Category Archives: News and Announcements

“Picnic in the Park at Lower Presidio Historic Park” on Saturday, July 1 attracts hundreds of people to enjoy family-friendly event

July 5, 2017. Kicking off the 4th of July holiday weekend, Old Monterey Foundation held its first ever “Picnic in the Park” at Lower Presidio Historic Park on Saturday, July 1, 2017, a well-attended free family-friendly event! Hundreds of people attended this “FUNdraiser” and enjoyed great food, live entertainment, historic reenactments, walking tours, costume contests, scavenger hunt, prizes and much more. They learned that Old Monterey Foundation is continuing to raise funds to develop trails and interpretive signs for all the monuments to enhance and restore this park which is considered “The Most Historically Significant Site on the West Coast” and how they can donate to support this project. Attendees also enjoyed the spectacular views of the beautiful Monterey Bay, Old Fisherman’s Wharf and the Monterey Harbor at this park that is hidden in plain view as well as the restored Saint Serra statue.

After a welcome by Bill Wojtkowski, President, Old Monterey Foundation, the event continued with an Opening Prayer by Louise J. Miranda Ramirez, Tribal Chairwoman of the Ohlone/ Costanoan-Esselen Nation who later gave a brief presentation about their important history at the Lower Presidio Historic Park. Attendees enjoyed several great musical sets from Derek Bodkin & the Hovering Breadcat Folk Ensemble who performed crowd-pleasing folk, rock and seafaring music.  They also enjoyed the local youth dance troupe performances from DiFranco DanceProject and Ragamuffin Musical Theatre Company of Pacific Grove. Attendees sampled food from several food trucks, Taste of Mexico, Indian Gourmet, Poke Lab, and enjoyed other sweet treats and brews, including wine and beer.

A crowd-pleasing highlight was the historic costumed reenactment during the Picnic in the Park event. Argentinian Privateer Hippolyte Bouchard (regarded by his victims as a pirate) and his loyal crew reenacted the colorful capture of the Presidio of Monterey (El Castillo) in 1818.  Reenactor Maria Antoni Pico’s shared a fascinating recollection of the battle as well.

Picnic in the Park also featured costume contests with prizes for best dressed pirate-both kids and adult with lots of pirate booty, photo ops with pirates and historic reenactors, a scavenger hunt with prizes and face painting for the kids. Attendees took free Lower Presidio Historic Park Walking Tours with historian Tim Thomas and he shared fascinating historic highlights about the park.  They also visited the Presidio of Monterey Museum, also located on the site and operated by the City of Monterey, and viewed exhibits, artifacts, and videos that lead visitors through Monterey’s various stages of military development from the indigenous period which highlights the area’s native populations, through the Spanish and Mexican periods and up to present day.

Sponsors of Picnic in the Park included KSBW 8 NBC, Central Coast ABC and Estrella TV Costa, Monterey County Vintners & Growers Association and Peter B’s Brewpub.

For more information about how to get involved and support Old Monterey Foundation’s Lower Presidio Historic Park Project and become a Friend of the Lower Presidio, call (831) 346-3030 or email piratesinthepark@gmail.com.

Hein, Dausen, Martin, and Rodriguez Join OMF Board of Directors

The Old Monterey Foundation (OMF) is pleased to announce four additions to its Board of Directors, beginning January 1, 2017: Brian Hein, Food & Beverage Manager at the Portola Hotel & Spa; Peter G. Dausen, Deputy Naval Support Activity Monterey; Ellen Martin, Art administrator and Executive Director for First Night Monterey; Esther Rodriguez, retired Human Resource Manager and fundraising volunteer for CSUMB, Monterey Library and other organizations. They will join other Directors: Toy Bryant, Mary Lou Cortright, John Gibbons, Salah Laasri, Fred Meuer, Bill McCrone, Frank Solecito, Melissa Thoeny, Steve Vagnini, Bill Wojtkowski. Officers for 2017 will be: Bill Wotjkowski, President, Frank Sollecito, Past President, John Gibbons, CPS, Chief Financial officer/Treasurer, Bill McCrone, Secretary.

The Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) organization and is organized to promote, support and enhance the artistic and cultural environment of historic downtown Monterey, California. OMF is concluding its fifth year in operation and has many accomplishments, including presenting Art in the Adobes for three consecutive years, organizing more than a dozen lectures on significant historic topics free to the public, working with the City Cultural Arts Commission to raise funds to refurbish Monterey’s handpainted Angel street decorations. The major project at present is raising awareness and funds to implement the City’s plan for the Lower Presidio Historic Park. Announcement will be made soon concerning the installation of the major “public welcome” sign at the park entrance.

September 17 Lower Presidio Historic Park Walking Tours to Focus on the Native People of Monterey – the Rumsien/Ohlone

Old Monterey Foundation continues to team up with noted Monterey Bay historian and author Tim Thomas to offer outstanding Lower Presidio Historic Park Walking Tours on the third Saturday of every month from 10:00 AM to Noon.

