Memory Garden

The Pacific House Building and adjoining Memory Garden

Thomas Oliver Larkin, a Massachusetts-born merchant who served as the first (and last) US Consul to Mexican California, purchased this property in 1843 In 1847, he hired Scotsman David Wight to expand the original structure into the present two-story building, in a transitional style between the Mexican and Monterey prototypes, the latter pioneered by Larkin in his own nearby residence. Larkin rented the property to the US Quartermaster for offices, corral, and warehouse.

The building subsequently housed the first county courthouse, as well as a tavern (not necessarily at the same time!). In 1880, it was purchased by Scotsman David Jacks, the largest property owner in Monterey County. His daughters added the annex and garden in 1927, then bequeathed both to the State of California in 1954. The attractive displays at the Pacific House Museum offer visitors an engaging orientation to local history and sites, free of charge.

As late as 1860, bull and bear fights, a popular spectator sport with the early-Californians, were still being held in the southern side of the enclosure that now shelters an arcaded, flower-lined courtyard. In this serene walled garden with elegant Andalusian echoes, designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, Jr. in 1927, four evergreen magnolias frame a central fountain. Camellias, wisteria, climbing roses, citrus, and a Australian tea tree are 1920s selections whose staggered seasonal display still guarantee year-round interest.