Friday, November 30, 2018

Monterey Self-Guided Walking Path of History - Monterey History Fest and Archives Crawl 2018 - Part Two Colton Hall to End of Tour

“Thursday, March 8, 1849, the town hall, on which I have been at work for more than a year, is at last finished.  It is built of a white stone, quarried from a neighboring hill, and which easily takes the shape you desire.  The lower apartments are for school; the hall over them – seventy feet by thirty – is for public assemblies.”  Walter Colton, Three Years in California   

Colton Hall (right) Old Monterey Jail (left) 2018 

Our historic walking tour brings us to Colton Hall Museum (570 Pacific Street).  In 1846, Walter Colton was appointed alcalde of the Monterey district, he would serve as the first American alcalde in California from 1846 - 1849.  During this time he directed the construction of the first American public building in California, Colton Hall.  

Colton Hall (right) Old Monterey Jail (left) 1849

Between the first of September and the thirteenth of October 1849, Colton Hall would be the site of a convention that would draft California's first Constitution.

During this deliberation San Jose was chosen as the first State Capital of California.  It would remain the capital from 1849 to 1851.

In 1949 the City of Monterey established Colton Hall as a Museum.  The upper room is set up to look like the site of the Constitutional Convention of 1849.

The California Grizzly Bear by Kris Swanson (dedicated 2000)

From Colton Hall walk through Friendly Plaza 

to view the Berthold Monument with Two Cougars bronze by Arthur Putnam.  This monument stands next to "Moon Tree."   

This coast redwood was grown from a seed that was on board Apollo 14 when it went to the moon in January 1971.  It was placed in this spot July 1976. 

From Friendly Plaza cross Pacific Street and enter the side gate to Larkin House (464 Calle Principal).

The Larkin House is a two-story adobe brick home built during the Mexican period by Thomas O. Larkin, the first and only United States Consul to Alta California under Mexican rule, serving during President Polk’s administration. 

The home became the prototype of Monterey Colonial architecture which features a second story with long covered porch.  After Larkin left Monterey in 1850, the house passed through many owners until 1922 when Larkin’s granddaughter, Alice Larkin Toulmin purchased the home as her residence.  She donated the house to the State of California in 1957.   The gardens of Larkin House are open daily but tours of the inside of the home require two week advance notice.
          Larkin House prior to 1900 (Library of Congress

General Sherman's Quarters - c. 1840s (Library of Congress

General Sherman's Quarters (464 Calle Principal) can be located via the Larkin House garden.  

This structure was also built in 1834 by Larkin.  In 1847 then lieutenants William T. Sherman and Henry W. Halleck stayed here.  Both went on to become generals.  

General Sherman's Quarters c. 1930 by M. Evelyn McCormick (Art in the Adobes 2013) 

A few structures down Pacific Street is House of Four Winds (535 Pacific Street).  This was built in the early 1830s by Thomas Larkin.

 Undated photograph of House of the Four Winds, Sherman's Quarters, and Larkin House

It was the first house in Monterey to have a weather vane.  The Chumash people began calling it "house of four winds" and the name stuck.   The home was used as a residence for Mexican Governor Alvarado and later, after California became a state, it was designated the first State of California Hall of Records. 
 In 1914 the adobe was purchased by the Women’s Civic Club who renovated the house and continue to use it to this day for their meetings.  The dresses and hats worn by docents were created and sewn by Civic Club members.

At the Monterey Museum of Art (559 Pacific Street) some of the Betty Hoag McGlynn Archive of California Art was available to the public.  

The actual Monterey Museum of Art was an extra cost during the History Fest. 

Parenthesis - 1992 painted aluminum by Norma Lewis

A little further down Calle Principal is Casa Gutierrez (590 Calle Principal) and the Miller Adobe. Casa Gutierrez was built in the simple Mexican style by Joaquin Gutierrez.  

Casa Guiterrez (left) Miller Adobe (right)

Joaquin came to Monterey from Chile in the 1830s and married into the Escobar family.  He bought the land for his family home in 1841 and began to building the house about five years later.  In 1872 the property was divided among his heirs.  The adobe was saved from demolition in 1954 when it was purchased for back taxes by the Monterey Foundation.  In the 1960s it housed the Sancho Panza coffeehouse.  It is now a special event venue for the Monterey State Historic Park. 