The next walking tour on Saturday, September 17, 2016 will focus on the Native People of Monterey – the Rumsien/Ohlone.

There is archaeological evidence of prehistoric indigenous tribes, the Rumsien/Ohlone people, living at what is now the Lower Presidio Historic Park about 10,000 years ago. The remains of abalone shell fragments in the soil are evidence to all of us today. Tim Thomas will discuss their lives and the fascinating history of the 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.

Advance reservations are required by calling Tim Thomas at (831) 521-3304 or emailing timsardine@yahoo.com. The tour is for ages 10-adult only and the cost is $20 for adults and $15 for kids 10-15 years. Group rates are also available.

About Tim Thomas

About the Lower Presidio Historic Park

September 8 Lecture on “The Figure in Art on the Monterey Peninsula and Beyond”

Old Monterey Foundation will hold its fourth and final free event as part of the 2016 Lecture Series on Thursday, September 8 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. The Lecture Series is sponsored by The Marcia F. Devoe Fund of the Community Foundation for Monterey County for the third year as well as MIddlebury Institute of International Studies.

While the natural environment of the central coast has captivated artists from all eras, the figure has been just as enchanting. Painters such as Joan Savo, Charles Eckart, and Theophilus Brown depict figures in enigmatic poses both real and imagined, while photographers such as Ansel Adams, Dorthea Lange, and Pirkle Jones show us the rituals and circumstances of people caught in a moment of time. During this lecture, Ami Davis will discuss how the figurative tradition in painting, sculpture and photography influenced artists on the Monterey Peninsula and beyond in the Bay Area. She will present masterpieces from the Monterey Museum of Art’s collection of Monterey artists and explore their significance within the context of Western art history. This lecture complements the permanent collection exhibitions, “Re:Pose: Paintings” and “Re:Pose: Photography,” on view at the Monterey Museum of Art, Pacific Street, starting the summer of 2016.

Ami Davis (2)A
Ami Davis has been an art museum professional since 1998. She holds an M.A. in Art History from California State University, San Jose. She has served institutions such as the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Monterey Museum of Art, the Orange County Museum of Art, San Jose Museum of Art, and the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History. She has also served as an instructor for courses in contemporary art at UCLA Extension and has been a panelist and presenter at numerous national museum conferences. She works toward making art meaningful and dynamic for all communities.

 

Free Admission-Reception to Follow

This lecture is suitable for ages 9 and up

For more information, call (831) 346-3030.

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

Image: Roland Petersen (1926 – ), Untitled (abstract figures), 1961, oil on board. Collection Monterey Museum of Art, gift of Barbara and William Hyland. © Roland Petersen

Lower Presidio Historic Park Walking Tour on Saturday, August 20 to focus on El Castillo de Monterey

Old Monterey Foundation continues to team up with noted Monterey Bay historian and author, Tim Thomas, who offers outstanding “Lower Presidio Historic Park Walking Tours” on the third Saturday of every month from 10:00 AM – Noon.

The next walking tour will be held on Saturday, August 20, 2016:   “Lower Presidio Historic Park Walking Tour:  Focus on El Castillo de Monterey.

The El Castillo de Monterey was a Spanish fort constructed in 1792 to protect the port and presidio from invaders. It is one of only 3 such forts constructed by the Spanish in California.

About The Spanish Period (1770-1821)

The fort began in 1792 as a crude log parapet with eleven cannons behind it. The cannons were probably brought from the nearby Spanish Presidio of Monterey. The site was on present day Presidio Hill on a flat plain at the 60′ level overlooking the Monterey Harbor.

In 1796, the Castillo was strengthened by adding a new earthen revetment on the seaward side. The improvements included an adobe supported wooden gun platform, casemates and a wooden barracks for the artillery troops. These improvements still did not make the Castillo a sufficient fortification and visitors to the area generally derided its capabilities.

The first test of the Castillo came on November 20, 1818 when Argentine pirate Hippolyte Bouchard attacked Monterey. He failed in a direct attack on the town and decided to land a force on Point Pinos from which they first attacked the Castillo and routed the defenders. They turned the guns on the town and then attacked it, overwhelming the defenders who fled. The pirates end up sacking the town, destroying the Castillo’s cannons and structures. They set fire to the town before they left.

(Source: http://www.fortwiki.com/El_Castillo_de_Monterey)

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. (Map/Directions: http://www.monterey.org/museums/Home/Map-and-Directions?2)

Advance reservations are required by calling Tim Thomas at (831) 521-3304 or via email timsardine@yahoo.com.  The tour is for ages 10-adult only and the cost is $20 for adults and kids are $15 (10-15 years).  Group rates are also available.

About Tim Thomas

Tim Thomas photo2Tim Thomas, fourth-generation native of the Monterey area, is a popular speaker and lively tour guide. For 16 years, he was historian and curator for the Monterey Maritime & History Museum and has worked with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, California State Parks and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. He is author of “The Abalone King of Monterey: ‘Pop’ Ernest Doelter,” “The Japanese on the Monterey Peninsula” and co-author of “Monterey’s Waterfront.” Tim also conducts monthly “Wharf Walks” on Monterey’s Old Fisherman’s Wharf and offers Cannery Row walking tours, as well.

