Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cemeteries and Brickyards

This article from the Vallejo Evening Chronicle (August 20, 1918) refers to the original Vallejo Cemetery, which was located where the present-day railroad cut runs under Sacramento Street, just north of Tennessee Street.

"There need be no surprise that the workmen grading near the Vallejo & Northern cut unearthed skeletons. All old-timers remember that the original grave yard of Vallejo was located on the hill adjoining the fence bounding the Austin, later Carter, ranch on the south. Up to the year 1870 there remained the picket fence enclosures surrounding some of the graves. Nearly all the bodies are removed to the Carquinez Cemetery on the Benicia Road, but a few were allowed to remain there. A different and stronger growth of weeds and wild plants has always indicated where the ground had been dug up on the old grave yard site."

"This pioneer cemetery was in what was called the "brick yard." When one speaks of the brick yard to newcomers, they think of the brick works further north,* but the "brick yard" of old was the flat through which the Vallejo and Northern, now the Northern electric, excavation was made. It was so called because the soil in the vicinity was adapted to brick making and bricks were there made and sun dried. A pile of these old bricks stood there up to comparatively recent times. The Astor House** on Virginia Street was built of these bricks of home manufacture."

"The Vallejo soil is good for the making of ordinary brick. That is why so many efforts have been made to establish brick works here. They have failed because of the lack of some important element which had to be imported, thus increasing the cost of manufacture and making it impossible to compete with other places where conditions were more favorable."

"The present public cemetery, the Carquinez Cemetery, was donated to the City of Vallejo in 1857 by John B. Frisbie. When donated a road ran through the center, dividing the 25 acres equally between the Catholic and Protestant population. This caused the desertion of the cemetery which has just been unearthed."

* That brickworks was located on the northernmost end of present-day Wilson Avenue, along the Napa River.

** Now demolished

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