Colton Hall Museum

Find out about the early days of Californian state rules via the displays and guides in this historic 19th-century building.

As the site of California’s first constitutional convention, Colton Hall Museum played an important role in the state’s history. The mansion was built in the late 1840s and served as a public school and a government edifice. Learn about the 19th-century government and the mayor who lived here via the displays of the museum.

Snap photos of the majestic white house that is draped in the flags and colors of the United States in a show of patriotism. Walk along the red-brick path in the center of the well-kept lawn in front of the house, which has picturesque grounds. The building has an elegant set of external steps beneath two glorious pillars hoisting a white pediment.

Enter the museum and admire the period furniture and décor that replicates the meeting room where the state’s first constitution was drafted before adoption in November, 1849. Stand on the same wooden floor on which the California Congress created this important document.

Speak to docents about the work and debate that went into the creation of the constitution in the months preceding its completion. Exact copies of some of the original documents reveal the details of the constitution.

The building was constructed by the city’s first magistrate, Walter Colton. Hear from docents how it was also used as a county court house, a sheriff’s office and a police headquarters. Go to the back of the house to see the jail cells. Aside from the museum, the building today holds several governmental offices.

Visit the complex on any day of the week between morning and late afternoon, with shortened hours in winter. The site is free to enter.

The Colton Hall Museum is in the central part of Monterey. Take a bus to one of the many stops in this area, which is dense with intriguing landmarks. Visit the intriguing nearby sites, such as the Willem Photographic Gallery, the Monterey County Youth Museum and the Cathedral of San Carlos Borromeo.

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