Historic Timeline

Pre-1769 The native people of the Monterey region, the Rumsien/Ohlone, inhabits the valleys and shoreline of Monterey for thousands of years, maintaining a complex society dependent on fishing and hunting.
1542-1602 Explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sights the “Bahia de los Pinos,” later named Point of Pines (Point Pinos). In 1602, Sebastian Vizcaíno lands at Monterey Bay in search of a harbor for Spanish galleons and claims California for Spain.
1770s On June 3, Father Junipero Serra and Captain Gaspar de Portolá claim Monterey for Spain. Portolá establishes the Royal Presidio de San Carlos de Monterey and Serra founds the Mission San Carlos Borromeo.
         On April 18, 1774, Monterey is named the capital of “Las Californias,” upper and lower California.
         On March 10, 1776, Anza’s Expedition arrives in Monterey with 240 soldiers and colonists. On February 3, 1777, Monterey becomes the official capital of Alta California.
1790s A gun emplacement (El Castillo) is built overlooking the harbor on what is today the Lower Presidio Historic Park. The Royal Presidio continues as the administrative center of the provincial capital of Alta California. The Royal Presidio Chapel, Monterey’s oldest extant building, is built from 1791 to 1795.
1816-1818 The first Monterey adobe and stone houses are built outside the Royal Presidio walls. In 1818 privateer and Argentinean revolutionary Hipólito Bouchard attacks, burns, and briefly seizes Monterey.
1820s Mexico gains independence from Spain and, in 1822, Monterey swears allegiance to Mexico. Monterey becomes the port of Customs for foreign merchants trading luxury goods and tools for hides and tallow. Foreign settlers, including John B. R. Cooper, make Monterey their home.
1835 In “Two Years Before the Mast,” Richard Henry Dana described Monterey: “The shores are extremely well wooded, (the pine abounding upon them,). The town lay directly before us…. The red tiles, too, on the roofs, contrasted well with the white plastered sides and with the extreme greenness of the lawn upon which the houses—about an hundred in number—were dotted about, here and there, irregularly. There are in this place, and in every other town which I saw in California, no streets, or fences, (except here and there a small patch was fenced in for a garden,) so that the houses are placed at random upon the green, which, as they are of one story and of the cottage form, gives them a pretty effect when seen from a little distance. The Mexican flag was flying from the little square Presidio ….”
         Merchant Thomas O. Larkin builds the first house in the “Monterey Style,” combining New England and Spanish elements. Foreigners “estrangeros,” from England, Scotland and the United States increase their activity in Monterey.
1842 Commodore Thomas ap Catsby Jones mistakenly seizes Monterey in the name of the United States, then apologizes.
1846 Four years later, on July 7, 1846, Commodore John Drake Sloat raises the American flag over Monterey’s Custom House and claims California for the United States. Later that year, Robert Semple and Walter Colton,using Vicente Zamorano’s press publish the first newspaper in Caifornia, entitled the “Californian.”
1848 The “Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo” is signed, ceding California and other Mexican territories to the United States. James Marshall arrives in Monterey with samples of gold discovered near Sacramento.
1849 The first American public building, Colton Hall, is completed in Monterey. On September 1, the California Constitutional Convention begins in Colton Hall. On October 13, the delegates ratify the new Constitution. San Jose is chosen as the new state capital, ending Monterey’s 75 years as the California’s capital.
1850s On September 9, 1850, California enters the Union as the 31st state.
         In the early 1850s Chinese fishermen begin arriving in the Monterey area. Portuguese shore whalers establish whaling stations on Monterey Bay.
1870s On October 23, 1874, the Monterey & Salinas Valley Railroad Co. begins operating one of the earliest Granger narrow gauge railroads in California. This railroad, started by Carlisle Abbott and David Jacks, becomes “the little railroad [which] brought the hope but not the fulfillment of Monterey’s new destiny.”
        In August, 1879, author Robert Louis Stevenson arrives and settles into the French Hotel while courting Fanny Osbourne. Later he writes “The Old Pacific Capital.”
1880s-1890s Southern Pacific Railroad arrives in Monterey and the luxurious Hotel Del Monte, “Queen of America watering places,” is opened under the auspices of railroad magnate Charles Crocker.
