Free Lecture on The History and Restoration of the Royal Presidio Chapel Wednesday, August 21

Old Monterey Foundation continues its popular season of free lectures sponsored by The Marcia F. Devoe Fund of the Community Foundation for Monterey County with Royal Presidio Chapel and San Carlos Cathedral docent William Breen speaking on The History and Restoration of the Royal Presidio Chapel.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019, 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Lecture: 6:00 p.m.–6:45 p.m.
Q & A: 6:45 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Reception: 7:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Irvine Auditorium, McCone Building, MIIS
499 Pierce Street, Monterey

Free Admission – Reception to follow with wine and cheese.

The parish of San Carlos will celebrate the 250th anniversary of its founding in June of 2020. This, the longest continuously operating house of worship on the West Coast, has witnessed the full span of Monterey’s history. The current home of San Carlos Cathedral began as The Royal Presidio Chapel, serving the officials and soldiers that claimed Alta California for Spain. The building itself is the oldest architecturally-designed, block-construction structure in California. During a recent major renovation, many artifacts and clues to the original design scheme were unearthed. This allowed the project to achieve its goal of returning the interior design as closely as possible to the original.

William Breen, with assistance from Mrs. Kay Horner, will present the highlights of the long history of the Royal Presidio Chapel and the Presidio it served:

  •  The reasons the Spanish returned to Monterey after a more than 160-year absence.
  • The turmoil caused by relying on a spurious report by an earlier explorer.
  • Father Serra’s choice to abandon Monterey as a mission and transfer his efforts to Carmel.
  • Changes in San Carlos’ status, parishioners and architecture over the centuries.
  • Reasons for the major retrofit and the resulting discoveries.
  • And a sample of the lore surrounding the parish: the salvaging of the Serra Oak, pirate invasion, Russian influence, etc.

William Breen is a retired Army Officer, graduate of West Point and the Naval Postgraduate School. He has served as a docent at the Royal Presidio Chapel and San Carlos Cathedral for over ten years.

Bill Wojtkowski, President of the Old Monterey Foundation Board of Directors, will also present a brief overview of recent improvements accomplished and planned for the Lower Presidio Historic Park.

For more information about Old Monterey Foundation, call (831) 346-3030.

The lectures are very popular so attendees are urged to come early to secure a seat.

This lecture is suitable for ages 9 and up.

The event is hosted by Old Monterey Foundation and sponsored by the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.