020. Monterey Jail Part 1

The Monterey Jail When California became a state in 1850, Monterey was selected as the seat of Monterey County government. The new county needed a new jail. The problem with the old jail, an adobe structure that stood near the present-day bus terminal, was that too many prisoners had escaped! Word had it that you could use a simple spoon to carve out the adobe mud walls standing between you and freedom. Construction on the new jail began in 1854. It was built next to Colton Hall, which was the home of the county courthouse, and where California's Constitution was created in 1849. The jail was completed in September 1855. It was solidly built from Monterey granite quarried at Point Lobos, and iron-work fashioned in San Francisco. The walled compound that contained the jail had all the necessities: a kitchen, a stove, and even its own well. The jail contained six large cells, a debtor's room, and a special room for the jailer. Today, only the jail itself remains. The Monterey jail continued to operate until the mid-1950s, long after the county seat was moved to Salinas in December of 1872. In 1960 the jail was opened to the public as part of the Colton Hall Museum. For more stories about some of Monterey Jail’s most notable inmates, tap or click the blue right-arrow above the photo thumbnails.