Educate the community about the value of recognizing, preserving,
securing, and displaying the Monterey area's historic assets for public
To Support activities which interpret and share the Monterey area's
rich cultural heritage with residents and visitors.
Encourage residents to be advocates for ideas, programs, and plans
which contribute to the understanding of the Monterey area's cultural,
ethnic, artistic, and architectural legacy.
Please enjoy our illustrated AMAP Annual Report from President Nancy Runyon.
Read about our victories and challenges throughout 2017 - it's been a very busy year!
Please consider a tax-deductible donation to support our work for 2018.
Old Monterey County Jail Listed as Historic Place
by the Department of the Interior
National Register of Historic Places #03000337
Old Monterey County Jail
142 West Alisal Street, Salinas, California
***Request for Proposals for Adaptive Reuse Issued****
Proposals are due by 3:00 pm on February 14, 2019.
The documents can be found at:
December 4, 2018
Old Jail National Register Plaque Presentation
AMAP presented the gift of a bronze National Register Plaque for the Old Monterey County Jail to the Monterey County Supervisors, on December 4 2018, followed by unveiling of the plaque, entertainment, refreshments, and an amazing historical display. We were honored to have Cesar Chavez’ Grandson, Andres Chavez, among the many dignitaries who advocated for the preservation of the Old Jail.
The History: The Old Monterey County Jail was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004 for its connection to a singular event which occurred in this building: the incarceration of Cesar Chavez on December 4th, 1970 for his refusal to call off a grape boycott. The fact that Chavez was jailed in pursuing what he believed was a Constitutional right focused national attention on the Jail and on his organizing efforts and helped to change the course of farm labor working conditions nationwide. This was the only time in his life Chavez was jailed, and it became an event of exceptional national significance with visits by notable civil rights leaders including Coretta Scott King and Ethel Kennedy and coverage by major network news programs.
The jailing and subsequent release of Chavez drew national attention to what was previously a regionally instigated boycott. When the California Supreme Court ordered his release from jail on Christmas Eve, 1970, Chavez realized that the grower boycott would become one of his most effective organizing tools— creating a tremendous impact on the market for both grapes and lettuce and putting pressure on growers to sign union contracts.
Photo by Bob Coble, Dec. 4, 2018.
Part of Juan Martinez’ wonderful historical display.
The Monterey County jail was built in 1931, and is a good example of Gothic Revival style architecture during the Art Deco Period. Whilecommonly employed in nineteenth century churches, collegiate buildings, and prisons, this style was not in wide use in the 20th century, making this building unique. Both the administration section of the building and the cellblock were designed by Oakland architects Reed and Corlett in 1931 and retain a high degree of integrity relative to 1970, the date of Chavez' incarceration.
The Program: On October 10, 2017, the Monterey County Supervisors voted unanimously to begin a search for an appropriate adaptive re-use for the Old County Jail. The Alliance of Monterey Area Preservationists (AMAP) is in full support of a new use that is beneficial to the county economy and citizens. AMAP hopes the Old Jail will become included in the proposed Cesar Chavez National Historical Park joining the other five Chavez related national historic landmark sites in California and Arizona, from San Jose to Phoenix.
A National Register plaque will give the Old Jail the distinction it deserves, on the anniversary of its significant event.
"Preservation of one's own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures." - César Chávez (1927-1993)
AMAP ~ Advocates for Monterey County’s Historic Treasures
Cheap and Thin
Richard Neutra and Frank Lloyd Wright
Pacific Grove resident and AMAP board member Dr, Raymond Neutra's book on his family's relationship with Frank Lloyd Wright is available on Amazon. Learn about the development of Neutra's mid-century "California Modern."
What is the psychological process whereby one person inspires and influences another? In this richly illustrated book, Dr. Raymond Richard Neutra traces the forty-year relationship between his parents and the great architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The author's father, the pioneer modern architect Richard Neutra, immigrated to the United States in the early 1920's with the dual motivation of working for his idol Frank Lloyd Wright and for exploring the American industrial potential for economical and light weight housing, schools, medical facilities and other "architecture of social concern." He brought his young wife with him to work for Wright in the last part of 1924 and they maintained a correspondence with Wright over the next forty years until the great man's death.
Within nine years of his arrival in the United States Richard Neutra's writings on American building practices and technology and his 1927-29 steel framed "Lovell Health House" and plan for a prefabricated Ring Plan School won him a place in the 1932 MOMA "International Style" exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. Wright's early cordiality changed to vitriol when he characterized those projects as "Cheap and Thin." Although meant as an insult, the characterization revealed a recognition of the different direction that Richard Neutra's goals had given to the basic strategies that Wright had developed twenty years earlier: Neutra wanted to develop an economic and light way to deploy technology and nature for a happy and healthy life.
The book quotes from the many letters exchanged between Wright and the Neutra's and recounts family memories of visits between them. It then explores the substantial influence of Wright on Neutra and how Neutra adapted, adopted and added strategies and design features to gradually develop what was to become mid-century "California Modern."
Purchase on Amazon
ART DECO AND MODERNE IN SALINAS
In 1924, Salinas had the highest per capita income of any
city in the United States. During the growing seasons of the Great Depression,
the volume of telephone and telegraph transmissions originating in Salinas
was greater than that of San Francisco. This activity was reflected in a
burst of building construction, many employing the streamlined shapes and
organic patterns of Art Deco or Art Moderne. Many examples remain, including
the National Register-listed Monterey County Courthouse and the Salinas
Californian newspaper building.
Photographs of these and many other structures can be seen
in their brochure which includes a street map of downtown identifying their
locations. Several other notable structures are also highlighted, including
the Victorian house where John Steinbeck was born.
Link to Brochure