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A fairly good picture of Colton Hall drawn by Mr. Toy himself.


Bits-o'-History

Fun and educational nuggets to inform Your Brain.

"A nation that forgets its past can function no better than an individual with amnesia."  -David  McCullough

Mr. Toy hopes you'll find these seven bits to be both interesting and amusing.
(And be sure to scroll down for a list of recommended books, videos, and more.)

The following Two Bits are personal stories from Mr. Toy's Mental Notes and they will open in a separate browser window.

Colton Hall At Night by James B Toy. Click to view or purchase.

"Colton Hall At Night"

Sometimes referred to, though not quite accurately, as California's first capitol building, Colton Hall played a major role in California history as the place where the state constitution was written and ratified in 1849. Prints of this photograph are available from Mr. Toy's Photography Gallery and Picture Shop.

Recommended history books, videos, etc. Books first:

  • Monterey: Presidio, Pueblo, and Port
    by J.D. Conway
    thorough overview of the city's history from primitive natives to modern times. 
  • The Death and Life of Monterey Bay: A Story of Revival
    b
    y Stephen R. Palumbi & Carolyn Sotka
    An engaging account of the use, abuse, and revival of Monterey Bay's ecological resources.
  • Carmel-By-The-Sea: From Aborigines to Coastal Commission
    by Sidney Temple
    A rich and detailed story of Carmel. This book is an abridged version of his manuscript which can be viewed at the Carmel Library. 
  • Carmel-By-The-Sea - Images of America
    by Monica Hudson
    Carmel's history told through photographs. 
  • Carmel California: A History in Architecture
    by Kent Seavey
    A photographic history of Carmel's quaint and quirky building styles. 
  • Monterey County: The Dramatic Story of Its Past 
    by Augusta Fink
    The definitive story of the settlement and development of Monterey County. 
  • A Wild Coast and Lonely: Big Sur Pioneers
    by Rosalind Sharp Wall
    A fascinating account of the rugged individualists who settled Big Sur. Written by a Big Sur native. 
  • Monterey County Place Names: A Geographical Dictionary 
    by David Thomas Clark
    A richly detailed and exhaustive reference work explaining how everything in Monterey County - large and small - got its name. 
  • Curious Customs of Carmel
    by El Frieda Liese
    A little book describing Carmel's unique traditions, some of which have been lost to time. This is out of print, but used copies may be available somewhere if you look around.

Recommended videos and a link to a historic photo archive:

  • Don't Pave Main Street
    A rich and engaging documentary of Carmel's history narrated by Clint Eastwood. It may be ordered through the Carmel Heritage Society.
  • The Complete Monterey Pop Festival
    This DVD boxed set includes the famous documentary film of the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival plus extended performances of Jimi Hendrix, Otis Redding, and numerous outtakes from other performers. 
  • The Last Days of Old Cannery Row 
    A record of Cannery Row in 1969 by local filmmaker John Harris. It may be ordered from John Harris Films
  • California Views
    Local photo archivist Pat Hathaway has a massive online collection of historic images to view or purchase.