The Hotel Del Monte

The wrinkles from the glue are disappointing, because this is such an excellent photo-montage of activities available at the Hotel del Monte in Monterey, California. Horses, it seems, were the key activity, whether they pulled carriages, were rode by fair women, or were raced against each other on a track. From the Hittel’s Hand-book of the Pacific Coast in 1882:

The most interesting feature of the town of Monterey, for the tourist, is the Hotel del Monte, erected by the capitalists of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company for the accommodation of visitors. It is one of the most complete buildings on the continent for the accommodation of pleasure-seekers. The length is 385 feet, the width, 115; the height, 3 stories. There are accommodations for 400 guests. The hotel has its own gas works, and is supplied with water from its own artesian well. The grounds of the hotel have an area of 100 acres, partly in beautiful garden and lawn, and the remainder wooded with oak, pine, and cypress trees. Neat by, and under the same ownership, are 7,000 acres of land, through which there are fine roads, open to the patrons of the hotel. A bathing pavilion contains four tanks, each 50 feet long and 36 wide. These are fulled with salt water which is heated to a temperature of about 70°. There are also separate bathrooms. The whole establishment is managed in the best style, and it has done much to attract great numbers of visitors to Monterey. The hotel is within a few yards of the beach, so that those who prefer to bathe in the ocean need not tire themselves by walking to reach it.

The building seen above, however, was a reconstruction of the original Del Monte, which burned to the ground in 1887. The investors of the Southern Pacific Railroad spared little expense to develop the finest resort hotel in California, away from the larger cities, bordering both the forest and the ocean. The hotel expanded with new amenities like those seen above over time, and eventually passed into the ownership of Samuel F.B. Morse. Morse, already owner of Pebble Beach Golf Course, now also controlled the Del Monte golf course, the oldest golf course in the West. This also put Morse in the position of rebuilding the hotel yet again when the building pictured above burned in 1924.

Could you stay at the Hotel del Monte today? You can’t exactly go as a visitor, but you can walk the halls SFB Morse built if you were a Navy officer. In 1943, the wartime flight training school leased the hotel and turning it into an educational home; the Naval Postgraduate School was moved there in 1951, occupying all 627 remaining acres of former tourist grandeur.