Glass Beach is named for the abundance of sea glass created from years of dumping garbage on the coastline, about 0.5 miles (0.8 km) southwest of Pudding Creek and 1 mile (1.6 km) northwest of Fort Bragg, California. Sea glass is naturally produced most commonly from broken bottles that are rolled and tumbled with sand in the ocean surf. After several years the sharp edges are rounded and the smooth surface has been scoured to a frosted appearance.
In 1906, Fort Bragg established an official town garbage dump which was moved to a new location in 1943. When this site was filled another dump was started in 1949, and this became known as Glass Beach. The California State Water Resources Control Board and city leaders closed this area in 1967.
Various cleanup programs were undertaken over several decades, but most of the garbage simply degraded, all the metal was eventually removed and sold as scrap or used in art. The pounding waves broke down the glass and pottery and tumbled those pieces into the small, smooth, colored pieces that can now be found on Glass Beach and the other former dump sites in Fort Bragg. Read more here and here. Explore more of Glass Beach and the coast of Fort Bragg here: