In an effort to maintain the rich history of our local Adobe homes, and provide an introduction to the potential local Adobe home buyer; a variety of publications and links have been provided below.
Our primary focus is on California Adobe Homes built in San Diego North County. It is believed in the peak of local Adobe building; about 800 homes were built between the late 1940’s and the early 1980’s, radiating out from the Escondido area, including but not limited to Fallbrook, Bonsall, Valley Center, Pauma Valley, Rancho Santa Fe, and Poway.
A partial project list of Weir Brothers’ built homes is provided here:
Adobe bricks were commercially manufactured near present day Kit Carson Park in South Escondido, by the L R Green Adobe Block Factory. It’s important to note that the L R Green bricks were asphalt emulsion stabilized, making them somewhat waterproof. The heritage of the asphalt stabilized brick in California originated from the Hans Sumpf brickyard in Madera, California.
A 2016 “archaeological dig” on the L. R. Green adobe block yard revealed lots of historical information and pictures of old process equipment. If using this article for more than personal information, please note that there are some name misspells and inconsistencies with the stated ownership of the Adobe Block Factory in later years.
Pictured above: an example of a Modern California Adobe home. Designed and built by Larry Weir in Poway, early 1970’s.
We will refer to the Adobe homes built with asphalt stabilized bricks as Modern California Adobe homes. “Traditional” Adobe bricks often used straw to assist as a binder, and structures may have received a plaster coating or Adobe mud and straw coating for protection from the elements. This can be seen in older historical Adobe structures throughout the Southwest. There’s also Adobe structures partially made of traditional materials and of traditional old California/Spanish design, built (or restored) with modern materials; this may cause some nomenclature confusion.
Pictured above: plaster coatings examples on old traditional unstabilized bricks in Old Town, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Modern stucco plaster on the left, straw Adobe on the right.
Regarding local history; an excellent primer on Escondido area Modern California Adobe structures is provided here:
In regards to maintaining a Modern California Adobe home; of significant concern, is the question of where to obtain Stabilized Adobe bricks in the present day.
With the big Adobe brick factories in California permanently closed, the only known, current local brick maker and Modern California Adobe restorer is provided here:
Luis was taught by Pat Friend, a local heritage Adobe Restorer. She currently provides Adobe education materials to elementary schools:
A Fresno area adobe brick maker is providing bricks to Clovis Stone: https://www.clovisstone.net
If your ok with building a fake adobe veneer brick facade over a sub-structure using modern materials, Eldorado Stone makes a near perfect adobe match to our old L R Green Escondido bricks that rarely repeat in look. http://www.eldoradostone.com/products/capistranoadobe/
Adobe brickyards in Arizona and New Mexico are abundant, however you must consider shipping costs.
At least two Adobe brick producers in Arizona are using Portland cement as a stabilizing agent as a replacement to asphalt emulsion. Sample bricks were provided to our Adobe Home Tour community for review in 2016. Initial inspection suggests it’s more durable brick. Their information is provided here:
Pictured above: A sample Tucson Adobe brick on left, and sample Arizona Adobe brick on right. Both are Portland cement stabilized and are on top of an asphalt stabilized brick wall (L R Green brickyard heritage bricks) for appearance comparison.
New Mexico has a number of Adobe brick producers, making both traditional unstabilized and asphalt emulsion stabilized. The Adobe Factory, in Alcalde, NM and New Mexico Earth, in Alameda, NM are believed to be the largest current producers. During discussion with the owner of The Adobe Factory brickyard in 2016, it was mentioned that he provided and shipped adobe bricks to a California customer in the Pauma Valley area (North San Diego county).
Pictured above: an abundant supply of bricks at a brickyard in New Mexico. This row of bricks on pallets were actually the leftovers from a shipment to a Hollywood film set builder.
An adobe lover with Mel Medina, owner of The Adobe Factory, with rare Hans Sumpf machines in the background.
An excellent article on Modern Adobe building in New Mexico (including a listing of brickyards) is provided here:
A handbook related to the preservation of traditional historical adobe structures in New Mexico is provided here:
Perhaps the most useful information to the potential Modern California Adobe Home buyer or restorer is the publication: A study of Adobe construction in domestic architecture of California, by Clarence Cullimore, November 1940. Regardless of it’s publication date, almost all Adobe construction concerns in California are addressed, including earthquakes, floods, brick quality (including stabilized vs. unstabilized), foundation, roofing, optional exterior plastering, seismic analysis data, and suggested design and construction protocols. A wise potential Modern Adobe home buyer may want to confirm that the home of interest meets all the listed design and construction suggestions. A digital version of this book is available through the Adobe Home Tour group, as it’s too large to be uploaded to our website at 660MB. A link to it is here, it will take a few minutes to load: