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Solano County – List of Stone Quarries, Etc.*

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

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  • Bartlett’s Landing (near), Solano County, California – Basalt Paving Block Quarry & Shipping Point (Basalt) – Excerpt from the Tenth Annual Report of The State Mineralogist For The Year Ending December 1, 1890, California State Mining Bureau, Sacramento: State Printing Office, 1890, pp. 669.

    Solano County, by W. A. Goodyear, Geologist & Assistant in the Field.

    “...Some two or three miles farther (from north of Goodyear’s Station) on, near Bartlett’s Landing, large quantities of (street-paving) blocks have been got out and shipped. From the point where we first strike the basalt (some two miles from Goodyear’s) the rocks, so far as visible in the foothills all along this road, at least so far as Bridgeport, are all volcanic, some of them being solid basalt, and some consisting of heavy masses of consolidated volcanic ash and breccias.”

  • Benicia, Solano County, California – Benicia Arsenal and Sandstone Quarry on Government Land near the Benicia Arsenal (Sandstone) - Excerpt from the Tenth Annual Report of The State Mineralogist For The Year Ending December 1, 1890, California State Mining Bureau, Sacramento: State Printing Office, 1890, pp. 669-770.

    Solano County, by W. A. Goodyear, Geologist & Assistant in the Field.

    “The United States Arsenal at Benicia is built of a yellowish brown sandstone said to have been quarried close by and within the limits of the Government grounds. This sandstone itself is rather soft, but the ground on which the arsenal is built is hard and solid, and the foundations of the building were well laid and the whole structure well built. As a consequence, it has suffered very little from earthquakes. A good many blocks, indeed, have been cracked through here and there, but the stones have not been displaced, and the building has not been really damaged to any noticeable extent....”

  • Benicia, Solano County, California – Benicia Arsenal Sandstone Quarries – U. S. Military Reserve (Visit the Benicia Historical Museum web site for more information on the history of the Benicia Arsenal. Visit the Photograph Tour of the Benicia Arsenal to view photographs of the arsenal buildings and grounds.)

    In July 2009, my husband Pat and I were given a tour of the sandstone quarries and sandstone structures located close by and within the Benicia Arsenal grounds by Benicia historian James E. Lessenger, a volunteer at the Benicia Histocial Museum. The following photographs were taken during that tour. Visit the Benicia Historical Museum (located the Benicia Arsenal and camel barns) and their web site for further information on the museum, history, and available tours.)

    Site of old Benicia Arsenal sandstone quarry, Benicia, CA

    Site of old sandstone quarry
    (from a distance)

    Site of old Benicia Arsenal sandstone quarry, Benicia, CA (closeup)

    Closeup of site of old
    sandstone quarry

    Site of old Benicia Arsenal sandstone quarry, Benicia, CA (closeup)

    Closeup of site of old
    sandstone quarry

    Site of old quarry next to Benicia Arsenal Powder Magazine No. 10, Benicia, CA

    Site of old quarry next to Benicia Arsenal Powder Magazine #10

    Benicia Arsenal quarry site across Interstate 680, Benicia, CA

    Site of quary at a distance

    Benicia Arsenal quarry site across Interstate 680 (closeup), Benicia, CA

    Closeup of quarry site

  • Benicia (above), Solano County, California – the Benicia Crushed Stone Company (From The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, Bulletin No. 38, California, State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1906.)
    “The Benicia Crushed Stone Company owns a quarry and rock-crusher at Hoyt’s siding, above Benicia, which have been operated for crushed stone, but are now (August, 1904) idle.”
  • Benicia, Solano County, California - Lime & Cement (circa 1868) (Excerpt from The Natural Wealth of California...., by Titus Fey Cronise, San Francisco: H. H. Bancroft & Company, 1868, pp. 627-629.)

    Lime and Cement.

    “The only cement mill in this State is situated at Benicia, for a more particular description of which see Solano County. The rock used, an argillaceous limestone, is abundant at that place, and also occurs at Martinez, on the opposite side of the Straits of Carquinez. These works have capacity to make over two hundred barrels of cement daily, more than enough to supply the wants of the entire coast. The article manufactured here is equal to the best imported, and being supplied for a less price ($3 per barrel) than the latter can be afforded at, is likely soon to exclude it entirely from the market. These works, which were destroyed by fire in the early fall of 1867, having been rebuilt on a much larger scale than before, are now turning out one hundred and fifty barrels of cement daily.

    “Cement works have recently been put up in Oregon, which are likely to produce a sufficiency of the article for that State and the adjoining territories.

    “The consumption on this coast, now rapidly increasing, has heretofore been about thirty thousand barrels annually, the most of it imported from the Eastern States.

