Covered in thousands of broken pieces of ceramic dishware, TEPCO Beach is unlike any other. This small Richmond beach tucked away off the Point Isabel path is the former dumping ground of defunct, highly collectible ceramics manufacturer, TEPCO (Technical Porcelain and Chinaware Company).
Founded in 1930 by Italian immigrant John Pagliero, the factory produced dinnerware for restaurants in the Bay Area, as well as custom pieces for the U.S. Army and Navy. Located at the southwest corner of Kearney Street and Manila Avenue, TEPCO was El Cerrito’s largest employer for decades until it shut down in 1968. Local families also used TEPCO dishes in their kitchens, and rumor has it that El Cerrito mothers would tell their children to bike down to the factory to pick up an extra table setting.
For years, factory workers dumped defective and broken dinnerware along the small Richmond beach. Today, visitors can walk along this beach and hear the crunch of ceramic underfoot. Those who know of this secret spot like to come and hunt for special treasures: patterned pieces, handles broken off from teacups, and, if you’re lucky, a full-sized plate or fragment still containing the TEPCO logo. Not to mention, the view of San Francisco Bay is simply incredible. Definitely add this unique, historical spot to your list of places to visit in the East Bay!
Watch our Instagram reel from our visit to TEPCO Beach!