The mission of Monterey State Historic Parks Association is to support interpretation, educational programs, and special events at Monterey State Historic Park in downtown Monterey.

The association also assists all of the California State Parks by raising funds and increasing public awareness.

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News & Events

Current Newsletter

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Upcoming Events

31st Annual Christmas in the Adobes
December 9 & 10, 2016

Monterey's Signature Holiday Event
Dates: Friday December 9 & Saturday December 10
Time: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. each night

Cooper Museum Store Final Day
Thursday, December 31st

Visit us to shop for sales and say farewell to the Cooper Store's old location. It will be moving down to the Custom House in early 2016.

Historic Walking Tour

Join California State Park Guides for an in-depth look at the history of Monterey focusing on the cultural contributions of native peoples, Spanish colonials, Mexican independence and the beginning of American governance. See California Historical Landmark #1, First Brick House, the Old Whaling Station with the last Whale bone sidewalk in Monterey, and California's First Theater.

Limit 20 persons per tour.

Tours leave from the Pacific House Museum at: 10:30 am, 12:30 pm, and 2:00 pm Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday Holidays

Adults (13 and over) $5.00
Kids (12 and under) Free
*Kids must be accompanied by paying adult*

Free Sundays
The last Sunday of every month is free admission and tours for Monterey State Historic Park.

*Credit Cards not accepted for admission fee ~ exact change is greatly appreciated.*

For more information please visit http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=951

Past Events

Art in the Gardens
September 12 & 13, 2015

The Old Monterey Foundation series of Plein Air events continues with "Art in the Gardens" September 12 & 13.
Download PDF with More Info.
Art in the Gardens

History Fest - October 3rd and 4th, 2015

Monterey State Historic Park joins the Historic Monterey Collaborative in presenting History Fest. MSHP will open adobes to the public for free historic walking tours and free entrance to Custom House and Pacific House museums both days.

For more information on these events please call (831) 649-7172.

July 4th 2015 Living History Day

Monterey State Historic Park Association presents July 4 Living History Day at Cooper-Molera Adobe.

Immediately after the City of Monterey July 4th Parade, Monterey State Historic Park volunteers dressed in historic costume will lead you back in time. They'll demonstrate 19th C. fun and games for the whole family! Join the fun by learning fandango, making rope, playing the games of the era. Tours of the Cooper Adobe are offered hourly and free to event goers! See Captain Cooper's restored coach and wagons on display. Tacos and old-fashioned sodas are offered for sale. Fun for all ages.

Christmas in the Adobes 2014

Thank you for visiting us during Christmas in the Adobes 2014. We had over 1,000 participants over the two nights despite Friday's rain. Please mark your calendars for Christmas in the Adobes 2015 which will be on December 11 and 12.

Day of Dead Artisan CraftsHandmade Artisan Crafts Celebrating Day of Dead

During the fall season, the Cooper Store featured handmade artisan crafts celebrating Day of the Dead. A longtime Mexican tradition, this annual November 2nd celebration of the memories of our ancestors and loved ones features flowered skulls and skeletons made of clay, tin, and paper mache. Our selection included wares from artisan families throughout Latin America and is like no other!


MSHPA Wins $60k Match

Major General Anthony JacksonThere's now an additional $60,000 in MSHPA's fund for opening State Park adobes to schoolchildren and the general public. In November, MSHPA learned that its request for funds to match all monies it has raised in the past several years was approved by parks director Maj. Gen. Anthony Jackson.

Jackson signed the proposal Oct. 29 — the day after he visited Cooper adobe.

The money will be used to open Custom and Pacific Houses more days of the week, and to provide tours of Cooper, Larkin and Soberanes adobes, as well as walking tours of downtown.

The matching funds come from a special one-time State Parks allocation. MSHPA's initial $60,000 includes funds raised through Christmas in the Adobes and the Cooper Museum Store, Monterey County Weekly's "Monterey Gives!" program, and from the fandango fundraiser sponsored by Association of Monterey Area Preservationists.

During his visit, Jackson noted that the first priority for the matching funds had been parks that were on last year's closure list. He said about $1 million was still left for other parks. Monterey district superintendent Mat Fuzie observed the only reason MSHP wasn't on that closure list was that there was no money to be had by closing it. (All buildings except Cooper had been closed already. The only reason Cooper wasn't closed was that State Parks' contract with the National Trust for Historic Preservation required Cooper to be open a specified number of days each year.)

Cooper-Vallejo Reunion a Great Success

Cooper-Vallejo Reunion
48 descendants attended including the youngest Cash Cooper Haley (front, far right) from San Luis Obispo. All were very interested in the Trust's proposal and want to be kept in the loop. They expressed their interest in another reunion next year.
Cooper-Vallejo Reunion

MSHPA Responds to the National Trust

MSHPA has responded to the Trust's plans by asking for a "better compromise," and for a "true dialogue" with serious listening. Co-presidents Betty Crowder and Jan Houser outlined MSHPA's position in a letter to David Brown:

"We are very concerned about the National Trust for Historic Preservation's plans for conversion of buildings at the historic Cooper adobe site.

"We can accept putting a restaurant in the 1830s Spear Warehouse. That building had commercial uses from the beginning.

"We can live with leasing the 1840s general store to a retail client. Even though Monterey State Historic Park Association (MSHPA) volunteers have served as docents and operated a museum store there since the 1980s, we understand the need for additional revenue to pay for maintenance at the site.

"(All our profits have gone to children's educational programs at Cooper. We hope Monterey State Historic Park, which has operated Cooper for the Trust, can find another location for our store.)

