• A Timeline: Del Monte Hotel and Naval Postgraduate School

    1880.  Charles Crocker, railroad magnate, opens the first Del Monte Hotel.  Three thousand would-be guests more than Crocker has space for apply for rooms that first week of operation.

    1887.  The hotel burns and must be entirely replaced.  One firefighter loses his life during the fire.  The Seventeen Mile Drive opens, wending its way from under the flag at Del Monte to the Lone Cypress in the wilderness park known as Pebble Beach.

    1909.  The school of Naval Marine Engineering opens at Annapolis.  Only ten students are enrolled, but this school is the forerunner of the Naval Postgraduate School.

    1919 – Crocker interests are facing difficult times, financially.  Samuel F. B. Morse gets support and buys the Del Monte.  Hotel property comprises 20,000 acres.

    1924 – Hotel Del Monte again burns.  Its wooden roofing, siding, and framing fuel a second conflagration.  Two wings survive this blaze.

    1926 – Hotel Del Monte reopens.  The hostelry is constructed of non-wood materials so that the structure won’t burn again.

    1943 – Owner Sam Morse offers his hotel to the U. S. Navy after the Japanese attach Pearl Harbor.  The structure houses a pre-flight training program for naval aviators.  Its football team, competing against civilian schools, becomes the terror of the Pacific Coast.

    1951 – The Naval Postgraduate School moves from Annapolis to Monterey.  The long string of canvas-covered trucks resembles, according to one spectator: … another westward migration in Conestogas.

    1954 – The campus master plan is determined.  Seventy distinct programs eventually evolve.  NPS becomes a degree-granting institution.

    1956 – Hotel Del Monte is renamed Herrmann Hall in honor of the admiral in charge of moving the navy’s school.  Much of the hotel’s ambiance is retained.

    2005 – The navy is presented a federal historic preservation grant for work on Herrmann Hall.

    2009 – The Naval Postgraduate school celebrates 100 years.  This year’s Concert on the Lawn (Monterey Symphony) and other Memorial Day activities stress the centennial.

    posted to Cedar Street Times on May 28, 2009

    Topics: Current Edition, Features


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