Sunday, July 26, 2009
The Old Custom House In Monterey
Contemporary accounts say the old Custom House in Monterey was built by the Mexicans around 1827. The writing on the back of this old picture differs somewhat. It says the front part of the adobe building went up in 1814, constructed by the Spaniards to conduct royal business and as the social center for the Spanish aristocracy. It reads, "Beneath the Spanish flag, pressing matters of state were settled and gala balls were held" and that the center section was built by Mexicans around 1821, when they wrestled independence from Spain.
Whichever account is accurate, it is agreed that the Custom House, situated on Monterey Bay, is the oldest public building in California. On July 7, 1846, during the Mexican-American War, Commodore John Drake Sloat claimed 600,000 square miles for the United States and raised the Stars and Stripes over the Custom House for the first time. Those 600,000 square miles later became the states of Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and California.