(December 28, 1946 – February 7, 2021)
“It is with great regret that the Old Monterey Foundation must acknowledge the passing of a truly great and committed Monterey citizen, Willard (Bill) McCrone. Bill was involved in many civic and charitable organizations, too many to mention, providing his unique perspectives. Bill was a long time member of the City’s Park and Recreation Commission as well as the Planning Commission. As a Planning Commissioner, he became aware of the Master Plan for the Lower Presidio Historic Park.
When Bill became a member of the Old Monterey Foundation, he became the driving force on developing this beautiful scenic park in accordance with the Master Plan. He worked with Frank Sollecito, Ellen Martin and others on getting funding from the Neighborhood Improvement Program, the Community Foundation and a host of other groups for the physical improvements. The beautiful sign on Pacific Street, the replacement of the chain link fence with the wooden fence, the many historic signs, the 2 scenic trails, the informational kiosk sign, the picnic tables-these all came about due to Bill’s relentless passion for the development of this historic park for the benefit of residents and tourists.
He worked tirelessly with the City, the Army, the Native American groups and the two adjacent neighborhoods-Old Town and New Monterey-to make sure all the improvements met the requirements of the public agencies and would benefit visitors for years to come.
The beautiful park we have today is primarily due to Bill.”
Bill Wojtkowski, Old Monterey Foundation
View the Monterey Herald online memorial for Willard P. (Bill) McCrone
To donate to Old Monterey Foundation in memory of Bill McCrone, please click the button below. Thank you for your support!
The City of Monterey and Monterey Signs have installed new trailhead markers and interpretive signs at Lower Presition Historic Park. Trailhead markers were placed for visibility, lack of hazard/safety and easy access to groups of people near the signs.
About The Lower Presidio Historic Park
Old Monterey Foundation is offering teachers and students throughout Monterey County the opportunity to schedule a weekday visit to the Lower Presidio Historic Park with a class walking tour conducted by historian Tim Thomas. We may also be able to help arrange reduced cost bus transportation for the visiting class. The park is walkable from downtown Monterey and Colton Hall with ample parking for buses.
Old Monterey Foundation also continues to team up with noted Monterey Bay historian and author, Tim Thomas to offer outstanding “Lower Presidio Historic Park Walking Tours” for the public on the third Saturday of every month from 10:00 AM – Noon
A recent class tour by instructor Karen Levy of Robert Down brought about 24 students and 6 chaperones to the Park. According to Levy, “Our visit to Colton Hall was both informative and engaging. Our docent was very knowledgeable and shared many interesting facts about California’s rich history. Students enjoyed the walking tour around the inside of Colton Hall, interacting with period-era clothing, as well as viewing copies of the original documents signed at this very site many years ago. My students and chaperones thoroughly enjoyed the walking tour of the Lower Presidio Historic Park. Tim possesses a plethora of knowledge about California’s history and he shared many fascinating stories with my students; especially those involving Monterey. Tim’s personal ties to the area and his passion for history shone through during his presentation. My students appreciated the Museum tour as well as the ability to be outside and enjoy the new Path of History walk around the park at the Presidio.”
If a teacher would like to arrange a class tour at the Lower Presidio Historic Park, please call Wendy Brickman at 831-633-4444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About The Lower Presidio Historic Park
There are new signs on Pacific Street and Lighthouse providing direction to the Presidio Museum and Park. Tours meet in front of the City of Monterey’s Presidio of Monterey Museum, 113 Corporal Ewing, Building #113. From Monterey, take Pacific Street past the Monterey Conference Center and the First Theater to the end of Pacific where it forks, take the left fork;, turn left onto Artillery Road, turn right on Corporal Ewing Road and follow it a short way to the Presidio of Monterey Museum in the center of the Park against the hill; from Pacific Grove, take Lighthouse Avenue in New Monterey, bear right to go onto Pacific Street and then go to Artillery Road, turn right, and then turn right on Corporal Ewing Road and follow it to the Presidio of Monterey Museum.
Locals and visitors can park their car at their hotel or in the City Garage and conveniently ride the free MST Trolley throughout Monterey! To easily reach the Lower Presidio Historic Park, exit the MST Trolley at the First Theater stop on Pacific Street and Scott Street. Walk along Pacific Street about a block to the end of Pacific where it forks. Take the left fork, and then turn left onto Artillery Road at the Park’s monument sign. Turn right on Corporal Ewing Road about halfway up the hill and follow it a short way to the Presidio of Monterey Museum in the center of the Park. Enjoy all our new interpretive signs, ADA accessible pathways, benches and tables and a gorgeous view. You can also visit the fascinating Presidio of Monterey Museum and walk up the hill on our ADA path to the beautiful Sloat Monument. Why not bring a picnic lunch and dine at this beautiful park, too!
Trolley map and schedule.
David A. Laws’ January 9 post and photographs at Travel Examiner describe Guillermo Wagner Granizo’s mosaic mural at the Monterey Conference Center, Lower Presidio Historic Park, and the November commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Hippolyte Bouchard’s attack on Monterey.
Photo: David A Laws, https://travelexaminer.net/montereys-mosaic-mural-memorializes-missions-marauding-mariners-more/
Wallace Baine’s September 6 article in the San Francisco Chronicle features the Lower Presidio Historic Park and Monterey’s role in California history.
