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.