Colton Hall Museum

Visit the building where the State of California was born

Built to serve as a public school and town meeting hall, Colton Hall now offers visitors a re-creation of the meeting room where California's first Constitution was drafted in October 1849 and exhibits on early Monterey. Colton Hall is a landmark in the City of Monterey, once the capital of Alta California.

The Colton Hall Museum provides a place for learning and enjoyment focused on its core exhibits as the site of California's 1849 bilingual constitution leading to statehood and one of California's first dedicated schools and town halls during the early America period. It also offers a charming historic venue for public programs and events, including the annual Evening Music Concerts, California Constitutional Convention Reenactment, and Christmas in the Adobes, and much more.
Location and Hours

Colton Hall Museum IS open
The City of Monterey’s Museums & Cultural Arts Division is excited to announce the reopening of Colton Hall! Considered one of the most historic buildings in California, Colton Hall is the birthplace of the State of California.

Home of the California Constitutional Convention of 1849, visit the site where 48 delegates debated the decisions that made California a free state. See original documents, artifacts, and even walk on the same floor as the delegates. The Colton Hall Museum is open Saturdays-Sundays from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Located at 570 Pacific St., Monterey, Colton Hall Museum is located upstairs with an ADA accessible elevator and parking available in the rear. For questions, please call (831) 646-5648, or emailmuseumpt@monterey.org.

Walter Colton, Three Years in California walter_colton_small“Thursday, March 8, 1849. The town hall, on which I have been at work for more than a year, is at last finished. It is built of a white stone, quarried from a neighboring hill, and which easily takes the shape you desire. The lower apartments are for schools; the hall over them - seventy feet by thirty - is for public assemblies. The front is ornamented with a portico, which you enter from the hall. It is not an edifice that would attract any attention among public buildings in the United States; but in California it is without a rival. It has been erected out of the slender proceeds of town lots, the labor of the convicts, taxes on liquor shops, and fines on gamblers. The scheme was regarded with incredulity by many; but the building is finished, and the citizens have assembled in it, and christened it after my name, which will now go down to posterity with the odor of gamblers, convicts, and tipplers. I leave it as an humble evidence of what may be accomplished by rigidly adhering to one purpose, and shrinking from no personal efforts necessary to its achievement.”

About the photo: Soon after the American occupation of California in 1846, the Reverend Walter Colton was appointed to serve as Alcalde or Chief Magistrate of the Monterey district. Reverend Colton, a U.S. Navy chaplain, served as the first American Alcalde in California from 1846 until 1849.
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Early Monterey

reenactment
Constitutional Convention

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Old Monterey Jail