Terra Cotta

In 1885, ambitious prospector John D. Huff discovered a vein of coal and clay deposits north of Elsinore. In May 1887, Huff incorporated the Southern California Coal and Clay Company to mine the materials and produce pipes, brick, and terra cotta. A town was laid out called Terra Cotta City, and by summer 1887 lots were subdivided, mining work had begun, and construction started on a factory. By the end of the year, Huff was so confident in his company that an addition was filed for Terra Cotta City, doubling its size. Over $50,000 was invested in development.

Unfortunately, it was soon realized that both the coal and clay at Terra Cotta were of poor quality. In addition, a railroad that had been planned proved to be too expensive and product had to be transported by wagon to Elsinore. Nevertheless, operation continued intermittently for a few years, though it failed to be profitable. In October 1891, the factory was destroyed by fire caused by the night watchman's lantern. The factory was rebuilt by February 1892, but by spring work at Terra Cotta came to a close.

Terra Cotta had a brief resurgence after 1896 when a railroad spur was finally constructed to nearby Alberhill, where the Alberhill Coal and Clay Company was mining another deposit. For a period of time between 1906 and 1912, a factory was operated in Terra Cotta by the California Fireproof Construction Company to manufacture pipes. After its closure, Terra Cotta faded into memory and little remains today except for a road that carries the name.

I Visited Terra Cotta
8.26.2018

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