Nueva California: A Two-Part Novel of Latino California & The Carmel Mission

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.


Battle of Monterey Living History Re-enactment Saturday, November 18

The Battle of Monterey of 1818, a living-history re-enactment, will be held in Custom House Plaza Saturday, November 18 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Costumed early Spanish soldiers will defend the Custom House. The revolutionary Captain Bouchard will lead the charge as with cannons firing, his Tall Ship recreates the only land/sea battle on the West Coast, ever! The Argentinian privateer Bouchard’s attack is a revolutionary marker for the opening of California’s land and trade policies to the world with Mexico’s independence from the King of Spain.

Also featured in this year’s event will be the wise defense by Spanish Royal Governor Sola of his provincial capital of Alta California. Visitors will view the Spanish Empire’s flag taken down and the invaders hoisting the Argentine national flag. But Sola was able to return in a week and take back Monterey with no loss of local lives, The 1794 Royal Presidio Chapel, later to be known as San Carlos Cathedral, and its Heritage Center will both be open for visitors just one year short of the bicentennial of its survival of the burning of the Royal Presidio.

Mayor Clyde Roberson will open the day’s celebration at the Custom House. In 2016 he issued an official proclamation for the City Council declaring the year 2018 as the celebration of Bicentennial of the Battle of Monterey. It established Monterey’s Museum and Cultural Arts Commission as initiators of the celebration.

hipolito_bouchardThe Old Monterey Foundation is a partner for 2017 and other partnerships are being developed for the 2018 observances. November 18, 2017 will truly be a “pre-enactment” of the bicentennial celebration in 2018. The Tall Ship, “the Lady Washington” will be in the Monterey harbor as part of this year’s 2017 festivities. Educational events and re-enactments are being planned for 2018 exploring the 200th anniversary of this important event in local and U.S. history. Monterey has a unique set of historical buildings from the Spanish and the Mexican eras. The Battle of Monterey is the only battle in the war of independence of Spanish colonies from Spain to take place on the territory of what is now the United States of America. Monterey can be proud of its role as recorded in “The Burning of Monterey” by Peter Uhrowiczk and the “Patriot Pirate “ by Michael Melzer both available at the Monterey Public Library. Let’s celebrate!

For more information on how you may get involved, contact

Wander the Wonders of Monterey History: Grand Opening Ceremony for Lower Presidio Historic Park Saturday, November 11, 2017

Old Monterey Foundation cordially invites the community to the special “Wander the Wonders of Monterey History: Grand Opening Ceremony for the Lower Presidio Historic Park”, located at 76th Artillery Street and Corporal Ewing Road in Monterey on Saturday, November 11, 2017 from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. The ceremony, which will include a ribbon cutting, will highlight the recently completed and installed eight new interpretive signs, a white wooden perimeter fence, and two new ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible pathways as part 1 of the development of the park, the Harbor Trail which extends to the Serra Monument and the Bay View Trail that goes up the hill to the Sloat Monument.

There will be live entertainment including a performance by an award-winning bagpiper, Pipe Major Michel D’Avenas, free slices of the Lower Presidio Historic Park Cake and beverages. After the ceremony, the public is invited to walk the new pathways and see the beautiful new interpretive signs. Get out your walking shoes, strollers, walkers and wheelchairs to now start to fully enjoy this great park with exquisite views of the Monterey Bay.

The ceremony will include (final list to be confirmed) City of Monterey representatives, Defense Language Institute (DLI) and Army representatives, and representatives from the Neighborhood Improvement Program, the Rotary Club of Monterey, the Ohlone/ Costanoan-Esselen Nation, Granite Construction, and Old Monterey Foundation’s Board.

The ceremony will take place at the concrete pad just below the Saint Serra monument (across from the Presidio of Monterey Museum).

