Stop #407 Larkin House
Larkin House is unique, not only for its style, but also because it was once the American Consulate and home of Thomas Oliver Larkin. At the age of 29, Larkin came here to Alta California from the U. S. to help his half brother, Captain John Rogers Cooper, with his import/export business. Within a year, Larkin was in business for himself and married to Rachel Hobson Holmes,whom he had met during the seven-month voyage to Monterey. They raised their large family here and diversified business interests. During that time, Larkin made many friends and political connections.
The adobe is perhaps the best example of the Monterey Colonial style. Notice the hipped shingled roof and the double hung glass windows. Many other features made this house different from other Monterey adobes, including exaggerated eaves, a central staircase, and upper floor fireplaces. It was also one of the first two-story buildings in Monterey.
In 1844, President Polk appointed Larkin to serve as the first and only Consul of the United States to Mexico. His decision was, no doubt, influenced by stories from the many travelers who enjoyed Larkin’s famous hospitality.
Two years later, the U.S. was at war with Mexico. You may have noticed a smaller stone building to the south called the Sherman Quarters. Larkin made this house available to American troops during the war including Lieutenant William T. Sherman who would eventually achieve the rank of General in the American Civil War.
With the Gold Rush, Monterey was nearly deserted, so Larkin traded his property for some land in San Francisco and settled there.
By 1920, after the house had been owned by several different occupants, the Larkin House was purchased by his granddaughter, Alice Larkin Toulmin. After living in the house for 35 years, Alice gave the adobe to California State Parks as a memorial to her grandfather. State Parks has kept the house and furnishings just as they were in her day.