Friday, November 21, 2008
(Photo: John Steinbeck's birthplace in Salinas. Courtesy of the owner.)
John Steinbeck is the only Nobel laureate born and raised in Monterey County – to date, anyway. He was born on Feb. 27, 1902, in the gracious Victorian in Salinas that is now a shrine, owned by a nonprofit group that operates a restaurant and gift shop in the house. That was the Steinbecks' principal residence, with summers and holidays at a Pacific Grove cottage they built when John was an infant. John and his first wife, Carol, took over the cottage as their home during the Depression. They lived there from 1930 to 1936 while John wrote six of his first novels, supported by a $25-a-month allowance from his father, the county treasurer. John's first critically acclaimed work, "Tortilla Flat," was published in 1935; the subsequent celebrity helped their departure. John and Carol moved to Los Gatos in 1936.