The town is rich with history and National Historic Landmarks.
|Monterey was established by the Spanish in 1770 because of Monterey Bay’s natural harbor which was then the only port of entry for taxable goods in California. It served as the capital of California under both Spanish and Mexican rule from 1777 to 1849. The town is rich with history and National Historic Landmarks. Many California firsts took place in Monterey: the first theatre, the first brick house, the first publicly funded school, the first public library, the first printing press and the first newspaper. California history comes to life on walking tours of these and other local sites.
The importance of Monterey waned with the coming of the Gold Rush but sardine canning and commercial fishing revived Monterey in the first half of the 20th
century. By the 1950’s the sardines disappeared and the canneries went broke. The derelict buildings facing the Bay were made famous in Cannery Row by local son and Pulitzer Prize winning author John Steinbeck. Cannery Row is now home to the world renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium and its scientific sibling the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. The annual 2 million visitors to the Aquarium have revitalized Cannery Row with restaurants, shops and hotels. A visit to Monterey’s historic landmarks or the Aquarium is just 30 minutes from the Preserve’s gate.