Cornelio Rodriguez, an accomplished potter, came to La Jolla in 1928 from Tomatlan in the state of Jalisco, Mexico. He was looking for a place to start a pottery works.With his brothers, Abraham and Ubaldo, they chose to settle here because they found potter’s gold, perfect clay deposit, known as “barro. Cornelio purchased property and opened the La Jolla Canyon Clay Product Company. They and their families prospered and grew their business.
For more than 20 years the Canyon Clay Company produced handmade roof tiles, unglazed floor tiles, unglazed floor tiles and adobe brick. Tiles were used in the restoration of Mission San Diego de Alcala, the construction of the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club and La Jolla’s Mary Star of the Sea church. Many roof tiles from their company were used for numerous houses of the Mission Revival architectural period as well.
In the 1950s the brothers were no longer able to use the large oil-fired kiln of earlier days. A large number of family members moved. However, Abraham and Cornelio stayed and lived out their days here. Cornelio and his wife, Matiana, continued making pots and other clay products on a smaller scale. Utilizing hand-dug clay, shaped on a potter’s wheel and fired in a circular wood-burning kiln, they supplied the community with unique pottery. School children were fascinated with demonstrations from Cornelio and Matiana.
All that remains of the original tile works is the old wood-burning kiln, which continued in use until the 1980s.
Since the 1880’s, La Jolla has been a favorite vacation destination. Boasting southern California’s most beautiful and majestic coastline and the finest weather in the world, La Jolla offers a varied selection of hotels, shopping, dining, events and attractions. There are approximately 43,000 currently residing in La Jolla, click here demographics.

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