Cross Calle Principal and Polk Street to the Stokes Adobe (500 Hartnell Street). This adobe was originally  built in 1833 as a single room dwelling.  In 1837 it was purchased by James Stokes.  Stokes was an English sailor (possibly the ships pharmacist) who had jumped ship in Monterey in 1834 with cases of medicines which proved to be his livelihood and his downfall.   

James Stokes passed himself off as Dr. Stokes and opened a pharmacy in town.  He became the personal physician for Governor Jose Figueroa, who mysteriously died in 1835 while under Dr. Stokes’ care.  In fact many people died under Stokes care including the husband of Josefa Soto de Cano. Stokes married widow de Cano in 1840.  Around 1844, stokes added seven more rooms and a second floor to his home.  

Josefa died in the mid 1850s, James moved from the house and the home came into the possession of Honore Escolle who at one time owned much of the land which became present day Carmel-by-the-Sea. Escolle would install a potters kiln in the backyard.  It is still there.  Escolle would also run his bakery out of The Corner Store in the Cooper Molera Adobe. 

The Stokes Adobe was also the home to California's first newspaper and in 1890 it became the home of Mortimer and Hattie Gragg who lived in the home until the 1940s.

In 1950 Gallatin Powers opened a restaurant called Gallatins in the adobe.  It served meals until 1980.  Recently 1833 took up residence here.  Before it closed a year ago, I covered "The Booze & Bites Lunch" held there during the 9th Annual Pebble Beach Food and Wine in 2016.  


Gabriel de la Torre Adobe 

Cross Hartnell Street to the corner of Polk to find the Gabriel de la Torre Adobe. Continue down Hartnell to Fremont's House (539 Hartnell Street).

Fremont's House (Library of Congress

This two-story adobe is generally recognized as the headquarters of John C. Fremont, but historians question this fact.  Fremont’s memoirs note that when he came to Monterey he encamped on a hill at the end of town.  

Ownership of this adobe can be traced to Antonio Maria Vasquez and his wife, Asuncion Boronda Vasquez in 1861.  And in the late 1800s it was the home of Crisimo Castro.  The Monterey History and Art Association bought the building, which was slated for an annex to the Post Office, in 1960.   Currently this building is home to the  Parker Lusseau Pastries & Café.   

Next door to Fremont House is the Monterey Post Office. This was one of the first US post offices in California, established February 23, 1849.  

Monterey Post Office 

From Hartnell turn left on Webster and right on Abrego to Casa Pacheco (602 Abrego).  
This historic adobe is currently home to the Pacheco club, a private social and athletic club.  The adobe, built in 1840 by Don Francisco Pacheco has been a doctor’s office, boarding house, and hospital.  In 1957 it became the Pacheco Club whose mission is to “promote and encourage the sport, pleasure, exercise and recreation of its members.” 

Across the street is Casa Abrego (592 Abrego).   This adobe was built in the 1830s by Mexican merchant Don Jose Abrego.  Abrego came to Monterey in 1834 aboard the La Natalie which is said to have been the ship on which Napoleon escaped from the Isle of Elba.  The adobe was saved from demolition in 1956 by the Monterey Foundation.  It was then leased to the Casa Abrego Club for Women.  They then purchased the building in 1959 from the Foundation.   

Continue on Abrego and turn left on Church Street to the Royal Presidio Chapel and the San Carlos Rectory (500 Church Street). The Royal Presidio Chapel is one of Monterey's most historic structures, dating back to the 1790s. 

It is also the oldest church in continuous service in the state!  Mass times are 7:45am and 12pm daily, 4:00 and 6:00pm for Saturday Vigil, 7:30, 9:00, 10:30am, 12pm and 5:30pm Sunday. 

I have written about this building and its history in an earlier blog post.  There is also a wonderful museum in between the church and the rectory.  

Head back to Abrego, turn right and then left on Webster Street.  Walk one block to Houston and turn right to Stevenson House (530 Houston). 

