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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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  • Cordelia, Solano County, California – Basalt 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.

    “About three quarters of a mile beyond Bridgeport, at a place called Cordelia, there is a large quarry of basalt blocks where seventy-five or eighty men are said to have been employed in 1889, but where very little is doing now (circa 1890).

    “The volcanic ash, or tufa, in this region has been used to some extent for covering the county roads, inasmuch as it pulverizes readily under hoofs and wheels, and is then found to pack together in such a way as to form a smooth surface, which in dry weather produces scarcely any dust, and in wet weather no mud.”

  • Cordelia (east of), Solano County, California – the Cordelia Quarry – 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.)

    Cordelia Quarry.* The Cordelia Quarry, a mile east of Cordelia produces aggregate from an isolated hill composed of Sonoma volcanics. J. M. Nelson is the owner and operator. As early as 1875 paving blocks were produced here, but large-scale operations which within a few years regularly employed 75 to 80 men did not begin until 1883. This quarry was one of the few which successfully changed from producing blocks to crushed rock. The change came about gradually, for although crushing equipment was installed about 1890, a small block production continued until 1913. Since 1913 the pit, although it has changed hands several times, has operated almost continuously.

    (* Page 107, footnote 95: Watts, W. L. Solano County: California Min. Bur., Rept. 10, p. 325, 1890. California State Mining Bureau, Structural materials: California Min. Bur. Rept. 12, p. 390, 1894..…Rept. 13, p. 627, 1896. Laizure, C. McK., Solano County: California Div. Mines Rept. 23, p. 212, 1927. Aubury, L. E., The structural and industrial materials of California : California Div. Mines Bull. 38, p. 325, 1906.)

    (The following phtograph is from the 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.)

    Fig. 13. J. M. Nelson Quarry. Rock is olivine basalt in Flat-lying flow associated with tuffs and breccia. The basalt is now (circa 1950) being quarried for crushed rock. Formerly used in making paving blocks. J. M. Nelson Quarry. Rock is olivine basalt in Flat-lying flow associated with tuffs and breccia

    “The hill is capped by a thick flow of olivine basalt which dips to the east. The flow is massive and breaks into blocks, some of which are a yard or two in diameter. Along the joints there is frequently up to an inch of a soft apple-green alteration product. Tuff beds lie beneath the basalt and are separated from it by 4 or 5 feet of brick-red material containing bits of scoria. The tuff, which is well exposed in pits on the east and northeast sides of the hill consists of fragments of lava and light-gray tuff in a dark-gray tuffaceous matrix.

    “Rock has been removed from the entire top of the hill, but the present work is at the southern edge of a pit which occupies much of the central part of the hill. A face about 20 feet high is advanced by blasting, and the broken rock is loaded with a power shovel into trucks for a short run to the primary crusher. At present the larger blocks are reduced by secondary blasting.”

  • Cordelia, Solano County, California – P. Siebe - Volcanic Tuff and Breccia Quarry owned by P. Siebe (From The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, Bulletin No. 38, California, State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1906.)

    P. Siebe, Cordelia, owns a quarry-opening half an acre in extent at the station in the town of Cordelia. It is from 15 to 30 feet deep, in a weathered, light-colored volcanic tuff and breccia. It is said to have been used for road material on the streets in and around Cordelia.”

  • Cordelia, Solano County, California - the Thomas Basalt Quarries (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. 659-660.

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

    “These quarries are situated one mile east from Cordelia, in an isolated mound of basaltic lava, which appears to be a continuation of the basaltic formation that extends northward, overlying the shales and sandstones of the Coast Range, along the western boundary of Solano County.