“To the left of the entrance to the Lower Presidio Historic Park near downtown Monterey, tucked neatly by the off-ramp from Lighthouse Avenue, is a tiny, inconspicuous shaded oak grove that is one of the most significant plots of land in all of California. It’s there in 1602 that Spanish explorer Sebastian Vizcaino and his men gathered for the first Catholic Mass on California soil…”
Bring your friends and family to visit the Lower Presidio Historic Park, located up the hill off of Pacific Street near Downtown Monterey. The Old Monterey Foundation and the City of Monterey recently added several new picnic tables, including one that is ADA accessible, at the Lower Presidio Historic Park. There are now a total of eight convenient picnic tables and five benches on site at this beautiful park.
In 2017, Old Monterey Foundation raised funds to install a monument sign on Pacific Street to make it even easier to find the park. Old Monterey Foundation also installed eight new interpretive signs, a white wooden perimeter fence, and two new ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible pathways of the Harbor Trail which extends to the Serra Monument and the Vista Trail that goes up the hill to the Sloat Monument.
The 25.3-acre Lower Presidio Historic Park also features a gorgeous view of the Monterey Bay and Old Fisherman’s Wharf. When you visit the park, please leave it as clean and pristine as you found it. Be sure to pack up and take all of your trash.
Also, check out the informative Old Monterey Foundation’s Lower Presidio Historic Park Walking Tours every third Saturday of the month from 10:00 am – Noon with respected local Historian Tim Thomas. The next tour will be held on Saturday, July 21st.
Old Monterey Foundation invites everyone to become a Friend of the Lower Presidio and make a tax-deductible donation to more quickly restore the park.
The City of Monterey Outreach Office has produced an informative short video about the Lower Presidio Historic Park and its significance to California and American history.
Nueva California: A Two-Part Novel of Latino California & The Carmel Mission by Todd Cook includes mentions of the Presidio of Monterey and the Lower Presidio Historic Park.
Volume 1: Though young Diego is a performing “superstar” of the Mexico City stages, he has made enemies and must flee to distant Nueva California in 1775. Taking refuge at beautiful, but remote Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo, Diego believes his time there will be brief. He teaches music at the mission and serves under his spiritual idol, Father Junipero Serra. Then, Diego meets Antonia, an Indian maiden with whom he becomes smitten. He takes his romantic pursuit too far, however. Fearing their indiscretion will be discovered, Diego devises a plan whereby he and Antonia can escape the mission.
Volume 2: Diego’s attempt to spirit Antonia away from Nueva California ends in tragedy—Antonia is killed by enemy warriors in the Valley of the Oaks, not far from Mission San Antonio. Diego is arrested and brought back to the Bay of Monterey. After a brief time of imprisonment, Father Serra banishes the bitter and grief- stricken Diego from the territory. At first, Diego is relieved to be free of Nueva California, but a few years later, finds himself pulled back. He returns to the Bay of Monterey to seek redemption and live within sight of the mission he comes to love over the years: Mission San Carlos Borromeo. Diego will live to see the mission reach its peak, become secularized under Mexican rule, then finally become abandoned in the 1830’s. Diego will die within the mission ruins in 1857.
The City of Monterey has posted a new video on the Lower Presidio Historic Park, featuring its celebrated history and recent improvements.
More information about the Lower Presidio Historic Park.
As Chairman of the Lower Presidio Historic Park Committee for the Old Monterey Foundation, I was invited to attend the Annual Gathering of the Ohlone/Costanoan-Esselen Nation (OCEN) on August 12 at the Park. The City permits this group (and only this group) to camp out at the Park for this four-day event, which is held annually. About 150 members (out of an estimated 600) were in attendance, some in traditional tribal garb, and that Saturday was the focal event of the Gathering, with tri-tip barbecue and a feast at 2 pm.
I expected to simply sit at a table to pass out brochures about our Phase I Plan for the LPHP, but Louise Miranda Ramirez, Tribal Chairwoman of OCEN, introduced me to the Gathering and invited me to speak. I described our Plan and solicited questions and comments in about a 30 minute presentation. The OCEN considers the Lower Presidio to be sacred ancestral land and the comments I received were of concern that we treat the land with due respect. I described our designs for trails and signs that would not penetrate the earth or in any way disturb the evidence from the past 10,000 years which is buried in the ground at LPHP.
I am pleased to report that the response from the members was positive and supportive of our efforts. We also talked about celebrating our local Native Americans at a festival to be sponsored by OMF sometime next year. It is unfortunate that our local tribes are not better known among the citizens of Monterey and Monterey County, but hopefully the work of the Old Monterey Foundation will begin to rectify that situation. They were here long before European explorers arrived and deserve proper historic recognition in our community.
I was also struck by the strong sense of injustice the members feel about not being among the federally recognized tribes in California. They were once so recognized, beginning in 1883 as the San Carlos Band of Mission Indians, and later as the Monterey Band of Monterey County. The discovery in 1905 that 18 treaties between California Indians and the U.S. had never been ratified by the U.S. Senate, led to the Monterey Band being formally recognized in 1906. Unfortunately, the Monterey Band and OCEN were erroneously dropped from the list of federally recognized tribes in 1923. Compared to many other California tribes who ere compensated with land grants from the Federal Government, OCEN has only been offered the paltry sum of less than $1,000 for the loss of many million acres of land to American settlers. This injustice is still paramount in the minds of members of OCEN.
I was followed in my talk by Col. Laurence Brown, Commandant of the Presidio, and then by Senator Bill Monning. Although the day was a bit chilly and overcast, a good time was had by all.
For more information about OCEN, go to http://www.ohlonecostanoanesselennation.org .