Many local organizations have played an important role in the development of this project including Old Monterey Foundation in the lead role, the Neighborhood Improvement Program, City of Monterey, Rotary Club of Monterey, Community Foundation for Monterey County, Monterey Peninsula Foundation, the Cannery Row Business Association, the Saucito Land Company, the Native Sons of the Golden West, the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District, Union Bank, Thayer Construction Company, Monterey Signs, and Granite Construction. Major funding for the cost of the trails was provided by the City of Monterey’s Neighborhood Improvement Program.

For more information, call (831) 346-3030

Lower Presidio Historic Park Walking Tours to focus on Saint Junipero Serra on Saturday, October 21, 2017

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, October 21, 2017:   “Lower Presidio Historic Park Walking Tour: Focus on Saint Junipero Serra”.  Learn more about the history of Father Serra in Monterey County as well as the Serra statue at 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 via email  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

About the Lower Presidio Historic Park

Free Lecture on Monterey’s Old Fisherman’s Wharf: Past, Present & Future, Thursday, October 19, 2017

For the fourth year, Old Monterey Foundation is pleased to continue its free lecture events as part of its 2017 Lecture Series sponsored by The Marcia F. Devoe Fund of the Community Foundation for Monterey County.

Monterey’s Old Fisherman’s Wharf: Past, Present & Future

Monterey’s Old Fisherman’s Wharf has seen bales of Chinese silks and barrels of Spanish wine, whaling ships, Navy cutters, and fishing boats by the score; Fisherman’s Wharf, in its various incarnations, has been the focus of Monterey’s economic life for centuries.

Based on a 2016 study by the Monterey County Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, Monterey’s Old Fisherman’s Wharf is the #1 destination for visitors to our region. Enjoy a great presentation about Monterey’s Old Fisherman’s Wharf including its more than 100 years of history.

In her fascinating presentation, Monterey native Mary Alice Cerrito Fettis, immediate Past President and current Board Member of Fisherman’s Wharf Association, who grew up at her father’s restaurant on the Wharf, will discuss:

  • Key historic highlights at Monterey’s Old Fisherman’s Wharf over the past 100 years
  • Monterey’s Old Fisherman’s Wharf today
  • Whalefest Monterey
  • Other happenings at Monterey’s Old Fisherman’s Wharf

She will also show many historic photos of Monterey’s Old Fisherman’s Wharf.

Bill Wojtkowski, President of the Old Monterey Foundation Board of Directors, will present a short overview of improvements planned for the Lower Presidio Historic Park.

Thursday, October 19, 2017 – 6:00 p.m.–7:30 p.m.
Irvine Auditorium, McCone Building, MIIS; 499 Pierce Street, Monterey
Free Admission – Reception to follow

For more information, 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.

 About the Presenter: Mary Alice Cerrito Fettis

Mary Alice Cerrito Fettis headshot (3)xMary Alice Cerrito Fettis is a dedicated community leader.  She currently serves on the Fisherman’s Wharf Association Board of Directors as immediate Past  President and is Chair of the annual Whalefest Monterey event held on the Wharf. She is Past President and serves on the Board of Directors of the North Fremont Business District, and is a member of Monterey Commercial Property Owners Association. She serves on the Boards of Advisors for the Hellenic Cultural Institute and the Merienda Committee. She is Past Co-Chair of La Merienda, Past Board member, Monterey History & Art Association, Past Board member Hellenic Cultural Institute, and Past President Monterey County Hospitality Association.

Mary Alice was born and raised in Monterey and graduated from Santa Catalina School and received her BA and MAT from Santa Clara University. As an international charter flight attendant, Mary Alice traveled to over 45 countries which gave her a broad view of life. She managed the family restaurant, banquet, and entertainment businesses and was also a real estate agent with Pan American Real Estate over 25 years. Currently, she is a real estate property manager representing family interests. Mary Alice is married to Nick Fettis who composes, plays, and tunes pianos.

Ohlone/Costanoan-Esselen Nation Supports LPHP

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 .