Pogonip Primer (continued)

The Pogonip property was originally part of a land grant called Rancho de la Canada del Rincon. It was awarded by the Mexican government to Pierre Sansevain in 1843. A lumberman by trade, Sansevain operated a successful mill on the San Lorenzo River. In 1849, entrepreneurs Albion P. Jordan and Isaac E. Davis purchased 160 acres of the ranch to develop the plentiful limestone into the west coast's largest lime industry. The kilns they constructed to fire the limestone can still be seen on the Rincon Trail above Sunspot Meadow and at the entrance to UCSC. The company purchased a wharf and schooners to ship the lime to San Francisco and was very successful because of booming construction there. Around 1855, the partners purchased 3,873 additional Rancho acres.

Henry Cowell purchased Jordan's interest in 1865 due to Jordan's failing health. The Cowell Davis Lime business exported approximately one thousand 200 lb. barrels of lime each week. Enormous amounts of wood were required to fuel the kilns--one cord of wood per dozen barrels of lime. The industry used between 10,000 & 15,000 cord of redwood each year from 1860-1884.

Issac E. Davis sold his interest to Henry Cowell in 1888, and the business name was changed to Henry Cowell Lime and Cement Company. Demand for lime began to decline by the turn of the century and the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco changed public attitude about brick construction. Lumber adjacent to the kilns and quarries was so depleted that the business was forced to import expensive oil to operate the kilns. Competition from the Portland Cement Company in Davenport, founded in 1905, eventually forced the closure of the declining lime company in 1946.

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