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. Old Monterey Foundation recently installed a monument sign on Pacific Street to make it even easier to find the park.
The next walking tour will be held on Saturday, March 21, 2020: Lower Presidio Historic Park Walking Tour: Focus on Sebastián Vizcaíno – Discovery of the Monterey Bay.
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.
Old Monterey Foundation invites everyone to become a member of Friends 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.
There are many major historic highlights of this site that Tim Thomas will discuss in depth over the coming months:
- Prehistoric archaeological 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.
For more information, call (831) 521-2313.