    “The total annual production of lime throughout the State amounts to about one hundred and thirty thousand barrels, of which one hundred and five thousand barrels are received at San Francisco, the larger portion of it being made at Santa Cruz.”

  • Benicia, Solano County, California - Lime Plant and Lime Kilns Construction circa May 1905. (This article was transcribed by Betty Loose and posted on the Norcal email list from the Sacramento Evening Bee, Friday, May 5, 1905.)

    “Benicia Lime Plant Under Construction

    “Benicia (Solano Co.), May 5 - The steel work of a thirty-ton lime plant on the Benicia water front has just been completed. The plant will be used for the manufacture of lime. Two immense kilns have been placed in position, and lime will be burned within four weeks. A 20,000 gallon tank is being erected. The storerooms measure 93 x110 feet. The rock used is to be shipped from Auburn and Rocklin. Employment will be given to about fifteen men.

    “The building of the plant is due to the efforts of the Benicia Board of Trade, which has been endeavoring to secure manufacturing plants of solid backing for some time past.”

  • Benicia, Solano County, California – Benicia Works (Hydraulic 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 September, 1913), California State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1916, pp. 173-370.)

    Benicia Works. This property, at Benicia, owned by Jas. Clyne, has not been operated of recent years, but previous to the rise of the Portland cement industry in California was an important producer. The product is a ‘hydraulic limestone’ or natural cement and was first put on the market in 1860.

    “Bibl.: R. VIII, p. 632; IX, p. 309; XII, p. 380; XIII, p. 612; Bull. 38, p. 185; Min. Res. W. of Rocky Mts., 1868, p. 245; Geol. Surv. of Cal., Geol. Vol. I, p. 101.”

  • Benicia (between Benicia and Cordelia), Solano County, California – the Parish Brothers Aggregate Quarry Previously a Paving Block Quarry (From Geology and Mineral Deposits of an Area North of San Francisco Bay, California: Vacaville, Antioch, Mount Vaca, Carquinez, Mare Island, Sonoma, Santa Rosa, Petaluma, and Point Reyes Quadrangles, Bulletin 149, by Charles E. Weaver, California State Division of Mines, September 1949) (Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    Parish Brothers. The Parish Brothers operate a pit which is leased from Pacific Coast Aggregate at Hoyt Siding on State Highway 21 about half way between Benicia and Cordelia. A small paving-block quarry was active here in 1890. This enterprise, and an attempt to produce aggregate, failed before 1904. Except for the production of aggregate during 1913 and 1914 no further work was done here until modern times.*

    (* Page 106, footnote 93: Watts, W. L., Solano County: California Min. Bur. Rept. 10, p. 668, 1890.)

    “The operation is on an isolated hill composed of southwest-dipping flows and tuff beds of the Sonoma volcanics. The upper beds contain closely spaced angular fragments of hard vesicular black lava in a matrix of tuff. Some of the lava fragments are altered on the surface. Underlying this is a sandy tuff which has a clastic texture and contains rounded yellow grains. The attitude is most easily obtained from the lower beds which strike N. 60 ° W. and dip 72 ° SW.

    “Old inactive pits are in both breccia and tuff on the north, east, and south side of the hill. The present work is a bulldozer and scraper operation which is planing the hill from the summit northwest to the screening plant at the base. The breccia contains very hard fragments, but is sufficiently unconsolidated to permit this method of operation. Rock from the pit is passed through a jaw crusher. At times road metal has been produced, but now the produce is absorbed almost entirely by the company’s asphalt plant in Benicia.”

  • Benicia (on hills back of the town), Solano County, California – James Clyne - Rock Deposit owned by James Clyne used to make Cement until 1890 (From The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, Bulletin No. 38, California, State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1906.)

    James Clyne, Benicia, owner; extensive deposits of rock in Sec. 33, T. 3 N., R. 3 W., M. D. M., on the hills back of the town of Benicia, and in fact within the limits of the town, which until 1890 was used in making cement. The article was once in demand, and pronounced equal to the best imported. It is stated that 130,000 barrels were used in the construction of the New City Hall in San Francisco.”* (*Footnote: Twelfth Annual Report of State Mineralogist, 1893-94, p. 380.)

  • Benicia, Solano County, California - Sandstone Quarry - Patrick W. Dillon, Sandstone Quarry, Benicia, Solano County, California - the Pioneer Stone Business, San Francisco, San Francisco County, California
    • The following information is from the History of Solano County, comprising an account of its geographical position, the origin of its name, topography, geology, and springs, its organization, township system, early settlement, with descriptions of scenes as viewed by the pioneers, the first American argonauts of California, the bear flag, the discovery of gold, the progress of population and agriculture, the Mexican grants, the principal murders, incidents of settlement, elections, and table of county officers, and histories of its cities, towns, villages churches, schools, secret societies, etc.: as also, a full and particular biography of its early settlers and principal inhabitants, San Francisco, Cal., Wood, Alley & Co., East Oakland, 1879, pp. 438-439.

