California Pottery and Tile Works (CalPot) received a certificate of recognition from the County of Los Angeles at the rededication ceremonies for the restored Fort Moore Pioneer Memorial in downtown Los Angeles on July 3, 2019 – 61 years to the day after it was originally dedicated.
The certificate, presented to CalPot co-owner Sean McLean, reads: “In recognition for your contribution to the refurbishment of the Fort Moore Pioneer Memorial and for making it available to the public for education and enrichment.”
“It was a pleasure for us to work on this project,” McLean said. “It was a great honor to help restore this historical monument, so it can be enjoyed by the public for years to come.”
CalPot’s artisans created around 300,000, precisely cut, 1-by-1 and 1-by-2-inch porcelain tiles for a 3,700-square-foot tile mosaic wall behind a waterfall that was turned on during the ceremony; it had not operated since 1977 due to drought conditions.
They meticulously hand-cut all tiles individually from ram-pressed, 12-inch by 12-inch clay. Laguna Clay Company of City of Industry, a longtime partner in CalPot’s projects, custom-blended the clay to duplicate the mosaic’s original colors and layout. The tiles were set in custom grids and face-mounted to ensure 100 percent adhesion to the wall surface for the final grouting process.
Fort Moore Pioneer Memorial marks the spot where, in 1847, residents of Los Angeles first raised the American flag, It has been called “the most historically and geographically important monument that nobody knows about.” The memorial is located on the right side of Hill Street going south from Chinatown to downtown.
Los Angeles County Department of Public Works restored the monument under the guidance of Conservator Donna Williams, Los Angeles County Arts Commission Deputy Director of Collections Clare Haggarty, DPW Project Manager David Palma, lead architect Ludwing Juarez of Sparano+Mooney Architecture and contractor MTM Construction. As with many of its tile projects, CalPot worked closely with Continental Marble and Tile Company on the installation.