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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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  • Cement (east of Suisun), Solano County, California – Limestone Quarries in the Cement/Suisun Area (Limestone) – 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.

    “...There are also said to be large quantities of limestone of various kinds at several localities about here, and many years ago some of it was burned; but I could learn nothing reliable about the quality of the lime.”

  • Cement, Solano County, California – Pacific Portland Cement Company Quarry – “Suisun Marble”

    Also see: “Cement (east of Suisun), Solano County, California – ‘Suisun Marble Quarries’ (‘Suisun Marble’)” below.

  • Cement, Solano County, California – Pacific Portland Cement Company Quarry – Suisun Marble” (From The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, Bulletin No. 38, California, State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1906.)

    Pacific Portland Cement Company (“Golden Gate Cement”) has a plant in Sec. 17, T. 5 N., R. 1 W., M. D. M., at Cement, 2 miles north of Tolenas, a station on the southern Pacific Railroad, 5 miles northeast of Suisun; office, Rialto Building, San Francisco.

    “This company began operations in 1902. The plant has been enlarged once, and is now being enlarged a second time, to meet the constantly increasing demand. At present the company is some months behind in its orders.”

    “There are eight large rotary kilns, with a rated capacity of 200 barrels each per day, eight tube and ball mills for grinding and mixing the clay and stone, and eight others for grinding the clinker.

    “The limestone and clay quarries are above the mill, so that everything is moved by gravity from the quarries into the mill, and through the mill until it comes out finished cement at the base of the hill, where it is stored in a large warehouse ready for shipment. The company has its own locomotive and side track connecting with the Southern Pacific Railroad at Tolenas; also a machine shop, a carpenter shop, and a chemical and testing laboratory at the works, besides a restaurant and dormitories for the men. About 160 men are employed.

    “The limestone used is a porous travertine, which has been subject to uplift since it was deposited. There is almost no soil-covering over the stone, which outcrops on the surface over a large area. The limestone is a comparatively pure lime carbonate…."

    “The travertine is said to be very uniform and to vary but little from the average assay.

    “It was from this travertine deposit that the so-called Suisun marble has been taken in limited quantities at different times.

    “The extent of the deposit is not less than one quarter of a mile wide and a mile in length, and it may be even larger. The present quarry face shows from 30 to 60 feet of stone, and it is said to persist 60 feet below the bottom of the quarry. How much deeper it goes is not known. The deposit resembles in many ways the large deposit at Tivoli, near Rome, from which the stone was named. Hard samples of the two rocks look very much alike.

    “The clay used by the Pacific Portland Cement Company is a laminated gray to buff clay, shaly in places and containing some interstratified shaly sandstone. The deposit is probably late Tertiary in age. The clay is free from fossils, but some of the sandstone layers contain many fossil fragments. The clay beds have been elevated and crumpled somewhat….”

    Ill. No. 82. Section of Face of Limestone Quarry of Pacific Portland Cement Company, Cons., at Cement, Solano County. Section of Face of Limestone Quarry of Pacific Portland Cement Company
    Ill. No. 83. Plant of the Pacific Portland Cement Company, Cons., at Cement, Solano County . Plant of the Pacific Portland Cement Company
    Ill. No. 84. Steam shovel at work in clay pit, Pacific Portland Cement Company, Cons., Solano County. Steam shovel at work in clay pit, Pacific Portland Cement Company
    Ill. No. 85. Cars loaded with limestone to supply the crusher at plant of the Pacific Portland Cement Company, Cons., at Cement, Solano Co. Cars loaded with limestone to supply the crusher at plant of the Pacific Portland Cement Company
    • Cement, Solano County, California – Pacific Portland Cement Company, Consolidated, Cement Plant (Excerpts from Report XIV of the State Mineralogist – Mines and Mineral Resources of Portions of California, Chapters of State Mineralogist’s Report – Biennial Period 1913-1914, Part II. “The Counties of Colusa, Glenn, Lake, Marin, Napa, Solano, Sonoma, Yolo,” by Walter W. Bradley, Field Assistant (field work in September, 1913), California State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1916, pp. 173-370.)

