (This book is available on the Internet Archive – Texts.)

      (pp. 255)

      “Lakeside-Foster-Santee Area (Gray Granite).  Twelve known quarries have been opened in this area, which includes the towns of Lakeside, the site of Foster, and Santee.  Only one of the 12 quarries was active in mid-1958, however.  The quarries are in ledge-like outcroppings of massive, light-gray granitic rock which ranges in composition from quartz diorite to granodiorite.  At several points operators also have worked boulders on the surface.  The stone produced in the area most commonly is marketed as ‘Lakeside Silver-Gray Granite.’

      “Two of the quarries are near Santee, alongside the now-abandoned route of the San Diego and Cuyamaca Eastern Railroad which ran from San Diego to Foster.  The more westerly of these two quarries was opened in 1888 by the Simpson-Pirnie Company, and worked by this company until 1932.  It was probably the first granite quarry opened in San Diego County…The more easterly quarry was opened by Jose Covas in 1900 and worked by him until 1926, then by American Marble and Granite Company until 1941.”

      (pp. 262)

      (Map No.)  415*  (Name of claim, mine, or group)  American Marble and Granite Works (Jose Covas) quarry; (Owner name, address)  Center of the S ½ SW ¼ sec. 26, T1 5S, R1W, SBM (proj.); about ½ mile southeast of Santee; (Geology)  Light-gray granitic rocks with well-developed sheeting and jointing systems.  (*  You can find the location of this quarry on Plate 10 near the end of the book at the link above.  This map covers the Lakeside-Foster, the Escondido, and Vista areas of San Diego County.)

      (Remarks and references)  “Worked from 1900 to 1926 by Jose Covas who produced stone marketed as ‘San Diego black granite’.  American operated the deposit from 1927 to 1941 and produced stone marketed as ‘Blue Diamond granite’ which was used mainly for monuments.  (Hoppin and Norman 50:4, 7; Tucker 25:364; Tucker and Reed 39: pl. 1).”  (To see the bibliography that lists the books cited in the previous sentence, see the “Annotated Bibliographies” section of Geology and Mineral Resources of San Diego County, pp. 283-309.)

      • (Also see:  “San Diego, San Diego County, California – the American Marble and Granite Works (Granite)”)
    • Santee (southeast of), San Diego County, California – the Jose Covas Quarry (Granite/dimension stone) (from Geology and Mineral Resources of San Diego County, County Report 3, by F. Harold Weber, Jr., Geologist, California Division of Mines and Geology, 1963, pp. 263.  (This book is available on the Internet Archive – Texts.)

      (Remarks and references)  “See American Marble and Granite Works.  (Hoppin and Norman 50:7; Tucker 25:364.” (To see the bibliography that lists the books cited in the previous sentence, see the “Annotated Bibliographies” section of Geology and Mineral Resources of San Diego County, pp. 283-309.)

  • Santee District, San Diego County, California – John Grant (Stone Quarry) (From Commercial 'Black Granite' of San Diego County, California, Special Report 3, by Richard A. Hoppin and L. A. Norman, Jr., State of California, Department of Natural Resources, Division of Mines, San Francisco, December 1950.")

    This quarry was located in the Santee District of San Diego County. First year of production was 1913, last year of production was 1915.

    • Santee, San Diego County, California – the John Grant Quarry (Granite/dimension stone)  (from Geology and Mineral Resources of San Diego County, County Report 3, by F. Harold Weber, Jr., Geologist, California Division of Mines and Geology, 1963, pp. 263.  (This book is available on the Internet Archive – Texts.)

      (Remarks and references)  “Worked deposits in Grossmont, Santee, and Lakeside-Foster areas in 1910’s.  Produced gray stone.  See also Waterman Granite Co. quarry.  (Hoppin and Norman 50:7).” (To see the bibliography that lists the books cited in the previous sentence, see the “Annotated Bibliographies” section of Geology and Mineral Resources of San Diego County, pp. 283-309.)

  • Santee, San Diego County, California – the Santee Granite Quarry (Granite/dimension stone)  (from Geology and Mineral Resources of San Diego County, County Report 3, by F. Harold Weber, Jr., Geologist, California Division of Mines and Geology, 1963, pp. 265.  (This book is available on the Internet Archive – Texts.)