Back of Stevenson House 1879 - (Picture on wall in Stevenson House) 

The Stevenson House was built in the early 1840s by Don Rafael Gonzales when he was the customs administrator to Mexican California.  The first American Alcade Walter Colton rented living quarters here from the Gonzales family.  A Swiss cabinetmaker, Juan Girardin operated his general store from this building and he also managed it as a hotel (The French Hotel) in the 1870s and 1880s.  French landscape painter Jules Tavernier had his studio here in 1875 and sometime from October through December of 1879, Robert Louis Stevenson lived in one of the upstairs rooms.  

Lithograph of Monterey Bay in 1842 with arrow pointing to Stevenson House (picture on wall in Stevenson House) 

While Stevenson lived in The French Hotel, he courted Fanny Osbourne and wrote The Old Pacific Capital. When Fanny was granted a divorce in December 1879, they left for San Francisco and Stevenson never returned to Monterey.  Eventually The French Hotel was closed and parts of the building were leased off and on to various commercial tenants.  The building was neglected and in 1937 was purchased by Edith C. van Antwerp and Mrs. C. Tobin Clark to save it from destruction.  They passed it to the State of California where it became part of the Monterey State Historic Park and now is a repository of Robert Louis Stevenson memorabilia.  

Cooper Molera Adobe 2012

From the Stevenson House continue on Houston Street, turn left at Pearl Street and right on Munras to the entrance of Cooper Molera Adobe (525 Polk). "The site's history is rooted in the Californio Community that grew up around the Monterey Presidio - a diverse group of mixed-ancestry Californians united not just by blood but also by common cultural practices." (1) 

The diagram above is an isometric of the evolution of the site structures at Cooper Molera from 1820 to 1885.  This and the history sited below was provided by Kenneth H. Cardwell of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  

Cooper Molera Adobe 2018

Captain John Rogers Cooper arrived in Monterey in 1823, in 1827 he married the sister of Don Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, Geronima de la Encaracion Vallejo.  Captain Cooper acquired a large lot with an existing adobe on what is now Polk and Munras.  Nathan Spear purchased the western portion of this lot and constructed a warehouse which he sold to Manuel Diaz and Maria Luisa Merced Estrada in 1845.  They used the structure as their home and a store. The Cooper family moved to San Francisco in 1845 and leased out the rest of the property. 

The Corner Store was built along Polk Street sometime before 1865. After Manuel Diaz died in 1867, Luisa continued to reside on the property until 1900.  Honore Escolle opened a bakery and mercantile shop at the Corner Store in the 1880s.  

Danish native, Christian Hansen operated his Pioneer Bakery out of the Corner Store in the 1890s.  Ana Cooper Wohler inherited the property in 1900 and she leaves the site to her niece Frances Molera (Cooper's granddaughter) in 1912.  

Inside Cooper Molera Adobe 2018 

In 1968 Frances Molera deeded the lot to the National trust and in 1972 the National Trust granted the State Parks a long term lease with the condition that they would restore the property and operate it as part of Monterey State Historic Park. 

Alta Bakery in Cooper Molera Adobe 2018 

 When the lease expired the National Trust proposed a revitalization project for the area. This has just opened to the public!

The following video by the City of Monterey gives an overview of the archaeological preservation that went on before and during the restoration of Cooper Molera.   

The Spear Warehouse will soon open as the Cella Restaurant.  And part of the Cooper Molera Adobe will once again be a bakery, with Alta Bakery & Café opening soon. 

The barns on the property have been restored and have just recently opened as The Barns@Cooper-Molera.  This is also run by the very talented Events by Classic Group which I reviewed with Perry House in my first part of this blog.  

The Barns @ Cooper Molera

The Cooper Molera Adobe property is a perfect example of historic preservation at its finest in downtown Monterey.  

Continue down Polk to Casa Amesti (516 Polk).   Built by Spaniard Jose Amesi around 1833, this was originally a one story adobe.  

        Casa Amesti 1936 (Library of Congress

Jose married Purdenciana Vallejo, another sister of Don Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo in 1827.  As Jose continued to grow his wealth, he continued to add on to his home which eventually became the two story Monterey Colonial style seen today.  

Noted interior decorator, Frances Elkins made Casa Amesi her home for 35 years.  She restored it and, along with her brother Chicago architect David Adler, designed the gardens.    

When Ms. Elkins died in 1953 the home was willed to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  Currently it is leased by the Old Capital Club as a private men’s club.  