      Pacific Portland Cement Company, Consolidated. F. G. Drum, president; F. E. Erline, secretary; home office, 832 Pacific Building, San Francisco. F. D. Wood, superintendent at the plant. This plant at Cement, northeast of Fairfield, is in two units, as will be noted from the photograph (No. 62), the new one being on the right, with capacities of 2500 barrels and 3500 barrels per day respectively. The older plant began operations in 1900, and was enlarged in 1903 and 1905, while the new plant has been producing since 1907.

      Photo No. 62. Pacific Portland Cement Company, Cement, Solano County. General view from south of old and new mills. Pacific Portland Cement Company, Cement, Solano County

      “The original source of both their limestone and clay, and from which a portion of the supply is still drawn, was the hill immediately above the works. The limestone here was a series of travertine or tufa deposits from calcareous springs, and largely superficial. They formed terraces and cascades on the southwestern slopes of the hill, similar to the terraced deposits which may be seen forming at the present time in the Yellowstone Park, Wyoming. In the quarry at the top of the hill the limestone was found more massive and to a greater depth, but over only a limited area. Fossils have been found in this travertine and also in the clay beds nearby; the latter have been identified by the department of Palaeontology (sic), University of California, as ‘Inoceramus cf . Whitneyi.’ The old low-grade dumps are now being reclaimed and sent to the mill along with the fresh material from the quarry. A Hayward orange-peel excavator (photo No. 63) is used to load the material. The so-called ‘Suisun marble’ (see under Onyx marble) was at one time quarried from this travertine, and for a number of years previous to the establishment of cement-making here it was a source of both lime and limestone production. The remains of the old lime kiln on the Dickey ranch, part of the property, are still to be seen (circa 1913). Shipments were made to the Selby smelter for fluxing purposes. It was also used as macadam. As the limestone in these deposits has diminished both in quantity and quality, the charge is sweetened by the addition of a clean lime rock from the ‘Great Crevice,’ owned by the company, at Murderer’s Bar on the American River, 9 miles from Auburn, Placer County. They have their own railroad connecting the quarry with the Southern Pacific at Flint Station, and ship 1200 to 1500 tons of rock per day. The principal clay supply is at present obtained from the flat below the mills, using a steam shovel. The clay beds are 40 feet in depth. The clay layers on the hill, which stand more or less vertical, are interstratified with shaly sandstone.

      Photo No. 63. Orange-peel bucket excavator in quarry of Pacific Portland Cement Company, Solano County. Orange-peel bucket excavator in quarry of Pacific Portland Cement Company

      “In the older mill the lime rock and clay are dumped into separate bins, then weighed and carried by trolley car to the driers. The mixture is made of the coarse materials before drying. In the new plant the mixture is made with the dried ground materials between the ball and the tube mills, the limestone content being maintained at 76 per cent CaCO3 , before clinkering. This new unit embodies a number of improvements as compared with the older one, not only in the arrangement of the plant itself, but also in addition and functions of new appliances and machinery.

      “There are cement-lined tunnels running under the mill, which contain the oil, water and sewer pipes, the power cables of some of the electrical machinery. This makes them easy of access and also free from the excessive dust of the plant.

      “Just above the mill there are eighteen circular steel bins holding about 100 tons each, which are used for limestone and clay storage. Each bin is sampled so that the quality of its content is known before being drawn off into the mill. Following the ball mills are eight Berquist bins of 100 tons capacity each – four each for lime and clay – which are used for a reserve before the mix. The materials are automatically weighed and dumped into a double-screw mixing machine, delivering to an elevator which serves the individual bins for the tube-mill feed.

