Colton Hall was built in the 1840s by, and named for, the Reverend Walter Colton who came to Monterey as a chaplain on Commodore Stockton’s vessel and remained to become Monterey’s first alcalde (mayor) in the American Period. Scroll down to read Colton’s own description of the building.
The most important public office building in Monterey County to be in continuous use, Colton Hall has over the years housed Monterey’s City Hall, a public school, the county court house, the sheriff’s office, and Monterey’s city police HQ. Shortly after its construction, Colton Hall had its greatest moment of glory when the 48 delegates to California’s Constitutional Convention met in the second floor assembly hall in 1849.
The City of Monterey expertly restored the building 100 years later; the meeting room is preserved as it looked during those six weeks in September and October, 1849. Thanks to their deliberations, California entered the Union as the 31st state in 1850.
“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.”
— Walter Colton