    (Remarks and references)  “See Simpson-Pirnie Granite Co.  (Aubury 06:52).”  (To see the bibliography that lists the books cited in the previous sentence, see the “Annotated Bibliographies” section of Geology and Mineral Resources of San Diego County, pp. 283-309.)

  • Santee, San Diego County, California – the Simpson-Pirnie Granite Company (Granite)
    • Santee, San Diego County, California – the Simpson-Pirnie Granite Company (Granite) (From The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, Bulletin No. 38, California, State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1906.)

      Simpson-Pirnie Granite Company, James Simpson, president, San Diego. At Santee, a station on the San Diego, Cuyamaca and Eastern Railway, 3 miles north of El Cajon and 25 miles north of San Diego, is a granite quarry that has been operated for several years. A short railway spur extends from Santee to the quarry, which is on the north side of the El Cajon Valley. The granite is quarried by hand. The stone is a bright-colored, light-gray, biotite-augite granite, which has a reddish to brownish tint on the weathered outcrop. In some places this brownish discoloration from the oxidation of the iron extends several feet below the surface, while in other places it is a mere shell on the surface. In the middle of the quarry face is a dike-like band that shows several open vertical joint seams, but elsewhere on the face the rock is massive and almost free from open seams. It has a remarkable straight fracture, and is easily obtained in regular rectangular blocks as large as can be handled. There is comparatively little stripping to the granite mass and no expensive waste in quarrying. As the quarry is at the base of the butte, the height of the quarry face will increase as it is worked back toward the center of the hill. The stone is quite uniform in texture and color, with the exception of a few small dark blotches caused by a local segregation of the dark mica flakes. It is used largely for monuments, and for this purpose it is cut and dressed at the company's yard in San Diego and shipped in considerable quantities to Los Angeles and other points in southern California. It also makes an excellent building stone, for which it is used to some extent.”

      Figure 11. Sheet structure at Simpson quarry, Santee. Sheet structure at Simpson quarry, Santee.
  • Santee Station (near), San Diego County, California – Simpson-Pirnie Granite Company Quarry (Granodiorite) (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 V. "The Counties of San Diego, Imperial," by Frederick J. H. Merrill, Ph.D., Field Assistant (field work in December, 1914), California State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1916, pp. 427-634.)

    "Simpson-Pirnie Granite Company, James Simpson, president, Peter C. Pirnie, secretary. Office and works. Two quarries are worked. One is near Santee station on the San Diego, Cuyamaca and Eastern Railway, 25 miles from San Diego in the east side of the hill south of the station. The property comprises 49 acres.

    "The granite is quarried by hand. The stone is a bright-colored light gray grano-diorite with a reddish to brownish tint on the weathered outcrop. In some places this discoloration from the oxidation of the iron extends several feet below the surface, while in others it is merely superficial. For the most part the rock is massive and almost free from open seams. It has a remarkably straight fracture, and is easily obtained in rectangular blocks as large as can be handled. There is little stripping and no expensive waste in quarrying. The stone is quite uniform in texture and color, with the exception of a few small blotches caused by local segregation of dark mica flakes. It is largely used for monuments, and for this purpose is cut and dressed at the company's yard in San Diego and shipped in considerable quantities to Los Angeles and other points in southern California. It also makes an excellent building stone, for which it is used to some extent. The annual product amounts to 5,000 cubic feet of dimension stone, 200,000 of paving blocks and 1,500 tons of riprap."

    "Dr. A. S. Eakle's determination of (this rock) is as follows:….

    "Pirnie-Simpson, Santee. Granodiorite. A thin section shows much triclinic feldspar as well as orthoclase, a small amount of quartz, biotite and hornblende."

    (This quarry was in operation ca. 1914.)

    For a description of the second quarry mentioned in the description above, also operated by this company, see:

    Foster (west of), San Diego County, California – Simpson-Pirnie Granite Company Quarry above)

  • Santee District, San Diego County, California – the Simpson-Pirnee Granite Company (Granite Quarry) (From Commercial 'Black Granite' of San Diego County, California, Special Report 3, by Richard A. Hoppin and L. A. Norman, Jr., State of California, Department of Natural Resources, Division of Mines, San Francisco, December 1950.")
    No. 17 on "Figure 1. Index map of San Diego County granite quarries," located in the Santee District of San Diego County, produced a gray stone. First year of production was 1888, last year of production was 1932.
  • Santee (south of), San Diego County, California – the Simpson-Pirnie Granite Company Quarry (Granite/dimension stone)  (from Geology and Mineral Resources of San Diego County, County Report 3, by F. Harold Weber, Jr., Geologist, California Division of Mines and Geology, 1963.  (This book is available on the Internet Archive – Texts.)

