510. Old Fisherman's Wharf

Old Fisherman's Wharf The earliest Monterey Wharf - actually a short pier - was built on this spot in 1842 under the direction of Thomas O. Larkin. Larkin was the American ambassador to Mexican Alta California and a prominent merchant. The wharf was built of rock and board. It was devised so ships could be safely unloaded without spilling their precious cargos of cloth, shoes, and wine - or passengers - into the Bay. In the 1850s steam ships routinely loaded passengers, lumber, grain and other goods at the Monterey Muelle or pier. Whalers and fishermen, freight handlers and shippers frequented the old wharf. Schooners and steamships docked to await the transfer of goods and people. Then in 1870, the Pacific Steamship Company constructed a larger wharf to improve and safeguard regular passenger and freight service to and from Monterey. By the turn of the 20th century, the wharf bustled with small fish markets, warehouses, fishing supply shops and even a glass-bottom boat ride. As sardine fishing grew so did the wharf and in 1913 the City of Monterey took over ownership to better support this increasingly important industry. Sardines were shipped daily from the wharf, supplying a variety of jobs and revenue to the city. On any Sunday afternoon during the sardine season, you would see delivery trucks bringing groceries for the fleet, fishermen arriving with their families, and any number of sightseers coming to watch the festivities. At the collapse of the sardine fishery, Monterey's Fisherman's Wharf was reborn with restaurants, art galleries and souvenir shops, again serving a significant role in Monterey's rich and diverse history.