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 .
The Pacific Street off-ramp from Lighthouse Avenue will be closed from Wednesday, September 6th through Friday, October 6th. The full closure affects the Pacific Street exit from Lighthouse up to the pedestrian overhead bridge.
Pedestrian access to the Lower Presidio Historic Park will be open, but ADA access may be limited at times during the construction.
The work is part of Phase 4 of the citywide Measure P street reconstruction and ADA (Americans with Disabilities) improvements and includes new paving, enhanced street markings, ADA ramps and a crosswalk at Artillery. New sidewalks will be placed at this location and extend northward onto Lighthouse Avenue. The sidewalk work will be constructed at night with Lighthouse Avenue reduced to one lane during construction hours.
Travelers coming into Monterey from this direction are advised to be aware of the construction zone and detour, and allow more time to reach your destinations.
“We understand that closing a major artery between two sections of town is not ideal, but the result will be a new, safer sidewalk and a reconstructed road,” says acting Public Works Director Steve Wittry. “The end product will be worth the temporary inconvenience.”
Please sign up for a weekly construction news email to receive the latest on this and other city construction projects. Also read the newly published Measure P second year report to see all the work completed to date.
On August 14th, Board Members of Old Monterey Foundation, City of Monterey officials and staff, Garrison Commander Lawrence Brown, NIP representatives and others gathered for a well-attended Groundbreaking Ceremony for the new ADA Pathways to be constructed at Lower Presidio Historic Park.
For more information, to make a donation or become a Friend of the Lower Presidio, call (831) 346-3030
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Bill McCrone, Board Member of Old Monterey Foundation was recently interviewed by Wendy Brickman, Host of the monthlly Brickman Banter Show on AMP Media.
In his fascinating 30 minute interview that featured many great illustrations, Bill shared the past, present and future plans for the Lower Presidio Historic Park and talked about the achievements of Old Monterey Foundation.