    (pp. 249)

    (Map No.)  405;  (Company and Operations – or Deposit)  Simpson-Pirnie Co.; (Location)  Near Santee; (Status) Last operated 1932; (History)  Operated 1888 to 1932  (Geology)  Granitic rocks  (Size of Excavation) (Blank)  (Products)  Broken stone for riprap and rubble  .

    (Mining, Processing, References, and Other Data)  “Mainly a producer of ‘Dimension Stone,’ under which described.  (Aubury 06:52-53; Merrill 14:671-672, 673)”  (To see the bibliography that lists the books cited in the previous sentence, see the “Annotated Bibliographies” section of Geology and Mineral Resources of San Diego County, pp. 283-309.)

    (pp. 266)

    (Map No.)*  434;  (Name of claim, mine, or group)  Simpson-Pirnie Granite Company; (Location)  Worked three deposits:  (1)  #434 Santee quarry:  Near center SE1/4 sec. 27, T15S R1W, SBM (proj.) about ½ mile south of Santee, at the base of the eastern slope of a small hill; (2) & (3)  #418 Cameron-Deering and #426 McGilvray, Raymond Corp. quarries, at Foster.  (For exact locations of these quarries see individual entries);* (Owner name, address)  Undetermined (1958)  Simpson-Pirnie Granite Co. (James Simpson, pres.), San Diego (1932); (Geology)  #434 Santee quarry  Massive, light-gray granitic rocks which are fractured in such a way that large blocks can be quarried.  #418 Cameron-Deering and #426 McGilvray, Raymond Corp. quarries, at Foster:  Light-gray granitic rocks.  (*  You can find the location of this quarry on Plate 10 near the end of the book at the link above.  This map covers the Lakeside-Foster, the Escondido, and Vista areas of San Diego County.)

    (Remarks and references)  “Company operated in San Diego Co. from 1888 to 1932.  The company produced rip rap and rubble from 1888 to early 1900’s, paving blocks from about 1890(?) to the mid-1920’s and monument and building stone during the period from at least as early as 188… to 1932.  Stone quarried was transported by San Diego, Cuyamaca and Eastern Railroad to company finishing works in San Diego.  Santee quarry (434) probably was operated continuously from 1888 to 1932; the more northerly group of Foster quarries (418) probably was operated from a date between 1906 and 1915 to 1932 (see description under Cameron-Deering); and the more southerly group of Foster quarries (426) was operated from an undetermined date to about 1920.  More southerly group then was leased and worked by McGilvray, Raymond Corp., which see also.  (Auburn 06:52-53; Hoppin and Norman 50:4, 6, 7, 12; Merrill 14:671-672; Tucker 25:367-368).” (To see the bibliography that lists the books cited in the previous sentence, see the “Annotated Bibliographies” section of Geology and Mineral Resources of San Diego County, pp. 283-309.)

  • Santee (south of), San Diego County, California – the Simpson-Pirnie Granite Company Quarry in Santee – The photographs below and in the “Simpson-Pirnie Granite Company Quarry Photographic Tour” section of our web site were taken in late May 2012. 

    This is one of the stops on the San Diego County granite quarry tour that Jeff McGreevy took my husband Pat and me on that covered the Santee/Lakeside/Grossmont, et al. areas. Jeff is a member of the Santee Historical Society and the San Diego Gem and Mineral Society. (You can reach Jeff via his email located above if you’d like to contact him directly.)

    Looking towards Cameron's Mobile Home Park, once the location of the Simpson-Pirnee granite quarry, Santee, CA Looking towards Cameron's Mobile Home Park, once the location of the Simpson-Pirnee granite quarry, Santee, CA Part of old Simpso-Pirnee granite quarry, Santee, CA

    View of a part of what was once the Simpson-Pirnie Granite Quarry, on which the Cameron’s Mobile Home Park is located today. (The mobile home park is located on North Magnolia.)

    Cameron’s Mobile Home Park in the distance in viewed from a distant part of the old Simpson-Pirnee granite quarry. This photo was taken in the shopping center at Woodside Avenue just west of North Magnolia.

    View of the boulders of granite in what was once a part of the Simpson-Pirnie Granite Quarry - at the back of the parking lot

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