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California – I. X. L. Lime Company / Cowell Marble Quarry
and Lime Kilns at Fall Creek - Photographs

Today the area is known as the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park at Fall Creek. The following photographs were taken in the summer of 2003. Guided by Larry Perazzo, my husband's cousin, we hiked along the trail until we came to the area on which the three stone lime kilns remain. A little further on you can see the cliff from which the stone was blasted and then transported to the nearby kilns by the gravity railroad. A diagram of the kiln and quarry areas and a history is presented on the display boards. Peggy B. Perazzo

Fall Creek - I. X. L. Lime Co. / Henry Cowell Kilns sign. Fall Creek - I. X. L. Lime Co. / Henry Cowell Kilns sign.

Fall Creek Walk Photo #1 Fall Creek Walk Photo #2
Fall Creek - I. X. L. / Henry Cowell Kilns
walk to the lime kilns and quarry area.

Fall Creek - I. X. L. / Henry Cowell Lime Kilns and Area - Photo# 1 Fall Creek - I. X. L. / Henry Cowell Lime Kilns and Area - Photo# 2 Fall Creek - I. X. L. / Henry Cowell Lime Kilns and Area - Photo# 3 Fall Creek - I. X. L. / Henry Cowell Lime Kilns and Area - Photo# 4
Fall Creek - I. X. L. / Henry Cowell Lime Kilns and Area - Photo# 5 Fall Creek - I. X. L. / Henry Cowell Lime Kilns and Area - Photo# 6 Fall Creek - I. X. L. / Henry Cowell Lime Kilns and Area - Photo# 7 Fall Creek - I. X. L. / Henry Cowell Lime Kilns and Area - Photo# 8
Fall Creek - I. X. L. / Henry Cowell Lime Kilns and Area.

Fall Creek - I. X. L. / Henry Cowell Lime Kiln Display Board Fall Creek - I. X. L. / Henry Cowell Lime Kiln Display Board
Fall Creek - I. X. L. / Henry Cowell
Lime Kiln Display Board.

The following is a transcription of the two sections on the right side of the display board on the Fall Creek - I.X.I. Lime Company Kilns:

The I. X. I. Lime Company

“The production of lime is steadily on the increase in Santa Cruz. It is well known that Santa Cruz lime is in great favor in San Francisco, and that a ready market is found for all that can be burned. A new Company has been organized to burn lime in Santa Cruz. On Monday last, articles of incorporation were filed in the office of the Secretary of State of the ‘I. X. I. Lime Company of Santa Cruz. Capital $20,000 in share of $10 each.’ The principal place of business will be in San Francisco and the Directors are Farmer D. Seelye, Isaac Blum, Abraham Blockman, Moses Cerf and Ernest Cerf. The Company owns 610 acres of land on Fall Creek, one mile from Felton. Two kilns of one thousand barrels capacity are to be built on the land about quarter of a mile from Felton. A tramway three-quarters of a mile in length will be constructed to the quarries to bring the rock and fire wood to the kilns. The latter adjoins Bennett’s Lime Kilns. As soon as the rains begin to fall the work of building the road will commence and by next spring the Company will be burning and shipping lime.

--- Santa Cruz Sentinel , August, 18, 1874.”

“A hundred years ago, the intense heat from the kiln fires would have kept you at a distance. Shouts and curses in Portuguese and Italian would fill the air as men labored to quarry stone, work the kilns and haul in hundreds of loads of firewood. Occasionally, the ground shook as workers blasted rock from the cliff face up the canyon.

“During much of the late 1800s Santa Cruz County led the State in the manufacture of lime. It was mainly shipped to San Francisco where it was used to make mortar for brick buildings.

“To make lime, chunks of lime were ‘cooked’ in the kilns at about 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit. This removed carbon dioxide from the rock, leaving behind calcium oxide or lime. The pieces of lime were then packed in barrels for shipping.

“These kilns were built in the mid 1870s by the I. X. I. Lime Company and operated on and off until 1919. By then, most of the surrounding redwoods had been cut to fuel the kilns or make barrels.

“Today, all that remains are these quiet ruins, softened by mosses and ferns.”

Fall Creek - I. X. L. / Henry Cowell Lime Kiln Display Board (opposite side) Fall Creek - I. X. L. / Henry Cowell Lime Kiln Display Board (opposite side) Fall Creek - I. X. L. / Henry Cowell Lime Kiln Display Board (opposite side)
Fall Creek - I. X. L. / Henry Cowell Lime Kiln Display Board
(opposite side)

The following is a transcription of the two sections on the right side of the opposite side of the display board from the material transcribed above at the Fall Creek - I.X.I. Lime Kilns:

“Hauling Limestone

“Just 300 yards up this slope lies Blue Cliff - a 150-foot-high quarry face. To transport the limestone from the quarry to the kiln, an ingenious tramway system was built. It had two cars, each linked via cable to a single drum at the top of the hill. As the loaded car descended and unwound the cable on one side of the drum, the cable on the other side wound up, pulling up the empty car. Most of the tramway had just three rails, with a four-rail passing section in the middle. At the base of the grade, cars were switched to a two-rail track which ran horizontally behind the top of the kilns) ties still visable (sic).”

“The limestone formed from shells layed down on the sea floor millions of years ago. Although almost everybody calls it limestone, technically it is a type of marble - rock formed from the limestone that has been changed by heat and pressure in the earth’s crust. This process obliterated any traces of the fossils it once contained. Sometimes the rock includes impurities such as graphite and silica.”

“Each Kiln produced up to 1,000 barrels of lime per firing. The use of three kilns made for efficient use of labor. While one was being loaded, another was being fired, and a third was cooling.”

I. X. L. Lime Company / Henry Cowell I. X. L. Lime Company / Henry Cowell I. X. L. Lime Company / Henry Cowell
Fall Creek - I. X. L. Lime Company / Henry Cowell
Quarry Display Board.

Fall Creek - I. X. L. / Henry Cowell Lime Quarry area. Fall Creek - I. X. L. / Henry Cowell Lime Quarry area

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