Brighton NY, on the banks of the Genesee River, was born of the glacier. The recessional departure of the glacier left, beneath the melting rivers of icy water, on the flatlands south of the Pinnacle Range, a shallow layer of clay. These clay deposits were mined along with the adjoining banks of sand, which together provided the material necessary for the basic industry of Brickmaking. The kiln fires lit up the skies of our small town for 120 years in the summer evenings.

Production Statistics & Data


The Brighton Brickyards were as follows:

1...Gideon Cobb Brickyard..1818-1853 First in Brick Manufacture, in Brighton

      Buckland Brickyards...
2......Abner Buckland Brickyard......1822-1865 Bucklands worked together produce Brick?
2......Orin Buckland Brickyard........1865-1895 Abner's son was listed as a Brickmaker

2a....Amos B. Buckland Brickyard...1835-1860 Merchant Dry Goods Store & Brickmaker.
2b....Leonard Buckland Brickyard....1832-1890 Monroe Ave location of Brickyard known.
2b....Warren Buckland Brickyard....1869-1890 Leonard's son, Brick business with father.

3...Isaac Moore Brickyard...1823-1852 Moved to Brighton 1823...Operated a Brick Yards in 3 locations.           3a...Robert Irwin Brickyard...1835-1845 Operated Isaac Moore's Brick Yards (1&2) after Isaac Moore.
4...Edwin Wilson Brickyard.1832-1853 Moved to Brighton/1826, started a brick business.
5...Alvin Burton Brickyard..1836-1853 Age 20 in 1835 started a brick business.
6...Jason Baker Brickyard ?.1843-1853,
Moved to Brighton/1842,agent of Burton, Cobb & R.B.&T.Co.Brick Co.
7...Rochester Brick & Tile Co...........1853-1919, Largest Brick Operation in Town.
8...Jonathan W. Town Brickyard..1854-1859 Listed in 1855 NYS Census

9...John Weis Brickyard. 1869-1877 Hawn & Weis Co./Brighton Monroe Brick Co.
10...German Brick & Tile Co. 1877-1920.... also operated as Rochester Clay Brick & Tile Co.                            
10a...Rochester Clay Brick & Tile Co. 1920-1935....Replaced German Brick & Tile Co.



Map of Yards

Map of Brighton...............showing yard location


Background Information To Map Page

I will start with three quotes which establish the origin of the Brighton Brick Industry.

“The heart of the Rochester Tract was at the intersection of Buffalo (Main) and Carroll (State) Streets, and it was on lot number one, now occupied by Powers Block, that Henry Skinner was obliged, by his deed, to build and erect a dwelling house not less than twenty by thirty feet, with brick or stone chimney, on or before the first day of January, 1812. The presumption that in the wilderness, brick and stone chimneys could be built, was probably because of acquaintance of Nathaniel Rochester with the elegant brickwork of Maryland in his time, and the fact that mud and splat chimneys were always a menance to pioneer habitations. In 1811 there was not a single family on the west side of the river, and only three on the east side and naturally, no brickyards or lime kilns. However a mud chimney was built, and the Scrantom family moved across the river into the Skinner log cabin on July 4, 1812.”

from “ Centennial History of Rochester, New York” Volume II Home Builders “Architecture in Rochester” page 267

"There was little brick until Gideon Cobb began manufacturing them on the Monroe Avenue Brickyard site, a little before 1820. Brick before this had to be brought in, probably, from Holcomb or Clarkson, where it was made about 1816."

from "Architecture in Rochester" 287:

"Gideon started a brickyard or rather a few brick had been made, and young Cobb seeing the possibilities took over the incipient (definition of incipient = only partly in existence), business and proceeded to enlarge it. It was near the site of the old yard near the twelve corners operated until a year or two ago."

from: Newspaper Article: in The Poet Express June 20, 1920;

I have used the three quotes above to set the background for establishing the starting time for operation of the Brighton Brickyards. There seems to be no certainly in the Rochester historical record as to where and when brickmaking began. The brickmakers have been securely identified but the dates of operation require some speculation So possibly 1817 is the origin of Gideon Cobb brick manufacture, followed by 1822 for the Buckland family , then followed by Isaac Moore in 1823. Edwin Wilson, Alvin Burton and Robert Irwin enter manufacturing in the 1830's, possibly in close association with original three. Jason Baker and Jonathan Town arrive in the 1840's and 1850's. The first industrial consolidation is achieved by the finances of William Otis, who purchased three yards and operated them as the Rochester Brick & Tile Company. John Weis, in 1860's establishes a brickyard on property adjacent to that owned by Isaac Moore and Abner Buckland which develops into the German Brick & Tile Company and the Rochester Clay Brick & Tile Company. All participants in brickmaking must have been connected, for the land area used for brickmaking is small, adjacent and with time must have been confined. The process of burning clay to produce brick was a very, very dirty procedure and close neighbors must have objected to the polluted air. The interrelationships of brickmakers and land can only be guessed at for there exists a minimum of recorded testimony.