For most of the United States, July 4 is a big landmark. For Monterey, the big date is not in July, but in June. June 3, 1770 marks the date of the founding of both Monterey and what would become the Carmel Mission - which mean that both turned 239 earlier this month. Of course, as you can see from the picture below, Monterey has changed a little since then.  Monterey, when it was the capital of California. The Custom House is on the right hand side. Image from the Library of Congress. Did you know that Monterey was initially the capital of California? Back when California was Alta California, and the property of Mexico, Monterey was the most important city in California. It even hosted California's constitutional convention in 1849 (an event still recreated annually in the very spot where it took place, Colton Hall). The oldest government building in California, Monterey's Custom House, is California State Historic Landmark #1. Monterey was also the original location of the Mission San Carlos Borromeo, also known as the Carmel Mission. Father Junipero Serra moved the mission to Carmel in 1771. The mission thrived for over half a century, but as these photos show, by the 1860s it was in ruins.    Photos of the ruins of the Carmel Mission from the 1860s. Images from the Library of Congress. By the early 1900s, however, the citizens of Carmel had joined together to restore it. It is now known as the best restored of all the California missions. Mission - Carmel, CA Want to take a look at historic Monterey during the nation's birthday week? The Wall Street Journal recently published an excellent feature on their MarketWatch website about touring the historic Monterey Peninsula. We also have plenty of tips for you!