In the late 1800's, the discovery of high quality clay and coal deposits near Alberhill, California led industrialists to this area in pursuit of raw materials for numerous fired ceramic products. This clay is geologically unique in that both sedimentary (Lake, stream, or ocean deposits) and metamorphic (altered in place) clays are present. This allows for the necessary blending to make many different ceramic products. There is no other deposit of clay like this in the world... these clays are over 200 million years old! The Alberhill area has supplied clay for fine pottery, clay sewer pipe, face brick, brick pavers, roofing tile, clay pots, firebrick, lignite coal, and modeling clay. One famous pottery company that operated on Catalina Island until 1940's used clay from our Alberhill mines to produce pottery that is extremely collectible today.
Pacific Clay Brick Manufacturer
The Alberhill Coal and Clay Company mined low-grade lignite coal and fire clay on these premises from 1890 until 1940. Mining in underground shafts, these tunnels were hand-dug with shovels and wheelbarrows. Long before OSHA, this was a dangerous place to work due to numerous cave-ins and associated deaths. Los Angeles Brick Company, which started in 1895 here at Alberhill, produced face brick, paving brick, sewer pipe, and roofing tile. Many of the original buildings in Los Angeles were built using these products. UCLA's Royce Hall and Powell Library, both built in the 1920's, used brick from this company. During this time, Alberhill was a self-contained community with a post office, Catholic church and elementary school located right on the property. The three-room Alberhill Schoolhouse remained open until the 1960's, and today is the site for many class reunions. The Los Angeles Brick Company was purchased by Pacific Clay Products in 1963. David H. Murdock, the current owner, purchased all the Pacific Clay stock in 1973 and took the company private.
Pacific Clay Brick Manufacturer
Pacific Clay Products has continually expanded to meet the needs of its customers, and in 1996 completed construction of a state-of-the-art brick production facility. Our present facility is the largest in the west. The new plant can burn brick in 14 hours, compared to 35 hours in a traditional plant, and can produce 40,000,000 bricks per year. Along with many historic "ceramic firsts", such as double-bullnose, mini-brick, ruffled-texture and others, Pacific Clay continues to meet the needs of its customers by creating innovative brick designs and colors. Pacific Clay Products remains the dominant supplier of clay products in Southern California, and on fine architectural jobs across the country.
Along with our rich history of brick products, the Pacific Clay name is also known for sewer pipe. Pacific Sewer Pipe Company had several facilities in California where they produced sewer pipe for use across the country. The Hoist Pit, just two miles south of Alberhill, supplied the Terra Cotta plant its clay for sewer pipe production from 1890 until 1915. The Terra Cotta plant was closed that year and production moved to Santa Fe Springs, California where the company went public and became Pacific Clay Products. The facility at Santa Fe Springs grew to process 200,000 tons per year, which in the mid-1960's was the largest sewer pipe production facility in the world. This plant was closed in 1980 and the Pipe Division moved to Corona, closer to Alberhill and its vast clay deposits. Pacific Clay continued to produce sewer pipes in Corona until 1997.