Olive Through the Ages
Brick yard & tile co. | Bank
of Olive | Olive
Garage | Olive
Hotel & Motel | Olive
Mill | Other
Harvey Garber and the first brick and
tile companies in Olive
In 1921, Harvey Garber was described as being "one of the most
aggressively progressive leaders in the [brick making] industry in Southern
California, and a prominent business man of Santa Ana."
Born on March 28, 1879 in Bliss, Michigan, Harvey was the youngest of
three children of Jacob M. Garber and the former Elizabeth ("Libbie")
Schrock. He was raised on a farm, attended public schools in northern
Indiana, and at the age of 21 became a carpenter.
On June 2, 1909, Harvey married Freda B. Kelley. The couple arrived
in California on January 13, 1914, settling in the City of Orange. Having
had five years' experience as a contractor in South Bend, Indiana, Harvey
became a general contractor in Orange County where he led a number of
public, commercial, and residential construction projects.
In August 1919, Harvey purchased a brick plant in Santa Ana where he
began manufacturing all grades of brick. Early in 1922, Harvey moved
his brick making business to Olive, at the corner of Santiago Blvd.
(E. Lincoln Ave.) and N. Tustin St., where the daily production of manufactured
bricks reportedly doubled from 20,000 to 40,000, according to the "Greater
Olive Expansion Edition" of The Orange Post newspaper on
April 27, 1922.
At the time of this report, Harvey had found the clay in the Olive yards
to be "satisfactory" and hoped it would fire well so he could
manufacture hollow building tile, which was an important line of his
business. Harvey also speculated on the possibility of manufacturing
"high grade building material such as glazed brick" at the
Though the brick yard was fully operating at the time the article was
written, grading on the site had not yet been completed. The article
mentioned an "office building of suitable size will be erected
as soon as work at the new place is running smoothly, from which time
on other improvements will rapidly follow."
H. Garber Brick Yards in Olive initially proved to be highly successful,
and within the next two years Harvey opened the Padre Tile Company on
the site where the second Olive
Milling Company operated. This plant produced roofing, flooring,
and decorative wall tiles. However, around 1925, financial difficulties
found Harvey losing both businesses to Attorney Arthur Koepsel. A couple
of years later, the brick yard was renamed Mission Clay Products Company
and sold to Herbert Shugart. The Padre Tile Company was closed in 1930.
Harvey passed away on December 14, 1934 in Newhall and is buried in
Fairhaven Memorial Park in Santa Ana.
NOTE: Special thanks to Phil Brigandi for providing the article in The
Orange Post and for writing his "Mission Clay Products, 1963"
article which was published in Old Towne Orange Plaza Review;
both sources give great insight into the history of the original brick
yard in Olive.
- Daralee, January 2, 2017
(revised on May 21, 2017)
Sources: Samuel Armor, History of Orange
County, California with Biographical Sketches, Orange County, CA: Historic
Record Company, 1921, p. 1254; "Garber Brick Yard Removed to Olive,
Capacity Doubled," The Orange Post, Greater Olive Expansion Edition,
April 27, 1922, page 15; FindAGrave.com (accessed on January 2, 2017);
"Mission Clay Products, 1963," by Phil Brigandi, Old Towne
Orange Plaza Review, March / April 2017, page 35.
Mission Clay Products Company brick yard
Mission Clay Products Company prospered under the ownership of Herbert
Shugart through the 1940s. The company made bricks, and roofing and
flooring tiles, both by machine and hand, kiln-drying and air-drying
these products. Additionally, "adoblar" commercial-grade adobe
bricks were produced; these bricks were popular in Southern California
for lending more authenticity to homes built in the Spanish-style architecture.
In the 1950s, the company added clay pipe-making to their product line,
and expanded their yard north of the original site.
The brick yard was still operating at the northwestern corner of Tustin
and Lincoln when our family first moved to the area in the early 1960s.
Though I was a young child at the time and can't recollect a lot of
details about the site, I recall being fascinated by the large kilns
on the property that would glow at night.
In 1965, the business was listed in the phone directory at 1629 E.
Lincoln Ave. in Olive, with Ben Garrett as president, Owen Garrett as
vice president, and Ted Hellers as manager.
Ken Posthuma, who grew up in Orange during the late 1960s through the
'70s, recalls Edward John Loftus being affiliated with the business
during that period. The Loftus family lived on Shaffer St. and Ken was
friends with one of their sons. Ken said he recalled hearing in the
late '60s the business was being moved to Corona, CA. After doing some
research, I learned the original business was dissolved in 1977, and
then in 2009 Mission Clay Products, LLC was established and incorporated
in California. Today it continues operations at 23835 Temescal Canyon
Road in Corona.
As with so many sites in Olive that have now vanished, I regret not
having any personal photos of the brick yard during this era of my life
before I learned how to handle a camera. However, on a visit to the
Orange County Archives, assistant archivist Chris Jepsen produced two
"new" 1967 black and white photos of the brick yard from the
Archives' collection. And historian Gordon T. McClelland sent scanned
images by artists Crandall Norton and Scott FitzGerald depicting historical
scenes from the brick yard.
Despite the disappearance of the Mission Clay Products Company brick
yard by 1970, there is still a reminder of this historic site on which
operations were important to the construction of homes and commercial
buildings in Southern California. A decade after the brick yard's closure,
local developers Roger Hobbs and Alan Trider in partnership with Bruce
Gelker of Olive opened The Brickyard shopping center on the site. This
shopping center, with its name and its unique signs shaped like structures
from the brick yard circa 1950, serve as remembrances of this once thriving
business that began during the mid-1920s when Olive was known as "The
Gateway to Santa Ana Canyon."
- Daralee, June 5, 2009
(revised on May 21, 2017, with new content added on August 25, 2018)
Sources: Phil Brigandi, A Brief History
of Orange, California: The Plaza City, Charleston, SC: The History Press,
2011; "Mission Clay Products, 1963," by Phil Brigandi, Old
Towne Orange Plaza Review, March / April 2017, page 35; Luskey's Criss
Cross City Directory, July, 1965; Ken Posthuma conversation on May 16,
2018; "About Mission Clay Products" web page (http://missionclay.com/about/)
accessed on May 17, 2018; Secretary of State of California Business
Search (https://businesssearch.sos.ca.gov/) accessed on May 17, 2018;
Manta.com's "Mission Clay Products LLC" web page (https://www.manta.com/c/mtx20rc/mission-clay-products-llc)
accessed on August 25, 2018.
Click/tap the link below to learn more about
the history of Padre Tile Company and Mission Clay Products Company
aerial map images and photos
map illustrations and photos - This page
contains links to aerial map images of the Padre Tile Company and
Mission Clay Products Company brick yard sites from 1929 to 1970,
with some commentary.
and now photos and artwork
and now images - This page contains links to then and now photos
of Padre Tile Company and Mission Clay Products Company, as well
as images of artwork depicting sights from the brick yard.
Clay Products Company in the news
and articles - This page contains news advertisements and articles
pertinent to Mission Clay Products Company from 1930 up to 1960.
My thanks to Sherman Library and Gardens' Director Dr. William O.
Hendricks and Archivist Jennifer Martinez Wormser for providing
assistance in some of this research.
and remembrances of the brick yard
about the brick yard - Historian Gordon McClelland shares his
remembrances of the brick yard as a youth in the 1960s. Included
on this page are some of my notes about adobe structures in Olive
as well as links to images of these structures.