The Journal of San Diego History
Winter 1996, Volume 42, Number 1
Richard W. Crawford, Editor

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Rankin Brickyard, Middletown

Page 360: Brickmaking in San Diego, ca. 1888: close up of “scove” kilns and “green” bricks drying in the hot San Diego sun at the Rankin Brickyard, Middletown.

James and Winnifred Kearney McCoy

Page 362: James and Winnifred Kearney McCoy on their wedding day, May 5,1869. At 48, McCoy was twenty-seven years Winnifred’s senior.

Page 363: The James McCoy House in Old Town San Diego at the turn of the century.

Rankin Brickyard

Page 366-367: While there are no historic photographs of the Park Brick Yard Company’s operation, this panoramic view of its contemporary, the Rankin Brickyard, once located at what is now Reynard Way and State Street in Middletown, best illustrates brick making technology in San Diego during the late 1880s. The men to the left in the photograph are loading finished brick from a partially disassembled “scove” kiln onto waiting horse-drawn wagons. In the background are various scove kilns in various states of readiness. The one in the middle is being covered with wet mud in order to seal the heat within. Note the corbel-arched tunnels under the kiln to the right. In the middle of the photograph are several horse-powered mills used to grind up the clay for mixing.

Union Brickyard

Page 369: Because bricks are a high-bulk product, in order for a brickyard to stay competitive, the mining, mixing, and firing of clay into bricks was often done at one location, with easy access to rail lines. The Union Brickyard at Harbor Drive and Crosby Street, ca. 1910 is a good example of this practice. Note the gondola car on its siding alongside the brickyard’s mixing shed. The yard’s scove kilns are located further down the track.

brick from the McCoy House site

Page 371: The brick as artifact—with the PBYCo stamp, recovered from the McCoy House site.

Grand Hotel

Page 372: Thousands of PBVCo bricks went into the construction of several noted buildings built in San Diego’s historic Gaslamp District during the late 1880s. Among these were the Brooklyn, and the Grand Hotel (pictured). In order to make way for the Horton Plaza shopping center in the 1980s, both were completely disassembled (brick by brick!) and reassembled into an entirely new hotel-the Horton Grand-some blocks away.