A couple of Sundays ago D. and I returned to Niles Canyon to look for the abandoned brickworks factory we'd heard was there somewhere. I'd seen the facility referred to variously as the Mission Clay Tile Works, Mission Pottery, Mission Clay Products and the California Pressed Brick Company (over the course of its 90 years in operation it's had various names), and I'd seen photographs on-line of its 3 remaining chimneys amid the rubble of the factory. We set out to see it in person. Here are our pics.
Union Pacific tracks. We follow them up the canyon.
Strange sensors at the Clarke Dr. level crossing. Maybe they had something to do with defect detecting. Or maybe we really were on candid camera.
We're not the only people walking the tracks today.
A Sikh temple next to the railroad tracks. There is a large Sikh community in Fremont.
The remains of an opossum at the side of the tracks.
An earth star fungus, after splitting open to release its spores. They are related to puffballs, and we saw a number of them along our walk.
We found an unbelievable amount of household trash discarded next to the tracks. It's probably going to sit there forever.
Some of it's kind of creepy.
The train tracks go up the canyon.
I guess Union Pacific lets you make up your own sign.
A bigleaf maple leaf, full of color, wet with rain.
A cryptic marking on the abandoned road paralleling the creek. Yes, it really was pink.
Alameda Creek in the rain.
The hills above Niles Canyon in the autumn rain.
Niles Canyon Railway bridge over Alameda Creek.
One of the chimneys of the old brickworks appears over the tree tops. The factory helped rebuild San Francisco after the great 1906 earthquake, producing sewer pipes for the City and the surrounding areas damaged by the fire and quake.
Abandoned terra cotta sewer pipes on the outskirts of the property.
Piles of abandoned bricks are rough gardens for lichens and other small plants.
More chimneys appear as we get closer.
A chimney, and the factory's water tower.
The water tower is partially obscured by overgrown trees.
D. by one of the chimneys.
A blower from one of the drying tunnels through which the bricks passed before being fired in the kilns.
The yard was overgrown with brush, including tons of stinkwort. Weeds were bursting up through the pavement.
Lots of trash and junk all over the yard.
A student's pitiful plea for all to see.
There were bricks strewn everywhere, piled up semi-haphazardly, abandoned before they could be fired.
There were separate piles, with different names stamped into the bricks: Gasco. Merced. Keystone. Diablo.
The C Poo? Nah, probably The C. P. Co. (for California Pottery Co.)
RIP DAD. Constructed to be seen on google earth perhaps?
A small tram used to convey stuff back and forth from the rail spur going into the yard.
La Girafa on one of the chimneys. It's an abandoned industrial site -- of course there's graffiti.
Part of the gas furnace equipment for the kilns.
Busted pieces of the inside of a kiln's firebox.
A hawk glides down the misty canyon.
More large sewer pipes, and graffiti.
One of a couple of monitoring wells at the site.
The edge of a pit at the rear of the property. It is covered in blossoming coyote bush.
Dresser, alongside the brickworks site. Nothing there but a lot of trees.
Niles Canyon Railway tracks in the sodden late afternoon rain.
One of the many old telegraph poles lining the canyon.
Mist sweeps down the hills into the canyon.
The abandoned road leading out of the brickworks takes us back to the car and our way home.