    “For the last fifteen years, basaltic blocks have been quarried from this hill, about seven years ago, extensive quarries were opened on the property, which covers about two hundred acres. Since then the work of block-making has been actively carried on, and at times as many as sixty men have been employed. The blocks manufactured there have been principally used in San Francisco; recently, some have been shipped to Stockton and San José. The basalt varies in color from a dark blue to gray; it also varies in texture, most of the stone to the plane of bedding. In another portion of the quarry, the stone, though apparently solid, breaks with comminuting and irregular fracture. In places where crevices extend throughout the breadth of the workings, decomposed clayey matter is found therein, frequently inclosing fragments of volcanic rock. Occasionally the compact basalt shows lines parallel to the plane of its bed. Along these lines the stone is somewhat vesicular, being frequently filled with infiltrations of clayey matter and their walls stained with oxide of iron. Sometimes lines are formed throughout the stone by a marked contrast in the color of the rock.

    “On the surface of the ground, the outcropping rocks are not scoriaces and it is but rarely that vesicular rocks are met with; the disposition of the scattered lava blocks protruding through the scanty soil, and stunted oaks which find a precarious foothold amongst the lichen-covered rocks, gives at once the idea of geological age and superficial degradation.

    “There are four principal openings in the quarry, at two of which work is being prosecuted; breasts (sic) fifty feet thick, of good rock, are exposed.

    “There are three sizes of blocks made in the quarries, the dimension of which, and the time required to make them from quarried rock is as follows:

    (The headings for the following information are: (1) Name of Block. (2) Inches in Length. (3) Inches in Breadth. (4) Inches in Thickness. (5) Number produced Man by Man per day.)

    Street blocks - 10 to 24 - 6 to 7 - 3 to 4 - 200

    Specification blocks - 8 to 12 - 6 to 7 - 3 to 4 - 225

    Railroad blocks - 7 to 10 - 4 to 5 - 3 to 4 - 300

    “The specification blocks are used for street work in San Francisco and the railroad blocks between the tracks of street railroads.

    “The price of labor varies from $2.50 per day for quarry work to $4 per day for block cutting.

    “In quarrying, the holes are drilled to a depth of ten to twelve feet, and at the bottom they are ‘sprung’ with Giant powder, and then charged with black powder.

    “The blocks are conveyed by gravity railroad to a siding of the Central Pacific Railroad, about six hundred feet distant.”

  • Goodyear’s Station (north of), 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.

    “In going northerly from Goodyear’s Station, in Solano County, along the road towards Bridgeport, volcanic rocks are first encountered at a point about two miles from Goodyear’s, where basalt occurs and where some street-paving blocks have been got out for use in San Francisco....”

  • Solano County, California - California Quarries (circa 1868) (Excerpt from The Natural Wealth of California...., by Titus Fey Cronise, San Francisco: H. H. Bancroft & Company, 1868, pp. 627-629.)

    Marble Works and Quarries

    “Not until within the last three or four years was the business of quarrying, or manufacturing marble, engaged in to any extent in California, nearly everything required in this line having been previously imported already made. Much of the material is still imported from abroad, the most of it from Italy, and worked here to order; though, for several years past, considerable quantities of this stone have been taken from the several quarries now open in this State.

    “The two principal works engaged in manufacturing marble are located in San Francisco, the value of their joint products amounting to about $200,000 yearly. The Pioneer Works, driven by steam, employ on an average thirty-five men - make tombstones, monuments, furniture, etc., and import most of their material. At the other yard, from twelve to fifteen hands are employed, and about the same style of articles are made.

    “The first quarry opened in the State was at Indian Diggings, El Dorado county, in 1857, since which time large quantities have been extracted. It is of the clouded variety, and is much used for memorial purposes. Near Dayton, Amador county, a quarry of white marble, slightly veined, has been opened, and considerable quantities of the stone brought to San Francisco, to be used for building purposes. Near Columbia, Tuolumne county, is another extensive formation of marble, from which large quantities of stone, some of the blocks of great size, have been broken out. In Placer county, contiguous to the line of the Central Pacific Railroad, there is a quarry of variegated black marble, considered valuable. In Solano county, and in many other parts of the State, marble of nearly every description abounds; the only reason that these deposits have not been more extensively worked, being the very limited demand for the article on this coast.”

