Tim Aaaronson led a great walk on Sunday to Tepco Beach, with me serving as an assistant. Jenny hammer did much work planning this hike out.
The route, from the heart of El Cerrito’s commercial district, the EC Natural Grocery at San Pablo and Stockton Avenues, took us on bridges over both I-80 and I-580.
That alone was telling, showing how divorced we have become from the Bay, compared to the days when just past San Pablo Avenue one would have walked across grassland and marsh all the way to the beach.
Tepco, the Technical Porcelain Co., was in business from 1918 to 1968, all but the first few years at the site of what is today the DMV, just behind city hall.
Lynn Maack, the world’s leading collector of Tepco ware, I believe, attended the hike and provided much information. He made it clear why collectors love Tepco ware today. It was sturdy, came in a variety of styles from cowboy to Art Deco to Tiki to purely functional.
On Tepco beach you can find lovely shards, sometimes even nearly entire pieces. There are mysteries there too. For example, how to explain the Tepco pieces encased in concrete slabs that are heavy with aggregate? There were fires at the plant. Could this have been the cause?
One member of our hike came with a bag of old Tepco shards that a child of his had reclaimed from the beach. He was returning them to the Bay. Tepco pieces, after all, in my mind at least, are valuable archeological remains.
Visit at low tide to enjoy Tepco Beach. It is at and near the end of the Point Isabel peninsula, just south of the sewer plant.