Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Railroad tracks sticking up next to I-5 and Mission Bay

Maybe part of Louis Rose brick-making plant

Dear Mr. Alice: When I was but a tyke, an observant friend pointed out a strange sight, one I always look for even to this day. We were heading south on 5, between 52 and Mission Bay, and he pointed out what appeared to be train tracks poking out of the embankment. He told me in that charming, lying way of his that there used to be a gold mine on the bank and that the tunnel collapsed, and those tracks were all that was left. Over the years, I haven't been able to come up with a more logical explanation. Can you? — Jeff Hayes, San Diego

Mat mail: On I-5 southbound, just north of the Grand/Garnet exit are two railroad tracks sticking out of the hillside on the west side of the freeway. They are hard to spot but appear to be rusty, narrow-gauge rails, 20 or 30 feet up, sticking out of the hill a couple of feet, pointing roughly south/east. They've been there ever since I can remember, and I have often wondered what they are. — Roy Huntington, San Diego

I have to guess Roy is Jeff's charming, lying pal, yes? Hope Jeff hasn’t been taking Roy’s stock tips, too. Gold mine? No way. Although Louis Rose, who owned that part of San Diego (Rose Canyon) in the mid-1800s, tried coal mining in that slope, for some reason. But Rose’s coal-less diggings probably aren’t the answer we’re looking for.

It’s fess-up time for yours truly. I’m not sure I’ve actually seen these mysterious tracks, despite nearly getting flattened by freeway traffic and arrested for lurking in the shrubbery with binoculars and a suspicious look on my face. If what I finally saw was the object in question, it doesn’t give much of a clue about its identity anyway. So, when in doubt, guess.

A tip from John Fry of the Pacific Beach Historical Society suggested the south end of Rose Canyon was the site of a series of brickyards, and maybe the tracks are related. And that brings us back to Louis Rose, who could have been one of the most optimistic men in local history. Seems when he’d dug around in the west slope of the canyon long enough to see there was no coal, only clay, he shifted gears and opened a brickmaking plant. Until the 1950s, Rose Canyon would be the brick-and-tile center of the city.

If you peruse the “Rose Canyon” book in the photo archives of the San Diego Historical Society, you’ll find lots of photos of the brick operations there. A 1919 snap of the Terra Cotta Tile and Brick Corp. shows a series of wooden scaffolds heading up into the cliff face. At the top of one of them is a small wheeled cart used to transport clay down to the kiln. Along the scaffolding appear to be metal strips that guided the cart down the chute. Whether these are what’s now sticking out of the cliffs is hard to say. But it’s a good bet Jeff and Roy’s odd “tracks” have something to do with Rose Canyon’s century of clay mining. In the 1930s, it produced clay for three different brickmaking operations. Some of it went by the Santa Fe spur line from the canyon down to the foot of Crosby Street for manufacture.

San Diego’s O.G.s may remember the Leaning Chimney of P.B., near the present Price Club, built in 1888 to vent a huge brick kiln. The 115-foot chimney settled and ended up more than seven feet out of plumb; but it stood until January of 1962, when it toppled in a storm. According to newspaper accounts, 25,000 of the chimney’s 70,000 bricks were salvaged by a masonry contractor and used for the fireplaces in houses then being built in Rancho Bernardo.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Al Capone’s film legacy

“I think it’s a good social document. It shows how an unscrupulous man can prey on society.”
Next Article

Al Capone’s film legacy

“I think it’s a good social document. It shows how an unscrupulous man can prey on society.”
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Dear Mr. Alice: When I was but a tyke, an observant friend pointed out a strange sight, one I always look for even to this day. We were heading south on 5, between 52 and Mission Bay, and he pointed out what appeared to be train tracks poking out of the embankment. He told me in that charming, lying way of his that there used to be a gold mine on the bank and that the tunnel collapsed, and those tracks were all that was left. Over the years, I haven't been able to come up with a more logical explanation. Can you? — Jeff Hayes, San Diego

Mat mail: On I-5 southbound, just north of the Grand/Garnet exit are two railroad tracks sticking out of the hillside on the west side of the freeway. They are hard to spot but appear to be rusty, narrow-gauge rails, 20 or 30 feet up, sticking out of the hill a couple of feet, pointing roughly south/east. They've been there ever since I can remember, and I have often wondered what they are. — Roy Huntington, San Diego

I have to guess Roy is Jeff's charming, lying pal, yes? Hope Jeff hasn’t been taking Roy’s stock tips, too. Gold mine? No way. Although Louis Rose, who owned that part of San Diego (Rose Canyon) in the mid-1800s, tried coal mining in that slope, for some reason. But Rose’s coal-less diggings probably aren’t the answer we’re looking for.

It’s fess-up time for yours truly. I’m not sure I’ve actually seen these mysterious tracks, despite nearly getting flattened by freeway traffic and arrested for lurking in the shrubbery with binoculars and a suspicious look on my face. If what I finally saw was the object in question, it doesn’t give much of a clue about its identity anyway. So, when in doubt, guess.

A tip from John Fry of the Pacific Beach Historical Society suggested the south end of Rose Canyon was the site of a series of brickyards, and maybe the tracks are related. And that brings us back to Louis Rose, who could have been one of the most optimistic men in local history. Seems when he’d dug around in the west slope of the canyon long enough to see there was no coal, only clay, he shifted gears and opened a brickmaking plant. Until the 1950s, Rose Canyon would be the brick-and-tile center of the city.

If you peruse the “Rose Canyon” book in the photo archives of the San Diego Historical Society, you’ll find lots of photos of the brick operations there. A 1919 snap of the Terra Cotta Tile and Brick Corp. shows a series of wooden scaffolds heading up into the cliff face. At the top of one of them is a small wheeled cart used to transport clay down to the kiln. Along the scaffolding appear to be metal strips that guided the cart down the chute. Whether these are what’s now sticking out of the cliffs is hard to say. But it’s a good bet Jeff and Roy’s odd “tracks” have something to do with Rose Canyon’s century of clay mining. In the 1930s, it produced clay for three different brickmaking operations. Some of it went by the Santa Fe spur line from the canyon down to the foot of Crosby Street for manufacture.

San Diego’s O.G.s may remember the Leaning Chimney of P.B., near the present Price Club, built in 1888 to vent a huge brick kiln. The 115-foot chimney settled and ended up more than seven feet out of plumb; but it stood until January of 1962, when it toppled in a storm. According to newspaper accounts, 25,000 of the chimney’s 70,000 bricks were salvaged by a masonry contractor and used for the fireplaces in houses then being built in Rancho Bernardo.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Christopher Maddox: Dr. Demento got me started

Parody-song zeal from the Carlsbad “Crisis Crooner”
Next Article

Is your favorite brewery open yet? Check Magie's spreadsheet.

How a local beertender spent her pandemic spring showing people where to shop
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close