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Hispanic Heritage Month: Seaver Center Highlight

The company that built L.A, brick by brick.

Early image of NHM from East view

Red bricks manufactured by the Simons Brick Company were used throughout Los Angeles in the early 20th century including the Natural History Museum. The company’s original brickyard was established in Pasadena in the 1890s. It expanded to another yard in Boyle Heights and later Plant No. 4 in Santa Monica. But Plant No. 3 in Montebello has had a storied, rich history after it opened in 1905 and became a company town.  

Genaro “Henry” Prado pictured here was a foreman and the sheriff of El Pueblo de Simons, as it was known, with a labor force recruited mainly from the Mexican states of Michoacán, Jalisco and Guanajuato. The town had its own elementary school and post office, a church, and stores and restaurants. There was an orchestra, brass band, as well as baseball and softball teams and Fiesta beauty queens to be represented in local parades and sports events.

Genaro “Henry” Prado pictured here was a foreman and the sheriff of El Pueblo de Simons
Seaver Center for Western History Research

Henry immigrated at age 15 from Irapuato, Guanajuato, by train on the Southern Pacific Railway, disembarking at El Paso, Texas about the year 1899. He soon found steady employment in brickmaking and eventually stayed with Simons until it closed in 1954.

Look for the Simons brick on display in the Becoming Los Angeles Exhibition.

Learn more about the Seaver Center for Western History Research