Thursday, December 1, 2016

Denver Sewer Pipe and Clay - the Brickyards

Established in 1889 at 44th and Fox Street in the town of Argo by James Green of St. Louis, the Denver Sewer Pipe and Clay Company primarily manufactured pipe used in sewers. The firm was purchased in 1892 by William F. Geddes, David D. Seerie, and E. R. Ball.
Geddes and Seerie had formed a contracting business in 1885 and worked on large projects that included the Cheesman Dam, Brown Palace Hotel and the Colorado State Capitol building. The acquisition of the company provided a local source for construction material as well as jobs for the residents of nearby Globeville.
In 1900, the firm added a brick manufacturing plant, and by the 1930s, workers were tending some 50 beehive kilns. Almost every kind of heavy-duty clay product was made there: building bricks, sewer pipe, locomotive arch tile (used in the combustion chambers of steam locomotives), and tile conduit. It was the largest company of its kind between the Missouri River and the Pacific coast, and its workforce had grown from its original 25 to more than 200 employees. Raw clay for the bricks was quarried in the Golden and Parker areas, west and south of Denver. 
In 1956, the company changed its name to Denver Brick and Pipe Company, and built a block-long structure that used a tunnel-kiln process instead of the older beehive method. Eventually the company outgrew its location and, in 1982, built a new facility near Castle Rock, halfway between Denver and Colorado Springs. The firm was renamed Denver Brick.
The 130-foot smokestack that towered over the location at 44th and Fox has been torn down and the beehive kilns that glowed red-hot are gone. So is the marble slab that was embedded in the office reception hall. The message chiseled in its surface read, “Not by frost, nor by fire, nor by flood, nor even by time, are well-burned clay products destroyed.” The Denver Post printing plant occupied the site for several years.

Photo used with permission from the Denver Public Library


Cedarwood Mayor Pro Tem said...

Thank you, good info. I own property in Pueblo county, near the Chamblin pit that was a source of clay.
Norm Brown

Mary Lou Egan said...

wow! that really goes back - thanks for the comments