Casa del Oro
This two-story chalk-rock and adobe building was built by Thomas O. Larkin in about 1845. Several years later, Joseph Boston leased the structure to operate one of the first general merchandise stores in the area. The actual date of opening is said to have been between April, 1849 and April, 1850. A surprising assortment of goods was sold during this period. Items available for purchase included: silverware, pans, coffee mills, tubs, brooms, walnuts, tea, hams and soap. Boston literally offered everything from garden seeds to grinding stones!
The first safe in Monterey was installed in Boston's Store. The story goes that miners returning from the gold fields often stored their assets there. This led to the designation "Casa del Oro" or House of Gold. Today, one can still find the original safe and Boston's office desk on display.
This building, the first mercantile store in Monterey, is operated by the non-profit Historic Garden League. The Boston Store offers merchandise for sale themed to the 1850s. Reproductions, as well as antiques, await the visitor as one tours the Boston Store, otherwise known as the "House of Gold". The Historic Garden League also operates the Picket Fence Garden Store located next to the Boston Store. Proceeds of sales go toward improvements to the gardens of old Monterey.
Historically, the store traded with many countries of the world for merchandise. Russian sea captains were eager to do business with Monterey. Reflecting on the past, the Boston Store is now offering beautiful Russian hand crafted children's toys and games. In addition, unique Russian "Golden Khokhloma" handcrafted wooden bowls are now availabe for your purchase. The wood is hand-carved, primed with clay, hand-coated with linseed oil, hand-rubbed with powdered aluminum, handpainted and fired. The final lacquer coating is what changes the silvery ornament into "gold." This process dates back over three hundred years. Many other types of reproductions and antiques are available for your purchase.
Picket Fence Garden Store