Featured Image Courtesy Mitch Lorens

Architectural Terra Cotta Production Tour at Gladding McBean

CPF Cordially invites our members to a special, members-only tour of the oldest and largest architectural terra cotta factory in the U.S. If you are not a member, you can still be a part of the tour by joining online before registering or calling us, at 415-495-0349.

In 1874, Charles Gladding discovered high quality "potter's clay" in Lincoln, California. A year later, Gladding McBean was formed to produce terra cotta from the clay. It was at an auspicious time for such a company. Cities across the state were installing infrastructure that required terra cotta, and the production of the steel I-beam allowed for tall buildings in San Francisco, Sacramento, Fresno, and throughout the West. These new buildings were embellished with ornamented architectural terra cotta, and Gladding McBean dominated the market.

Today Gladding McBean still produces the same terra cotta that it produced over a century ago. Much of the terra cotta at Stanford, downtown buildings in San Francisco, and even Carnegie Hall came from the Lincoln, California factory.