      “The mills are 5’ 6” x 22’, trunnion type (see photo No. 67). Photo No. 69 shows the discharge and fire-box end of a battery of rotary kilns in the new unit. They are using for kiln linings a brick made up of clinker and cement with a small percentage of fire clay. A temperature of 2700 ° F. is attained in the kilns. They are set on a grade of ¾-inch per foot. Crude oil, topped, of 16 ° B. gravity and 17,000 B.T.U. is used for fuel at the rotary kilns. The oil is shipped in barges via Suisun Slough to Fairfield, whence it is pumped to a tank on the hill above the plant at Cement, a distance of about 5 miles. The discharged clinker is sprayed with water and handled by McCaslin conveyors to the rotary coolers. These coolers are like an open-ended tube mills, with longitudinal baffle plates, and a current of cold air is drawn through them. When sending the clinker to the storage pile in place of the ball mills, instead of going to the rotary coolers it is put through cooling towers similar to those described in the plant of the Standard Portland Cement Company at Napa Junction…Gypsum, 2 to 2 ½ per cent, is added to the clinker before grinding. The tube mills designedly do not grind the product in a single stage to its desired ultimate fineness. The discharge goes to an ‘Emerick Air Separator.’ This consists of a series of horizontal revolving discs, from which the fines are drawn up by suction to the stock house, and the coarse particles which work to the periphery of the discs are returned to the mills.

      Photo No. 67. Tube mills and hoppers, for crushing raw materials in new mill of Pacific Portland Cement Company, Solano County. Tube mills and hoppers, for crushing raw materials in new mill of Pacific Portland Cement Company
      Photo No. 69. Rotary kilns in new mill of Pacific Portland Cement Company, Solano County. Rotary kilns in new mill of Pacific Portland Cement Company

      “In the stock house automatic sacking machines are used and a belt conveyor takes the filled sacks of ‘Golden Gate Branch’ cement to the waiting railroad cars alongside. The Solano County jail at Fairfield (see photo No. 72) is of reinforced concrete, in which Golden Gate cement was used. The Cement, Tolenas and Tidewater Railroad, owned by the company, connects Cement with Tolenas Station on the main line of the Southern Pacific, 2 miles to the south.

      Photo No. 72. Solano County Jail at Fairfield. Built with “Golden Gate ” cement. Solano County Jail at Fairfield.
      Photo No. 76. Concrete Bridge at Vacaville, Solano County (1911). Concrete Bridge at Vacaville

      “A large and well equipped laboratory is maintained for chemical analyses and physical testing. It is supplied with natural gas from the well of the Rochester Oil Company, 5 miles southeast of Cement. Included in the equipment of the two mills are 250 electric motors, varying from 580 h.p. down to 1 h.p., and there are eight 6’ x 60’, eleven 7’ x 80’, and one 8’ x 100’ rotary kilns. From 6000 to 7000 h.p. per day are consumed, and about 500 men are employed. The water supply comes from wells – one at the works and others at Vacaville , where the company has a pumping plant (circa 1913).

      “(For a more detailed description of the general process of cement manufacture, see Cement under Napa County.)

      “Bibl.: R. X, p. 670; XII, p. 395; XIII, p. 632; Bull. 38, pp. 185-189; Geol. Survey of Cal. , Geol. Vol. I, p. 104; U.S.G.S., Bull. 243, p. 120; Bull. 522, pp. 118, 121.”

    • Cement, Solano County, California – the Pacific Portland Cement Company, Con., Quarry & Crusher, Cement, Cal.  (postcard photograph; no postmark; written on the back of postcard:  “This is the quarry where they git there clay to make cement out of.”
  • Quarry and Crusher, Pacific Portland Cement Co., Con., Cement, Cal.  (postcard photograph by Shinkle) Quarry and Crusher, Pacific Portland Cement Co., Con., Cement, Cal. (postcard photograph by Shinkle)
  • Cement, Solano County, California - Cement Hill. Echoes of Solano's Past by Kristin Delaplane - "Cement Bonds Community with Work, Play" (September 2, 1995) This article discusses the history of town of Cement which was created in 1902 and abandoned in 1927. Today the area is called Cement Hill, northeast of the city of Fairfield.
  • Cement (east of Suisun), Solano County, California - “Suisun Marble Quarries” (“Suisun Marble”)

    Also see: “Tolenas Springs (near Tolenas & Suisun), Solano County, California ‘Suisun Marble.’”

     

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