Whaling Station

The House

This adobe and frame structure was built in 1847 by Scottish adventurer David Wight, who also enlarged Pacific House for Thomas O. Larkin. The Wight family inhabited the house only briefly before departing Monterey for the gold fields in 1849.Shortly thereafter a local whaling industry developed, thanks to techniques imported by immigrants from the Azores, and the Old Portuguese Whaling Company began using this building in 1855 for its onshore whaling operations. A huge iron cauldron for rendering whale oil can still be seen in the rear garden, relegated to ornamental status by the introduction of less expensive kerosene.

Around 1900, Mrs. H.S. McNear purchased the property for use as a summer home, adding the front balcony and a garden. Newspaper editor Allan Griffin, who purchased it in the 1920s, later sold to Franklin Baldwin, who owned the property until 1948. He was succeeded by Lincoln Ellsworth, and then by Louis Gardener, who operated the Old Whaling Station Inn before selling it to innkeeper Wesley Dodge. In 1975, the City of Monterey purchased the property and later sold it to the state of California. Since 1980, the California Department of Parks and Recreation have leased house and grounds to the Junior League of Monterey County, which in turn make both available for special events including weddings and business events.

The Gardens

With its protected site, venerable trees, graceful brick walkways and extensive rose garden and other plantings this an especially inviting outdoor retreat. It is a favorite place for outdoor weddings.