Casa Amesti Gardens

From Polk Street continue past the Cooper Molera adobe to Alvarado Street.  Walk one block to Bonifacio Place.  This is the former site of Casa Bonifacio.  Today you will find Rabobank. 

Site of Casa Bonifacio - Rabobank 

The reason that the site of Casa Bonifacio remains important are two romantic stories associated with the location.  The first is more of a Monterey legend.  It starts back in the 1840s when William Tecumseh Sherman was stationed in Monterey.  He is said to have courted Senorita Maria Ygnacio Bonifacio who lived in the house that bore the family name. Before he left for army duties, he promised to return and marry her.  He never returned to Monterey and Maria never married.

Casa Bonifacio when it was on Alvarado Street - before 1922 (Library of Congress

The second is more historic than legend.  In 1879 while Robert Louis Stevenson lived in Stevenson House, Ms. Fanny Osbourne lived in Casa Bonifacio.  Though she was married at the time, Stevenson courted Fanny in the garden of Casa Bonifacio before they eventually married after her divorce became final.  Sometime after 1922 Casa Bonifacio was moved about a mile away to 785 Mesa Road, Monterey. 

Continue down Alvarado Street to the Golden State Theatre (417 Alvarado Street) which was designed by the noted San Francisco architectural firm of Reid & Reid in 1926. This team of brothers, James, Merritt, and Watson are responsible for a number of famous historic buildings, Hotel del Coronado San Diego (1888), Fairmont San Francisco (1907), and Cliff House San Francisco (1909) to name a few.  The theater originally had 1,600 seats and for some time after it was built, was the largest theater between San Francisco and Los Angeles.  In the late 1960s the building was acquired by United Artists Theatres. In 1976 it went the way of the multiplex and the main auditorium was split into three movie screens. After years of decline, the building was purchased by  Eric and Lori Lohtefeld in 2014.  They have restored it to a single stage and many fantastic shows are held now at this venue!

Across from the Golden State Theatre is Casa Sanchez.  This is said to have been erected in the late 1820s.  This building has served as a residence, barber shop, tearoom, clothing store, bar, and restaurant.  Currently it is the home of Aabha Indian Grill.

Two doors down from Aabha Indian Grill is the historic Monterey Hotel . This hotel opened in 1904.  Continue down Alvarado, cross Franklin Street and pass the Rodriguez-Osio Adobe, now home of the Monterey Rock and Roll Experience . 

Cross Del Monte Avenue and you are in front of the Portola Hotel and Spa.  On the side of the hotel there is a pedestrian walkway filled with shops.  Take this to Pacific House.  

Pacific House 1936 (Library of Congress

In 1835, James McKinley built a one story adobe that served as a hotel and saloon on this site. 

In 1843, Thomas O. Larkin (Larkin House) purchased this property and four years later, during the first year of American rule, he hired David Wight to expand that existing adobe to the present two story building.  Over the years this structure has also served as storage for the U.S. Army, and a courthouse.  

Today as part of the Monterey State Historic Park, this serves as a museum with interactive exhibits and displays covering the story of Monterey when it was the capital of Spanish and Mexican California as well as the Museum of the American Indian.

Behind Pacific House is Pacific House Memory Garden where as late as the 1860s bull and bear fights were held. At the time of the bull and bear fights this was not a garden.  In 1880 David Jacks purchased Pacific House and his daughters added the garden that was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead Jr., in 1927.  FYI, Frederick Law Olmstead Sr. designed Central Park, New York City.   

Exit the back gate to Olivier Street pedestrian walkway 
and three more of Monterey's historic buildings.

Thomas Cole House (very end of Olivier Street next to Peter B's in the Portola Plaza Hotel).  Built by Thomas Cole in 1856 for his family, this structure features an upper floor balcony.  It was also a boarding house and for many years served as the headquarters for the National Chinese Political Party in the 1940s.   

Also on Olivier Street is Duarte's Store. Built around 1865, this was originally located at 120 Main Street in Monterey and used as a Rosario Duarte's merchandise store.  It was relocated to Olivier Street in 1922 and became a dry goods business operated by Luis Jang into the 1940s.   