         The Chinese Exclusion Act or 1882 opens the door to Japanese immigration; Otosaburo Noda recognizes Monterey Bay’s potential for the fishing industry. Hotel Del Monte burns in 1887, and is rebuilt. Sicilian fishing families begin moving to Monterey.
1900s In 1900, H.R. Robbins opens Monterey’s first fish canning and reduction plant (and dance hall!), followed by Frank Booth’s cannery; both were located near Monterey’s wharf.
         In 1902, Otosaburo Noda and Harry Malpas establish the Monterey Fishing and Canning Company on Ocean View Avenue, which would later become known as “Cannery Row.” Frank Booth buys out Robbins in 1903, and begins experimenting with sardine canning; he becomes known as the “father of the sardine canning industry” in Monterey.
         In 1902, the U.S. Army returns to Monterey after a forty-year absence and establishes the “Monterey Military Reservation.”
         In 1904, the Monterey Military Reservation changes its name to the Presidio of Monterey, in honor of the Spanish Royal Presidio of Monterey.
1914-1919 The demand for canned fish during the First World War leads Monterey’s fishing and canning operation to become the area’s primary industry, replacing tourism.
         Norwegian fishery engineer, Knut Hovden opens his “state-of-the-art” cannery on Cannery Row. In
         In 1919, developer Sam Morse purchases the Hotel Del Monte and creates the Del Monte Company; its holdings include what is now Pebble Beach.
1920s On September 14, 1924, the Associated Oil Company fire destroys several canneries and threatens to engulf Monterey. In an unrelated incident, on September 27, the Hotel Del Monte catches fire and is rebuilt in the Spanish Colonial Revival style.
1930s In 1931, over dinner at Cadamatorie’s Restaurant—housed in historic Casa Serrano adobe—a group of friends founds Monterey History & Art Association to preserve the irreplaceable reminders of Monterey’s history.
         In 1935, John Steinbeck publishes “Tortilla Flat,” a novel about Monterey’s paisanos.
         The State of California acquires Custom House in 1938, and designates it California State Historical Monument #1.
         In 1939, Steinbeck’s friend from Cannery Row, marine biologist Edward Ricketts, and Jack Calvin publish “Between Pacific Tides.” In April of that year, Viking publishes Steinbeck’s novel, “The Grapes of Wrath,” for which he receives the Pulitzer Prize in 1940.
1940s Monterey becomes known as the “Sardine Capital of the World.”
         Before the Second World War, Sicilian and Japanese Americans dominate the fishing industry. More than half the fishing companies on Fisherman’s Wharf are owned by Japanese-Americans.
         In 1942, Monterey’s Japanese-Americans are forced to relocate to detention camps far inland.
         In 1943, the U.S. Navy leases the Hotel Del Monte to create a Naval Pre-Flight School, leading to the establishment of the present day Naval Postgraduate School.
         In 1944, John Steinbeck moves to the Lara-Soto Adobe and writes “The Pearl;” he lives there less than one year.
         In 1945, Steinbeck’s novel “Cannery Row” is published.
         In 1946, the Military Intelligence Service Language School moves to the Presidio of Monterey (renamed the Army Language School; and in 1963 it is renamed the Defense Language Institute).
1950s Sardine industry collapses. Harlan Watkin purchases Ed Ricketts’ Pacific Biological Lab and establishes the PBL Club. To commemorate Steinbeck’s novel, Ocean View Avenue is renamed Cannery Row, 1958.
1958 Jimmy Lyons, the PBL Club, and associates found the Monterey Jazz Festival. Monterey History & Art Association acquires Casa Serrano for its headquarters and begins restoring the adobe to house its art collection.
1960s-1970s The 1967 Monterey Pop Festival brings the first and, according to many performers, the best of the large rock festivals to Monterey.
         Urban Renewal changes the face of Monterey. Several buildings are rescued by Monterey History & Art Association, the City of Monterey, and California State Parks, to be restored and/or renovated.
1984 Monterey Bay Aquarium opens on Monterey’s Cannery Row.
1992 Monterey History & Art Association opens the Stanton Center Maritime Museum & History Center, to provide a permanent home for the Allen Knight Collection and its reference resource library.
         U. S. Congress designates Monterey Bay as part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Courtesy of: Historic Monterey