"What we cannot condone is gutting the downstairs of the family home for a second Cooper restaurant. The 1833 Restaurant in the historic Stokes adobe is barely a block away on Hartnell and Munras streets.

"Meanwhile, Cooper is the only adobe home in downtown Monterey that (1) has never been remodeled or modernized, and (2) is furnished with all of the family's original furnishings.

"We think it would be a travesty to lose this historic treasure. We remain optimistic that a better compromise can be reached between generating revenue and preserving a public treasure for current and future enjoyment.

"We hope the Trust will seriously listen to our concerns and those of local preservationists, State Park staff, and members of the public. We hope that presentations by the Trust June 4-5 are just the beginning of a true dialogue among all interested parties."

Copies of this letter are also being sent to State Parks director Gen. Anthony Jackson, Monterey city officials and as a press release to local media and letter to the editor to local newspapers.

135th Anniversary of Robert Louis Stevenson's Arrival in Monterey

Saturday, August 30, 5-7pm
Join the Monterey State Historic Park and the Robert Louis Stevenson Club in celebrating the 135th anniversary of Robert Louis Stevenson's arrival in Monterey. The event will be dedicated to the "Amateur Emigrant" and focus on the experiences of RLS and French-speaking travelers who stayed at the French Hotel and took meals at Simoneau's Restaurant. Refreshments and entertainment will have a French theme. This event will be held at the Stevenson House, located at 530 Houston Street in Monterey.

For more information please visit http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=24072

Missing McCormick Found

The word came Feb. 15 of this year in an innocuous e-mail from a state parks curator in Sacramento: "Hi Kris, We have found a painting by M. Evelyn McCormick, a California artist specializing in Monterey's historic buildings and adobes. We thought you might be interested." That was the first notification for Monterey State Historic Parks curator Kris Quist that a long-sought mural by an acclaimed local artist had finally been located. The McCormick mural, part of a series of six commissioned by the federal Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression, had hung in Custom House in the late 1930s.

Stevenson House

The huge, horizontal, oil-on-canvas murals showed people at work utilizing natural resources of the Monterey area. They had been created specifically for the California State Park System. (More than 450 art objects were commissioned by state and federal government work relief programs from 1934-42. The goal was both to create high-quality public art, and also to support artists during the Great Depression.) Three of the murals were already hanging at Robert Louis Stevenson House. Painted by Henrietta Shore (artichoke pickers), William Hyde Irwin (cowboys) and August Gay (fishermen), the bold figures and bright colors are reminiscent of Diego Rivera. They arrived last year from a Sacramento warehouse, and will be on display during Art in the Adobes Sept. 13-17.

Stevenson House
Stevenson House

State park records showed that the original group of six murals included shrimp fishermen by Evelyn McCormick, and quarrying and lumbering by two lesser-known artists. The big name among the six was clearly Evelyn McCormick, whose Impressionist landscapes and adobes now command well into six figures. Coincidentally, she'd also had an art studio upstairs at Custom House in the 1930s. But the McCormick mural had gone missing from state park records sometime in the 1970s. Quist said he had been looking for the mural in state park records for a decade or so, after hearing about it from Scott Shields, author of "Artists at Continent's End: The Monterey Peninsula Art Colony, 1975-1907". Quist wanted to find it for this year's Art in the Adobes program, and asked state park colleagues for help. When the McCormick finally resurfaced, it was rolled up with a bunch of maps on the mezzanine of a warehouse. The 74' by 30" mural had been removed from its frame. Now cracked and dusty, it was in sorry shape.

The challenge was to refurbish the painting ("conserve" is the art world's term) and get it to Monterey in time for Art in the Adobes. Oh, and find some way to pay for the conservation and transportation. "I have no budget for art."

Stevenson House

State parks was sending a huge shipment of archived materials from Sacramento to Monterey in April, including furniture donated by Frances Molera from her family's many homes and offices. So, if the McCormick could hitch a ride on this shipment, MSHP could save thousands of dollars in transportation. That meant there was roughly two months to finance and complete the conservation.

Two days after learning the McCormick had been found, Quist e-mailed Jim Alkons, an expert in restoring murals. Alkons said he would do the necessary work for $5,000, an extremely low figure by art world standards.

The news was conveyed to Julianne Burton-Carvajal, curator of the Art in the Adobes show. She quickly managed to find two out-of-the-area donors, who together gave $3,500. Quist then tapped Blaine Lamb, chief of archaeology, history and museums for California State Parks, who provided the remaining $1,500. These funds were conveyed to Old Monterey Foundation, which officially funded the restoration.

Alkons finished the conservation, including cleaning, relining and reframing, on April 9. The painting was packed for shipment April 11, and delivered to Monterey April 12, along with the Cooper belongings. "When I first saw it, there were challenges," said Quist. "When I got it back, it was gorgeous."

"Considering that it was missing for 30 years, we really jammed for this year's event. The timing was perfect." A book about Evelyn McCormick is due out in September. Nelda Hirsh has titled her biography "A Bohemian Life: M. Evelyn McCormick (1862-1948), California Impressionist". Its publication is expected to draw additional attention to the mural in Stevenson.

"I like the idea of public art created with public funds to be shared with the public," said Quist. "A lot of the art now in state buildings was originally private. Not much was created specifically for a public building for public view."

--Susan Miller, Newsletter Editor

See this beautiful mural and others at the Stevenson House located at 530 Houston St. in Monterey.

CSU Monterey Bay Students
Tour the Larkin House Garden

CSU Monterey Bay Students


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