Casa del Oro (Corner of Olivier and Scott Streets).  This two story limestone rock and adobe building was built by Thomas Larkin around 1845.  In 1849, Joseph Boston leased the structure to operate one of the first general merchandise stores in Monterey.   

There were no banks in Monterey at the time so Mr. Boston had to provide security for the money he took in selling his wares.  The safe in the back of the store is the original safe from the 1850s.  

Today the store is operated by the non-profit Historic Garden League and offers merchandise such as housewares, stationery, candy, and other items themed to the 1850s. 

Casa de Oro late 1800s 

From Casa de Oro head toward the wharf and Custom House.

Custom House (Library of Congress)

This is California Historic Landmark #1 and the oldest government building in California.  The Custom House depicts the Mexican (1822-1846) and early American (1846-1847) periods of California History.  

In 1846, Sloat landed on this site and proclaimed the annexation of California to the United States.  You may read more about this piece of history at my blog post here

The shoreline you see today at Fisherman's Wharf was literally on the doorstep of Custom House.  Cargo from ships that came into Monterey would be placed out here for the customs agent to record and levy duty of up to 100% on items.  

Behind Custom House enter the Heritage Harbor Office Park, inside you will find the First Brick House.

The First Brick House was built in 1847 by Gallant Duncan Dickenson and Amos Giles Lawrey.  Dickenson was a farmer and Lawrey was a brick mason.  Both joined the Donner Party in 1846 on an overland journey from Missouri to California. The two split from the Donner Party at Fort Bridger Wyoming and made it to Sutter’s Fort before the snow. After completing what now stands as The First Brick House, Dickenson and Lawrey left for the gold fields in 1848. Dickenson was unable to hold on to the house and it was sold at a public auction to Patrick Breen in 1851 for around $1500.  Breen leased the building to Captain John Davenport, who organized the Monterey Whaling Company.  
Juan and Maria Garcia bought the First Brick House in 1915  and opened a very popular restaurant called “Garcia’s Spanish Food.” They ran this out of the back of the house for 30 years.  In 1979 the Junior League of Monterey leased the building and restored it before turning it over to the California State Parks in 1995. Today it is a museum with diagrams that tell the history of the house. 

Replica of Mama Garcia's Restaurant in back of First Brick House. 

Next door to First Brick Building is the Old Whaling Station Adobe.  This was built in 1847 by David Wight who had also worked on Pacific House.  The Wight family lived in the Whaling Station briefly before they too left for the gold fields in 1849.  In 1855, the Old Portuguese Whaling Company began using this house for its onshore whaling operations.  Hence the name Old Whaling Station Adobe.  

A large iron cauldron which was used for rendering whale oil is still found in the back garden of this house.  Around 1900, Mrs. H. S. McNear purchased the property for her summer home.  She added the front balcony and the garden.

Others would own the property over the years, it was even operated as the Old Whaling Station Inn for a period of time.  In 1975 the property was sold to the State of California.  Since 1980 the house has been leased by the Junior League of Monterey which makes the venue available for weddings and business events.

From Whaling House it is an easy walk back to the Heritage Harbor  parking garage where we started this walking tour. That is it for this years Monterey History Fest. 
 Until next time Happy Adventures.  
For interactive maps and guided walking tours covering many of our tours please be sure to download the GPSmyCity App from the iTunes store. Or visit this site
All photographs and videos by L. A. Momboisse unless listed below:

Black and white photo of Colton Hall 1848 Harrison Memorial Library Local History Room.
Black and white photo of Larkin House prior to 1900 (Library of Congress).
Black and white photo of 
General Sherman's Quarters (Library of Congress). Photograph of photograph of House of the Four Winds, Sherman's Quarters, and Larkin House taken inside House of the Four Winds. 
Black and white photo of Fremont's House (Library of Congress).
Black and white photo Casa Amesti 1936 (Library of Congress). 
Black and white photo of Casa Bonifacio when it was on Alvarado Street (Library of Congress).
Black and white photo of Casa de Oro late 1800s taken from a photograph on the wall in Casa de Oro.
Black and white photo 
Custom House (Library of Congress).
Black and white photo 
Pacific House 1936 (Library of Congress).

(1) "A New Life for the Cooper-Molera Complex in Downtown Monterey." ESA Connects. January 2018 issue, page 3 - 6 (

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