In the Spotlight
Robert Louis Stevenson House
The Stevenson House, located at 530 Houston Street in Monterey, is open Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Custom House & Pacific House Museum
Located south of Fisherman's Wharf. Come and visit these two historic adobes each containing entertaining and informative displays. See the cultures of Monterey's past, explore the "Path of History Room", and discover the Holman Native American Collection (Located on the second Floor of the Pacific House.)
Pacific House open: Thursday through Sunday and Monday holidays 10am - 4pm.
Custom House is open daily 10am - 4pm.
Historic Buildings of Monterey
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Custom House (1827)
During California's Mexican era, the Monterey Custom House presided over Mexico's main port of entry on the Alta California coast. It was built to serve as the primary government building for the collection of customs duties as well as a meeting place for government officials. It was often the site of celebrations known as 'fandangos'. It was here that Commodore John Drake Sloat raised the American flag in July of 1846, claiming over 600,000 square miles of territory for the United States.
FOR INFORMATION ON VISITING THE CUSTOM HOUSE, SEE LEFT SIDEBAR
Pacific House (1847)
This fine two-story adobe houses a museum of California History, and the Holman Collection of American Indian artifacts. The self-guided and interactive exhibits present visitors with the flow of California history, from the Native American era through the Spanish, Mexican, and finally American governance.
FOR INFORMATION ON VISITING THE PACIFIC HOUSE, SEE LEFT SIDEBAR
(CASA DEL ORO) (1845)
It was built by Thomas O. Larkin, and operated by Joseph Boston and Company during the 1850s. The building was later called the Casa del Oro (House of Gold) because the big safe was used as a depository for the gold brought back from the goldfields. The store still maintains the safe for visitors to see. Today, the Boston store is again open for business and is operated by the Historic Garden League.
Casa Soberanes (1842)
With its thick walls, interconnecting rooms, cantilevered balcony and lovely garden, Casa Soberanes reminds visitors of the gracious Monterey lifestyle of early California families.
First Brick (1847)
Inhabited by its builder, Gallant Dickenson, the First Brick House represents the kiln-fired brick construction brought to California by settlers in the early American period. Dickenson occupied the home for a short period, then abandoned his house to leave for the goldfields.
First Theater (1844)
Jack Swan's saloon and boarding house became the site of Monterey's first paid theatrical performance. The Troupers of the Gold Coast once presented melodramas here. However, the theater is closed until further notice, pending structural renovations.
Larkin House (1834)
This two-story adobe built during Monterey's Mexican period by Thomas O. Larkin, American merchant and U.S. Consul to Alta California, has stood witness to intrigues, business deals, and lively social occasions. Today its early 19th century rooms hold antiques from many parts of the world, acquired by the builder's granddaughter, Alice Larkin Toulmin, who lived here from 1922 to 1957. The building is often known as the prototype for the Monterey Colonial architectural style.
Sherman's Quarters is a little adobe built for some unknown initial purpose. U.S. troops stayed during the occupation of California. William Tecumseh Sherman stayed there in 1847 while supervising the construction of the fort that is now the Presidio Military Reservation. The adobe is located in the gardens of the the Larkin House.
Robert Louis Stevenson House (1840-1897)
Reading more like a Robert Louis Stevenson tale of travel and romance than real events, the story of Stevenson's courtship of Fanny Osbourne, his future wife, comes alive amid Stevenson family paintings, furniture, and Stevenson memorabilia. Information about the house's beginnings as a Mexican era home, a late 19th century boarding house (The French Hotel), and early 20th century uses, such as an artists' studio and workshop, are included in the building's foyer.
Casa Gutierrez (1846)
This is one of the few remaining adobes built in the simpler Mexican style that once lined the streets of Monterey. Casa Gutierrez has served many uses over the years, including as a Mexican restaurant.
Construction of Casa Serrano was started by Thomas Larkin in 1845, but was finished by the next owner, Florencio Serrano. Florencio succeeded Walter Colton as the Alcade. Casa Serrano served as one of the first schools after the U.S. flag was flown over the Custom House. Casa Serrano is located at 412 Pacific St. and is owned and operated by the Monterey History and Art Association.
U.S. Navy Chaplain Walter Colton was appointed to serve as Monterey's first American Alcade (a position which combines judge, mayor, and sheriff). He designed and supervised the construction of Colton Hall, the first public building constructed under the American flag. Opened in March 8, 1849, it was built to serve as a school and town meeting hall. Califonia's first constitution was written and signed here. Colton Hall was Monterey's county seat until 1873, when Salinas was chosen. Colton Hall is located at 570 Pacific St., and is owned and operated by the City of Monterey.
Located next to Colton Hall is the old jail, constructed in 1854. It served as a city jail until 1956.
Old Whaling Station (1847)
Today the Old Whaling Station boasts Monterey's only remaining whalebone sidewalk, a reminder of one of the town's most important industries from 1850-1900. The charming adobe and its gardens are now under the stewardship of the Junior League of Monterey County.
Royal Presidio Chapel
Located at 550 Church St., in Monterey, the Royal Presidio Chapel is also known as San Carlos Church, and Cathedral of San Carlos Borromeo. It was founded on June 3, 1770 by Father Junipero Serra and Don Gaspar de Portola. The chapel is called royal because Alta California's Spanish governor worshipped there in his role as representative of the King of Spain.