      “DILLON, PATRICK W. farmer and stone cutter, Section 28, Benicia Township, Post-office Benicia, was born in County Tipperary, Ireland, February 3, 1820, where he resided till May, 1840, when he sailed for America arriving in New York City in June of that year. He at once proceeded to Troy, N. Y., and resided three months; thence to Lockport, N. Y., and remained one year. He then proceed to Youngstown, on fourth Niagara, where he worked at his trade during the summer of 1842, and from there he went to Toronto, Canada, where he spent the winter of 1842, and ‘43. In March, 1844, he went to New York City, and worked till 1846, when in the fall of that year he went to St. John, New Brunswick, where he was employed till May, 1847. He again returned to New York and carried on his trade till January 1849, when he sailed for California arriving in San Francisco July 8, 1849, and remaining in the city for a few weeks helping unload vessels at eight dollars a day. He then proceeded to the southern mines, on Wood’s creek and worked two months at mining with good success. He then went to Mogason’s Creek, and from there to Mariposa, Mariposa county, but meeting with poor success he returned to Mogason’s Creek with a colony of Texans, who settled there for a short time, and continued mining in different places till May, 1851, during which time he endured many hardships. The stories told by Mr. D., during his life spent in the mines, are very interesting, but for want of space we will have to omit them. In May, 1851, he came to Benicia, bringing with him eighteen hundred dollars, which he invested in the wharf built at Vallejo while the Capitol of the State was situated at that place.

      In 1851, he opened a stone quarry on his fruit farm, and in connection with the other, started the Pioneer Stone Business in San Francisco, and among the contracts taken by him, is the St. Mary’s Cathedral, at San Francisco, and many other buildings. In 1856, he purchased his present farm, now consisting of four hundred acres of land, an seventy-six acres of tule. He married, at St. Mary’s Cathedral, San Francisco, Bertha G. Jordan, January 6, 1856, she having been born in Hanover, Germany, January 29, 1830.”

    • Dillon Point, Solano County, California – Sandstone Block from Patrick Dillon’s House. The photograph of a block from Patrick Dillon’s sandstone house is a part of the Benicia Historical Museum collection. (Visit the Benicia Historical Museum web site for more information on the history of the Benicia Arsenal.)
      This is part of Patrick Dillon’s Sandstone House. 1856-1969. Benicia State Park.” “This is part of Patrick Dillon’s Sandstone House. 1856-1969. Benicia State Park (California).”
    • Patrick W. & Bertha (Jordan) Dillon - Marriage Announcement, presented on sfgenealogy.com - Marriage Records (da-dl).

      “DILLON/JORDON--Married Jan. 30, at St. Mary’s Cathedral, by the Rev. Father Gallagher, Mr. Patrick W. DILLON, to Miss Louieza Bertha JORDON, both of this city. New York papers please copy.” Source: San Francisco Herald, 4 Jan 1856, p. 2, c. 5.”

    • Patrick W. Dillon - The following information is from Great Expectations: The Story of Benicia, by Richard Dillon, Benicia Heritage Books, c 1980. The account of Patrick Dillon’s life in this book includes basically the information from the 1879 History of Solano County account quoted above with the following added information:

      According to this book, Patrick Dillon lost his life’s savings of $1,800 after investing in a wharf at Valley as he envisioned Benicia Becoming California’s permanent capitol. After that investment failed, he worked again in Benicia and saved up to buy 400 “upland acres at the point, where he put in a vineyard and orchard, and 80 acres of tule tideland. He opened a rock quarry which supplied stone for Old St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco, among other structures. He also built a brickyard (circa 1852) and a wharf on the Strait.” Later he went into sheep ranching. According to the author, Patrick Dillon left the point in 1893 when he and his wife, German-born Bertha G. Jordan, moved across from St. Dominic’s Church where he lived until he died on April 19 th, 1896. He left all of his real property to St. Dominic’s. Both Patrick Dillon and his wife are buried in the St. Dominic’s Cemetery.

      There was once hope that the Dillon ranch house would be saved when the State of California took over Dillon Point in 1967 as the Benicia State Recreation Park. According to the author, “It had a first story of sandstone, quarried and laid by its owner, topped by a wooden second story and attic added circa 1890...The historic, but deteriorating, building was demolished and no trace of Benicia ’s Irish pioneer remains on the point named for him.”

