In 1854, a few years after California achieved statehood, Monterey — as the county seat and a center of government and commerce — felt the need for a jail to serve the requirements of Colton Hall, which was then the courthouse. C.F. Gilmer was engaged to construct a small rectangular structure with the following fittings (described in the Monterey Sentinel in September 1855):
“a place of solidity… of Monterey granite with the best iron work that San Francisco could furnish. No wood was used in the construction except the roof, but the [six large] cells are ceiled with blocks of stone, arched; there is also a good wall around the jail, with all necessary conveniences inside…” There was a debtors’ room and “a good-sized room for the jailer.”
After the county seat was moved to Salinas, the jail was turned over to the City of Monterey; it was in use until 1956. Now it is preserved as a memento of Monterey’s past, and occasionally open to historic tours.