A day in the life

Carnegie SVRA

My husband has dirt biked ever since he was a little boy , and when my son was old enough he was taught to dirt bike. It was a underhanded, sneaky way to keep the son busy. If you are riding every weekend and when you are not riding you are getting your bike ready to ride, then you don’t have much time for girls and other troubles.
It worked and the son races and rides to day. Now before you say girls can ride too they certainly can. My daughter was busy with Spirit Guard and Rifle team and I was busy with kids. So us girls didn’t really go. Until recently when they got me a little bike to ride. Me and my daughter both have been on it learning how to dirt bike.c5

One of the places to go riding   nearby is Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area. Been there a lot.  I myself have not yet been on many of the trials but the rest of the crew has. They always say you got to be part mountain goat to ride in Carnegie, the trails can be steep and unpredictable, there has also been a lot of controversy surrounding the park with environmentalist saying its not fair to the creek (which is dry most) of the time, Bicyclists and Hikers saying they should be able to hike, bike  etc. There is always someone or some group complaining, it is the way of people.  It is those protests, however, that lead me to learn about the history of Carnegie and why it became an off road vehicular park.

Carngeie VBrick Plant
Carnegie Brick Plant

Turns out that the land was not owned Andrew Carnegie but named after him by John Treadwell who greatly admired Carnegie.  It seems that in 1855  railroad surveyors  found coal in Corral Hollow.  The railroad needed coal to keep their engines running.  Unfortunately, for the railroad, clay was found in the coalmines. It was bad for mining coal but great for Brickworks.   And so the birth of the Carnegie Brick and Pottery Company was in 1902.  .  By 1910, as many as 110,000 bricks a day were being shipped all over California stamped with the name “Carnegie”. When you are  but there you can sometimes still find pottery and bricks. Every brick was stamped with the Carnegie seal.  Carnegie bricks was used in  a lot of the buildings round the bay area and beyond. The Oakland Hotel, the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum, and the Carnegie Libraries in both Livermore and Lodi were  just some of the buildings made with Carnegie brick.

Carnegie_brick_artifact_©CSP_AFreitas_photo In 1911 even though brick was in high demand the Carnegie Brick and Pottery Company stopped production. A small town had grown up around the brickworks. It had a hotel a salon, 17 houses and even a little school.   The folks left the town of Carnegie after some serious flooding and therefore there was only a small crowd who watched the dynamiting of the smoke stacks. May 27, 1917 at 3 p.m was the last of the Carnegie Brick and Potter Company. I’ve been told that as you get up in the hills you can sometimes see the ruins of the town and brickworks. One of these days I will be good enough on the dirt  bike to go see for  myself

After the demise of the potter company the land was used as a large cattle grazing operations. It soon became a c2popular picnic area for folks coming from Tracy and Livermore, ca Motorcycles found it was great for off-roading and in the 1960s the Carnegie Cycle Park  (privately owned) was great place to go dirt biking. There were many races, the Trans-AMA for quite a few years and others. In 1979, the state of California bought Carnegie and the Off road park as I know it was born.

.   It seems to me that the controversy over the park with other people thinking it should be used for what they want it to be used for, hiking, bicycling , saving the whatever, is a little silly. It was a place that was used for coal, then clay, then huge cattle grazing operations, then motorcycling and it doesn’t seemed to need changing or fixing.  There are plenty of other places to go hiking and what not, this isn’t one of them.

Carnegie 1976 John Anderson & Rob Whitaker in the now environmental restricted area.
Carnegie 1976 John Anderson &a Rob Whitaker in the now environmental restricted area.

And the many many stories told by  those who ride