      (Please note that on pp. 57 of this book there is a photograph of Patrick Dillon’s house with the following caption: “One of the many historic Benicia area buildings which fell a victim of demolition was this old ranch house. It was the home of stone quarrier-rancher-farmer, Patrick Dillon, on Dillon Point, in what is now the Benicia State Recreation Area Benicia Capitol.”)

    • Dillon Point, Benicia, named for Patrick W. Dillon. Dillon Point juts into the strait. Further information on Dillon Point is available on the following web sites:

      Benicia State Recreation Area (According to this web site, “Benicia State Recreation Area covers marsh, grassy hillsides and rocky beaches along the narrowest portion of the Carquinez Strait.” The recreation area is open to the public.

    • Benicia Trail Opens,” in Ridge Lines of the Bay Area Ridge Line Council, Summer 2003.

      This article includes a map of the Carquinez Strait that indicates the location of Dillon Point.

      “This spring (in 2003) the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council joined with California State Parks and the San Francisco Bay Trail to celebrate the opening of a new multi-use Ridge Trail segment in the Benicia State Recreation Area. The two-mile trail along the Carquinez Strait is also the route of the Bay Trail; it is located just east of the Carquinez Bridge on the Dillon Point Peninsula and offers tremendous views of the strait and the East Bay Hills....”

  • Benicia (north part of), Solano County, California - Sandstone Quarry in the Northern Part of Benicia (Sandstone) - Excerpt from the Tenth Annual Report of The State Mineralogist For The Year Ending December 1, 1890, California State Mining Bureau, Sacramento: State Printing Office, 1890, pp. 770.

    Solano County, by W. A. Goodyear, Geologist & Assistant in the Field.

    “...A similar sandstone (to the sandstone quarried on government land at Benicia), which has been used to some extent for retaining walls about private residences and for tombstones in the cemetery, was quarried in the northern part of the town of Benicia.”

  • Benicia, Solano County, California – Sandstone Quarrying (From Geologic Guidebook of the San Francisco Bay Counties: History, Landscape, Geology, Fossils, Minerals, Industry, and Routes to Travel, Bulletin 154, Olaf P. Jenkins, Chief, California Division of Mines, San Francisco, California, December, 1951. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    “…In the sixties quarries were opened, on Angel Island in San Francisco Bay to furnish a bluish sandstone, and near Petaluma in Sonoma County for the production of basalt. During the eighties and nineties light-brown sandstone was quarried at Benicia in Solano County, and near San Jose in Santa Clara County….”

  • Benicia, Solano County, California – old Sandstone Quarry once located along Semple Crossing

    In July 2009, my husband Pat and I were given a tour of the old sandstone quarries and sandstone structures located in the city of Benicia and the close-by Benicia Arsenal grounds by Benicia historian James E. Lessenger, a volunteer at the Benicia Historical Museum. (Visit the Benicia part of the California “Structures” section to view buildings in Benicia constructed from locally quarried sandstone & the “Photograph Tour of the Benicia Arsenal” to view photographs of the arsenal buildings and grounds.)

    Old quarry site along Semple Crossing, Benicia, CA

    Old quarry location along Semple Crossing from right side of quarry.

    For more photographs of this quarry click on Additional Photographs of Old Sanstone Quarry Located at Semple Crossing in Benicia, California.

  • Benicia, Solano County, California – Site of the old Sandstone Quarry once located along Hospital Road. In July 2009, my husband Pat and I were given a tour of the old sandstone quarries and sandstone structures located in the city of Benicia and the close-by Benicia Arsenal grounds by Benicia historian James E. Lessenger, a volunteer at the Benicia Historical Museum. (Visit the Benicia part of the California “Structures” section to view buildings in Benicia constructed from locally quarried sandstone & the “Photograph Tour of the Benicia Arsenal” to view photographs of the arsenal buildings and grounds.)
    Old Quarry Location Along Hospital Road

    Old quarry location along Hospital Road from left to right
    side of quarry.

    For more photographs of this quarry click on Additional Photographs of Old Quarry Along Hospital Road.

  • Bridgeport, Solano County, California - Basalt Paving Block Quarry (Basalt) - Excerpt from the Tenth Annual Report of The State Mineralogist For The Year Ending December 1, 1890, California State Mining Bureau, Sacramento: State Printing Office, 1890, pp. 669.

    Solano County, by W. A. Goodyear, Geologist & Assistant in the Field.

    “At Bridgeport itself there is a heavy bank of volcanic ash or tufa, which has been quarried to some extent, and now shows a face twenty to twenty-five feet high in the quarry, but without any signs of bedding....”

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