TEPCO Beach – Richmond, California - Atlas Obscura

TEPCO Beach

A porcelain company's former dumping ground, completely covered in pieces of collectible ceramics. 

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This small Richmond beach near Point Isabel is a former dumping ground for the now-defunct, highly collectible ceramics manufacturer TEPCO (Technical Porcelain and Chinaware Company). Though TEPCO dishes have frequently been described as “ugly,” “clunky,” and “poorly made,” surviving examples have a cult following among California collectors.

Founded in 1930 by Italian immigrant John Pagliero, the TEPCO factory produced dinnerware for restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area. As well as consumer lines, TEPCO produced custom dinnerware for local restaurants and for the U.S. Army and Navy. The company was El Cerrito’s largest employer for decades, until they shut down in 1968 after a destructive kiln fire.

The stretch of Richmond beach was the site where the factory dumped defective and broken crockery for years. Today, visitors can walk along the beach and hear the crunch of ceramic underfoot. Lucky visitors may even find a fragment that still contains the TEPCO logo.

Know Before You Go

From the Costco parking lot, cross Central Ave, then cross the San Francisco Bay Trail paved walking and cycling trail and head down to the beach.