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Pottery Canyon | Rodriguez Family
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The Pottery Canyon | Rodriguez Family Collection is made up of photographs and archival material used for historical research and reference. The Collection contains material dedicated to the history of the Rodriguez Family in Pottery Canyon, the subsequent issues with the land after their departure and the commemoration of the space as a natural park in 2004. Cornelio Rodriguez was a skilled potter who brought his craft from Mexico to La Jolla in the 1930s with his brothers, Abraham and Ubaldo. They established a pottery business off Torrey Pines Road that became known as Pottery Canyon. The Rodriguez family dug clay by hand from the land and used craft skills brought from Mexico. They molded unglazed roof and floor tiles common to the Mission Revival period and baked them in an oil-fired kiln. They fashioned ornamental pots on a potter’s wheel and baked them in a now rarely seen wood-burning, up-draught circular kiln. Because of the historical significance of the unique pottery works, the City of San Diego designated Pottery Canyon Park as an historical landmark in 1976. Practicing the craft was a continual struggle for the brothers as land grew in value. When the land was purchased, there was an error in the survey points and the property was sold with the oil-burning kiln without disclosure during the 1950’s. From the 1950’s through the 1990’s, a series of setbacks occurred culminating in the demolition of all but one of the buildings and the wood-burning kiln, despite their historic designation. Ultimately, Pottery Canyon, became a victim of gentrification marking the passing of an historic trade. This material pertains to the history and heritage of La Jolla, California; its people, places and events. A container list is included on the PDF and HTML versions.
The La Jolla Historical Society inspires and empowers the community to make La Jolla’s diverse past a relevant part of contemporary life. The La Jolla Historical Society’s Collections encompass over 80 years of actively collecting archival material, books, maps, scrapbooks, ephemera, fine art, newspapers, street and land use files, business and personal documents and historic and archaeological artifacts. The Society boasts over 20,000 photographs, over 1000 postcards, 400-plus architectural drawings and approximately 200 oral history recordings. Collecting was initiated by Howard Randolph and volunteers on the historical committee of the Library Association of La Jolla. The Collection began by gathering photographs and documentation in the late 1930s, which later became the nucleus of the La Jolla Historical Society’s Collections. The Society was created in 1963. Through many moves in location the Society continued collecting and expanding. Accumulated Collections took on its current construct in 2010 after the renovation of the La Jolla Historical Society’s campus of structures in central La Jolla, which consists of the 1904 Wisteria Cottage and 1940s Balmer Annex used for exhibits and programming, and a 1909 cottage used for business and research offices. The late Ellen Browning Scripps’ 1916 automobile garage was also renovated and now houses the Collection in a modern collections storage facility. Materials are housed in archival boxes, sleeves, envelopes and other archival-safe materials and are cared for according to standards and best practices of the museum profession. In 2016, the Society initiated new PastPerfect Museum Software to manage and catalog its Collections and in 2018 started using the Online Archive of California to upload searchable information from its Collections to enable improved public access. The Society will continue these processes and look forward to utilizing new opportunities to collect, preserve and share the history of La Jolla.
.5 linear feet
The La Jolla Historical Society holds the copyright to any unpublished materials
The Collection is open for research