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Monterey Custom House

Monterey Customs House

The Monterey Custom House, part of the Monterey State Historic Park, is California’s first registered State Historic Landmark and has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. At one time in California’s history, the Monterey Custom House presided over Mexico‘s only port of entry on the Alta Calfornia coast. The building was in existence in 1827 but deteriorated and was replaced by a larger structure in 1841. The construction was done by Thomas O. Larkin, who also did the grading for the building. Commodore John Drake Sloat raised the American flag at the Monterey Custom House on July 7, 1846, claiming over 600,000 square miles of territory for the United States. No major additions were made to the Custom House after 1846. The Native Sons of the Golden West restored the building in the early 1900s. The Monterey Custom House is the oldest public building on the west coast. A map on the Monterey County Historical Society’s pages shows the position of the Custom House and other historic buildings in Monterey.

The Custom House was once much closer to the beach. An area map from 1879 and an 1886 photograph of the Custom House both show a narrow sandy beach with a rocky edge that extended almost to the portico of the building. The railroad was extended from Monterey to Pacific Grove in 1889, and the beach area was filled.

The Monterey Peninsula is an area that is rich in both history and natural beauty. If you are visiting California, be sure to allocate some time to the area. If you live “nearby,” there are always unexplored attractions to keep you coming back.

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo 

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