Shades and Stories of Monterey
The essence of any community is its people...

It is the stories of individuals who have lived in Monterey over time that convey the community’s history most vividly. Similarly, it is the photographs found in the albums of local families that provide some of the richest visual documentation of daily life in Monterey. For over a decade, the Monterey Public Library has been collecting photos and stories of day-to-day life in Monterey through its Shades of Monterey project.

Recently, the Library received a grant to continue this project, this time collecting stories of long time residents in on-camera interviews. These video interviews capture treasured memories of family and community life in Monterey, and they are now available in the Library’s California History Room and Archives where they provide rich primary source material for researchers, genealogists and historians.

For this project, fourteen people from diverse backgrounds, most of them lifelong Monterey residents, spoke about their experiences growing up in Monterey – about family, careers, events that made lasting impressions and the people who influenced them. These interviews capture the memories, dreams and legacies of people who were eyewitness to Monterey life during the historically pivotal mid-20th century. They speak about the transformation of Monterey from a community based on a fishing economy to one revitalized by tourism after the collapse of the sardine industry, and the physical, personal and social aspects of that change.

In addition to collecting photographs and on-camera stories, the project grant called for a related community event. The documentary film, Shades and Stories of Monterey was created as a centerpiece for such an event where the film premiered on March 23, 2010. Over three hundred Monterey residents gathered to view the film and to honor the stories of our community’s past.


Video is in Windows Media format. PC users will need the latest version of Windows Media Player. Firefox users may need to install the Windows Media Player Firefox Plugin.

Mac OS X users will need Flip4Mac Windows Media Components for QuickTime. Help with setup and troubleshooting is available here.

DVD cover image

The documentary film Shades and Stories of Monterey is available on DVD.

Purchase the DVD for $10.00 plus tax in the Monterey Public Library Store or by contacting Library Special Services Coordinator Jeanne McCombs at (831) 646-3949 or