Saturday, November 22, 2008
(Photo: Colton Hall, taken in 2005, courtesy of Jaybeatle under a GNU Free Documentation License.)
Walter Colton started shaping this side of the US by selling lots for private ownership, empanelling the first jury, fining gamblers, and taxing liquor sales. That income, and convict labor, paid for the first American structure in California, the two-story Colton Hall that is still part of Monterey's City Hall complex. It was finished in 1847, with schoolrooms on the ground floor and an open room upstairs for public assemblies. The assembly room was crucial in 1849, when the 48 founders (40 who spoke English, 8 who spoke Spanish) wrote the bilingual California Constitution inside it.
(Video: Colton Hall overview.)