Monterey Turns 250 Years Old on June 3, 2020!
Here are a few Monterey "firsts" for California that show just how unique and important Monterey is to California history.

The Significance of June 3

 In 1602, Spanish explorer Sebastian Vizcaino set foot in Monterey Bay and he named the area in honor of the Viceroy of New Spain who ordered his expedition. Under a large oak tree (near the intersection of Pacific and Artillery Streets today), his crew celebrated mass in thanks for getting there safely. 168 years later, on June 3, 1770, Captain Gaspar de Portola and Father Junipero Serra landed in Monterey and had mass in the same location. They were on an expedition to find Vizcaino's landing place and establish the Presidio of Monterey. During the founding of Monterey, Spanish soldiers fired muskets, bells were rung. It was on that date that the City of Monterey was also founded, leading to our 250 year sestercentennial in 2020.

Serra Portola Mass

Monterey Firsts

  • First Mass Performed in California (1602)
  • First Foreign Ships to Visit Spanish California (1786)
  • First California Condor Known to Science Described and Observed (1792)
  • First Building Designed by an Architect in California (Royal Presidio Chapel, 1794)
  • First Custom House in California (1827 and only Custom House until 1845)
  • First Printing Press in California (1834)
  • First French Consulate in California (1843)
  • First Jury Trial (1846)
  • First Official Raising of the American Flag (1846)
  • First American Public Building in California (Colton Hall constructed from 1847 to 1849)
  • First Theater in California (1846)
  • California's First Constitution and Constitutional Convention (1849)
  • California's First Capital (of Spanish province of Alta California, 1770)
  • California's First Newspaper (The Californian, 1846)
  • California's First Brick House (1847)
  • California's First Public Library (Monterey, 1849)
  • California's First Pre-Fab Framed house (1850)
  • California's First Marketed Cheese (1859)
  • Destination of the First Oil Pipeline in California (1904)
  • First California State Historical Monument (1938)
  • California’s First Scenic Highway (1965)