No. Although Father Serra did establish Mission San Carlos Borromeo on this site in 1770, he moved it to its current Carmel River site in 1771. The chapel in Monterey was called the “Royal” Presidio Chapel because it was the church of the Spanish governors representing King Carlos III and his successors. Later, it was the church of the Mexican governors. In the mid-1800s it became the parish church of Monterey. Inside the church, the Franciscan Coat of Arms honors Father Serra. The Coat of Arms of Castile and Leon is a portion of the Coat of Arms of King Carlos III of Spain.
The sculptures decorating the doors were moved from the church interior to the new transept portadas when the original bapistry and sacristy were torn down circa 1858.
Pavers around the church identify locations found during the archaeological dig conducted prior to and during the conservation.
|Late 19th Century
Father Mestres donated this plaster statue of the Sacred Heart circa 1890.
Each immigrant group contributed to the growing parish. The Portuguese whalers and dairymen provided this wooden statue of St. Elizabeth, Queen of Portugal in 1890.
They also provided a whalebone sidewalk in front of the church. The design included the Star of Portugal. Remnants of it are in the Heritage Center.
|Early 20th Century
Sicilian fishermen came to Monterey in the early 20th century. They introduced the Santa Rosalia festivals which are celebrated in Palermo and throughout Sicily. Every September this 20th century plaster on wood statue is carried in a procession though Monterey to the harbor for the blessing of the fishing fleet. The fishermen also are credited with saving the Vizcaíno-Serra Oak in 1905 when they salvaged it from the Monterey Bay.
Parishioners built the replica grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in 1921.
The Royal Presidio Chapel Heritage Center is located in the administrative building adjacent to the cathedral. It contains early drawings and photos, a piece of the Vizcaíno-Serra Oak, artifacts such as pottery shards and this 1779 Spanish half-reál, and other memorabilia. Docents are available to provide tours during the hours posted on the door.
Replica of a Mexican Militia uniform on loan from Dr. Ruben Mendoza. Governors represented the Mexican government in Monterey from 1822-1846.
Drawing of chapel prior to addition of transepts
Green abalone and roofing tile
Photo circa 1859 after completion of transepts