Lower Presidio Historic Park Walking Tour: Focus on Fort Mervine
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On the third Saturday of every month at 10am, Monterey Bay historian and author Tim Thomas offers a two-hour Lower Presidio Historic Park Walking Tour, focusing today Fort Mervine. Tours meet in front of the Presidio of Monterey Museum.
After the United States took control of the Mexican capital of California at Monterey in July 1846, the US Army built its first American fort on the west coast on this hill. Fort Mervine overlooks the harbor, located above what had been an earlier Spanish and Mexican fort called "El Castillo." It was eventually named for Captain William Mervine. Construction of the fort began in 1846 and was completed in 1847.
Fort Mervine consisted of barracks, officer's quarters, a bakery, and other buildings enclosed by a wood palisade atop an earthen mound. It was 650 feet long and 400 feet wide with ravelins - angled, fortified embankments housing artillery pieces - at each corner. Today only the forward ravelin remains. The fort closed in 1852 during the Gold Rush, then was reactivated during the Civil War, only to be closed again in 1865.
Advance reservations are required by calling Tim Thomas at 831-521-3304. The tour is for ages 10 through adult only and the cost is $20 for adults and $15 for ages 10-15. Group rates are also available.
Tim Thomas, a fourth-generation native of the Monterey area, is a popular speaker and lively tour guide. For 16 years, he was historian and curator for the Monterey Maritime & History Museum and has worked with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, California State Parks, and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. He is author of The Abalone King of Monterey: 'Pop' Ernest Doelter, The Japanese on the Monterey Peninsula, and co-author of Monterey's Waterfront.