Monterey Bay Blog

All about the Monterey CA peninsula


Monterey’s Path of History – Larkin House, Colton Hall & The Old Jail

The city of Monterey is full of history that can still be appreciated to this day. Visitors are invited to stay at Hotel Abrego and walk to all of the beautiful historic adobes and government buildings that had a part in the founding of the Golden State. Follow the yellow tiles in the sidewalk and take a self guided tour of the Path of History or enjoy a cell phone tour of the historic buildings by dialing (831) 998-9458 See the state park website for more details.Monterey Path of History Walk This month we will be exploring The Larkin House, Colton Hall, the Old Monterey Jail, and City Hall. All of these beautiful historic attractions are within walking distance of Hotel Abrego.

The Larkin House

Located approximately 8 minutes away from Hotel Abrego on Calle Principal is the Larkin House. This lovely two story house was built in 1835 by Thomas Oliver Larkin during Monterey’s Mexican period. The Larkin house was one of the first two story buildings in California and the first two story house in Monterey. Larkin adapted the New England colonial style of architecture to the local building materials and established the “Monterey Colonial” style that became popular in Monterey and through out California. Thomas Larkin was the only American consul to Alta California and had a role in the United States acquisition of California, serving as a “Confidential Agent in California” to President Polk.

Colton Hall & The Old Monterey Jail

Located directly across Pacific Street from the Larkin House is Friendly Plaza where Colton Hall, the Old Monterey Jail, and City Hall are located.

Colton Hall

Colton Hall was built in March of 1849 by Reverend Walter Colton who traveled to Monterey aboard one of Commodore Sloats’s vessels and later became appointed as the Monterey District’s first “magistrate” (mayor). Colton Hall was the location where California’s first state constitution was written on September 1, 1849. Almost a year later, on September 9, 1850 Congress voted to admit California as the 31st State of the Union. Since the building’s construction and location of the State’s Constitutional Convention in 1849, the building has been used as a local grade school, town hall, a county court house, the sheriff’s office, the Monterey City Police Department, a hospital, and has housed various city offices. Today, Colton Hall serves as a historic museum and is open to public daily from 10am – 4pm.

Old Monterey Jail

You’ll find the Old Monterey Jail between Colton Hall and City Hall. The Old Montery Jail was built in 1854 by C.F. Gilmer to serve Colton Hall which was being used as the county courthouse at the time. The jail was built out of solid granite and, “the best iron work that San Francisco could furnish” – (Monterey Sentinel in September 1855). There was no wood used in the construction of the building other than the roof. No one is ever believed to have escaped from the jail during its 100 years of use. In 1935, heating, a ventilation system, and concrete floors were put into place. The jail was in regular use until 1956. In 1960 the jail opened to the public as part of the Colton Hall Museum.

In our next series featuring Monterey’s Path of History we will discover Vasquez Adobe, Gordon House, Casa De La Torre, Alvarado Adobe, Monterey State Historic Park & Pacific House Museum, Old Fisherman’s Wharf, and the Custom House. We hope our lovely city inspires you to come visit and stay with us at Hotel Abrego, within walking distance to Historic Monterey.