About the Lower Presidio Historic Park 

The Lower Presidio Historic Park, described as “The Most Historically Significant Site on the West Coast” and “One of the Most Beautiful Places in Monterey” is on its way to becoming a true historic public park to be enjoyed by locals and visitors. Old Monterey Foundation, in cooperation with the City of Monterey and Department of the Army, has raised initial funds to begin Phase One of the project to enhance and restore this historic 25.3-acre site and is now seeking public donations to help complete the project. Old Monterey Foundation invites everyone to become members of “Friends of the Lower Presidio” at www.oldmontereyfoundation.org and make tax-deductible donations to more quickly restore the park.

The Lower Presidio Historic Park is one of the least-visited historic parks in the area due to some confusion about whether the public is allowed in the area.  Situated in a “hidden in plain sight” location, the park features spectacular views of the Monterey Bay and Harbor and will become a jewel of the City of Monterey’s park system.

With the help of donations and grants, Phase One of the project will give the Lower Presidio Historic Park the look and feel of an historic public park, including improved way-finding and identification entry signs to assist the public in accessing the site and highlighting several of the important historic periods at the Presidio; development of pathways, benches and interpretive signs and monuments on the site; replacement of the old cyclone perimeter fence with a wood-appearing historically accurate fence, minimal branch/tree removal where necessary to assure views of the Monterey Harbor and restore it to the way it was seen historically; and development of an ADA approved path leading to the Sloat Monument, the highest point of the site.  Old Monterey Foundation is now also seeking funds to restore the Father Serra statue that was recently vandalized.

Eric Palmer and Anne McGrath of the City of Monterey Outreach Office recently completed an informative short video about the Lower Presidio Historic Park and its significance to California and American history:  https://youtu.be/Lg7X0spnC4k

Why is the Lower Presidio Historic Park considered by many professional historians as “The Most Historically Significant Site on the West Coast”?

There are many major historic highlights of this site that Tim Thomas will discuss in depth over the coming months which include:

  • Prehistoric archeological presence of indigenous tribes tracing back 10,000 years.
  • Spanish period that begins with the landing in 1602 of Sebastian Vizcaino, who discovered the Monterey Bay and named the land, “Monterey”, after the Viceroy of Mexico; followed by Father Junipero Serra and Gaspar de Portola in 1770; including the first El Castillo (Presidio) up through the Argentinian Hipolite Bouchard’s raid in 1818 when he attacked and sacked the City of Monterey, which is the only land and sea battle ever to occur on the West Coast of the United States.
  • Mexican period (beginning in 1821 until the U.S. occupation, including the mistaken invasion in 1842 by Commodore Catesby-Jones, commanding the U.S. Pacific Squadron.
  • In 1846, Commodore John Drake Sloat captured Monterey and El Castillo at the beginning of the Mexican American War.
  • American/California period beginning in 1846, including the enactment of the first California Constitution in 1849 through the period that includes when Fort Mervine was a coastal defense and cavalry post.
  • In 1866, Fort Mervine was abandoned by the Army.
  • In 1901, reopening of the post by the Army as a cavalry and artillery garrison, and among its first units is the 9th Cavalry, the “Buffalo Soldiers”.
  • Modern era from the turn of the century when the Presidio became primarily a military training facility in 1940.
  • In 1940, the 11th Cavalry, Buffalo Soldiers and the last mounted regiment in Army history, departs to patrol the MEXICAN BORDER. The Presidio then becomes a training post for civil administration officers being sent to occupied territory during World War II.
  • In 1946, the Presidio becomes the Military Intelligence Service Language School, which evolves into the Defense Language Institute as it is known today.

About the Presidio Museum of Monterey 

The Presidio Museum of Monterey, also located on the site and operated by the City of Monterey, is an excellent place to currently view exhibits, artifacts, and videos that lead visitors through Monterey’s various stages of military development from the indigenous period which highlights the area’s native populations; through the Spanish and Mexican periods; and up to present day.

The Presidio Museum of Monterey is open Monday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Thursday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Visiting the Lower Presidio Historic Park Today 

This centrally located site has tremendous potential for all park-goers. It can be a first stop for any visitor to the Monterey Peninsula with its gorgeous views, perfect for their photos and memories of the area. It is a great destination for simply relaxing, walking, running, biking, hiking, playing disc golf, touch football, doing yoga and other exercise, enjoying picnics with family or friends, meeting for reunions and it is even a unique place for wedding proposals. Artists and photographers will find it a wonderful site for their work and many other target groups will be invited to visit. Students can come to the park as well as any visitor to the area who wants to learn more about California history.

Currently, it can be visited at any time of day but it is important to pack in and out any food or items brought to the site. If desired, visitors may choose to bring a chair or small table for a lunch or dinner with an extraordinary view. Ultimately, when Phase One of the project is concluded, there will be benches, tables and trash receptacles.

For more information call (831) 521-2313.