San Carlos Borromeo de Monterey was founded by Father Junipero Serra on June 3, 1770, on the shores of Monterey Bay, as the cornerstone of his Mission. A year later, Fr. Serra moved the Mission to Carmel. The church remained as a Royal Chapel for the soldiers guarding the new Spanish Presidio of Monterey. The present sandstone church was completed in 1794.
The significance of San Carlos cannot be overstated. It is the oldest continuously functioning church and the first stone building in the State of California. It is California’s first cathedral and stands for the birth of Carmel Mission and Monterey, the first capital of California.