Local History

  • The foot of 16th Street, early 1880’s. Courtesy of Pacfic Grove Library.
    The foot of 16th Street, early 1880’s
    Photo courtesy of Pacific Grove Public Library
  • Gosby House, built in 1887, corner of Lighthouse & 18th. Taken about 1890 before Gosby added Queen Anne corner tower. Built to accommodate guests for the Chautauqua meetings.
    Gosby House, corner of Lighthouse & 18th.
    Photo: Tuttle Collection #473
  • Pine Street looking east from Cypress
    Pine Street looking east from Cypress
    Photo courtesy of Pacific Grove Public Library
  • Holman's Department Store, Pacific Grove
    Holman's Department Store postcard
    Photo: Postcard Collection #8
  • Tent City, 1880's, occupied the area between 17th and 18th Street below the Old Methodist Church
    Tent City, 1880's
    Photo courtesy of Pacific Grove Public Library
  • Trolley at corner of Grand and Lighthouse, early 1890's
    Trolley at the corner of Grand & Lighthouse, early 1890's
    Photo courtesy of Pacific Grove Public Library

The Local History Collection

The Pacific Grove Public Library collects, organizes, stores and displays books, maps, images, manuscripts, audio visual materials, oral histories, biography files, directories, voter registers, local newspaper clippings, ephemera, and other printed, handwritten and drawn artifacts pertaining to Pacific Grove's heritage. Due to the importance of this unique collection, appropriate preservation methods and materials are sought out and utilized.

The collection includes:

  • Pacific Grove Newspapers 1888 to current (some on microfilm)
  • 1900 & 1910 U.S. Census for Monterey County
  • 1926 U.S. Census for Pacific Grove with alphabetical list of surnames
  • City Directories 1907 - 1987 (some years missing)
  • Sanborn Maps 1888-1926
  • Pacific Grove High School Sea Urchin Yearbooks 1905 to the present (some years missing)
  • Early photographs and postcards
  • Pamphlets & brochures
  • Chautauqua books, pamphlets, etc.
  • Art by Pacific Grove artists
  • Archives of the Pacific Grove Public Library

History of the Library

Community and Local History Links

The Pacific Grove Oral History Project was started in September 2014 by 3 Pacific Grove High School students under the auspices of the Pacific Grove Public Library and was funded by the Friends of the Pacific Grove Public Library. Golnoush Pak, George Haugen and Michele Haugen interviewed 5 longtime PG residents and produced this 10 minute film.

1833
Jose Maria Armenta claims the land grant for “Punta de los Pinos”  (2,667 acres that included Monterey and Pacific Grove.)

1855
Point Pinos Lighthouse built. (It is the oldest continuously operated lighthouse on the west coast.)

1864
David Jacks acquires “Punta de los Pinos Rancho” from Darrell Stokes Gregory.

1868
David Jacks acquires more of the Rancho lands.

1873-1874
Methodist Annual Conference meets in San Francisco and begins the discussion of creating a seaside resort on the west coast.  Rev. W.S. Ross spends time camping in a grove of trees near Monterey Bay. The land is owned by David Jacks and negotiations begin with him for the use of his land.

June 1875
The Pacific Grove Retreat Association (PGRA) is formed.

July 1875
Official agreement signed between the PGRA and David Jacks for 100 acres of the existing Rancho Punta de los Pinos land. For Jacks, the deal is partially a donation and partially a business deal. The first map of Pacific Grove is filed with the Monterey County Recorder’s Office.

1875
August 8 through August 29: Commencement of first Methodist camp in Pacific Grove.

May 1876
Unsold Pacific Grove Retreat lots revert back to David Jacks as per the agreement of 1875.

May 1880
David Jacks sells all of remaining Punta de los Pinos Rancho to the Pacific Improvement Company (PIC), a branch of  the Southern Pacific Railroad.  The selling price was $35,000.

1880
The first Chautauqua Summer Retreat meeting is held. The Feast of  Lanterns celebration begins to mark the closing of the Summer Retreat.

1881
Eight families now live year-round in the Grove.

1883
March 31: The PIC and the PGRA sign a contract stating the PIC controls financial management and the PGRA controls “the moral and prudential management” of Pacific Grove.

June 1884
Carrie Lloyd opens a summer school for children in Chautauqua Hall.

1886
Business begin to appear on Lighthouse near Forest. The first library opens in the “reading corner” of the old Parlor.

1887
First hotel opens: The El Carmelo  between Fountain and Forest Ave. St. Mary’s-by-the-Sea consecrated.

June 1889
Pacific Grove incorporates.

1889
Railroad comes to Pacific Grove.

1891
Pine Street School opens with 150 students enrolled. The school serves all grade levels. President Benjamin Harrison visits Pacific Grove.

1892
Hopkins Seaside Lab - part of Stanford University - is built.

1893
Pacific Grove Bath House is built.

1895
Electric lights come to Pacific Grove. The Mayflower Church is built.

1896
First Telephone exchange installed.

1901
President William McKinley visits Pacific Grove.

1903
President Theodore Roosevelt visits Pacific Grove.

1906
The city of Pacific Grove obtains a Carnegie grant to build a public library.

1906
Arson fire destroys the Chinese fishing village at Cabrillo Point.

1908
Pacific Grove Public Library opens at its current location.

1911
Pacific Grove High School constructed on Forest Avenue (presently the Middle School).

1912
Pacific Improvement Company donates land to the YWCA. This becomes Asilomar   “Refuge by the Sea.”

1916
The Monterey Boatworks is built on the site of the former Chinese fishing village.

1923
Pacific Biological Laboratory, Ed Rickett’s first laboratory, opens at 165 Fountain. Pine Street grammar School opens.  Renamed Robert H. Down  Elementary School in 1952.

1924
Holman’s Department Store opens on Lighthouse Avenue.  Lighthouse Avenue paved.

1926
Forest Hill Hotel constructed at Forest and Gibson, currently Forest Hill Manor Retirement Center.

1930
John Steinbeck moves to Pacific Grove, 147 Eleventh Street. Holman Highway built (Hwy 68 East).

1932
Pacific Grove Museum opens to the public. Pacific Grove Municipal golf course opens.

1938
Post Office constructed.

Sources:
Pacific Grove by Kent Seavey and the Heritage Society of Pacific Grove. Arcadia Publishing, 2005.

Pacific Grove: A Story of Western Development  by Robert J. Rapp. Master’s Thesis, 2002.

Local History Files, Pacific Grove Public Library.