The Historic Garden League maintains The Jos. Boston and Co., a historic property established during the Gold Rush period in the mid-1840s, which carries merchandise that reflects the early history of California; and the Picket Fence which was recently renovated and has re-opened with a clean, fresh new appearance and a slightly re-directed focus of providing information, material and merchandise relating to the history of the Monterey Peninsula with special emphasis on the historic old adobes of and the gardens that abut them.
Store Hours and Other Details
Store hours at the Boston Store are 11:00 am to 3:00 PM Thursday through Sunday. Store hours at the Picket Fence are Friday and Saturday 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. The Picket Fence was renovated in 2011 and has resumed its function as the information center for HGL and the place where garden tours begin. There is a constant and on-going need for volunteer docents to staff the Boston Store and the Picket Fence. Please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org inquiring about volunteer work at the shops and the board president will respond.
Jos. Boston & Co.
The Jos. Boston & Co. store is affectionately known as “Casa del Oro” – house of gold due to the circa 1840s safe located in the store – depicts the “general store” as it existed during the gold rush period when returning miners could have their gold assayed and make necessary purchases. Items for sale include local crafts, antiques and reprints of period publications.
History of the building housing the Picket Fence
During the first decades of the twentieth century when David Jacks owned the property his son, Will Jacks, lived in the Boston Store building. In the 1920s Will Jacks built the Picket Fence building as a garage to house his cars.
History of the Jos. Boston Store and its structure
Smallest of the buildings making up Monterey State Historic Park, the Boston Store has filled a variety of uses in its 140 year history. The two story adobe and chalk rock building at Scott and Olivier Streets was built by Thomas O. Larkin in about 1845.
Larkin was the first and only U.S. Consul to Mexico in Monterey and California. Larkin used the building as a hospital for ailing seamen, and later as quarters for soldiers of the United States of America. Larkin’s tour of duty ended in 1848 and he sold the building to Jose Abrego in January 1848.
Abrego leased the building to Joseph Boston on April 30, 1850 for a period of five years. Boston, who previously lived in New York came to California in 1849 to become a merchant and the Jos. Boston store was opened in the building sometime between April, 1849 and April, 1850.
Joseph Boston brought a safe with him from New York. It was certainly the first safe in Monterey and may have been the first safe in California. Since Joseph Boston allowed customers to keep gold in the safe, the building became known as “Casa del Oro” – house of gold. For the next eight or nine years the store flourished.
One of the young men that Joseph Boston employed to help in the store was a young Scot by the name of David Jacks. Joseph Boston also opened a store in Santa Cruz so the Boston Store was often operated by employees or partners of Joseph Boston. In 1859 the fortunes of Monterey declined as the once-busy port lost importance while shipping, trade shifted north to San Francisco, and government moved to Sacramento.
The Boston Store was finally forced to close its doors in 1862. David Jacks purchased the property from Jose Abrego in 1862. The Jacks family continued to own the building for over 50 years. Will Jacks, the son of David Jacks, moved into the Boston Store in the early-1920s and added a wing on the southern side of the adobe. This housed a kitchen area and two bedrooms and a bath. Will Jacks also built the adjacent garage unit (now the Picket Fence) for his cars.
After Will’s death the five daughters of David Jacks donated the Boston Store to the State of California on January 28, 1939. Immediately upon state acquisition and until 1959 the Boston Store was used as the office and home of the district superintendent for State Parks.
In 1953 the adobe was entirely restored. In 1959 the “store” was set up as an exhibit by State Parks. Visitors stood in the doorway and viewed artifacts displayed in the store. In 1985, the Monterey History and Art Association (MHAA) opened the store for retail sales. MHAA ran the store until 1995 when the Historic Garden League took over management of the building.