A Legacy of Amusement
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Starting 125 years ago, the Del Monte Hotel was a world destination. It was considered among the grandest hotels ever built, a magnificent edifice dedicated to all the pleasures of nature—until it burned to the ground seven years after it opened. The new hotel that rose in its place was again among the world’s finest resorts, introducing golf to California and serving as a getaway for movie stars, moguls, and ordinary citizens on vacation—until it was destroyed by fire. And the new hotel that rose in its place (which still stands, and houses the Naval Postgraduate School) was again a big, beautiful and successful destination-spot for fun-lovers.
Throughout all of this time Monterey was a tiny fishing village. The historic colonial buildings were abandoned and decrepit. The town’s role as capital of the Spanish Pacific empire, and its later stint as capital of California, were long forgotten. Salinas was a big, empty valley.
And yet people from all over the world came here. They didn’t come for the history or the culture or the agriculture—they came to play.
As we look forward to the summer season, we would do well to keep this in mind: Our legacy, as residents of Monterey County, is fun. Fun is what this place is about. And those of us who get to call Monterey County home owe it to our forebears to fan the flames of fun. It is our duty!
In these pages we present an insider’s guide to outside
recreations, a tour of Monterey’s increasingly livelier
nightlife scene, and a preview of the coming season in live
theater. It’s our hope that they serve as an inspiration to
those willing to do what must be done to keep this place’s