  • Solano County, California – Sackett Bros. - Tuft Deposit owned by the Sackett Bros. (From The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, Bulletin No. 38, California, State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1906.)

    “Secs. 31 and 32, T. 8 N., R. 1 W., M. D. M.; Sackett Bros. Winters, Yolo County, owner.”

  • Solano County, California – Tuft Deposit owned by D. L. Tucker and Sarah L. Taylor (From The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, Bulletin No. 38, California, State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1906.)

    “Sec. 36, T. 8 N., R. 2 W., and Sec. 1, T. 7 N., R. 2 W.; D. L. Tucker and Sarah L. Taylor, Winters, Yolo County, owners.”

  • Suisun Valley (west side of) Solano County, California – Cordelia Quarry (Basalt) (From The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, Bulletin No. 38, California, State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1906.)

    Cordelia Quarry; E. B. & A. L. Stone Company, 900 Broadway, Oakland, owner. In Secs. 5 and 6, T. 4 N., R. 4 W., M. D. M., in the foothills on the west side of the Suisun Valley. This company has purchased the Lord lands lying directly north, making the total holdings 400 acres. Two Gates and five Austin crushers (Nos. 8, 5, 4, and 2) were added to the plant in the early part of 1905.

    “There are three large quarry openings and a score or more of smaller ones extending for nearly a mile around the top of a hill about 300 feet in height. The larger openings have inclined railways to the large rock-crusher at the base of the hill, and which connects by a spur with the Southern Pacific Railroad, at the south end of the tunnel, about a mile from Cordelia.

    “The stone is a compact, olivine basalt. Around the south end of the hill are large quantities of tuff, which is much softer than the compact basalt. The rock outcrops over a large area, the outcrop consisting of more or less rounded boulders, varying in size from a few inches to many feet in diameter. In fact, much of the stone that has been quarried has been from boulders.

    “Part of the stone is made into paving blocks, and part of it is crushed for use as macadam, rock ballast, and concrete, for all of which uses it is well adapted. It has a straight, smooth cleavage, which enables it to be readily made into regular paving blocks.

    “The large opening in which most of the work is being done at present (August, 1904) is an acre or more in extent, with a face of about 50 feet at the back. The back wall of the quarry is in solid basalt, cut up by irregular seams, along which the stone is discolored yellow and gray from weathering. It shows concentric weathering in many places. The rounded boulders, weathering off in concentric shells, are prominent in all quarries.

    “In the opening east of the one above mentioned, the stone shows the hexagonal jointing common in basalt bodies. Many of the columns are 3 to 4 feet in diameter; in a few places, smaller columns of from 6 to 10 inches in diameter occur. The stone has an especially easy, straight cleavage parallel to the base of these columns.

    “In several places the stone has a vesicular structure. In one of the quarry openings is a considerable quantity of dark-red stone, similar in grain and texture to the dark-colored basalt.

    “The supply of stone available here is unlimited, and the position is favorable for quarrying, loading, and shipping at low cost.

    “In excavating for the new crusher foundations, the company extracted and secured tests of three varieties of volcanic tuff – lavender, red, and gray – that underlie the basalt in the order named. The lavender-colored rock showed a crushing strength of 8630 pounds to the square inch, weighing 143 pounds per cubic foot; red rock, 4020 pounds crushing strength, weight 158 pounds; gray rock, 1630 pounds crushing strength, weight 89 pounds. Like various other eruptive tuffs in Solano and other counties, this material may be easily and economically cut into desirable shapes for use as building material.”

    Ill. No. 141. Basalt Quarry at Cordelia, Solano County. E. B. & A. L. Stone Co. Basalt Quarry at Cordelia, Solano County
  • Suisun, Solano County County, California – Pacific Portland Cement Co. (Macadam) M. Kidd, Rialto Bldg., San Francisco. (From The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, Bulletin No. 38, California, State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1906.) (No further information is given.)

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