Panama Pottery Building

Our History:

1913 -1928

Panama Pottery, under the direction of Victor Axelson, Swedish immigrant who was President of Panama Pottery, produced art pottery, including vases, urns, and lamp bases. Axelson married a Swedish woman he met in Sacramento, whom he married. They returned to Sweden in 1928. Victor continued his work as a pottery in Sweden.


Noble and Ouweta Leonard operated Panama Pottery.


On January 18, 1945 the factory was destroyed by fire, causing $35,000 in damage.


Ramon Santos landed a job, earning 80 cents an hour, at Panama Pottery, left to work at other jobs, was asked to return by owner in 1958.


The Leonards leased the business to tenants, who went bankrupt.


Panama Pottery was reopened by the Leonards.


Ramon Santos returns to Panama Pottery, but did not make pottery right away. He shoveled clay, drove a delivery truck, and sold pots.


Ramon Santos married Arselia, who started working as Panama Pottery''s bookkeeper.


Noble Leonard died in 1963. Panama was operated by his wife Ouweta until her death in 1972.


Wells Fargo, executor of the estate, sold Panama Pottery to Ramon Santos for $100,000.


In September 2006 Panama was purchased by the Dave DeCamilla with plans to continue traditional pottery making and to make artisan pottery, sculpture, and art.


Set to close in August, Maria Vargas, couldn't imagine letting Panama Pottery close 1 year shy of it's 100th Birthday so she approached the owner and will now be taking over the retail business.


Panama Pottery will be celebrating it''s Centennial Birthday, so stay tuned.


About the Owner:

Maria Vargas

Maria Vargas is a Sacramento native, who had worked in law enforcement for 23 years. After retiring from her job as an investigator with the state Department of Motor Vehicles, she began to sell artfully arranged pots of succulents, Talavera pottery and grunge art from La Casita de Plantas at Panama Pottery for the last two years.

In the summer of 2012, When she found out that the owners of Panama Pottery were planning to shut down, she decided to take on the challenge of continuing the retails sales because honestly: "How do you let something that is 99 years old die? It had to be saved. It HAS to have a Centennial Birthday. Plus, it is just a cool and groovy place."