Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Lime Kilns in the Limelight
Title: Lime Kiln Legacies
By: Frank A. Perry, and others
Lime Kiln Legacies is the first complete history of the lime industry in Santa Cruz County. The rise and fall of the lime industry in Santa Cruz County coincides with the developing history of California. In the first half of the 1800s, only small amounts of lime began to be manufactured in Santa Cruz, primarily for the builders of missions using lime in their construction. The surge for lime production demand did not occur in Santa Cruz County until after the Gold Rush in 1848. A succession of wood buildings burned down in San Francisco between 1849 and 1851, and inadequate fire extinguishing equipment ultimately converted Californians into believers in masonry buildings. In 1884 alone, Santa Cruz County's lime production amounted to a third of the State of California's supply and three-fourths of lime in the San Francisco market. Although peaking in 1904, lime industry in the twentieth century in Santa Cruz County suffered a decline and was finally replaced by a superior newcomer, the cement industry. Lime Kiln Legacies is a history of the people involved in the lime industry in Santa Cruz County, by virtue of its frank and faithful recording of their lives and endeavors, successes and failures, births and deaths. There is little record existing for the innumerable people who quarried the rock, prepared the fuel, stoked the kiln fires and shipped the lime to the market. Unlike the owners of the lime works, who received extensive press coverage during their lifetime, lime workers remain nameless and faceless. To pay them due respect as a collective community, this book devotes a whole chapter to People and Lime, reconstructing their lives and working conditions. This was done by using photographs, census records, local histories, newspapers, and special collections available at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, the University of California, and the Santa Cruz Public Libraries.
For an interesting tidbit about one of the book's authors, Bob "Brick Bat Bob" Piwarzyk, and a brick, please see this article.
For more information about the book, and upcoming events, please visit www.limekilnlegacies.com.