Pacific Grove, California
by Nancy Pratt
Pacific Grove - named after the Pacific Ocean and the groves of pine and oak trees, Pacific Grove was established in 1875 as a seaside Christian resort for religious retreats of the Methodist Episcopal Church. It was enclosed with a high fence and a stile and a gate locked at night to prevent the "intrusion of interlopers". It was a dry town until 1976.
A city of 3 square miles, the citizens of Pacific Grove consider the preservation of the natural habitat as important as other city concerns. With protection laws enacted, the city is home to Monterey pines, blacktail deer, raccoons, woodpeckers, monarch butterflies, endangered plant and animals, and a marine refuge.
Point Pinos Lighthouse - Guarding the southern entrance to Monterey Bay, the Point Pinos Lighthouse first shined its light in 1855 and has the distinction of being the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the west coast. It boasts of having had two women lighthouse keepers in its history, Charlotte Layton in the 1860s and Emily Fish at the turn of this century. Its interior is open to visitors today as a lighthouse museum.
Gosbey House - became the Groves first boarding house in 1886 for the Methodist summer retreats and today is a beautiful Bed and Breakfast on Lighthouse Avenue. Other wonderful boarding houses and hotels came along which matched the grace of Montereys Del Monte Hotel, such as the Centrella Hotel and the El Carmel Hotel.
Green Gables - an 1888 Queen Ann Victorian with one gable used as a chapel. One of many beautiful bed and breakfasts overlooking Monterey Bay.
The Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History - Established in 1883 by the Methodist Churchs Chautauqua movement, the Museum is located at Forest and Central Avenues. Now a City of Pacific Grove museum it houses collections of over 400 Monterey County birds and features exhibits of Sea Otters, Monarch Butterflies, and other flora and fauna of Monterey County and the Monterey Bay. Exhibits also feature local Native Americans.
|Hopkins Marine Station - Originally established at Lovers Point in 1892, moved in 1917 to China Point (now called Cabrillo Point), it was the first marine laboratory on the Pacific Coast. Associated with Stanford University it specializes in the study of intertidal life.
Chautauqua Hall - (upper left corner) on Central Avenue was built in 1879 and named after a New York religious retreat on Lake Chautauqua. Assembled religious retreats, entertainment and cultural activities were, and still are, held here.
Tent Campers and Tent Cabin Residents - (left side of painting) were "uplifted, entertained and instructed" at daily church services at the Christian summer retreats.
Architecture of Pacific Grove - A unique microcosm of architectural traditions has survived in the restoring of homes in Pacific Grove. The most popular is the Victorian architecture which is characterized by asymmetrical form, irregular roof lines, turrets, pinnacles and towers, high chimneys , and surface detailing. Miniature Victorian Mansions emerged from humble tent lot size beginnings, as the pink Victorian on the left side illustrates.
Feast of Lanterns - the founding of Pacific Grove is celebrated during a week long schedule of events culminating in a Saturday community Barbecue at Lovers Point featuring a nighttime parade of lantern-lit boats and a traditional reenactment of the Feast of Lantern Pageant, ending with a fireworks display.
St. Marys by the Sea - was the first structure of church type architecture erected. In 1887 the Episcopalians, who previously shared the Chautauqua Hall, were donated land by the Pacific Improvement Company. Later came many beautiful churches such as the Assembly Hall of the Methodists and the Mayflower Congregational Church.
Lovers Point - Old Bathhouse, Japanese Tea House, Feast of Lanterns, Glass Bottom boats. Now a park at the beach with large green lawn area, sand volleyball court, swimming pool and sandy beaches.
Lighthouse Avenue - once a trail cut by the lighthouse keeper through the forest in 1874, grew to become a lovely row of Victorian business which are still preserved today.
|Old Chinatown - (wood shack at the beach) started in 1863, destroyed by fire in 1906. Nothing remains today of a thriving fishing village composed of rude shanties and maloriferous smells of drying fish
Asilomar - meaning "refuge by the sea," Asilomar was founded by the YWCA (Young Womens Christian Association) in 1913 as a conference and summer camp facility. Noted San Francisco architect Julia Morgan designed the original buildings and structures in the famed Arts and Crafts style. Designated a state part in 1956, the grounds are open to overnight guests and meetings. Asilomar State Beach is a one-mile stretch of sandy beach and rocky shoreline.
Dunes - In 1985, the eroded sand dunes of Asilomar were restored to its pre-European influence" condition by creating a self-sustaining native landscape. Today this living museum thrives with 35 species of Californias native dune plants. Menzies wallflower, Tidestroms lupine and beach gilia are endangered flowers that survive in the protected dunes.
Tidepools - The fragile spender of tidepools among the intertidal ecosystems along the Pacific Grove shoreline abounds with creatures. The Pacific Grove Marine Refuge laws protect all plants, animals, rocks and sand from being collected.
Monarch Butterfly - "Winged jewels" as they are often called, migrate by the thousands from Canada to Pacific Grove each fall, clustering in the Monterey pines and eucalyptus trees.
Monterey pines - Thousands of years ago, Monterey pine forests grew along much of Californias coast. Due mainly to climatic change and more recently, to urban agricultural development these majestic pines are now one of the rarest forest ecosystems in the world.
Sea Otter - The playful antics of the otter are a constant attraction to the coastline of Pacific Grove. Once believed to be extinct, a small population survived along the Big Sur coast. Now protected by national laws, the population numbers over 2,000.
Kelp - Also known as seaweed, these marine plants abound in the tidepools and open waters along Pacific Groves shoreline. Giant kelp grows several inches a day developing into an underwater forest.