(by Gary Carlsen, from a column written for the MoCoGenSo Newsletter from 1997-1999)
The following was Reprinted with permission of Brother John F. O’Brien Archivist Diocese of Monterey:
On the solemn feast of Pentecost, June 3, 1770, a mission and church were established by Fr. Junipero Serra under the title of La Mission de San Carlos Borromeo de Monterey. On this same day Captain Gaspar de Portola took possession of the Port of Monterey in the name of King Carlos III of Spain.
The sword and cross then joined in establishing the Presidio de Monterey on a site beside El Estero, selected by the expedition’s engineer, Miguel Constanso, duly taking possession of Monterey for the Holy Church and Crown of Spain. The church was named La Capilla Real del Presidio de Monterey.
When the Presidio was established a few humble huts were at once erected on the site. These buildings, constituting both the Mission and the Presidio, were arranged to form a square. Eight years later the soldiers built a wall of stone around the Presidio square. It was 12 feet high and four feet thick. Inside were 10 adobe houses each 24 feet long and 21 feet wide. There was also a building 136 feet long and 18 feet wide divided into rooms for soldiers.
The old Presidio and the structures have completely vanished, but the Royal Presidio Chapel still stands. It has been used continuously since its inception as a place of worship, a setting for religious services, baptisms, marriages, and funerals. Continue reading