Edward Flanders Robb Ricketts was born on May 14, 1897 in Chicago.
In 1923, Ricketts came to California with his Chicago roommate, A.E. Galigher, and opened Pacific Biological Laboratories.
Ricketts moved the PBL to 740 Ocean View Avenue in Monterey in 1928. The original structure was a single-story house. The building was lifted and the Lab constructed below.
In 1930, Ricketts met John Steinbeck.
Ricketts started living at the Lab in 1936.
On November 25, 1936, a fire started in the adjacent Del Mar Cannery. The fired completely destroyed the lab, and Ricketts lost his marine ecology and literary library and family heirlooms. Thankfully Stanford University already had the manuscript of Between Pacific Tides. Friends and family helped to replace much of Ricketts library and record collection. The Lab looked different before the fire. The stairs went in the opposite direction, the door was in middle of building, and the walls were stucco.
In 1939 a Deed of Trust was signed between PBL and John and Carol Steinbeck for a loan of $6000, with payment of principal deferred until September 1941. Money from the loan was used to pay off a previous loan and to help finance the Sea of Cortez trip.
The Del Monte Express train struck Ricketts' car on May 8, 1948. He died of his injuries on May 11.
In 1948, Yock Yee, owner of the Wing Chong Co. across the street, owned the Lab building.
In 1956, after renting the building for a meeting place, Harlan Watkins, a literature teacher at Monterey High School, bought the building. Watkins lived in the Lab for a while, then used it for a gathering place of friends and guests, which evolved into the PBL club.
In 1957, Jimmy Lyons was invited, and the idea of the Monterey Jazz Festival was created at the club.
After 1958, the building became the property of the PBL Club members
Ocean View Avenue was renamed Cannery Row in 1958.
In 1993, the Lab was transferred to the City of Monterey