History on Display in Salinas

Dear Liza,

Salinas is an old city, founded in 1872, and has some lovely old buildings. I will tell you about some of my favorites.

In the 1890s, four buildings were built at each of the corners at Gabilan and Main Street, and were deliberately built not to match. They each celebrate a different architectural style of the time. The buildings are now restaurants, offices and an antique store, and maintain much of their original charm. My favorite is the McDougall Building.

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The McDougall Building

The curving alley of Italian Stone Pines along West Alisal, College and Hartnell  Streets were planted many years ago to mark the edge of the campus of Hartnell College. These magnificent trees take considerable management, but their effect is one of grandeur and solidity.

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Italian Stone Pines

Originally built as the Jeffery Hotel at 269 Main Street in 1928, this building is now used by CHISPA, a housing assistance service. It is the tallest building in Salinas at six stories plus basements. The very modern remodeled lower section doesn’t match the original 1928 facade on the upper stories.

The Jeffery Hotel, now the CHISPA Building

The Salinas Jail was built in 1931, and housed prisoners until the 1990s, including United Farm Workers leader Cesar Chavez in 1970. It is currently under rehabilitation after years of being used for storage and, for a few years, not being used at all.

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Historic Salinas Jail






I love wandering around town and seeing all the history.


Grandma Judy