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You are here: Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau > Monterey Attractions > Historic & Literary Monterey > Historic Monterey Adobes

Historic Monterey Adobes

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Romantic Monterey
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Adobes/Path of History
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Historical Sites

Monterey History & Art Association
5 Custom House Plaza
Monterey, CA 93940

Monterey State Historic Park
20 Custom House Plaza
Monterey, CA 93940

Monterey County Historical Society
333 Boronda Road
Salinas, CA 93907

Historical Monterey:
Adobes and the Path of History

Path of History


The adobes of Monterey are nestled in quiet gardens, almost invisible at times, save for the plaques identifying them, and the only way to see them properly is on foot. These charming relics date from the late 1700s to the mid-1800s. The Monterey History and Art Association has lovingly restored these dwellings from Monterey's Mexican past: some have the original furnishings or furniture of the period, many have restored gardens. Various events lend the adobes a festive flair, especially the annual Christmas in the Adobes, a popular December tradition when luminarias light the paths and the fragrance of Mexican hot chocolate fills the air.

  • The Royal Presidio Chapel is the oldest structure in Monterey, constructed by the Spanish government in 1794.
  • The original part of the Robert Louis Stevenson House dates from the late 1830s. Here the author reportedly began his classic tale of adventure, Treasure Island. (Note: the house and grounds are currently closed for renovation.)
  • Colton Hall is the site of the first California Constitutional Convention in 1849.
  • California's First Theater was built in the 1840s by Jack Swan, an English sailor. Initially a saloon and apartments, the building became a theater after the 1st New York Volunteers stationed here put on plays. (Also currently closed for renovation.)
  • Larkin House is considered by some to be the finest example of Monterey Colonial architecture. Thomas Oliver Larkin built it in 1832 and adapted two architectural forms to the available redwood and adobe, creating a new style.
  • Custom House, at the entrance to Fisherman's Wharf, was a bustling trade center in the 1800s. Locally produced items were traded for foreign goods.
  • Pacific House has served many different purposes in its history. Since it was built in 1847, it's been a military supply storage site, a hotel, a church and a ballroom, among other things. It's now a history museum.
  • Cooper-Molera Adobe was home to three generations of Coopers. Built and remodeled many times between 1827 and 1900, it now houses a visitor center with a shop full of old-time treasures. Don't miss its historic garden.
  • Casa Soberanes is a Mexican Colonial adobe structure furnished with handsomely preserved antique furniture, artwork and silver.

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Path of History

The Path of History is one of the great bargains on the Peninsula. This self-guided, two-mile tour of Old Montereymarked by yellow tiles set in the sidewalkexplores adobes, gardens and sites of interest. Maps are available for individuals and groups. Free guided tours are held on various days, leading visitors to such sites as the Cooper Molera House and Garden, the Custom House, Larkin House, Casa Soberanes and more. You can also visit the interiors of some of the adobes and other historic buildings. A good introduction to the history of the area can be viewed on a short film shown at the Monterey Maritime Museum. Stop by the Pacific House Museum on Custom House Plaza for a current schedule of guided and home tour hours.

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